Summer Institute on Law, Language, & Culture

Main Content

The 2021 SILLC program will take place from July 19 to August 11. We are planning for an in-person program on the Duke Law campus with a virtual attendance option for those who are not able to participate in person. Regardless of the mode of instruction, we will offer a dynamic, engaging program designed to challenge and support each of our students.

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.

Information for Summer 2021

Students attending the program in-person should be prepared for mask-wearing, ongoing COVID-19 testing, and some controls on access to the Law School building. While we plan to welcome participants to campus for this summer’s program, we are aware that conditions and restrictions could change because of COVID-19. We are prepared to deliver the 2021 SILLC program fully online if necessary due to any changes in applicable University, state, and local rules and regulations. 

Xiaoyu (Claire) Zhang, China

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.

Apply now
Call to Action Content

The application deadline is May 1, 2021.


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