DATES: JUL 17-28, 2023    
FORMAT: IN-PERSON AND ONLINE    apply now button  
TUITION: $4200    








The Legal English and Legal Writing seminar exposes foreign legal practitioners and law students to English legal terminology and usage through an overview of the U.S. legal system, contract law, constitutional law, commercial law and legal drafting. In addition to learning legal terminology, participants benefit from an introduction to the legal reasoning process of the U.S. legal system, helping them apply the terms and concepts as they learn them.

Participants in this seminar will develop the advanced skills they need to succeed in a multi-jurisdictional legal practice. The methodology, language and reasoning skills learned in this seminar are useful for working with clients, firms and organizations in the United States, and they are transferable to the professional legal practice abroad. This seminar is also highly encouraged for foreign lawyers wishing to pursue an LL.M. from an institution within the United States. Participants engage in interactive seminars consisting of lectures, individual writing and speaking exercises, and group projects.

If requested, the International Law Institute will provide complimentary tutors, U.S. lawyers, to help review writing samples with participants out of class time.



The seminars are currently offered both in-person and online simultaneously, at the choice of the participant. This choice must be indicated at the time of registration. A small number of courses are scheduled to be delivered exclusively in person or online, and are indicated as such in the 2023 schedule. In-Person Only seminars usually start at 9:30 am Washington D.C. time. Daily sessions usually end at 4:00 pm. Breaks (including the lunch break) are allocated as appropriate. Online Only seminars will be delivered through five (for 1-week course) or ten (for 2-weeks course) live online sessions via videoconferencing platform. Each session will last approximately 3.5 hours and will be scheduled to start within a time window of 7:00 am – 8:30 am Washington D.C. time. Hybrid In-Person/Online seminars will start at a time most convenient to both in-person and online participants, and will generally follow the In-Person seminar format. We expect the classes to be highly interactive and can include presentations, case studies and exercises. 


Course Outline

  • U.S. Legal institutions
  • Introduction to Common Law
  • Researching and interpreting cases in the U.S. legal system
  • Legal research (including practical exercises)
  • Contract law
  • Legal Writing and analysis (including exercises)
  • Overview of U.S. business law
  • Overview of commercial arbitration in the U.S.
  • The U.S. Role in International Trade
  • Effective Negotiation Techniques in Commercial Context


Course Coordinators

Carlos Davila is an attorney with more than fifteen years of experience. Carlos has served as co-arbitrator in an ICC power dispute. He has represented clients in disputes involving government contracts, on matters including construction projects, logistics and other services. Carlos was in-house counsel for a microfinance company based in Washington, DC, with global operations. He is admitted for legal practice in Mexico and in New York State. He has Master of Laws degrees from both Georgetown University and the I.T.E.S.M. Graduate School of Public Policy in Mexico, as well as a Bachelor in Law degree from the University of Sonora, in Mexico.

Jeff Ziarnik is a lawyer, educator, and international development specialist. During his time at the ILI, he has organized and coordinated over 150 high-level legal and international development training seminars. He has a J.D. from the Western Michigan University Cooley School of Law and is a member of the Virginia State Bar. While in law school, he worked as a law clerk in Bucharest, Romania. Prior to law school, Jeff was a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in The Gambia.