Specialized LL.M. Helps Legal English Proficiency – Prepares Foreign Lawyers for Success


Studying for an LL.M. degree in the U.S. can be intimidating, especially for attorneys from other countries who have had little exposure to the American legal system. While a few law schools offer a summer program on the American system, Miami Law offers much more in its Intensive Legal English + LL.M. program.

Launched in 2016, foreign-trained lawyers learn about the American legal system and improve their legal English. “The LL.M. with Intensive English Program can open doors for students that will change the course of their career,” says Carmen Perez-Llorca, Director of Miami Law’s International Graduate Law Programs and founder of the program.

Since its inception, the program has welcomed students from France, Brazil, Honduras, Colombia, Mexico, Cuba, Spain, Russia, Dominican Republic, Italy, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. We spoke recently with some current students in the program who attest to its value.

Yulianna Bukovskaya, Olesya Shulgina & Adnan Alajaji

A Career Launching Pad

For about eight years, Olesya Shulgina of Russia practiced Business Law in Russia. She chose this program because during “the last years we have received more cases where one of the parties is an international company, and understanding International Law has become necessary for me.” Shulgina is confident earning “an LL.M. In International Law will help me receive the necessary background to recognize, understand and resolve problems arising in International business.”

In a similar vein, Bayan Alheiji of Saudi Arabia also enrolled in the program to prepare for a future career. “I finished my bachelor degree in law in my country, and then I got the scholarship from my government to complete my LL.M. in the U.S.A. My future goals are to be a legal consultant in the international commercial scope, and work with official authorities in my country such as the ministry of foreign affairs.”

Transitioning to a New Scope of Law

Some students come to the program looking to transition into a different area of law. Take for example, Patricia Ortega Ramirez of The Dominican Republic who says, “I am a recent law graduate with some experience in the private and public fields. Being at the University of Miami School of Law has given me the chance to explore many potential areas of specialization and opened the possibility of a corporate career in both my country and the United States.”

As a foreign attorney interested in improving her English and future job prospects, Yulianna Bukovskaya of Russia admits, “The Intensive Legal English Program was very helpful for me, as a non-native English-speaking student. My English-language skills have become more advanced in writing, reading and speaking.” After successful completion of the Intensive English component, Bukovskaya has commenced her studies in the White & Case International Arbitration LL.M. program

Joining an International Community of Lawyers

Since the 1950s, Miami Law has offered LL.M. programs for foreign-trained lawyers, making it one of the most established LL.M. programs in the U.S. Each LL.M. student creates a course of study that matches his or her career goals. 

“I am an international student, so my country’s legal system is completely different from the U.S.’s legal system,” says Alheiji. “I found the Intensive English Legal program is very important to take as a preliminary course before I study the LL.M. because it gave me a whole picture of the U.S.A. system. My friend was a student at UM, and she highly recommended it. Additionally, UM provides support to international students which was significant for me.” 

Ortega Ramirez agrees and gravitated to the program since “Miami Law’s programs are specifically crafted for foreign lawyers, who such as me, have interest in getting to know, and being able to work in the American Legal System. This is a unique characteristic that this school has to offer.”
Spending 3 Semesters at University of Miami

For other students, the quality of the program is not the only draw. At times it is the University of Miami and its location. Shulgina acknowledges, “First of all, I fell in love with the environment where UM is located. UM has a very beautiful and safe campus with great facilities. Second, UM Law School is one of the top nationally and internationally ranked schools. I decided to take the Intensive English + LL.M. program in order to improve my legal English proficiency and to be better prepared to the actual LL.M. classes.”

Adnan Alajaji from Saudi Arabia is a SACM Scholar (Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission) and took intensive legal English and is now studying his LL.M. in International Arbitration and will graduate in December 2018.  “The three-semester program was a turning point in my life. The Intensive Legal English semester prepared me for the LL.M. program. It gave me the ability to deeply absorb the law-specific intricacies of the English language. Professors spared no effort or time to develop their students' abilities.”
The positive experiences of students in the Intensive Legal English + LL.M. program is a common one at UM. Recently the International Jurist Magazine described the University of Miami as welcoming “thousands of students from around the world every year, so there’s great university support for the international community. The LL.M. program has students from more than 33 countries.” Perez-Llorca agrees, “Our faculty and curriculum are a reflection of our location.” 


For foreign-trained lawyers seeking a general LL.M.
Contact intl-llm@law.miami.edu or 305-284-5402.

For foreign-trained lawyers seeking an LL.M. in International Arbitration
Contact iallm@law.miami.edu or 305-284-1965.