Annual Fordham Law Pre-Law and Summer Institutes Begin Online, Combined for the First Time


On July 6, Fordham Law School launched this year’s annual Pre-Law and Summer Institutes. These programs are offered online, and both cohorts are combined for the first time.

The combined 2021 institutes drew almost 140 participants from the U.S. and 19 other countriesArgentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Germany, Guatemala, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Panama, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and Venezuela.

The Summer Institute, launched in 2007, was created to offer an introduction to U.S. law for foreign-trained lawyers and law students interested in gaining an understanding of the U.S. legal system, expanding their global professional networks, and/or pursuing the LL.M. degree. Many foreign law students obtain course credit from their home institutions upon successful completion of the Summer Institute. For many, it is only the start of their U.S. legal education.

“Many students who attend the Summer Institute go on to attend Fordham Law’s four-month Legal English Institute or the LL.M. program at Fordham Law or another institution, and we are delighted to introduce them to the U.S. legal system and style of legal education,” said Toni Jaeger-Fine, assistant dean at Fordham Law School, who creates and directs the Institutes.

“No matter where they go to school after the Summer Institute, they remain part of the Fordham Law family.”

Drawing on the success of the Summer Institute, Fordham Law created the Pre-Law Institute, now in its sixth year. This program is designed primarily for U.S. undergraduate students and professionals who are thinking about attending law school, but open to anyone. Students are eligible to receive U.S. college credit for the program.

The decision was made to hold both institutes online this year to allow for greater accessibility and to combine them in order to provide these diverse cohorts an opportunity to learn from each other.

“U.S. students from various undergraduate institutions have the unique opportunity to not only learn about legal fundamentals and get a sense of what it will be like to attend law school, but also to meet students and lawyers from around the world and to be exposed to their cultures, legal and otherwise,” Dean Jaeger-Fine said.

“At the same time, the international Summer Institute participants have the opportunity to expand their professional networks globally and to get a sense of what it would be like to attend classes with U.S. students, should they decide to enroll in an LL.M. program.”

“We believe both cohorts will learn a great deal from each other and develop long-lasting relationships,” she added.

The institutes provide an introduction to the U.S. legal system and substantive areas of law that are at the foundation of U.S. law. Faculty members are drawn from Fordham Law School’s full-time and adjunct faculty. This year’s adjunct instructors include two judges—the Honorable Robert E. Bacharach of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, and the Honorable Gerald Lebovits of the New York State Supreme Court. Participants will also attend a virtual visit to the law firm Morgan Lewis and hear from a panel composed of public interest practitioners.

There are also optional sessions for the Pre-Law Institute participants on law school admissions and what every 1L should know, and optional sessions for the Summer Institute participants on applying to and preparing for the LL.M. Both cohorts can participate in an optional professionalism series featuring leading practitioners who share their experiences in the field and the practice of law.

Also attending this year’s Pre-Law Institute are 10 participants from the IDEAL (Increasing Diversity in Education and Law) pipeline program, which seeks to engage college students from groups underrepresented in the profession who are interested in pursuing a law degree.

“The Pre-Law Institute offers IDEAL participants a real sense of what law school is like and what they can do with a law degree,” said Kimathi Gordon-Somers, assistant dean of student affairs and diversity at Fordham Law.

“It is the start of a unique journey that will provide them the opportunity to be exposed to and learn from students and lawyers from around the globe.”

Details regarding the Pre-Law Institute are available here.

Details regarding the Summer Institute are available here.

Details regarding the IDEAL pipeline program are available here.


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