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 1086 Followers 547 Discussions
Washington, District of Columbia 943 Followers 899 Discussions
Champaign, Illinois 40 Followers 68 Discussions
Chicago, Illinois 429 Followers 486 Discussions
Boston, Massachusetts 316 Followers 336 Discussions
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 743 Followers 464 Discussions
Nashville, Tennessee 139 Followers 138 Discussions
Los Angeles, California 301 Followers 219 Discussions
Ithaca, New York 444 Followers 304 Discussions
Washington, District of Columbia 333 Followers 318 Discussions
Leiden, Netherlands 526 Followers 456 Discussions
Davis, California 76 Followers 54 Discussions
Santa Clara, California 23 Followers 25 Discussions
New Haven, Connecticut 286 Followers 361 Discussions
Cambridge, United Kingdom 668 Followers 701 Discussions
London, United Kingdom 689 Followers 878 Discussions
Oxford, United Kingdom 732 Followers 780 Discussions
Munich, Germany 73 Followers 53 Discussions
Amsterdam, Netherlands 297 Followers 153 Discussions
New York City, New York 1231 Followers 975 Discussions

LLM News

USC Announces LL.M. in Privacy Law and Cybersecurity

Oct 21, 2019

More LLM News

More LLM Articles

How an LL.M. Can Help you Pass US Bar Exams

Oct 18, 2019

Some law schools offer support for overseas lawyers who want to practice in America, but bar exam requirements and pass rates vary wildly between states

An LL.M. in New York City: Why the Big Apple is a Great Place to Study Law

Oct 11, 2019

From the myriad top law schools to the ability to mingle with some of the countries’ most influential lawyers, New York offers it all

LL.M. Applications: What to do When You’ve Been Waitlisted

Sep 09, 2019

“Waitlisting” candidates is a growing trend, but there are many concrete steps that an applicant can take to improve their chances of admission to a top LL.M. course

More Articles

Related Top 10 Lists

More Top 10 Lists