Video: “Some new-ish thoughts on post-pandemic Online Legal English (OLE)”

Post by Stephen Horowitz, Professor of Legal English

Following up on the recent post “Georgetown Legal English at the 2023 ILEAC Annual Conference,” here is a link to the video of the presentation by Daniel Edelson and me on the topic “Some new-ish thoughts on post-pandemic Online Legal English (OLE.)” In it, we shared some examples of OLE models and content from the Georgetown Online Legal English course as well as from the St. John’s Law OLE course and the USLawEssentials’ OLE courses.

Video Links

Below are three different links to the same video (so you have multiple options in case one doesn’t work for some reason.)

Presentation Summary

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Master of Laws Interviews Project Season 1: Episode 6: How did a multilingual professional dancer find her calling in public interest law?

Posted by Yi Song

Gabriela Rendon
Staff Attorney at Gender Equality Law Center

How did a multilingual professional dancer find her calling in public interest law?

Gabriela Rendon, Esq. first came to the U.S. to pursue her career as a professional dancer with Martha Graham School in New York City. Fluent in English, Spanish and French, she studied law in Argentina and France. Eventually she found her calling in public interest law at Gender Equality Law Center.

How did she turn her post-graduate fellowship into a permanent position?

How did she find a career that enables her to do impactful and meaningful work?

Why is it important for lawyers to keep a creative outlet?

Subscribe to the LinkedIn weekly newsletter to receive FREE insider tips. Read Gabriela’s story here.

Cultural knowledge & LLMs: “Clerks:

Post by Stephen Horowitz, Professor of Legal English

My 2-Year LLM Program Legal English colleagues Prof. Ben Cheng and Prof. John Dundon and I have been “doing” legal English for a good while now. We know how to speak, write, and generally communicate in culturally sensitive and appropriate ways. We know how to grade our speech for multilingual learners. And it’s second nature to adjust our communications to factor in or address any potential gaps in our students’ US cultural knowledge.

But we still make mistakes.

The latest comes from the big issue-spotter question on the spring final exam for our students. The topic was criminal procedure. More specifically, Miranda rights and when a person is “in custody” and when a police officer is subjecting an individual to “interrogation.”

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Master of Laws Interviews Project Season 1: Episode 5: Eve Perez Torres – How did Sofia Vergara inspire her to embrace who she is as an international lawyer?

Posted by Yi Song

How did Sofia Vergara inspire her to embrace who she is as an international lawyer?

Eve Perez Torres moved to the U.S. from Colombia and started law school at the age of 34. She studied part time while raising a child. Today she is the Senior Attorney at FedEx working on legal and regulatory matters with counsels from around the world.

How did she land your first law job in the U.S.?

How did Sofia Vergara inspire her to embrace who she is as a lawyer?

What is it like to work in the in-house legal department for a multinational corporation?

Subscribe to the LinkedIn weekly newsletter to receive FREE insider tips. Read Eve’s story here.

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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Master of Laws Interviews Project Season 1: Episode 3: Xin Tao – How did he make it to the top at BigLaw as a non-native English speaker?

Posted by Yi Song

Before Xin made partner at Baker McKenzie, he could not find many role models who have the exact same background as his. He moved to the U.S. from China in his early twenties to pursue a graduate degree in biochemistry. He was increasingly disillusioned about the scientific research he was doing. One day, he was studying in the library with a friend, who was studying for the LSAT. It all started with a joke about whether Xin would be able to beat his friend on the test. Xin ended up going to law school and the rest is history.

By now you have probably read the Paul Hasting’s presentation on the non-negotiable expectations for junior associates, what does a BigLaw partner think of that? How did Xin find his first job in the U.S. leveraging the alum network at Georgetown Law? How did he survive and thrive at BigLaw? What are the challenges he faced as a non-native English speaker and how did he overcome it? How does he develop meaningful relationships with colleagues and clients?

Subscribe to the LinkedIn weekly newsletter to receive FREE insider tips from Xin. Read Xin’s story here.

Master of Laws Interviews Project Season 1: Episode 4: Yara Karam – How did a LinkedIn recipe turn into her BigLaw externship?

Posted by Yi Song

It’s also important to know how to market yourself to potential employers without selling yourself short.

Yara Karam

Yara Karam and Amal Clooney have at least two things in common. They are both Lebanese. They are both international lawyers with a LL.M. degree. Yara is fluent in Arabic, French and English. How did a Rice Krispie recipe on LinkedIn lead to her externship at Hogan Lovells, where she was tasked to do cool things such as going to congressional hearings and joining a call with the Secretary of State of the United State? How did she leverage her language skills and work experience through existing connections on LinkedIn? What’s her advice on how to become a valuable addition at your first job?

Subscribe to the LinkedIn weekly newsletter to receive FREE insider tips from Yara. Read Yara’s story here.

Yi Song, the Executive Director for Graduate and International Programs and Adjunct Professor at Georgetown Law, is the founder of the Master of Laws Interviews Project. The project provides curated insights to help internationally trained lawyers to establish and develop their U.S. legal careers.

Linguistic analysis of great vs. average legal writing

Post by Stephen Horowitz, Professor of Legal English

As a legal English professor in Georgetown’s 2-Year LLM Program and a “law & language” nerd, I greatly appreciate any efforts to analyze and identify concrete elements of legal writing that help distinguish the quality or genre of the writing. (See, e.g., some of my experiments with ChatGPT and legal writing as a grammar fixer and on cohesion.)

For my international LLM students, this kind of information can be exponentially more helpful to understand that, e.g., dependent clauses can help one’s legal analysis come across more cohesively, as opposed to suggestions to “Include more analysis” or “Be more concise.” A dependent clause is an objectively defined thing that you can hang a hat on. And even if a student doesn’t know what it is or how to recognize or construct it, it’s something that is very learnable.

I was therefore very excited to come across the below Twitter thread from UNLV Legal Writing Professor and Write.law founder Joe Regalia today, explaining that he was in the midst of a linguistic comparison involving 10 court opinions written by Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan (renowned for the quality of her writing) and 50 legal briefs written by various lawyers. In his tweets he shares some early observations from the analysis. Though alas, it’s just a teaser and it seems like we’ll have to wait for the full report or article to come out at some point to see the rest. If this were published as a book, I would be right there in the line outside Barnes & Nobles with all the other lawyer linguists waiting to get one of the first copies, a la Harry Potter mania.

Enjoy!

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