Summer Law Programs

Use the summer to prepare for your LL.M., improve your legal English, or broaden your expertise in a new field of law

[Update January 2018: Read the new article, Summer Law Programs for Incoming LL.M. Students]

An increasing number of law schools in the United States and Europe now offer specialized summer law courses for lawyers interested in broadening their expertise and improving their language skills. Though many such programs are designed to prepare lawyers for their LL.M., some courses also appeal to students who are not ready or interested in taking an entire year off to study.

One of the most common summer courses available are introductory courses in US law for foreign lawyers, many of who plan on taking a full-time LL.M. course in the United States. Some courses – such as those offered at the University of Southern California (USC), Penn, Vanderbilt, Illinois and Northwestern – utilize the generally relaxed summer months to teach introductory US law and improve the English skills of foreign lawyers and pre-LL.M. students. Such courses also provide a useful introduction to how US law schools operate.

"Our summer law classes are taught by our law school professors, so this gives students the opportunity to get used to American law school classes and they also get a sense of what can be expected for their Master's program," says Misa Shimotsu, who directs the Summer Law and English program at the USC Gould School of Law.

"It also benefits those who do not continue their legal studies in the United States as they are able to build a foundation of the American legal system and get a ‘snapshot’ experience of an American law school,” adds Shimotsu.

Summer programs are also available in the United Kingdom and Europe. Two US law schools – Boston University and Georgetown – host introductory courses in US law in London each summer. Another course is the Columbia Summer Program, a longstanding partnership between Columbia University, Leiden University and Amsterdam University that hosts month-long introduction to US law in the Netherlands each year. The Summer School of English Legal Methods at Cambridge University has similar aims, but is catered to students planning to study or practice in the United Kingdom.

There are also a number of programs for students who want to go deeper into a particular field of law, such as the International Commercial Law LL.M. program at UC Davis. Many law school summer programs also give US lawyers and law students the chance to study abroad. The International Human Rights Law program, presented jointly by Oxford and George Washington University, is one such program. Other specialized summer courses abroad include Cornell’s Paris Summer Institute, the Summer Course in EU Law at King’s College London, and the GWU and Santa Clara Intellectual Property Law summer courses in Munich.

Naturally, many prospective students may question the value of taking a few months out of their busy lives to participate in a summer program, not to mention the tuition and travel expenses. This is particularly true for students who are not taking the summer courses as preparation for their full-time LL.M. course. Apart from deepening knowledge, improving one’s legal English, or learning more about US law, are there any other concrete benefits from taking a summer course?

For incoming LL.M. students, an extra month or two to adapt to the cultural and social life at a law school is usually welcome. And for those considering their career, summer courses can send a positive message. While it may not single-handedly land you the dream job when you return home, summer courses can show prospective employers or admissions boards a motivation to study abroad, branch out and acquire new skills and expertise.

"“I believe that any supplemental program, English or otherwise, is beneficial to one's resume,"” says Shimotsu. “Enrolling in any programs which prepare students for their master’s level courses shows initiative and ambition.”


Image: "Agadir Beach Sunset (Summer time)" by Hatim.laajini / Creative Commons (cropped)

Comments


Related Law Schools

Berkeley, California 1111 Followers 548 Discussions
Washington, District of Columbia 968 Followers 904 Discussions
Champaign, Illinois 41 Followers 68 Discussions
Chicago, Illinois 453 Followers 488 Discussions
Boston, Massachusetts 321 Followers 337 Discussions
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 760 Followers 466 Discussions
Nashville, Tennessee 141 Followers 138 Discussions
Los Angeles, California 307 Followers 221 Discussions
Ithaca, New York 461 Followers 307 Discussions
Washington, District of Columbia 338 Followers 318 Discussions
Leiden, Netherlands 531 Followers 461 Discussions
Davis, California 79 Followers 54 Discussions
Santa Clara, California 23 Followers 25 Discussions
New Haven, Connecticut 299 Followers 364 Discussions
Cambridge, United Kingdom 686 Followers 709 Discussions
London, United Kingdom 697 Followers 884 Discussions
Oxford, United Kingdom 741 Followers 790 Discussions
Munich, Germany 73 Followers 53 Discussions
Amsterdam, Netherlands 302 Followers 156 Discussions
New York City, New York 1272 Followers 979 Discussions

LLM News

Queen's University of Belfast Launches an LL.M. in Law and Technology

Jan 09, 2020

More LLM News

More LLM Articles

Inside out: How to Become a Legal Intrapreneur

Jan 22, 2020

Law firms no longer just care about who bills the most hours: they want people who can provide new lucrative opportunities for the firm

Post-LL.M. Careers in Big Law: Jones Day

Jan 14, 2020

Although an LL.M. is not required to work at Jones Day, one can come in handy. Here are some tips for how to leverage your LL.M. to land a job at the firm.

The Growing Importance of Geopolitics in LL.M.s

Dec 19, 2019

Law schools have responded to messy, global challenges like Brexit and the US-China trade war by giving geopolitics much more prominence on the syllabus

More Articles

Related Top 10 Lists

More Top 10 Lists