Summer Institute on Law, Language, & Culture

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The 2024 SILLC will take place from Wednesday, July 17 to Friday, August 9.

The Institute is a preparatory course for foreign students, attorneys, and scholars seeking an introduction to U.S. law and legal education. It is especially useful for those who wish to prepare for attending law school in the United States in Master of Laws (LLM) programs. The Institute’s three-week intensive course introduces students to common law doctrines, U.S. legal writing, legal English, the U.S. legal system, and the U.S. law school experience.

While the majority of Institute students matriculate in the Duke Law or another LLM program, the program also welcomes law students and attorneys who want to improve their legal English while receiving an introduction to the U.S. legal system but who do not intend to immediately, if ever, enroll in an LLM program.

Xiaoyu (Claire) Zhang

"SILLC was a great start for my Duke Law journey. You are able to gain a basic understanding of the U.S. legal system and train your writing and oral advocacy skills through daily small group seminars, Duke Law professor lectures, and group projects such as a mock trial. It is also a great time to explore Durham and form friendships with your classmates, such as going hiking in Eno River Park or watching baseball together. The friends that I made in the SILLC program became my best friends during my LLM year and still are now!"

Xiaoyu (Claire) Zhang, China

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

Institute students will be introduced to common law analysis and legal writing. Through both lectures and practice, students will learn important skills such as briefing a case, structuring a legal argument, and learning how to use proper citation. Because of its small size, the Institute provides an excellent opportunity for students to get to know each other well, to create lifelong friendships, and to expand their professional network.

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 Institute on Law, Language, and Culture is designed to be just that introduction.

Carol Simões da Silva

"This past summer I had the amazing opportunity of attending the SILLC Program at Duke University School of Law. This was by far one of the best opportunities I ever had. I learned from great professors about common law, U.S. legal writing, and the U.S. legal system as a whole.  A big thanks to the Duke Law Community for all the support they offered me and my roommates since the day we applied for the program!”

Carol Simões da Silva, Brazil
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For more information, please contact:

Ms. Isik Cotten
Summer Institute on Law, Language, & Culture
Duke University School of Law
Box 90365
Durham, NC 27708-0365 USA
Telephone: 919.613.7130
Fax: 919.681.6550


Click here to view the recording of the SILLC Information Session held on April 18, 2024.


Call to Action Content

The 2024 SILLC application deadline is Wednesday, May 1.