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Changes to Spring Academic Calendar Fordham is modifying its academic calendar in anticipation of a national resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic this winter. Full Details

Legal English Institute

Coronavirus Update: Spring 2021 Program Online Only

Given the continued uncertainty of the COVID-19 situation and the significant space constraints we are facing due to social distancing rules, we have decided to cancel the in-person version of LEI for spring 2021. The schedule for the online-only spring program will be posted shortly.

Online Legal English Institute

Spring 2021 Dates TBA Shortly

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.

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.

Download this webpage as a PDF.

Program Options

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

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

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

Program Schedule

The schedules below apply to both the in-person and online programs. 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 September 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 for the non-credit program 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 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 New York time after submitting your application.

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 December 1
  • August start date:  Registration deadline August 25

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 and Payments

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

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 for the non-credit option.

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, 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 Faculty and 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.

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.  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.

Angela Ottomanelli

Angela J. Ottomanelli-Hubbs is a consulting attorney with Axiom Global. Previously, she has been a consulting attorney for Idexx Laboratories and The Conference Board, Inc. She also serves as Corporate Counsel and Senior Manager for Business and Legal Affairs at the Street and as an associate at Mintz Levin. She is a graduate of Fordham Law School, where she received the Adele Monaco Award, and Iona College.

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 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. 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.

Megan Smiley, Co-Director

Megan Smiley is Director of the Office of International and Non-J.D. Programs at Fordham Law School. Megan received her master’s degree in higher education administration from the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to transitioning into higher education, Megan was a corporate associate in the Boston office of Sullivan & Worcester, LLP, specializing in mergers and acquisitions, securities, and financings. Megan graduated from Boston College Law School in 2006 and graduated summa cum laude from Colby College in 2000, where she majored in French and International Studies.

Mohamed Sweify

Mohamed Sweify is a Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D) Candidate at Fordham Law School. He maintains a broad civil and commercial practice in the areas of international commercial and investment arbitration. Mohamed has a significant experience of different institutional rules under most major arbitration institutions. Mohamed speaks Arabic, English and has a working knowledge of French.

Before joining the S.J.D program at Fordham in 2017, Mohamed practiced international arbitration in an international law firm in the Middle East and then joined the Financial Crimes Department at the Egyptian Public Prosecution where he conducted broad criminal investigations in high-profile cases such as stock market corruption, bribery, and money laundering.

Mohamed writes in the fields of international dispute resolution, cross border-business transactions, international commercial and investor-state arbitration, ethics of lawyers, mediation and negotiation, and criminal law. He currently serves as a board member of the ADR Diversity and Inclusion Network Steering Committee, a vice president of the American Constitutional Society – Fordham Law School. Mohamed has published many articles in international law journals. His publications include: “Ethics in Drafting and Issuing Dissenting Opinions”, Journal of Arab Arbitration volume 24 (June 2015); “Investment-Environment Disputes: Challenges and Proposals” 14 DePaul Bus. & Comm. L.J. 133 (Winter 2015); “The Art of Using Power as a Tool of Influence in Mediation,” ADRJ (Nov. 2016); “Mediator’s Proposal & Mediator’s Neutrality: Finessing the Tension” (2017) 28 ADRJ 129; “Enforcing Foreign Arbitral Awards in U.S.” (forthcoming); "Diversity and Inclusion in ADR Disputes: Roots and Fruits" (forthcoming); “Criminal Harassment to Arbitrators: An Egyptian Perspective” (forthcoming); and “The IBA Guidelines on Party Representation; A Thorough Critique” (forthcoming).

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, 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.