How to spend your summer before your LL.M.

By Desiree Jaeger-Fine

If you’re enrolled in an upcoming LL.M. program, you have a few months before your experience begins. What should you do to get ready for the big moment?

Read!

I encourage you to start reading in English as soon as possible. It does not necessarily have to be a legal text, but it should be a text that is somewhat challenging and unfamiliar. Reading unfamiliar texts will not eliminate the anxiety that will come with reading your first legal case, but it will reduce it.

Listen!

I thought that my English was decent before I started my LL.M., but I could not understand anything when I turned on the news channel. Nothing! They spoke way too fast. Your law professors and the administrators at the law school will likely be Americans, and they will talk at the speed to which they are accustomed. You will eventually get used to it but if you would like to give yourself a head start, listen to Native Americans either through news or movies, or in person if you can.

Write!

Writing in English is a skill that requires time to develop. We cannot cut out the time element, but we can start to practice so that we are already somewhat used to expressing ourselves in written English when exams come around.

It is not necessary to draft legal articles just yet. Instead, you could start a personal LL.M. journal in English, for example. I still have mine, and I fondly read a few pages here and then. Writing a journal will encourage you to start writing in English, and as a bonus, you will have a record of an exhilarating time. It is also encouraging to see how my English improved throughout the LLM. It is a reminder that we do get better if we work on ourselves.

Anything that can allow your brain to interact in English will be helpful and can make the transition easier.

Have Fun!

Most importantly, enjoy your summer. The LL.M. will be an exciting but also a busy time. Enjoy moments with your family and friends. Enjoy your home country if you are still abroad. You will come to miss it. Take a moment to be proud of yourself for you committed to a great adventure.


Desiree Jaeger-Fine is director of international programs at Brooklyn Law School and author of "Pursuing Happiness: One Lawyer’s Journey,” "A Short & Happy Guide to Networking,” and “A Short & Happy Guide to Being Hired."