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English For Legal Studies

About the Program

This six-week intensive experience is specifically tailored for students who have been accepted into a competitive U.S. JD or LLM program. In ELS you will learn and practice the legal English and academic skills you need to succeed in a rigorous law school program. You will also learn about the American legal system and U.S. law school culture and gain a wider understanding of the U.S. university system, including professors’ expectations and student responsibilities. Your learning will continue outside the classroom through unique community-based learning opportunities which offer unique insights into U.S. culture and provide you with practice communicating with a diverse range of Americans. You will also make friends and get to know the Ann Arbor area.

What Will I Learn?

You will become more confident using English in academic and legal contexts. Specifically, you will:

  • Improve your spoken and written English
  • Recognize the language of legal writing and case readings
  • Become familiar with legal text types
  • Write more effective legal summaries
  • Use various written organizational patterns
  • Become familiar with language and content typical in an LLM or JD program
  • Learn to read a large volume of legal texts more efficiently
  • Develop strategies to establish yourself as a member of the legal discourse community
  • Become more familiar with the U.S. law school environment
  • Gain an understanding of the U.S. legal system
  • Make friends and begin to build social and professional networks
  • Communicate with local community residents

Program Structure

ELS is an intensive six-week language and culture program. Its specialized legal English curriculum has been developed by ELI faculty and legal scholars to meet the needs of students preparing for study at top U.S. law schools.

ELS includes the following course components:

  • Writing for the Law
  • Legal Case Reading
  • Law Lecture Comprehension and Notetaking
  • Legal Research Writing
  • Interactive Speaking*
  • Community-Based Language and Culture Practicum*

*Interactive Speaking and Community-Based Language and Culture Practicum meet with the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) Summer Program.

IMPORTANT NOTE ON ATTENDANCE: Attendance at all class sessions, active participation in all classroom activities, and the completion of homework assignments is mandatory for all students. Late arrivals and early departures from the program are not permitted. Any exceptions must be approved IN ADVANCE by the ELI Director and the appropriate U-M Admissions office.

Who Provides the Instruction

Instruction in the ELS program is provided by members of the English Language Institute’s distinguished faculty as well as practicing lawyers and other outstanding instructors from U-M and other institutions. All have advanced credentials and extensive experience teaching Legal English or English for Academic Purposes.

Language and Culture Beyond the Classroom: Engaging with the Community

The ELS program is committed to helping participants expand their use of English outside the classroom in a full range of professional and social settings so that they can fully participate in the life of a U.S. university. The centerpiece of these efforts is a groundbreaking Community-Based Language and Culture Practicum in which students practice English and learn about US culture through placements in local community organizations. A variety of social events are included in the summer schedule.

Preparing for Law School

The ELS program prepares you to hit the ground running in the competitive environment of a JD or LLM program. You will receive rigorous training in communicative speaking skills, academic legal writing, legal research writing, and dealing with the large volume of reading demanded in these programs. You will also learn about the University of Michigan and Ann Arbor, begin to build an academic and professional network, and start practicing the study skills you need to get the most out of the law school experience. You will also learn about U.S. culture and how to communicate with a diverse range of Americans through innovative community-engaged learning activities.