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Legal English Institute

Join Fordham Law School’s semester-long Legal English Institute (LEI) in New York City and study the foundations of U.S. law and the U.S. legal system while developing your legal English and lawyering skills. Join our vibrant and diverse community and study in our state-of-the art building in the heart of Manhattan – across the street from Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and a short walk to Central Park and the shops, bars, restaurants, museums, and theaters that make Manhattan the cultural capital of the nation.

The LEI is a fulltime program.

Download the PDF.

Program Options

Participants may enroll in a non-credit option or receive credit to be applied toward the Fordham LLM degree.

Credit Participants:  Students who enroll in the LEI for credit will, after an additional two semesters of fulltime enrollment in the Master of Laws program, receive the LLM in US Law and in an additional area of specialization of their choice.  Learn more about our eight areas of specialization on the LLM website.

Non-Credit Participants:  All participants who successfully complete the program will receive a Certificate of Completion.

Program Schedule

January Start Date:

The spring 2019 LEI will begin in early January and run through the middle of May.

August Start Date:

The fall 2019 LEI will begin in early August and end in late November. 

View Legal English Institute schedules.


Law students and graduates from all countries are welcome to register for this program.   In some circumstances, we may accept students and graduates of non-law programs for the non-credit program.  For an assessment of eligibility, please send an email and resume or CV to

Participants are encouraged to have a TOEFL of 80 or more to benefit from the program.  Those seeking a visa based on documentation provided by Fordham University must prove English-language proficiency either by providing a TOEFL score of 65 or higher or by participating in a brief Skype interview with a Legal English Institute program director. If you would like to have a Skype interview, please contact indicating your general availability in Eastern Standard Time.

Students seeking to enroll in the credit option should meet the requirements for admission to the LLM program.


Non-Credit Participants:

  • January start date:  Registration deadline October 1
  • August start date:  Registration deadline July 13

Credit Participants:

Participants seeking credit should follow the deadlines for the LLM program.

Late Applications:

Late applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, space permitting.


Cost & Payments

Credit option:  Students will pay the posted tuition and fees associated with the fulltime LLM program.

Non-credit option:  Introductory fee of $6,000

The costs listed above do not include accommodation, travel, food, books, insurance, or other expenses.

Click here to make a secure payment for the non-credit option.

Course Descriptions

Introduction to the U.S. Legal System and Law Study (Dundon & Jaeger-Fine, 3 credits)
Introduction to the U.S. Legal System and Study first introduces students to the basics of studying law in the U.S., including tips for reading, outlining, and note taking; case law analysis; approaches to exam taking; and other suggestions for success in U.S. law school.  The second part of the course will introduce participants to the basics of the U.S. legal system, including the constitutional foundations of the U.S. legal system, such as federalism, separation of powers and checks and balances, and supremacy and preemption; the judicial systems; sources of law and especially the defining principles of precedent and stare decisis and the practice of synthesizing case law; and U.S. civil litigation. 

Contract Drafting and Negotiation (Sadi, 2 credits)
This course will walk students through the process of drafting common types of contracts and contract provisions.  Students will get hands-on experience drafting and reviewing contract provisions.  Cultural differences in drafting and negotiating contracts among countries will be explored

Foundations of Private Law (Agolia, 2 credits)
Foundations of Private Law offers a unified approach to contract, property, and tort law – the three fundamental areas of private law with which all attorneys should have familiarity.  This course will be taught using a traditional case law Socratic method.

Fundamental Lawyering Skills (Kaufman, 3 credits)
Fundamental Lawyering Skills provides opportunities for participants to practice their interviewing, client counseling, and negotiating skills.  You will be exposed to the unpredictable and complex world of legal practice through role plays, and you will receive comprehensive guidance and feedback from your classmates and faculty.

Communication Pragmatics for Lawyers (Dundon & Slavens, 2 credits)
Communication Pragmatics for Lawyers will integrate legal and extra-legal content from the other LEI courses into a highly practical, communication-based curriculum.  The objective of this course is to polish student’s speaking, writing, listening, and reading abilities into the kind of multifaceted, communicative skill-set that is expected from attorneys practicing at top-tier law firms, businesses, international organizations, and government agencies.  Students in this class will learn to integrate the content from LEI’s broad legal coursework into their own English-language communicative framework.

Becoming a Lawyer (Jaeger-Fine, 2 credits)
Becoming a Lawyer is a course designed to introduce the concept of the legal professional persona and to help students define and develop their professional persona.  The course will also feature conversations with practicing lawyers from various fields.

Legal English Tutorial (LEI Fellows, 1 credit) 
The Legal English Tutorial will be a forum in which participants enhance their conversational competency on legal topics in an informal setting.  Students will select topics and materials to share with their classmates and will lead a discussion on such topics.  Fellows will facilitate the tutorial and by comment on the work of each student. 

Program Faculty & Directors

Anthony Agolia

Anthony Agolia is the Director of International and Non-J.D. Programs at Fordham University School of Law, where he manages the day-to-day operations of Fordham Law’s LL.M., M.S.L. and S.J.D. programs. He oversees all graduate student advisement and career planning activities and is responsible for administering a full suite of academic enrichment and career service programming for the graduate student population.

Prior to joining Fordham, Mr. Agolia served most recently as College Dean and Chief Academic Officer of Briarcliffe College.  During his time at Briarcliffe, Mr. Agolia taught a wide variety of undergraduate coursework, including Introduction to Law, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Introduction to Criminal Justice, Torts, Corporations, Critical Thinking and Introduction to Philosophy, among many others.  Mr. Agolia oversaw the development of the College's Bachelor's degree in Legal Studies, which launched in 2013.

Mr. Agolia graduated from the Honors Program at James Madison University with a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy, and earned a J.D. from Benjamin Cardozo School of Law.  He is a member of the New York bar and has experience in the areas of corporate law, real estate and immigration law.  Although he is no longer practicing law full-time, he maintains a small pro bono practice specializing in representing clients in Special Immigrant Juvenile proceedings. 

Mr. Agolia serves on SUNY Farmingdale's Criminal Justice Advisory Board and Kaplan University's School of Legal Studies Advisory Board, and advises institutions on the development of new undergraduate Legal Studies programs.

Kurt M. Denk

Kurt M. Denk is pro bono counsel at the City Bar Justice Center, an affiliate of the New York City Bar Association, where he serves as a liaison to law firms, corporate in-house counsel, and attorneys in private practice to support and staff pro bono cases originating from the Justice Center's dozen projects serving low-income New Yorkers. Mr. Denk also maintains an active practice docket, and develops pro bono-oriented CLEs, publications, trainings, outreach opportunities, and new legal services projects. Mr. Denk previously worked as an associate at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, where he maintained a broad general civil and complex commercial litigation practice, as well as an active and diverse pro bono docket that included representing asylum applicants and co-authoring various amicus briefs supporting marriage equality and other LGBTQ rights matters in cases before the United States Supreme Court and United States Courts of Appeals. A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, Mr. Denk clerked for Judge Maryanne Trump Barry of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and was a visiting assistant professor at Boston College Law School. With degrees in history, philosophy, and divinity from, respectively, Georgetown University, Fordham University, and the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, Mr. Denk also served as a university educator and prison chaplain prior to embarking on a legal career.

John Terry Dundon, Co-Director 

John Terry Dundon is Co-Director of the Legal English Institute at Fordham Law School.  He is a graduate student in Applied Linguistics at Columbia University Teachers College, where he also received his Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.  Mr. Dundon specializes in the instruction of professional and vocational English, and he has previously taught at the City University of New York and Westchester Community College, as well as in several locations in South Asia.  Mr. Dundon presented "Teaching Legal English Vocabulary Through 'Content Bundles'" at the American Language Program’s Winter 2018 Conference on Vocabulary Learning & Teaching. He is an active student of several foreign languages, including French, Farsi, and Tajik, and he has travel experience in more than 80 countries. 

Prior to his teaching career, Mr. Dundon practiced as an attorney at the law firms of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP; his practice at all three firms focused on private equity fund formation and management.  Mr. Dundon also served as a judicial law clerk on the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, and he maintains active bar admission in New York, the District of Columbia, and California.  Mr. Dundon graduated with High Honors from the George Washington University Law School, and he received his B.A. from the University of Virginia.

Toni Jaeger-Fine, Co-Director

Toni Jaeger-Fine is assistant dean for international and non-J.D. programs at Fordham Law School, where she oversees the Law School’s graduate (LL.M., M.S.L., S.J.D.), study abroad, and visiting scholar and research fellow programs. She also directs the International Judicial Research and Training Program, the Summer Institute in New York City, the Winter Institute in U.S. Law, and the Pre-Law Institute, as well as a range of custom programs for international lawyers and students.

Dean Jaeger-Fine travels extensively and has taught or lectured in numerous countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Germany, Italy, Japan, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Peru, P.R. China, Romania, Spain, Taiwan, and Vietnam. She is the author of numerous articles on a wide range of topics published in the United States and abroad, as well as two books: American Legal Systems: A Resource and Reference Guide and An Introduction to the Anglo-American Legal System, which has been translated into Italian, Korean, and Portuguese. She is also co-author of a series of books, including a case book on the U.S. legal system, under She is working on a new book about developing a legal professional persona, to be published by West Academic in 2018.

Previously, Dean Jaeger-Fine served as director of graduate and international programs at Cardozo Law School and as associate director of the global law school program at NYU School of Law. She is Senior Counselor to the International Section of the Federal Bar Association and past chair of the section on post-graduate legal education, the section on international legal exchange, and the section on legal education for foreign lawyers of the Association of American Law Schools. Dean Jaeger-Fine is a founding member of the board of directors of Lawyers without Borders and is the first American to serve on the board of the German American Lawyers Association. Dean Jaeger-Fine was associated with the law firm of Crowell & Moring in Washington, D.C., where her practice focused on commercial, appellate, and administrative litigation. She is a cum laude graduate of Duke Law School and received her B.A. from Harpur College, SUNY Binghamton, at which she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

Gary Kaufman

Gary Kaufman has been practicing in the area of Criminal Defense since graduating from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in 2006.  Gary spent his first seven years of practice working as a public defense attorney in Orlando, Florida, Staten Island, New York, and at the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem in Manhattan.  In 2013, Gary began the Law Office of Gary Kaufman, PLLC, where he represents clients facing a wide variety of criminal charges in the state and federal courts of New York and New Jersey.  Gary also represents students facing discipline at the high school and collegiate levels.  Gary has tried dozens of cases and is a skilled advocate both in and out of the courtroom.  Gary has received training at the National Criminal Defense College and has taught Continuing Legal Education classes on New York Criminal Law Practice 101, Arraignment Advocacy, Drunk Driving Defense, Grand Jury Practice, and Judicial Diversion for Narcotics Felonies.  Gary has been recognized as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers and a top 40 under 40 Criminal Defense Attorney in New York by the National Trial Lawyers.  Gary is active in the New York City Bar Association serving as a member of the Criminal Courts Committee and as the Chair of the Small Law Firm Committee.

Rodrigo Sadi

Rodrigo Sadi is an associate at Duane Morris LLP in the area of U.S. and international corporate law, representing clients predominantly based in Brazil, including manufacturers, banks, financial institutions, hedge funds, private equity funds, and high net worth individuals in their activities worldwide. He also has extensive experience in M&A transactions and drafting commercial agreements between private companies, in particular with regard to cross-border transactions between companies in the U.S. and Brazil. Admitted to practice in New York and Brazil, Mr. Sadi is fluent in Portuguese and English and can speak some Spanish.

Mr. Sadi holds an LL.M. degree from the University of Virginia School of Law and is a 2012 graduate of Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo.

Martin Slavens

Marty Slavens is the Graduate Admissions Officer and Enrollment Specialist in the Office of International and Non-J.D. Programs. Originally from San Diego County, he has worked and studied in Arcata, CA, Xi'an, China, Urbana, IL, and Bowling Green, OH prior to moving to New York with his partner, Yiju Huang, an Assistant Professor in the department of Modern Languages and Literature at Fordham University, and their daughter, Ruru. Marty earned his MA in East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with a focus on Mandarin and contemporary Chinese literature. He earned his JD from the University of Illinois, College of Law and is a member of the State Bar of California.


Certificate of Completion

Non-credit participants who satisfactorily complete course requirements, including exams and other assessment tools, will receive a Certificate of Completion at the end of the program.  Students must attend at least 80% of the sessions for each course in order to qualify to receive a certificate of completion.  No certificates for partial completion of the program will be granted.


The Legal English Institute satisfies the F-1 visa/status requirements.  Assistance for participants who require a visa is available.  Appropriate paperwork will be provided after we have received the $500 program deposit.

Housing Resources & Estimated Expenses

Estimated expenses of living for Legal English Institute participants (single semester):  

Please note that living and other expenses vary widely among students.  The figures below represent estimates per student for the semester but individual expenses are likely to vary significantly. 

Legal English Institute Books & Materials: $200 
Room and Board: $9,800 
Local Travel: $870
Miscellaneous/Personal Expenses: $2,000
Insurance: Please contact the Fordham Health Services Office ( for more information. 

Click here for a link to New York City Housing Resources. 

Course Materials

Click here to access the password-protected Course Materials page for the spring 2019 semester.

Contact the Legal English Institute

Tel: 212-636-7702

Fax: 212-636-6922


The Office of International & Non-J.D. Programs at Fordham Law School reserves the right to cancel any program at any time. If a program is canceled, Fordham Law & the Office of International Programs' liability is limited to a full refund of the program fee already paid.