The Intensive Legal English Program (ILEP) is a four-week intensive summer course that provides incoming LLM students with a valuable framework before they begin their degree program. ILEP includes five hours of live classroom instruction, five days per week. Coursework focuses on English communication skills while also providing foundational knowledge of the U.S. legal system.

ILEP prepares LLM students to be successful in law school and beyond

Legal English can be difficult, even for native English speakers. During ILEP students will learn and practice spoken and written communication skills necessary for success in their law school courses and in their legal careers. Students will improve their skills through numerous opportunities for practice and continuous instructor and peer feedback throughout the program.

Courses also focus on the basic knowledge of the U.S. legal system. Students are introduced to case law, culminating in a moot court competition where they will apply what they have learned to a realistic, hypothetical court case.


Students will take two courses that each meet for 2.5 hours per day:

Mornings: Intensive Legal English Listening & Speaking (3 credits)
Afternoons: Intensive Legal English Reading & Writing (3 credits)

Activities and assignments include (but are not limited to):

  • Collaborating on group projects
  • Conducting legal role plays such as negotiations and debates
  • Giving presentations
  • Participating in class discussions on legal topics
  • Attending engaging guest lectures on different areas of law presented by accomplished law professors
  • Reading and analyzing court cases and other legal texts
  • Writing case briefs and office memos
  • Presenting an oral argument based on a hypothetical case
  • Composing a written legal brief based on a hypothetical case
  • Competing in a moot court competition in the last week of the program

Certificate of Legal English

Though ILEP courses are tailored to prepare students to pursue a law degree program, the credits do not apply towards credit requirement of a degree program. However, successful completion of the program will earn a Certificate of Legal English from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law.

ILEP helps students acclimate to life at WashU Law before the regular semester begins

ILEP takes place in summer, before orientation and the fall semester begin. Summer 2023 ILEP is scheduled for July 17 to August 11. This allows students to focus exclusively on ILEP course material before facing the demands of their regular law school courses. Arriving on campus for summer ILEP provides an early opportunity for LLM students to settle in and become familiar with campus. Being in class and participating in other ILEP activities during the four-week session also gives students a chance to become familiar with their classmates and build community before classes begin in the fall.

For questions about ILEP, contact Mark Bass, Coordinator of Legal English Programs,