“The Language of Analogy” with Tashkent State University of Law

Post by Stephen Horowitz, Professor of Legal English

I want to thank Senior Teacher Munisa Mirgiyazova and her colleagues and students at Tashkent State University of Law for inviting me again to present via Zoom to their law students yesterday. (I presented last December on the topic of the benefits of extensive reading and listening.) This May 11 presentation was titled The Language of Analogy.” (link to Google Slides), and I greatly enjoyed the questions and discussion and look forward to future collaborations with TSUL.

The presentation discussed the role of analogy in US legal writing and argumentation within the US common law legal system. And then it focused on the language patterns and parts of language used in 1) comparison and contrast, and 2) categorization.

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Georgetown Legal English at the 2023 ILEAC Annual Conference

Post by Stephen Horowitz, Professor of Legal English

Yesterday, Day 1 of the annual International Legal Education Abroad and LLM Administrators’ Conference hosted by American University Washington College of Law, Georgetown Law was represented on three different panels.

1. Craig Hoffman, founder of Georgetown Law’s 2-Year LLM Program (the first such program to exist), participated in a panel discussion titled “The Emergence of the Two-Year LLM: A Promising Alternative for Non-JD Law Programs” together with Ashley Sim (USC), Gabrielle Goodwin (Indiana University), and Rebecca Pendleton (Boston University.) The discussion, moderated by Prof. Pendleton, addressed the benefits and challenges of 2-Year LLM programs as well as changes over time.

2. Andrea Rodriguez Escobedo, Director of LLM Programs at Georgetown Law, presented on “Higher bar passage rate to attract more LL.M candidates: How can Law Schools help LL.M students pass a bar examination in the US?” A former Columbia LLM student herself, Andrea shared her and others’ research on LLM bar success and delved into the possible causes as well as potential solutions for support.

3. Stephen Horowitz, Professor of Legal English at Georgetown Law, together with Daniel Edelson, Director of Academic Success at Seton Hall Law and founder of USLawEssentials, gave a presentation titled “Some new-ish thoughts on post-pandemic Online Legal English (OLE.)” In it, we shared some examples of OLE content from the Georgetown Online Legal English course as well as from the St. John’s Law OLE course and the USLawEssentials’ OLE courses.

In particular, we focused on an approach we’ve been using called the “interactive textbook” model, which is a term we created to capture the feel of an asynchronous course that is set up sequentially and can be used as a self-guided course, but can also just as easily function as the text for an instructor-led course.

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Prof. Weger’s Grammar Workshop for Georgetown 2-Year LLM students

Post by Stephen Horowitz, Professor of Legal English, with special thanks to Prof. Julie Lake

Georgetown Law and its Two-Year LLM Program students are fortunate to have Applied Linguistics expert Prof. Heather Weger on the faculty to help multilingual law students with their writing skills.

Prof. Heather Weger

This week Prof. Weger, who holds a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics, held a Grammar- Focused Workshop to introduce  students to specific strategies to improve their self-editing skills. Self-editing is a notoriously difficult skill to develop, and students benefit from tailored support and direct practice. In Prof. Weger’s words, “My goal is to help students engage with their language choices so that they can express their thoughts and personality with clarity and confidence.”

The workshop had two components: (1) A hands-on review activity to review strategies to correct clause-level errors and write more concisely and (2) a Grammar Review Workbook with several self-diagnostic and self-study activities The workbook, created by Prof. Weger, was designed with input from the Legal English team and tailored for students in the Two-Year LL.M. program.

 

Georgetown Law’s Prof. John Dundon presents at American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) Conference

Post by Stephen Horowitz, Professor of Legal English

Georgetown Law Legal English faculty member Prof. John T. Dundon was invited to present over the weekend at the American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) Annual Conference in Portland, Oregon (March 18-21, 2023), in his capacity as a doctoral student in sociolinguistics. Georgetown’s Linguistics Department was well-represented at AAAL this year, and a number of Prof. Dundon’s professors and classmates also gave talks or participated in colloquia.

Prof. Dundon’s talk, titled “Challenging monolingual ideology in the U.S. judicial systems: A proposal for multilingual courts,” focused on one of the many intersections between law and linguistics.

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Article: “Finding the right voice(s): An engagement analysis of L2 writers in hypothetical legal writing”

Post by Stephen Horowitz, Professor of Legal English

Prof. Yiran Xu

I’m very happy to share a link to an article titled “Finding the right voice(s): An engagement analysis of L2 writers in hypothetical legal writing” by Professor Yiran Xu of University of California Merced , who completed her PhD in Applied Linguistics at Georgetown in 2020. The article–which was Professor Xu’s dissertation project–is based on her analysis of the writing of several students who were in the Georgetown 2-Year LLM Program at the time.

Here are the highlights followed by the abstract from ScienceDirect. Click the link to see the full article, which is available for free. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0898589822001280

Highlights

  • L2 legal writers who spoke the same first language and had similar initial proficiency followed distinct developmental paths.
  • L2 writers who improved could maintain a consistent position, integrate supporting evidence, and engage with counterarguments.
  • L2 writers who did not improve had difficulty maintaining a consistent legal voice.
  • For some L2 legal writers, model essays helped them explore and expand the use of Engagement resources.
  • The system of Engagement is a useful tool to understand L2 legal writers’ linguistic choices as they learn a legal genre.

Abstract

This longitudinal case study tracks the development of four second language (L2) writers’ skills in hypothetical legal writing in a year-long legal language program. Drawing on the system of Engagement from systemic functional linguistics, the study analyzes how L2 writers engaged different legal voices and advanced their arguments via three discursive strategies: dialogic expansion, contraction, and justification. An examination of the Engagement resources the writers deployed in 32 essays illustrates their diverse developmental paths and highlights the linguistic choices that reflect the variation in their development. I discuss the influence of initial L2 proficiency and model essays on L2 writers’ trajectories and the distinct challenges these writers faced in maintaining a consistent argumentative position. I argue that the system of Engagement is a useful analytical framework for understanding the linguistic choices L2 legal writers make as they work toward the communicative goals of the target legal genre.

Podcast: Multilingual Lawyer interview with Georgetown legal writing professors

Post by Stephen Horowitz, Professor of Legal English

Here is the latest podcast episode of the Multilingual Lawyer series for the USLawEssentials Law & Language podcast, in which I interviewed Georgetown Law legal writing professors Eun Hee Han and Jonah Perlin.

Here’s the write-up from the show notes:

Prof. Eun Hee Han

The USLawEssentials Law & Language podcast continues its series of interviews with multilingual lawyers as Stephen Horowitz interviews Professors Jonah Perlin and Eun Hee Han.

This is a fascinating discussion among three professors at Georgetown University Law Centre. Jonah and Eun Hee are Legal Practice professors, meaning they teach legal writing, but they also both have significant experience working with international students in Georgetown’s JD program.

Prof. Jonah Perlin

Whether you are a student or instructor you will find this to be an inspiring interview. Jonah and Eun Hee have fascinating backgrounds and their dedication to their students and love for teaching make this an enlightening chat.

Among other things, Eun Hee has previously been co-chair of the Legal Research & Writing Diversity Committee for the Association of American Law Schools. She is currently on the Editorial Board for the Asian Journal of Legal Education and a member of the Asian Pacific American Legal Writing Professors Collective. 

Jonah is also a graduate of Georgetown Law and did his undergraduate degree at Princeton University where he majored in religious studies. He has worked as a litigator at the law firm of Williams & Connolly LLP in Washington DC and also clerked for federal appeals court Judge Robert A. Katzman of the 2nd Circuit and for Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle of the US District Court for Washington, DC.

And Jonah is the founder of the very successful and influential HowILawyer Podcast in which he interviews different lawyers about how they practice law.

Online legal English for students from politically disrupted countries

Post by Prof. Stephen Horowitz, Professor of Legal English

One silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic has been increased accessibility and acceptability of online education. And one area this has already provided great benefit in the field of legal English is with online legal English education for students from politically disrupted countries.

Example 1: Female judges fleeing from Afghanistan

I learned this in Spring of 2022 when I was collaborating with Prof. Daniel Edelson of Seton Hall Law School (Daniel is a former legal English colleague from St. John’s Law and founder of USLawEssentials.com) on the creation of an online legal English legal writing course to be offered to foreign-educated attorneys in May/June 2022. As we started to make people aware of the course–which we originally anticipated would be of interest to foreign-educated attorneys preparing for the summer bar exam and/or preparing to start an LLM program in the fall–we were contacted by the Alliance for International Women’s Rights (AIWR) which, among other activities, had been running a mentoring program that matched US lawyers and judges with female judges in Afghanistan prior to the US military withdrawal.

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Updates from Georgetown Legal English Faculty

Craig Hoffman

  • In November, Professor Hoffman traveled with Georgetown Law Dean William Treanor to visit Georgetown Law LLM alumni in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
  • During the Spring 2023 semester Prof. Hoffman will teach a law and linguistics course in which students will examine originalism from a linguistic perspective.
Prof. Hoffman with Abdulaziz Altuwarijri (Georgetown 2-Yr LLM), Dean of Prince Sultan University

Yi Song

  • Professor Song’s essay Lawyering While Chinese will be published in the book Fostering First Gen Success and Inclusion: A Guide for Law School by Carolina Academic Press forthcoming February 2023.

John Dundon

Julie Lake & Heather Weger

Prof. Lake and Prof. Weger have been invited to co-present at the following conferences:

Paula Klammer

Stephen Horowitz

  • Co-presented with Prof. Daniel Edelson (Seton Hall Law) to the NY Bar Association’s Committee on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar (“NYCLEAB“) on the topic “Online education for foreign-educated LLM students” (Nov. 16, 2022)
  • Presented online webinar for Tashkent State University of Law on the topic “The Benefits of Extensive Reading & Listening in Studying Law in English”
  • Organized a “Legal English Book Club” discussion with guest Alissa Hartig, Professor of Linguistics at Portland State University, on her use of Jeffrey P. Kaplan’s book Linguistics and Law in her course on linguistics and law titled, You Have the Right to Remain Silent: Language and the Law. (Dec. 7, 2022)
  • Interviewed Georgetown Law professors of legal writing Eun Hee Han and Jonah Perlin for the Multilingual Lawyer series for the USLawEssentials Law & Language Podcast. The episode (to be published in January) focused on international students in legal writing courses.
  • Completed co-teaching (with Prof. Daniel Edelson, Seton Hall Law) a 10-week online legal English course titled “Reading US Cases” for Ukrainian graduate law students at Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University. (The course was part of a larger initiative born by collaboration between USAID and the Global Legal Skills community through which a number of US law professors have been teaching courses, giving guest lectures, and supporting English language law publication for law schools in Ukraine.)

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