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Getting a Foundation in U.S. Law

Friday, Jul 28, 2017

Students from around the globe join USC Gould for legal education this summer

By Anne Bergman

They come from 21 countries and speak myriad languages, but the international students who joined USC Gould’s 14th annual Summer Law & English program all share a common goal: to learn the foundational principles of the U.S. legal system and enhance their legal English skills.

Michelle Bell, academic director of the USC International Academy, and Prof. Anitha Cadambi, associate director of Gould's Graduate Instruction and Curriculum, welcomed the SLE students.

SLE is designed primarily for students who have already earned or will soon earn their first law degree (LL.B. or equivalent) outside of the U.S., and includes a range of students from recent undergraduates to accomplished attorneys, government officials, and other lawyers in corporations and private practice.

The four-week program has seen a steady increase in enrollment, welcoming 164 students this year, with 117 set to continue onto Gould’s LLM Program (1-Year, 2-Year and online formats) in the fall. The remaining students will either return to work in their home countries, continue their undergraduate law degree programs, or will attend another LLM program this fall.

“This is a special program for many reasons,” Professor Anitha Cadambi (LLM 2011) said during her welcome address to the incoming SLE students. “For those planning to go onto an LLM program, the exposure and insight you will get about the U.S. legal system over the next four weeks will help prepare you for your LLM.”

Cadambi has firsthand experience of the SLE, as seven years ago she was enrolled in the program before she earned her LLM at Gould. Now serving as Gould’s associate director of Graduate Instruction and Curriculum, Cadambi helped to shape the SLE curriculum “to provide students with a comprehensive overview of the U.S. legal system as well as to help students improve their English language skills,” she said.  “We hand-select the topics to satisfy all areas of

SLE students celebrating good times at the Hollywood Bowl.

interest whether it be in learning about the foundations of the U.S. legal system, constitutional law, civil and criminal procedure, corporate law, international trade, or entertainment law.  The faculty you will meet are prominent business and legal professionals who are here to help you understand the theoretical and practical aspects of their areas of expertise.”

In addition, SLE students receive customized ESL instruction from the USC International Academy.

Anastasia Vesterberg, who is from Sweden, said that the SLE program helped her get ready for the LLM program, which she will begin at Gould this fall semester. “My legal vocabulary has expanded,” she said. “I have a better understanding of how to comprehend and use the legal material in America. But most of all I feel mentally prepared for what is to come in the LLM program.”

In addition to the curriculum, SLE students attended the ADR Symposium held at Gould, toured the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center and took in iconic sights, such as the Santa Monica Pier, the Getty Center and the Hollywood Bowl.

Yet, “the best part of the program,” according to Versterberg, were the “in-depth discussions about the legal and political climate in other countries, like China and India, to mention a few. At those points when I was interacting with my classmates, I truly felt privileged to attend this program.”

Find out more about joining Gould’s SLE program: http://gould.usc.edu/academics/other/sle/

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