By Hope Alvarez

“All rise!”

Silence filled the room as the judge took her seat. Lawyers shuffled through their notes one last time while the jury prepared to listen about the criminal actions of a man who fled the state of Florida.

Olga Oganesyan, assistant director of academic programs at the English Language Institute, smiled as she watched her students navigate the courtroom with confidence and poise.

The mock trial was about to begin.

English for Lawyers 2022 mock trial

Now in its ninth year, the English for Lawyers cohort concluded its summer program with a mock trial on Aug. 10 after six weeks of courses. Hosted by the English Language Institute at Syracuse University, English for Lawyers is a program designed to provide a foundation in legal terminology and language usage in various areas for non-native speakers of English who intend to earn an LL.M. degree in the United States.

“Through English for Lawyers, we can help students prepare for their program and make the transition as seamless as possible,” Oganesyan said.

“Through English for Lawyers, we can help students prepare for their program and make the transition as seamless as possible,” Oganesyan said.

Working in collaboration with the University’s College of Law, the program is divided into three components to offer a personalized and targeted approach when it comes to students’ needs. Textual communication, oral communication and grammar courses provide a structured environment for immediate feedback. During classes, students work on various projects related to their field and are encouraged to write essays and prepare presentations in legal context.

English for Lawyers 2022 mock trial

English for Lawyers student Ludmilla Cardoso learned about the program when she applied to the College of Law and values the foundational learning necessary to navigate the American legal system.

“When I started at the College of Law, I realized how important this course was and is for my American journey,” Cardoso said. “[English for Lawyers] has prepared us to be confident about our previous background and the new knowledge acquired in classes.”

Additionally, the program offers engaging opportunities to network with guest speakers and attend field trips related to the legal field. The interactive events offer a chance for students to adjust to life in the U.S.

English for Lawyers 2022 cohort

This summer, English for Lawyers hosted Deborah Moore, senior law associate to Honorable Frederick Scullin; Judge Therese Dancks, United States magistrate judge for the Northern District of New York; and the College of Law’s Richard Risman and Shannon Gardner.

“In addition to learning from the classes, the ELI team helps a lot in adapting to the city. This factor is very important, as it allows starting the master’s degree with a prior knowledge of the city and American culture,” said English for Lawyers student Glauciane Alves Macedo.

Through English for Lawyers, international students are able to establish a community before beginning their studies in the United States. When their education is over, they are connected to a global network.

“Living in another place is not easy. It is the beginning of a new history. However, this experience is worth it. The English Language Institute prepares us to overcome challenges,” Cardoso said. “When I return to my work, I will be able to serve the citizens even more carefully.”

To learn more about English for Lawyers, visit

About the English Language Institute

The English Language Institute, a department within the College of Professional Studies, at Syracuse University is a pre-degree program that prepares international students to succeed in their undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Established in 1979, this immersive year-round program allows international students the opportunity to learn English and culture in the heart of New York state.