“Approaching Legal English Through Transactional Law” – Prof. Dundon presents at Language & Law Conference in Poland

Post by Stephen Horowitz, Professor of Legal English

Prof. John Terry Dundon, a member of Georgetown Law’s Legal English Faculty who teaches in the Georgetown Two-Year LLM Program, recently attended the Sixth Biennial Language and Law Conference at the University of Bialystok, Faculty of Law in Bialystok, Poland.  It was his second time at the conference (he last attended in 2019), and he had a great time reconnecting with legal English professionals from all over Europe. 

Prof. Dundon presenting at University of Bialystok

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.

Prof. Dundon in Warsaw

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.

Updates from the Georgetown Legal English Faculty (June 2023)

Post by Stephen Horowitz, Professor of Legal English

Julie Lake 

  • 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.

John Dundon

  • Presented at the Sixth International Language & Law Conference at the University of Bialystok Faculty of Law in Bialystok, Poland in June. Title: “Approaching Legal English through Transactional Law.”
  • Will be teaching “Introduction to U.S. Contract Drafting and Interpretation” at IE University Law School in Madrid, Spain in June and July.
  • Presenting at the Twelfth Bonn Applied Linguistics Conference in Bonn, Germany in July. Title: “When multilingual litigants encounter monolingual ideologies in U.S. judicial opinions.”
  • Teaching “U.S. Legal Research, Analysis & Writing” for Georgetown Law’s Summer Experience program in August.
  • Traveling in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan with my family.

Heather Weger

  • 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.

Paula Klammer

  • Continuing to work on her dissertation titled “The Semantic Rabbit Hole”
  • Preparing to teach “Advanced Scholarly Writing and Oral Communication in the Law” in the fall together with Profs. Julie Lake and Heather Weger.
  • Studying German at the Goethe Institut this summer (and loving it!).
  • Hosting Argentinian Legal Spanish expert Hairenik Aramayo for her US visit in July.
  • And she and her husband Pablo went to the Capital Wheel at National Harbor for Pablo’s birthday, and they received a photo!  

Stephen Horowitz

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.”

Continue reading “Cultural knowledge & LLMs: “Clerks:”