National security, homosexuality and legal English?

Post by Prof. Stephen Horowitz, Legal English Lecturer

On the New York Time Book Review Podcast this week (after a discussion of The Great Stewardess Rebellion) they discussed a book that caught my attention: Secret City: The Hidden History of Gay Washington by James Kirchick.

[Note: Here’s an excerpt from the book recently published in The Atlantic: “Being Gay Was the Gravest Sin in Washington: In the 1960s, the capital was an alluring but dangerous place for people with a secret.”]

The scope of the book turned out to be a little narrower, though no less intriguing, than the title initially indicated. The “Washington” referred to is not about life in general in the Nation’s Capital, but more specifically focuses on the national security policy-making world centered in Washington.

Either way, this seemed like a terrific pre-LLM read to mention to our incoming LLM students–particularly any incoming international students in Georgetown Law’s highly regarded National Security Law LLM program. A wonderful way to build cultural and background knowledge on the history (and vocabulary) of national security politics and policy in Washington while also accounting for and shedding light on an untold and underrepresented historical voice and perspective.

Here’s the NY Times Book Review podcast episode. The discussion of Secret City starts about halfway through the episode:

And here’s a summary of Secret City from Amazon:

Continue reading “National security, homosexuality and legal English?”

Beyond Non-JD: More advice for applicants to LLM programs

Post by Prof. Stephen Horowitz, Legal English Lecturer

Josh Alter, Beyond Non-JD blog

My friend and former colleague Joshua Alter recently wrote two new posts on his blog Beyond Non-JD that provide unique insights on selecting an LLM program at a US law school. I always find Josh’s perspectives helpful, and I figure that many readers of this blog may appreciate them as well.

  1. The LL.M. and Working in the U.S.
    • “….three keys for foreign-educated students to think about when choosing the LL.M. instead of the J.D. with the primary goal to work in the United States upon graduation.”
    • “….if the goal is to work in the U.S. after the LL.M., especially on a student visa, it’s really important to plan far ahead and understand the cost-benefit in making either decision.”
  2. Bar Exams & LL.M. Students
    • 6 things to keep in mind about the US bar exam when considering a US LLM program

New Georgetown Online Legal English Course: “OLE: Reading Cases”

Post by Prof. Stephen Horowitz, Legal English Lecturer

Research Help | Georgetown Law Library | Georgetown Law

I’m very excited to share that Georgetown Law’s Center for Legal English is now offering a second self-paced online legal English course titled Online Legal English (OLE): Reading Cases (beta version) which is currently available to all incoming Georgetown LLM students (1-year LLMs as well as those in the 2-year LLM program.)

I created the course last year as a complement to the first course I developed–OLE: Orientation to the US Legal System. And this spring we began offering both courses at no additional cost to all incoming LLM students so that they can start preparing for the fall semester and gain relevant background knowledge in a way that is as convenient for them as possible.

(Note: I think this makes us the first and only law school to offer entirely asynchronous, self-paced legal English courses. But if anyone knows of any other ones out there, please let me know and I’ll post an update here.)

While OLE: Orientation to the US Legal System focuses on the US legal system, separation of powers, and federalism in a way that enables students to improve their legal English through the study materials and activities, OLE: Reading Cases introduces students to the concept of what a case is (and isn’t) in the US legal system and teaches students how to analyze the language and discourse of cases in order to better comprehend them and better anticipate the questions they will need to address in class and on assignments.

The course is unfortunately not able to be made available to non-Georgetown students for technical reasons beyond our control, but below are a few screenshots to give a sense of what it contains.

[Update: A few people have contacted me to say they’re not a Georgetown student but would love to be able to take a course like this. If you’re not a Georgetown student but are interested in finding other online legal English options, just get in touch with me at and I’m happy to help.]

And I’m always happy to chat and share about the ideas and planning that went into the course if anyone is ever interested in discussing. Just get in touch.

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LLMs and JD students: Creating opportunities for interaction

Post by Prof. Stephen Horowitz, Legal English Lecturer

Question: Aside from class integration and language partners, have you done any programs at your respective schools that have been particularly effective at bringing these groups together?

I recently saw the above question (on a listserv for LLM program administrators) about ways to foster connections between LLM students and JD students, as this type of integration is something greatly appreciated by LLM students and can make a program more appealing and provide a richer and fuller experience for LLM students.

For JD students, on the other hand, this is not necessarily something many of them are seeking as they often have their own priorities and pressure-filled law school lives. So how do you flush out the JD students who might be interested in connecting with LLM students? Or create opportunities for connection and interaction that are genuinely engaging and don’t feel forced?

Here are some previous ideas and experiences I shared for building LLM-JD connections and interaction that are a little outside the usual ideas and which I thought may be helpful or inspire new ideas:

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A podcast about women lawyers…and legal English?

Post by Prof. Stephen Horowitz, Legal English Lecturer

Heels in the Courtroom” is a podcast by three female lawyers who talk about being a woman and working in law. In their latest episode (“Ep 510: Can you please stop comparing?“) they discuss the innate need we have to compare ourselves to others and the ways it affects them in their own law practice as well as the ways they struggle with comparing themselves to others in their personal lives.

In additional to being an extremely relevant and engaging topic and discussion, it’s also a wonderful source of legal English (and socio-emotional English) as they regularly reference their work on depositions, jury selection, settlement negotiations, etc.

It’s a refreshing kind of conversation to hear among lawyers and also provides great insights into American legal culture, and American culture in general, which is valuable for any lawyer or law student from another country or culture who is planning to study at a US law school or work with American lawyers in some context.

It’s worth also noting that their previous episodes toggle between career advice and work-life balance topics (e.g., Ep 503: Got Nerves?, Ep 418: “Back Off Buddy.”; Dealing with Intimidation in the Deposition, and Ep 506: Don’t Take it Personally) and more specific, technical legal topics (e.g., Ep 419: Sovereign Immunity, Ep 415: Jury Instructions and Ep 317: Deposition Objections).

So if you like podcasts and want to improve your legal English, definitely check out Heels in the Courtroom.

Podcast interview with legal translator Paula Arturo

Post by Prof. Stephen Horowitz, Legal English Lecturer

I was very excited this morning to see that Daniel Sebesta of the American Translators Association (ATA) podcast had done a podcast interview with my Georgetown Legal English colleague, Professor Paula Arturo, about her work and career path as a legal translator. Episode and more info from the ATA website below:

From the ATA website:

“This is not another lawyer-turned-translator story which just goes to show you that there’s more one way to become a legal translator! In this episode of Inside Specialization, lawyer-linguist Paula Arturo tells ATA member Daniel Sebesta about the role passion plays in the decision to become a legal translator and why how much you’re willing to learn is key to becoming one of the best. You’ll also discover why “follow the money” is the secret to choosing a subspecialty, how you can compete against machine translation, and a surprising skill you’ll need to climb this career ladder.Comments? Email”