Summer Institute on Law, Language, & Culture

Dates: July 20 - August 12, 2015

A preparatory course for foreign students and scholars adapting to U.S. law school

Even for native speakers of English, U.S. law school can feel like a foreign world, with its own culture, language, and rules. A good introduction to this world is especially important for students or scholars who are not native English speakers. The Summer Institute on Law, Language, and Culture is designed to be just that introduction.

"SILLC gives you a great opportunity to make close friendships and to understand the basic concepts of U.S. law, culture and is a good chance to prepare yourself for the LL.M. program."

— Gulfer Ozsahin LLM '08 (Turkey)

Course Description

SILLC is a four-week intensive course that will introduce students to legal English, the U.S. legal system, and the law school experience. Through small-group class interaction, encounters with lawyers, judges, and teachers, visits to courtrooms and law firms, and interaction with popular media, students will learn to read and produce good legal writing, to study and understand U.S. law, and to make the best possible use of their U.S. law school experiences.

The study of law is a language-intensive task. SILLC is very specifically designed to increase proficiency in reading and hearing English, to develop confidence and skill in speaking and writing, and to facilitate personal adjustment to the culture of U.S. legal education. Small class size and individual attention from the instructor will give students a concentrated and tailored teaching experience.

Justice Newby
SILLC '09 students in the N.C. Supreme Court building with Justice Paul Newby

The Institute begins with an assessment of each participant’s abilities in spoken and written English. Students then work with the Institute faculty to develop a priority list of skills and subjects to work on during the four week program. The course combines classroom learning with experiential and tutorial methods to maximize each individual’s growth.

Participants spend an average of four hours of class time each day in lectures, tutorials, class discussions, field trips or media experiences. Preparation of research and writing assignments usually occupies another four hours each day.

SILLC students will work on developing the skills that will make their law school experience valuable, such as briefing cases and doing legal research and some introductory legal writing. Students will also visit courtrooms, interview lawyers and judges, and experience U.S. law school culture.


Professor Hans Christian LinnartzThe course director and instructor is Hans Christian Linnartz, who teaches immigration law at Duke and is a consultant in immigration law. Prof. Linnartz is licensed to practice in North Carolina and several federal district and appellate courts. He has lived in Indonesia and the Philippines and is fluent in bahasa Indonesia.

Stephanie Schantz portraitAlso teaching in SILLC for 2014 is Stephanie Schantz, an American lawyer specializing in legal English training for non-native English speaking lawyers. She obtained her J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School and worked as an attorney in San Francisco, California. She launched Legal Lingua, LLC to provide a solution for non-native English speaking lawyers to perfect their legal English. In addition to Duke Law School, Professor Schantz has lectured at New York University Law School, L'Institut des Etudes Politiques, the University of Paris II and the University of Delaware. Professor Schantz lives in Paris, France and the United States.

Special Note

The Duke Law School International Studies Program encourages enrollment in the Institute for students who need to strengthen their English skills before entering the LLM program. The program has also proven highly effective for visiting international scholars.

"The meetings we had with judges and lawyers from North Carolina were a good opportunity for me to meet very well known people and also to learn from them about American legal culture. In addition to that, the summer in Durham helped me to make friends and to settle down before the LLM."

Nir Friedman LLM '10 (Israel)


SILLC tuition is $3,730 for the four-week course. A non-refundable deposit of $500 will secure your position after admission. The application fee, to accompany the application form, is $175. (The application fee does not apply to tuition, but is strictly for processing the application.)

Personal expenses, including housing, utilities, food, etc., are not included. Students must make their own arrangements for housing.


Group Photo

Students should plan to arrive in Durham before the start of SILLC classes in time to locate housing and settle personal and family needs. After classes start, free time will be very limited.

Ball Game

"The SILLC was a great way for me to improve and have more confidence with my English skills before the LL.M. program started."

Javier Carrizo LLM '08 (Panama)


Applications for 2015 SILLC should be received by April 10, 2015.

To apply, download the brochure (pdf) and complete the application. Send it with the U.S. $175 application fee payable to Duke Law School to:

Suzanne Brown
SILLC, Duke Law School
210 Science Drive
Durham, NC 27708-0365