Legal English Courses

General legal English

 This course is offered at intermediate and advanced levels and is designed for students who want to learn or improve their legal English skills. It focuses on general legal vocabulary related to the US legal system and law, legal profession, and the skills lawyers need in their daily working lives. Topics include key terminology and concepts covering contract law, real and intellectual property, employment law, criminal law, civil and criminal procedure, evidence, attorneys’ responsibilities as advocates in and out of the courtroom, and other issues. Students work with authentic texts, podcasts, and materials used by lawyers in the course of their practice.


 This course is designedto help students prepare for the International Legal English Certificate (ILEC) Exam. Classes cover all language skills: reading, listening, speaking and writing with emphasis on speaking. Legal English focuses on topics commonly tested in the ILEC exam, including: legal practice, contracts, real property, intellectual property, employment law, incorporation, and others. Students learn legal concepts and terminology; to participate in conversations and interviews involving legal topics; and to write clear, well-structured legal letters and memoranda. 

Legal English for LLM

This course is designed for students interested in an LLM program at a US law school. It provides an introduction to US law and legal systems. Students develop language skills, legal knowledge and confidence necessary to be successful in an American law school. The class helps bridge the gap between students’ understanding of their home country’s legal system and unique aspects of the US legal system. Topics include: overview of the judicial system (United States Supreme Court, federal and state courts); sources of law (primary and secondary authority); case analysis and briefing, introduction to legal research and writing; legal education and law school admission process; Bar examination and admission process; introduction to professional ethics and first-year required courses such as contracts, property, constitutional law, civil procedure,criminal law and procedure.

Civil Procedure

A study of civil litigation in the federal system. Legal English focuses on language related to civil procedure. The course explores requirements of due process as a limitation upon the personal jurisdiction that courts may exercise over defendants and on the subject matter jurisdiction of the federal courts. It also addresses pleadings, challenges and amendments to pleadings, pretrial discovery, adjudication without trial, and other procedural issues. The class includes overview of civil trial, including jury selection, pre-trial and post-trial procedures.

Constitutional Law

This course provides an introduction to the fundamental law of the United States as set forth in its Constitution. Legal English focuses on language related to constitutional law. It addresses Supreme Court review, separation of powers, federalism, and protection of individual rights under the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses. Specific topics include constitutional protection of speech and religion under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the Commerce Clause, race and sex discrimination, search and seizure, abortion and the right to privacy.


A study of issues of contract formation, interpretation, breach, defenses, and remedies. Legal English focuses on language related to contracts. The course includes contract doctrines such as “offer and acceptance” and various defenses to contractual obligation such as: incapacity, undue influence and duress, misrepresentation, mistake, impossibility, and frustration. Contract remedies including monetary damages, specific performance, and rescission are also explored. Among the other issues that may be studied are the parol evidence rule, the statute of frauds, and rights of third-party beneficiaries.

Criminal Law and procedure

A study of the general principles of criminal liability, including justification and excuse. Legal English focuses on language related to criminal law and procedure. The course examines constitutional limits on police investigation, such as illegal search and seizure, interrogation as well as the circumstances under which indigent defendants are guaranteed the assistance of counsel. It explores, among others, concept of presumption of innocence and proof beyond reasonable doubt. The class includes an overview of criminal trial, including jury selection, pre-trial and post-trial procedures. Certain specific crimes, such as murder or theft, are also presented.


A study of the rules of evidence and the reasons underlying these rules, with emphasis on the U.S. Federal Rules of Evidence. Legal English focuses on language related to evidence. Among the topics included are: types of evidence, relevance, competency and examination of witnesses, including impeachment, the hearsay rule and its exceptions, privileges, experts, and other issues. The course is designed for students interested in litigation and trial. The hands-on approach will provide students both with knowledge and application of the rules of evidence.

Employment Law and Discrimination

This course provides an introduction to employment law and federal law concerning discrimination in employment based on race, sex, religion, national origin, age, and disability. Legal English focuses on language related to employment law and discrimination. Topics covered also include: employment “at will”, employee-employer relationship, whistleblowing, wrongful discharge, harassment and affirmative action.

Family Law

A study of the legal problems involved in the formation, continuation and dissolution of marriage. Legal English focuses on language related to family law. Among the topics that may be discussed are: marriage requirements, marital rights and responsibilities, divorce, property distribution, domestic partnership, parental rights and child custody, reproductive rights, same-sex marriage.

Professional Responsibility

This course is designed to prepare students to understand ethical issues in the practice of law. Legal English focuses on, but is not limited to, language related to problems related to lawyer ethics and professional responsibility. Topics investigated include: admission to the Bar, conflicts of interest, confidentiality, lawyers’ responsibilities as advocates in and out of the courtroom, special problems facing prosecution and criminal defense lawyers, advertising, solicitation and others.

Real and Intellectual Property

An introduction to the law of property. Legal English focuses on language related to real and intellectual property. Topics include: methods of acquiring ownership; conveyances and deeds, conveyance by will, gifts, present and future interests; landlord and tenant law; types of tenancies, community (marital) property, servitudes, easements and covenants, eminent domain, patents, trademarks and copyrights.


An introduction to the basic principles of liability for harm caused to the person or property of others. Legal English focuses on language related to torts. The basic topics include the general elements of torts, such as: legal injury, tortious conduct, actual and proximate causation, types of tortious conduct (intentional negligence, etc.), privileges and defenses that can be raised by the defendant (e.g. defense of self or others, contributory negligence, and consent or assumption of risk), strict liability, nuisance, vicarious liability as well as the underlying principles or policies justifying and limiting liability. Additionally, the class involves an overview of intangible or economic injuries: defamation, the right of privacy, interference with contractual relations, interference with prospective advantage, injurious falsehood, malicious prosecution, and others.

Trial Advocacy

This course provides an introduction to litigation: issues related to trial preparation, strategy, and conduct in a courtroom setting. Legal English focuses on language related to trial advocacy. It involves an overview of a jury trial, including discovery and other pre-trial procedures, jury selection, trial, sentencing and other post-trial procedures. It explores role of juries and judges as decision-makers. Topics include: U.S. constitutional rights to a civil and criminal jury trial, voir dire, peremptory challenges, instructions and jury deliberation.


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