USLawEssentials Law & Language
The Multilingual Lawyer: Joshua Alter

Episode 12

USLawEssentials Law & Language podcast continues its series of interviews with multilingual lawyers. In this episode, Stephen Horowitz interviews Joshua Alter. Joshua discusses his specialized courses for international students enrolling in LLM programs in the United States and also provides invaluable suggestions on how international students can improve their chances of success in US law schools. This is a “must-hear” episode for students and attorneys from countries other than the United States interested in selecting a US legal program that meets their educational and professional goals.

You can find Joshua Alter on LinkedIn here: 

and check out his blog:


Here are links to another podcast and book referred to in the podcast:

SupChina Sinica Podcast: Chinese college students in the U.S., with Yingyi Ma – June 3, 2021

Book: Ambitious & Anxious: How Chinese College Students Succeed and Struggle in American Higher Education by Yingyi Ma (Columbia University Press, 2020)

Helpful Vocabulary

Here are some terms used in the podcast which might be new to you:

IRAC analysisIssue, Rule, Analysis,  Conclusion; A structure or formula commonly used when writing law school essays.

LLM – Masters in Laws (Legum Magister in Latin)

JD – Juris Doctor – a first degree in law from a 3-year law school in the U.S.

LSAT – Law School Admission Test – Law schools traditionally have required all law school applicants to take this test, and the score is an important factor in law school decisions whether to accept or reject an applicant.

2L – second-year law student

1L – first-year law student

externing – When a law student has an unpaid law-related job while in law school as part of a law school program that helps the law student get work experience and also results in credits towards the student’s degree.

SDNY – Southern District of New York; The federal district court in Manhattan, which is a very high-status place to work. The SDNY is one of the four federal district courts in the state of New York.

OCI – on-campus interviews; Most law schools have an OCI process in the fall where they invite law firms and other employers to come to the law school’s campus and interview law students for jobs.

Vault Law 100 – Vault is a publication that, among other things, ranks the top 100 law firms by reputation.

write-on competition – At the end of the first year of law school, most 1Ls enter a writing competition to try and earn a place on one of the law school’s law journals. Being on the staff of a law journal is considered a very positive thing to have on one’s resume.

outlining – During the semester, law students create an outline for most of the courses they take. The outline is an organized summary of what they learn in a course. It is not required, but it is considered the best way to study, learn, and prepare for the final exams.

briefing – To “brief a case” means to write a structured summary of each case or court opinion a student reads to prepare for class. Briefing cases is generally not required by professors, but it’s considered a fundamental skill to build and an important part of studying and learning in law school culture.

cold-call – When the professor picks one student at random and asks them all about a case they were assigned to read for class. Fear of being cold-called in class is one of the primary motivations for students to be prepared for every class throughout the semester.


Learn Legal English with the USLawEssentials Law & Language Podcast

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