Prof. Dundon gave a presentation titled Approaching Legal English through Transactional Law, which summarized the way that his current class on Contract Drafting at Georgetown Law combines substantive instruction about contract drafting with practice in a number of legal English skills (e.g., adapting language from precedent contracts, explaining contractual changes in ordinary English, and writing professional emails). He walked the audience through his syllabus, course materials, and one of the units from the course.
Questions afterwards related to ways that the course could be adapted to classes in programs that are not overtly US-law focused, as well as different ways to combine expertise from both lawyers and linguists in a single classroom.
Other presentations at the conference related to legal English instruction in a variety of educational and institutional contexts, legal translation, the Plain English movement, and the work of multilingual lawyers in Europe.
Overall it was a fascinating conference, and Prof. Dundon felt very lucky to attend.
Professor Lake will spend the summer working with Professor Heather Weger to revise the language-focused curriculum for Fundamentals of Legal Writing for the 2023-2024 academic year. In Fall 2023, incoming Two-Year students will learn how to use language-based strategies to craft a high-quality memo (i.e., a lawyer-to-lawyer document). In Spring 2024,incoming Two-Year students will learn about the scholarly writing genre and how to write a high-quality mini-scholarly legal research paper. She will also research productive ways to use ChatGPT as a learning tool for law and linguistic students.
When she is not working, she will be traveling, hiking, and camping with her family. Her personal “language-based” summer project is to begin learning how to speak Spanish in preparation for her daughter’s new two-way Spanish-English immersion school.
Professor Weger is excited to be traveling to South Korea this summer! On July 5, she will speak at an alumni event generously hosted by Mr. Seung-Hoon Lee, Chairman of Lee International IP & Law Group, Board Member of ALAAB, and alumnus of Georgetown Law Center and Seoul National University.
Prof. Weger is looking forward to making connections with the international community that Georgetown embraces and providing updates on the Law Center, including a focus on the innovative and impactful Two-Year LL.M. Program.
Received a grant from the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD) for his proposal (with Prof. Daniel Edelson of Seton Hall Law) to create a self-guided online legal writing course that would make legal writing instruction easily available to students in Ukraine and anywhere else in the world at no cost and on their own schedule.
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.”