Institute on Law, Language, & Culture

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Duke Law School is pleased to announce a virtual “winter” version of its Institute on Law, Language, & Culture, which traditionally takes place over the summer. This special version of the program will take place from November 30 to December 18, 2020.

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.


The Institute 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)

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.

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The application deadline is November 1, 2020.


For more information, please contact:

Ms. Isik Cotten
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