American Language Program: Rachel

by Rachel Cortes LL.M. ’19



The American Language Program for Law was an exciting and refreshing experience. The program basically consisted of an intensive, advanced legal English course for non-native English speakers. The curriculum included rigorous training in legal jargon, pronunciation and writing skills – much needed before we started the LLM.


Aside from the language training, we participated in lectures on Constitutional Law and Intellectual Property Law, which apart from being interesting, significantly facilitated the transition to the LLM. I really liked the fact that we were encouraged to participate and ask questions in class, making it more dynamic and compelling. I got to listen to the opinions of my fellow classmates, which was enriching because they shared how their legal systems worked compared to the American one. The result was that I learned about Japanese, Mexican, Chinese, Swiss, and Spanish law, among others.


Also, we had several extracurricular activities such as visiting the NY District Attorney’s offices and several federal courts. We got to see in practice many of the concepts and proceedings we had been studying in class. Thanks to that, I now feel much more familiarized with the US judicial system.


One of the most remarkable experiences of the ALP was meeting the Honorable Judge Denny Chin. (He is the judge who sentenced Bernie Madoff to 150 years of prison for security fraud– a really iconic case.) Judge Chin personally gave us a tour of the Court of Appeals, showed us the court’s library, and even showed us his chambers! That was definitely a once in a lifetime experience!


The ALP instructors are experienced and specialized language professionals, whom I greatly admire. They focused on helping us specifically in the areas we needed to work on, and enhancing the skills necessary to excel at CLS. Apart from all the work, I greatly appreciated their invaluable tips and recommendations on how to survive in the great city of New York. They made our New York transition much more local and exciting, and now I get to feel more like a “New Yorker” and not as much a tourist.



Out of all the gains I can point out, the most rewarding to me are my new multicultural friends, and the fact that we got the opportunity to explore New York City together in the summer, which has been a-ma-zing so far! I can’t wait for the year to come!



Rachel is an LL.M. student from the Dominican Republic. Her focus areas are Mergers & Acquisitions, Corporate Law and International Arbitration.