Center for Law, Language & Cognition

Legal Language Institute

Essential Skills in a Globalized World
Brooklyn Law School’s new Legal Language Institute was established in recognition that the globalized legal community conducts business in many languages and requires an understanding of different legal cultures. The Institute’s educational programs will present opportunities for lawyers and students from abroad to sharpen their mastery of the language of American legal discourse. It will also give students the opportunity to study the legal culture and language of other countries.

The Institute will launch its educational activities with an intensive Legal English program, to be offered each July (see below). In the near future, the Institute will expand its activities to include courses for U.S. and foreign lawyers in the legal terminology and concepts of other legal languages, including German, Spanish, French, Russian, and Chinese. These courses will be open to BLS students and to members of the legal and business communities who are interested in honing their skills in the language and law of other legal cultures.

The Institute – part of the renowned Center for Law, Language and Cognition – will also hold conferences in partnership with language and law centers from abroad, establishing it as a world leader in addressing multilingual legal issues. 

July Intensive Legal English Program
Responding to the educational needs and demands of the many applicants to LL.M. Programs for Foreign-Trained Lawyers who are interested in studying law in the United States, Brooklyn Law School introduces two summer courses in legal English. Even those students with very high TOEFL scores would benefit from a dedicated immersion in legal English prior to the start of their U.S. law degree program. This intensive training in language – either in the one-week course or the three-week course – will give students an advantage in their U.S. legal studies.

Although we anticipate that most students will be foreign-trained lawyers enrolled in U.S. LL.M. programs that will begin in August, both courses are open to students and practitioners with adequate proficiency in English who want to improve their skills in legal English.

Program Dates
Three-Week Session:
Course info coming soon...

One-Week Session:
Course info coming soon...

  • Admission to the one-week or three-week intensive legal language course is granted on a first-come, first-served basis.

    Applicant Requirements:

    1. Must be at least 18 years old.
    2. Must be a current law student or law graduate.
    3. Must be able to read and correctly pronounce basic words in English.

    Stay tuned for more application information when new courses become available.

  • All applicants interested in the one-week or three-week course should have sufficient funds to pay the program tuition and all living expenses. Tuition is $3,050 for the three-week course, and $1,250 for the one-week course.

    In determining your living expenses for either the one-week or three-week course, you should consider all costs that you will incur related to housing, food, and transportation.

    When you complete the online application you must also submit a deposit of $250. Of this amount, $50 is a non-refundable application fee. The remaining $200 will be credited towards your tuition total. If the program is full or you are not able to get a visa (if one is required), the $200 will be refunded.

    The remaining tuition will be due June 20, 2015.

  • Participants will set individual goals at the beginning of the course and will be provided with an assessment of their progress at the conclusion. The primary subject areas are:

    • listening and speaking: telephone, negotiation, meeting and interview skills; client communication; formal and informal presentations;
    • legal writing: contract drafting; letters; legal summaries; predictive and persuasive writing; and,
    • reading skills and analysis: contract and statutory interpretation; legal vocabulary; the U.S. legal system; and areas of law.

    For participants with limited time, a one-week intensive version of the course will be offered. The content will focus on the same areas as noted above.

    Professor Kenneth Raphael, who holds B.A., M.A., and J.D. degrees, will be the lead instructor. A BLS alumnus, Professor Raphael served as in-house counsel with several U.S.-based Fortune 500 companies before relocating in 2002 to Geneva, Switzerland, where he served as a professor with the International University in Geneva and the Moscow State University Faculty of Law. In Geneva he taught academic writing and Legal and Business English until 2013. Since moving back to New York he has been teaching at Columbia University’s American Language Program. He also teaches ESL courses at the Pace University English Language Institute and is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Legal Writing with Brooklyn Law School. Professor Raphael has spoken about Legal English and legal matters at numerous seminars.

View video of the Symposium: The Impact of Cognitive Bias on Persuasion and Writing Strategies.

Have questions? We have answers.

Julie Sculli 
Director of International Programs
250 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Telephone: (718) 780-0626

“Brooklyn 2-3-4”

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