Summer Institute in Transnational Law & Practice

The 2024 Transnational Institute (Sept. 3–13) will be offered as a combination of asynchronous recorded lectures online and daily synchronous (real-time) classes, which will be held 4–7 p.m., Pacific time. To accommodate participants around the world as well as those on campus the live sessions will be offered virtually as well as concurrently on campus subject to public health guidance. View the draft 2024 schedule here.

The Summer Institute in Transnational Law and Practice was developed by the University of Washington School of Law — one of the world’s leading centers for innovative teaching and research on international, comparative and U.S. law. The two-week institute is held in early September each year and provides legal professionals and researchers from all over the world a strong foundation in the structure, culture and thinking of the U.S. legal system and practice.

With today’s global legal practice and policies, legal professionals need a sophisticated understanding of legal and regulatory systems beyond their own. For international practitioners seeking professional development, the Summer Institute provides an excellent overview of the American legal system and practice.

For international students planning to undertake law studies in the U.S., the program provides the foundation and skills needed to successfully complete their studies in any challenging U.S. law school environment. Students trained in a civil law legal system particularly benefit from the introduction to the structure of legal reasoning in the U.S. common law system and from the opportunity to refine both oral and written communication skills in English within the U.S. legal context.

Core Topics

The Institute program focuses on three areas: Introduction to the American Legal System and Practice in a comparative setting, Legal Skills and Methodology and Legal English. Sample topics include introduction to constitutional law and branches of government, criminal and civil court systems and procedures, alternative dispute resolution and legal analysis in the U.S. common law system.

Through U.S. law school-style instruction and small-group tutorials, participants familiarize themselves with the foundations of the U.S. legal system and methods of legal analysis practiced in the U.S. Sessions are taught by law faculty, practitioners and reference librarians who are experienced in cross-cultural communication. Institute participants also visit state and federal courts and agencies, visit one of Seattle’s largest law firms and enjoy social events in the beautiful University of Washington campus and around Seattle.

Note for International LL.M. Candidates

Incoming foreign-trained LL.M. candidates in the University of Washington LL.M. programs, especially those planning to take a bar exam, should attend the Summer Institute, as part of meeting bar eligibility requirements. The LL.M. programs will not duplicate material covered in the Summer Institute. Tuition for the Summer Institute is separate from and in addition to the LL.M. program tuition. The Institute program is a full-time two-week program. Regular attendance is expected.


All Summer Institute sessions will be held in William H. Gates Hall, centrally located on the UW campus. Gates Hall and the law library provide ample study space and complete wireless access, as well as several available computer stations.

Both Seattle and the Pacific Northwest region enjoy mild summer climate and extended daylight and provide numerous attractions and recreational opportunities within easy reach.