English Language Skills Enhancement (ELSE)


ELSE is an intensive three-to-four-week academic legal English program designed for incoming LLM students (Masters of American Law program).

Why Take the ELSE Program?

With ELSE, you benefit from a head start and orientation to the type of work you will do as a student of American law, building confidence for your graduate study. In addition, you will have the advantage of settling in to your new surroundings early, before the start of your LLM classes.

The ELSE Program does not grant academic credit.

Areas of Focus

  • Overview of the US legal (common law) system and its relation to the US system of government.
  • Case reading –the ELSE program provides detailed, step-by-step guidance for reading cases (court decisions) in areas such as contracts, torts, and property.
  • Legal vocabulary –you get intensive practice using key words and high-frequency expressions common throughout your study of law.
  • Oral skills practice, especially of key legal terms.
  • Feedback and advice on your writing
  • Guidance for adjusting to US academic culture and classroom expectations
  • Cultural and historical issues relevant to legal studies

Additional Activities

With ELSE, you also get an opportunity to explore areas around Wake Forest University and Winston-Salem; past excursions have included tours of Old Salem, the International Civil Rights Museum, Reynolda House Museum of American Art, a Winston-Salem Dash baseball game, and a tour of the art galleries and music scene in downtown Winston-Salem.

Reviews from ELSE Participants:

“Before I joined this program, I always tried my best to improve my English, however I didn’t improve that much. I tried to study with a study group on Internet. I tried to follow the dialogue of TV shows to improve pronunciation. I tried to meet language partners and found one for one semester. I tried many, many methods to improve, however it didn’t work as well as this program. I am not exaggerating. I just want to express how important it is to have an adjusting period before you start your real academic school years in the U.S. Thanks ELSE program, Thanks Wake Forest! ” Shuai Shao ELSE ’11, LLM ’12
“The ELSE is a program worth taking. You can get a good taste of studying law in the US ahead of time with the help of a JD teaching assistant, and everyone has a chance to discuss topics in groups to practice oral English. ” Ying Cao, ELSE ’13, LLM ’14
“The ELSE program trained me a lot about how to make a case brief, how to speak with professors, and how to discuss cases. I really enjoyed the discussions in class with our teachers and my classmates. And I like our other activities such as the baseball game and visiting museums, which helped me adapt and build a solid relationship with classmates. ” Xiaoyu Hao, ELSE ’15