Skip to main content

Legal English Institute

Coronavirus Update: Spring 2022 Program Online Only

Given the continued uncertainty of the COVID-19 situation, especially surrounding international travel and other restrictions, we have decided to cancel the in-person version of LEI for spring 2022.

Online Legal English Institute

January - May, 2022

Join Fordham Law School’s semester-long Legal English Institute (LEI) online and study the foundations of U.S. law and the U.S. legal system while developing your legal English and lawyering skills and becoming a member of our vibrant and diverse community. Take this program as a free-standing experience to help you prepare for the LLM, and beyond.

LEI generally meets mornings, New York City time, Mondays through Fridays (9:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.). Please see the program schedule for details.

Click here to view our other short-term programs

Program Options

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

Please contact us by email if you are interested in learning about receiving credit towards an LLM degree through this program. Anyone who wishes to receive LLM credit via the Legal English Institute must be first admitted to the LLM program and pay the posted full-time tuition and fees for the semester. 


Program Schedule

All times listed are local New York time.

January Start Date:

Spring LEI runs from the beginning of January to late April.

August Start Date:

Fall LEI begins in August and runs until mid-December.

View Legal English Institute schedules


Law students and graduates from all countries are welcome to register for this program.  In extraordinary circumstances, we may accept students and graduates of non-law programs with a demonstrated interest or background in law.  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.  In-person participants seeking a visa based on documentation provided by Fordham University must prove English-language proficiency either by providing a TOEFL score or by participating in a brief online interview with a Legal English Institute program director. If you would like to have a Skype interview, please contact indicating your general availability in New York time after submitting your application.


  • January start date:  Registration deadline December 1
  • August start date:  Registration deadline July 15

Please note that we will accept late applications on a rolling basis, space permitting. If you are concerned about available space, please contact to confirm that space remains in the program.


Cost and Payments

In-person non-credit option:  $6,000
Online non-credit option:  $4,000

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

Click here to make a secure payment.

Those who are admitted and join our LLM program within a year after completing LEI will receive a deduction of the LEI fee from the LLM tuition in the form of a scholarship.

Course Descriptions

Introduction to the U.S. Legal System and Law Study (Jaeger-Fine, 4 credits)
Introduction to the U.S. Legal System and Law Study introduces students to the basics of the U.S. legal system, including the constitutional foundations such as federalism, separation of powers and checks and balances, supremacy and preemption; the judicial systems; sources of law, including the defining principle of stare decisis and the practice of synthesizing case law; and U.S. civil litigation. The course also introduces students to the basics of law study in the U.S., including tips for reading and outlining cases and note-taking; case law analysis; and exam-taking. The course also introduces legal research and the interoffice memorandum of law.

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 (Ottomanelli, 2 credits)
Foundations of Private Law offers a unified approach to contract, corporate, property, and tort law – 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 (Borer & 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, 1 credit)
Becoming a Lawyer introduces students to the concept of the legal professional persona, and helps students define and develop their professional personas. We will look at foundations for a strong and sustainable professional, professionalism from the inside (self-management), and professionalism from the outside (relationships).

Legal English Tutorial (Sweify, 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 Leadership and Faculty

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.

Justine Borer

Justine Borer is an instructor in the Legal English Institute. She received her A.B. cum laude from Harvard College and her J.D. from UCLA School of Law. She is an active member of the New York State Bar. In her law practice, which she has maintained since 2013, she focuses on matrimonial law. Since 2017, Ms. Borer's professional focus has been teaching at the undergraduate level. She currently teaches in the Philosophy Departments at Hunter College and John Jay College. In previous semesters, she taught in the English Department at Manhattan College and in the Academic Writing Department at Marymount Manhattan College. She has extensive experience teaching students who are non-native English speakers.

Ms. Borer has frequently written about topics in family and matrimonial law in both national media outlets and peer-reviewed publications. She is the founder and organizer of the discussion series Philosophy-in-Manhattan, which is led by philosophy scholars and open to the public. Since 2019, Ms. Borer has assisted low-income parties with uncontested divorces and Family Court matters as a volunteer in the New York State Unified Court System's Access to Justice Program. For her work in that capacity, she received a Certificate of Distinguished Service.

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.

Toni Jaeger-Fine, Co-Director

Toni Jaeger-Fine is an Assistant Dean at Fordham Law School. She has taught or lectured domestically and in Argentina, Brazil, China, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Germany, Italy, Japan, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Peru, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Dean Jaeger-Fine is the author of numerous articles on a wide range of topics published in the United States and abroad, as well as several books: Becoming a Lawyer: Discovering and Defining Your Professional Persona; American Legal Systems: A Resource and Reference Guide; An Introduction to the Anglo-American Legal System (which has been translated into Italian, Korean, and Portuguese), The U.S. LL.M.: From Whether to When, What, Where, and How; and Mastering the U.S. Legal System. Dean Jaeger-Fine blogs online at She is a regular speaker to delegations hosted by the U.S. Department of State, Senior Counselor to the International Section of the Federal Bar Association, and an application reader for the Schwarzman Scholars program.

Previously, Dean Jaeger-Fine served as associate director of the global law program at NYU School of Law. She was twice a Fulbright Senior Specialist Program grant recipient, and is past chair of the sections on Post-Graduate Legal Education, International Legal Exchange, and Legal Education for Foreign Lawyers of the Association of American Law Schools. 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, where 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.  Mr. Kaufman 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, he 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.  Mr. Kaufman also represents students facing discipline at the high school and collegiate levels.  He has tried dozens of cases and is a skilled advocate both in and out of the courtroom.  Mr. Kaufman 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.  Mr. Kaufman 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.  He 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.

Altin Nonaj

Altin Nonaj is the founder of Nonaj Law. He advises domestic and international clients on business immigration and corporate transactional matters. He earned his Dottore in Giurisprudenza from the University of Padova in Italy and his Master of Laws from Fordham Law School with a concentration in Banking, Corporate, and Finance Law.

Mr. Nonaj has successfully established domestic companies, facilitated the issuance of visas and green cards under federal laws, and has negotiated various corporate agreements. Mr. Nonaj has a unique understanding of both the US and EU legal systems and is an extraordinary resource for national and international clients trying to enter those markets.

Mr. Nonaj is an active member of FALDEF, a nonprofit organization that focuses on helping international students with various legal issues. He has published on the crime of genocide under international criminal law.

Rodrigo Sadi

Rodrigo Sadi is a partner at McLaughlin & Stern LLP in the area of U.S. and international corporate law, representing clients predominantly based in Latin America, including commercial businesses, financial institutions, asset management companies, private equity funds, family offices 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., Europe and Latin America. 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 LL.B degree from Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo.

Laura Shields, Co-Director

Laura Shields is a Director in the Office of International and Non-JD Programs at Fordham Law School, where she co-directs the Legal English Institute, Summer Institute, Pre-Law Institute, and other short-term international and executive education programming. She also assists with the coordination of the study abroad, student exchange, and visiting foreign scholars and research fellows programs, as well as some non-JD graduate programs. Laura has been involved in lawyer education for the majority of her career, serving for ten years in various roles at Practising Law Institute, most recently as Vice President of Programs, and she served as Assistant Director of Research and Development and Assistant Staff Director at the American Law Institute-American Bar Association (now ALI CLE). Laura practiced law in a litigation firm and legal services organization in Philadelphia, has worked in the university setting as a planned giving officer, and has consulted with organizations including the New York Open Center. She is a graduate of the University of Delaware and Villanova University School of Law.

Martin Slavens

Marty Slavens is the Director of Graduate Admissions 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. Mr. Slavens 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

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, and any student who receives at least one grade of F or two grades of D will not receive a certificate.


The Legal English Institute, when taken in person, 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 and 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.  There are no on-campus accommodations available for participants in this program.

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.  Students who require an F-1 visa to participate in this program will need to purchase health insurance through Fordham, or demonstrate that they have sufficient coverage to obtain a waiver from this requirement.

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

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.