Summer Institute on Law, Language, & Culture

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The next session of SILLC will take place July 20 - August 12, 2020.

The Summer Institute on Law, Language, and Culture is a preparatory course for foreign students and scholars adapting to law school in the United States. The four-week intensive course will introduce students to common law doctrines, legal writing, legal English, the U.S. legal system, and the law school experience.

Though the program is normally held in-person at Duke Law School, the 2020 SILLC program will be offered through remote learning. Using technology, the course will include small-group class interactions and will have an intensive focus on U.S. law and legal education.

Duke Law faculty, along with North Carolina lawyers and judges, will offer lectures with opportunities for questions and answers. The SILLC faculty, plus teaching assistants who are advanced Duke Law JD and SJD students, will conduct class exercises in negotiating and drafting legal documents, and students will break into small discussion groups debating current topics in U.S. law and legal culture. 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 experience.

While the majority of SILLC students then matriculate in the Duke Law or another LLM program, SILLC students can also include 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.



SILLC is the best way to arrive at Duke Law School. It was the perfect combination of an introduction to the American legal system, developing language skills, field trips, sharing with Law School professors, and forming friendship with other international students. I enjoyed the course and valued the unique opportunity to live the complete Duke experience  from the very first day.

Rodrigo Zegers '15 (Chile)
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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 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.

SILLC 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 the size, SILLC provides an excellent opportunity for students to get know each other well and creates many lifelong friendships, as well as a 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 Summer Institute on Law, Language, and Culture is designed to be just that introduction.

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The SILLC application deadline has been extended to June 1, 2020.


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