Two-Year LL.M. with Certificate in Legal English for Foreign-Trained Lawyers
Course Descriptions of Year 1 Required Courses
Working with Legal Texts 1 & 2
This year-long course is designed to prepare students for the linguistic and intellectual demands of LL.M. study at a law school in the U.S. The course focuses on enhancing students' language proficiency in the areas of listening, speaking, reading, and writing, with particular emphasis on developing language skills for understanding and producing legal academic texts such as papers and law school exams. Special emphasis is given to text organization at macro (whole text) and micro (paragraph and sentence) levels and to how ideas are presented and logically linked to each other. The course includes a thorough review of grammar, sentence structure, and style, which will enable students to produce clear and coherent academic and legal texts. Students will also be introduced to discussion and participation skills for larger and smaller seminar classes, and they will be given opportunities to develop these skills. In addition, students will have opportunities to improve their English pronunciation. Throughout the academic year, students will work closely with course instructors and receive extensive, individualized feedback on their skills development.
Introduction to U.S. Legal Systems
This course introduces students from civil law jurisdictions to the mixed legal system(s) of the United States. Through the Socratic discourse, students will develop legal tools and thought processes necessary to immerse in the uniquely American blend of statutory law and judge-made law within a federal system.
U.S. Legal Research, Analysis & Writing
This class will introduce students to U.S. legal resources, research methods, and analytical paradigms, and will give students the opportunity to develop written analysis using the approaches, forms, and conventions common in U.S. law. Students will write a series of documents that are related to their representation of a client in the context of a U.S. law firm, and will give oral presentations of their research findings. Students will receive individual feedback on both written and oral work.
Instructor: Craig Hoffman
Law, Society & Culture
This course functions as a survey of modern Supreme Court jurisprudence. We will review in detail several landmark cases, with a specific focus on how court texts were both informed by and influenced broader trends in American society. Emphasis will be placed on the distinguishing features of common law method, and students will use close reading techniques to identify the defining discourse characteristics of the U.S. judicial opinion. Film viewings and readings from literature will be used to complement our understanding of how law relates to culture. Required in-class writing and discussion exercises will reinforce content and skills mastery, and a final exam will be administered.
Instructor: Andrew J. Kerr
Transnational Legal Skills Workshop
This is an intensive, problem based course that explores the role of law in a global context. The problem is one that involves both U.S. and non-U.S. law and forces students to examine how to be effective as lawyers in a dispute that crosses borders. Students will be broken into teams to represent "clients" and to participate in a mock negotiation, arbitration, or court hearing.
Instructor: Julia Ross and J.D. Legal Writing Faculty
Oral Presentation Skills for International Lawyers
In this course students have a variety of opportunities to develop their oral presentation skills to communicate in English in a professional context. The design of the course covers a range of oral communication skills, from impromptu discussions to well-prepared presentations on law- related topics. Students develop their speaking and active listening skills by discussing key presentation principles, preparing and delivering presentations, and analyzing their and other speakers' presentations to learn techniques they can use. Based on feedback and input, students develop and refine their own speaking style throughout the semester.
Instructor: Jean-Baptiste M. Pessey
Introduction to Scholarly Writing
This course introduces students to scholarly legal writing, focusing on the writing process and the expectations of the audience in the legal discourse community. Students will be introduced to legal research techniques for selecting a topic and thesis for a scholarly paper and will engage in all steps of the writing process. In addition to regular class meetings to discuss research strategies, outlining techniques, organization tools, use of footnotes for authority and attribution, and audience expectations, students will meet regularly with the professor in one-on-one conferences to discuss the progress of their papers and will receive feedback from the professor at each stage of the writing process. Students will be required to research and write an original scholarly paper of at least 10-15 pages in length and to engage in multiple revisions of the paper.
Instructor: Craig Hoffman