ENGLISH FOR LAW
The English for Law course provides preparation for LL.M. and J.D. degree programs offered at Valparaiso University School of Law (VUSL) and other law schools. The main objective of the nine-week course is to build participants' legal vocabulary, classroom discussion skills, and presentation capabilities.
Specifically, the course focuses on developing these skills:
· Using legal terminology with ease and accuracy, both orally and in writing
· Participating with confidence and fluency in class discussions
· Listening effectively to speakers and audio-visual presentations
· Comprehending and summarizing texts related to legal matters
· Expressing ideas clearly and concisely in writing
· Using legal dictionaries efficiently
· Becoming familiar with library and Internet resources
· Utilizing reading and time management strategies
· Understanding the basics of the American legal system
Typically, the course meets every weekday morning for two hours. Additional opportunities include visits to law offices of professionals in the area and to the county court house to view the workings of the local legal system. Students attend trials at the court house -- usually one criminal and one civil -- and have the opportunity to interact with the judges and attorneys.
Housing is in university residence halls, double occupancy. Options for meals include restaurants within walking distance, the university cafeteria, and cooking one's own meals in the residence hall kitchen facilities.
All participants are issued a Valparaiso University student identification card enabling them to use 24-hour computer labs, sports and recreational facilities, the student union, and the library. All students have Valparaiso University computer and e-mail accounts. Participants are expected to have advanced proficiency in English (the equivalent of 80/550 on the TOEFL).
What a VU School of Law Professor Says
Since its creation in 1998, the English for Law course has provided outstanding advanced English instruction and academic preparation for international students who plan to pursue either the LL.M. or J.D. degree. By providing international students with advanced English instruction tailored to meet the needs of a law student, students are better prepared for the rigors of law school. In addition, they attend law courses, read cases, and learn how to prepare for the demands of an American law school. This academic preparation has been extremely valuable for numerous students because of the differences between the study of law in the United States and their own country. The students who have completed the course have gone on to achieve great success in law school. I highly recommend the course to any international student seeking success in an American law school.
Mark L. Adams, Professor of Law and Director of LLM Program and International Programs, Valparaiso University School of Law
What Our Graduates Say
If you are a lawyer and you need to learn more about the American legal system, then INTERLINK is the right place for you. This center and this class provide a rare opportunity to learn not just English, but also legal terminology. This class will give you a unique opportunity to visit a real court trial in the U.S. So don't wait!
I learned a lot from this program; it was very useful. Now I know the legal system in the U.S. and law vocabulary. I am not worried about the next stage -- Law School.
Ali, Saudi Arabia
I am so glad to share with you my experience in the English for Law class in which I participated last summer at the INTERLINK Language Center. It is not only an English class, but it is more.
The English for Law program is totally different from any other English class. We took it seriously and I was enormously impressed with its quality. I have a number of reasons to say that. First of all, it was a small class, so every student had an opportunity to participate in every activity of the class regularly. In addition, the teacher would encourage everyone to speak and share his/her opinion with classmates. That is one of the most important things for studying in law school: we need to both learn and share our opinions with the class, not just sitting and keeping quiet. Second, the materials in this class helped me a lot when I attended real classes in law school. They gave me a broad idea about the concept of laws and basic jargon -- especially for the students who come from a country the legal system of which is different from that of the US. It is widely known that studying law is similar to studying a new language, so this class helped me overcome the hard time at the beginning of my life in the law school.
Third, my English skill improved a lot by the end of the class because I was assigned to read so much per day, not only textbooks, but also legal novels and journals. Besides, we sometimes had to present what we had read to class. Those made me feel more comfortable in my actual law classes. Finally, the teacher was so active, and prepared well before class. She understood all materials thoroughly, so she could answer all my questions as clearly as an English teacher. Her capacity encouraged me in my studies because I would feel ashamed in being lazy.
I hope my experience will be helpful to you.
In 1998, I participated in the English for Law class at INTERLINK to prepare for my LL.M. study at VUSL. During the course, I not only learned legal jargon, cases, and the skills for law school exams, but also had an opportunity to take part in American court. Thanks to the knowledge that I obtained in the class, I could easily be accustomed to the law school atmosphere. Actually, at the beginning of the first semester, I had more knowledge about American law than the first-year American students because we dealt with various laws briefly in English for Law. Accordingly, it made me confident about studying in an American law school so that I could successfully pass the first semester.
Jun, South Korea
To study abroad itself is very difficult. To also study another legal system which may be totally different from your own must be worse. I found that INTERLINK helped me to get through all of these barriers. The program helped me to prepare and to understand the American legal system. Thanks to INTERLINK, I also became familiar with the Socratic Method.