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Students recepting at the law offices of Shepherd and Wedderburn in 2006
Students recepting at the law offices of Shepherd and Wedderburn

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Course Content
Program Structure
What the Program Offers
Who is the Program for?


Course Content

The program focuses on meeting the needs of global transactional lawyers: specifically, how to structure, draft, negotiate and analyze the critical provisions common to a range of agreements that international lawyers encounter. These include global joint venture, concession and project finance agreements; sales, distribution and franchise agreements; letters of intent for mergers and acquisitions; and technology licensing agreements.

Students will develop the practical skills needed to work with such essential specific contract provisions as choice of law; dispute resolution; confidentiality; force majeure; licensing; technology transfer; warranties; remedies; risk transfer; commercial terms; E-commerce; and termination provisions.

Throughout the three-week program, participants will receive intensive instruction and support in both writing and speaking Legal English, with an emphasis on using English in the context of specific commercial transactions. Participants will also learn to draft a range of non-contract legal communications in English, including demand letters, letters of intent, client opinion letters and explanations of the law, and will engage in interactive in-class exercises to develop their oral communication and negotiation skills and expand their use of legal vocabulary.

Emphasis will be placed on the important differences between transnational and domestic agreements from the perspective of the U.S. and other common law countries. Typical problems that arise in a range of commercial agreements will be analyzed and cross-cultural aspects of international business negotiations will be addressed.

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A Unique Program Structure

The program features a unique “integrated” approach to teach the language and legal skills that are essential to handle business agreements in English. Communication and writing sessions build upon, reinforce and give practical application to the substantive study of international commercial agreements, which takes place through lecture and case-study. Assignments, in-class exercises and simulations give “real-world” meaning to the prevailing doctrines that govern transnational deals and give students hands-on training in the practical skills needed to effectively handle these complex cross-border matters. Each participant will also receive individualized, one-on-one training from experienced law professors, who will critique and evaluate their written work. Instructors with experience in Legal English will coach students in their speaking and presentation skills. A typical day includes three integrated sessions, for a total classroom time of approximately 5 hours each day.

Please click here for a sample of this unqiue, integrated schedule.


What the Program Offers

At the end of the program, participants will have developed the practical skills needed to:

  • Communicate more effectively in Legal English, both in writing and orally
  • Engage meaningfully with U.S. and other common law lawyers in an international context
  • Identify critical legal issues in a range of international commercial agreements
  • Analyze and critique contractual provisions offered by opposing parties
  • Draft provisions and clauses in English to protect client interests
  • Assess and protect against political, economic and legal risks in transnational transactions
  • Pursue negotiation strategies and techniques to secure favorable outcomes, with particular application to cross-cultural settings

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Who is the Program for?

The Summer Legal Institute is open to graduates of law faculties outside the United States and to advanced, non-U.S. law students who are about to complete their law studies in their home countries. Advanced graduate-level business students and business professionals who work with lawyers also benefit from enrolling in the program. The program's content is ideally suited for current - and future -global professionals who:

  • Need to improve their English communication skills in order to be able to work effectively with lawyers throughout the world
  • Want substantive training in important aspects of international commercial agreements
  • Require hands-on experience in structuring and drafting transnational commercialagreements in English with clarity and precision
  • Desire to learn positive negotiation tactics and the practical skills needed for international practice
  • Need to reduce risk and protect clients’ interests in business transactions
  • Anticipate pursuing an LL.M. degree in a U.S. school, whether at BU Law or elsewhere.

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John Riccardi, the Director of the Summer Legal Institute, meets with SLI participant Hiroaki Takagi and his wife, Misaki Takagi.
John Riccardi, the Director of the Summer Legal Institute, meets with SLI participant Hiroaki Takagi and his wife, Misaki Takagi.