PUBLISHED:July 20, 2011

Duke's Summer Institute on Law, Language and Culture underway

Duke Law welcomed a contingent of internationally trained lawyers, judges, and legal scholars to its Summer Institute on Law, Language, and Culture (SILLC) on July 18. At 28 members, the class is the largest the six-year-old program has enrolled. Twenty-two SILLC students are preparing to pursue LLM degrees at Duke while two will be visiting scholars in the coming academic year, and four will join the inaugural LLM class at the University of North Carolina School of Law.

The students — 13 women and 15 men — represent 11 countries and three continents. Nine hail from Japan, six from China, and three from South Korea; two are from Chile and two from Russia; and Brazil, Peru, Israel, Slovakia, Taiwan, and France are each represented by a student. While most are practicing lawyers in their home countries, the class also includes judges, prosecutors, journalists, and academics.

The intensive four-week long SILLC curriculum introduces students to legal English, the American legal system, and the law school experience through small-group class sessions, encounters with lawyers, judges, and teachers, visits to courtrooms and law firms, and interaction with popular media. Directed by Hans Linnartz ’80 and co-taught by Rima Idzelis, who teach Immigration Law and Legal Analysis, Research and Writing (LARW), respectively, during the academic year, the program is designed to develop students’ verbal and written English proficiency and confidence, while introducing them to the case-study and dialogical methods of teaching law that they will encounter in their LLM studies.

Daily SILLC assignments include locating and summarizing news stories that highlight legal issues and presenting them in class, as well as substantive work on oral assignments, such as briefing cases, so that students better understand the characteristics of legal research and writing they will be called upon to produce during their LLM studies, in advance of their LARW class that is part of the LLM curriculum.

SILLC class work is balanced with lunchtime meetings with Duke Law faculty, and field trips to law firms and courtrooms; 2011 students will travel to Raleigh to visit the North Carolina Supreme Court, and the courtroom of Judge James C. Dever III ’87 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, and various law firms, including Smith Anderson. Planned social events include a Durham Bulls baseball game, a pizza party, and a class potluck. Members of the Duke Law community who would like to connect with the class can contact Linnartz and Idzelis.

The SILLC is one of three Duke Law summer institutes currently in session. The Duke-Geneva Institute in Transnational Law and Asia-America Institute in Transnational Law got underway in Geneva and Hong Kong, respectively, on July 3.