Institute Overview

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The Institute is designed to prepare students to start their LLM program or other U.S. legal endeavors with the confidence and skills necessary for success.

The program begins with an assessment of each participant’s abilities in spoken and written English. Students then work with Institute faculty to develop a priority list of skills and subjects to work on during the three-week program. The course combines classroom learning with experiential and tutorial methods to maximize each individual’s growth.

The Institute will include an intensive focus on U.S. legal education and legal vocabulary. Students will experience U.S. law school culture through lectures, tutorials, and conversations with Duke Law students and professors.  The Institute will also focus on legal practice skills.  The program faculty, plus teaching assistants who are advanced Duke Law students, will conduct class exercises in such areas as negotiating and drafting legal documents, making an oral argument, and participating in a mock trial, and students will break into small discussion groups to debate current topics in U.S. law and legal culture.  Students will learn to read and produce good legal writing, study and understand U.S. law, and prepare for a successful U.S. law school experience.

Participants spend an average of four hours of class time each day in lectures, tutorials, class discussions, and field trips or other experiences. Preparation of research and writing assignments usually occupies another four hours each day.

In addition to providing students substantive knowledge and legal skills, the Institute encourages student interaction and collegiality. Institute students form a supportive bond with each other that facilitates a smooth start to the Duke LLM program and creation of a continued personal and professional network.


The Institute is a launch pad for international LLMs, especially for people coming to live in the U.S. for the first time. You can learn fundamentals regarding the U.S. legal system, history and culture. In addition, you will make friends with people from around the world. I highly recommend this program for everyone who would like to begin the LLM program with new friends and good preparation.

Shuya Ogawa, Japan

For more information, please contact:

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