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English for Law



Week Three: English for Law

Welcome to the English for Law week of the EVO session ESP Potpourri. I am really pleased to be moderating this week during the EVO session and look forward to great discussions with all of you on the subject of teaching English for Law. We will review online courses, both custom developments and using Moodle, as well as take part in a web conference using WebEx, one of the many web conferencing programs that are now available.


I hope we will all share our expertise and help each other become better ESP teachers.




Weekly Syllabus

Monday, January 29: Needs Assessment

Day One: Needs Assessment


Discussion: You have discussed the requirement of a needs analysis in the first two weeks. For legal English, we have to do the same thing. Who are your students? What level of English do they have? Why do they need English? How do they use English? What should your classes focus on to help your students gain the English expertise they need?


Students: classes, moot court teams, clinic programs?

Practitioners: telephone calls, client consultations, client presentations, email, letters?


I also think we often have a more fundamental problem with legal English. What does we mean when we say “I teach legal English”? Legal terminology? A reduced version of law? Advanced general English?



  1. Respond to the following question: What is your definition of legal English?
  2. Take the poll on yahoogroups so we can decide on the best times for the WebEx conference for Thursday, February 1.




Tuesday, January 30: Online Curriculum Development, Part I

Day Two: Online Curriculum Development


Discussion: Clearly you know about taking online courses; you are part of one. How many of you have developed and taught your own online courses in legal English? If you were given an unlimited budget and the technical people to help you, what would you include in an online course? How would you approach the curriculum development (based, of course, on your prior needs analysis)?


Assignment: Review and comment on a custom development (in demonstration stage only) at www.language4law.org. Login and create your own name and password. The name and password are immediately valid for the program.


Note: In the interest of full disclosure, you should know that I am coordinator of the Language4Law project (www.language4law.org and www.l4law.org) . We are seeking critical feedback, so please feel free to tell us how the site can be improved. Critical feedback is as welcome as positive comments.




Wednesday, January 31: Online Curriculum Development, Part II

Day Three: Online Curriculum Development


Discussion: What do you like about online courses? What do you find problematic? What do you think an online legal English course for law students and legal practitioners include?


Assignment: You have reviewed one online course. Today you should take a look at two more online legal English courses and comment on them.

  1. A course from Translegal at http://www.translegal.com/translegalonline.php.
    1. Scroll a quarter of the way down the page and click on –Click here to view our sample courses.
    2. Click on the free sample unit on the page that pops up, and then register for the sample (using a valid email address). You do not need to pay to do the sample unit.
  2. A course from Language4Law that is in the development stage at www.l4law.org.
    1. The module you will be viewing is the module on Medical Malpractice: The Mature Minor Exception in the Torts area. This is the same video and material from the www.language4law.org site.
    2. However, this is a Moodle site using open source software. The only expense is a hosting service for the Moodle.
  3. This Medical Malpractice section is password protected for participants in the ESP Potpourri course. Please register for it as you did for the Translegal course. The password is esppotpourri.




Thursday, February 1: Web Conferencing

Day Four: Web Conferencing: The Language Class of the Future?


Discussion: Web Conferencing is becoming easier, better, and cheaper all the time. We will review a web conferencing program that I have used for one-to-one and conference tutoring. We will also discuss Skype and Skype Talk and Write and Elluminate’s vRoom as possible no-cost options for web conferencing.




Assignment:Sign up and participate in a web conference with Debra Lee and Patti Bowlan, a lawyer practicing in Memphis, Tennessee. Patti will answer questions about what it is like to teach legal English with a legal background and no formal language training.



Note: Only eight participants at a time are allowed in the web conference room I access. After the poll on meeting times has been completed, I will create on online sign-up sheet on the wiki. For the conference, you will need to download a “connector” for the meeting. If you want to talk also, we will do that via Skype conference calling.



Friday, February 2: Materials and Materials Development

Day Five: Materials and Materials Development


Discussion: What materials are available online? What commercial materials are available? How can we adapt commercially available materials for our use? How can we create our own materials? How can we create online materials?


Assignment: Read and respond to the Compleat Links article by Debra Lee using the following link: http://www.tesol.org/pubs/magz/et/compleat/v01/03-04.html




Saturday, February 3: Tech Questions and Hot Potatoes

Day Six: Technical Development Questions; Hot Potatoes


Discussion: Today we will spending time on your questions regarding moodle development and WebEx conferencing.

    1. Although I am not a tech expert like Buthaina, I am an advanced novice so I will help as much as possible.
    2. One of the best ways to add exercises to your Moodle is via Hot Potatoes. We will discuss this free resource and how to use it for online and paper quiz/exercise creation.


Assignment: We have reviewed several exercises and links that we can use to create legal English websites. For the law project, please upload links (technical and/or legal) of other useful legal English websites. Click on Law Project in the SideBar and follow the instructions.


Sunday, February 4: Wrap-Up

Day Seven: Wrap-Up


We will finish with final questions, suggestions for future courses and a session summary from the co-moderator.




Moral Dilemmas: The Bluebird Bar The Bluebird Bar.doc

Self-Correcting Exercises with MS Word Instructions for creating your own article quizzes.doc

Moodle Basics: The basics of getting started with Moodle--much more is available at www.moodle.org Moodle BasicsEVO.doc

Audacity: How to made no-cost audio recordings for you and your students Using Audacity to Make Audio Recordings.doc

Discussion: Day Five--extensive recourse list Day Five.doc

Hot Potatoes: A Brief Guide: Using Hot Potatoes.doc

From General to Legal English: Compleat Links Article--From General to Legal English.doc


Outside Legal Resources

Language4Law: www.l4law.org

Translegal: www.translegal.com

Justice Talking: www.justicetalking.org

Legal Information Institute: www.law.cornell.edu








Hot Potatoes: hotpot.uvic.ca

WebEx MeetMeNow: meetmenow.webex.com

Skype: www.skype.com

Elena Vyushkina's Legal English Course: http://www.sgap.ru/showl.phtml?departments/024-dist_handbook.htm

John Kuti's Legal English Course: In Russian at opening, but login as guest in typical Moodle location. http://do.iml.pu.ru/course/view.php?id=23

Moodle Pedagogy: http://docs.moodle.org/en/Pedagogy

Moodle for Language Teaching: http://moodle.org/course/view.php?id=31

Advanced Grammar Using News: http://www.newsroom101.com

Free Online Tutorials for Web Course Design: http://www.w3schools.com/default.asp

Hot Potatoes Users Forum: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/hotpotatoesusers/

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