Sneak preview of “The Getting to Yes Guide for ESL Students and Professionals”

Post by Stephen Horowitz, Professor of Legal English

The Getting to Yes Guide for ESL Students and Professionals: Principled Negotiation for Non-Native Speakers of English (University of Michigan Press) by Barrie J. Roberts is due out soon.

I had the good fortune to be one of the reviewers for this book, which I think addresses an important need. Barrie recently sent me some sneak-peak photos of the book. And I realized that a blurb I’d written will be on the back cover!

Looking forward to getting a copy when it’s out and hopefully seeing it used in a future negotiation course for our LLM students.

Legal English for Ukraine’s War Crimes Prosecutors

Post by Heather Weger and Julie Lake

Today, the second anniversary of the ground and air campaign on Kyiv in the early hours of February 24, 2022, we stop to reflect on Ukraine’s ongoing innovation during a full-scale Russian invasion. We, members from the Legal English team – Julie Lake, Michelle Ueland, and Heather Weger – were honored to contribute to this endeavor through our tailored, intensive 5-week program focusing on language skills for a team from the Office of the Prosecutor General (OPG) in Ukraine in November and December of 2023.

The Participants

The participants from the OPG team included Viktoriia Litvinova (the Deputy Prosecutor General), Oleksii Boniuk (Head of the Criminal Policy and Investment Protection Department), Veronika Plotnikova (Head of the Coordinating Center for the Support of Victims and Witnesses), Siuzanna Savchuk (Head of the Communications Department), and Yuliia Usenko (Head of the Department for the Protection of Children’s Interests and Combating Domestic Violence).

Our program empowered these incredible OPG representatives to meet the linguistic demands of their varied responsibilities. According to Veronika Plotnikova, the program and teachers enabled her team to meet their goal of “acquiring language skills necessary to communicate to the world about all the damage of the unprovoked and brutal aggression unleashed by the Russian regime.” 

The Program

Our participant-centered pedagogical approach was genre-based – built around texts and speech acts needed for the OPG participants’ interactions. Examples of pedagogical methods that we used included:

  • Brainstorming and practicing answering common questions to identify critical gaps in legal and academic vocabulary, 
  • Developing a series of interactive activities to help the team facilitate conversations with legal experts, 
  • Creating talking points that followed the expected organizational strategies in legal English (i.e., begin with the main point and then offer details and support),
  • Drafting CVs and bios that employed expected rhetorical strategies for meetings with US governmental counterparts,
  • Reviewing pronunciation and grammar guidelines based on student needs, and
  • Providing intensive personalized feedback for language development.

These pedagogical approaches allowed for participants to enrich their Legal English skills within our brief – but intensive – five weeks with them.

Learning was not confined to the classroom walls. Our OPG team was ushered into numerous law-focused and historical experiential opportunities. During these opportunities, they engaged in real-world language practice, including following the McElrath v. Georgia case from Georgetown Law’s moot court to the Supreme Court, attending the Atlantic Council’s EU-US Defense and Future Forum, a visit to the Library of Congress, a tour of the US Capitol, and a visit to Lincoln’s Cottage. In addition, the participants completed ACTFL’s oral proficiency interview.

The Partnerships

This specialized Legal English program was possible due to a deep collaboration with members of the Georgetown Law community. This collaboration allowed the OPG team to not only strategize how to combat the harm from Russia’s ongoing war on Ukraine’s people and environment but also to innovate their legal system. Partners included members of Georgetown’s Center on National Security (CNS) with funding through the Office of Global Criminal Justice (GJC) via the Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group (ACA) for Ukraine. 

We want to share special appreciation for the dedication, creativity, and professionalism of CNS Co-Director Professor Mitt Regan and Executive Director  Anna Cave; ACA Law Fellow Gus Hargrave; and the CNS logistical support team, Ann McKinnon and Angelika Osiniak. Together, these partners provided opportunities for the OPG team to meet with experts and governmental officials, and they supported the logistical aspects of their stay in Washington, D.C. 

Razom (Together, We are Ukraine)

It was an honor to work with this dedicated group of professionals from the OPG team, and we look forward to future collaborations!

Want to learn more about Ukraine? Check out these selected resources:


Press Releases

Humanitarian Feature Stories 

  • “Ukrainians Accuse Russia of Kidnapping, Indoctrinating Ukrainian Children”: Link to transcript (here); Link to video (here)
  • “Ukrainian Widows, Children Work to Overcome Grief, Trauma at Climbing Camp in the Austrian Alps”: Link to a transcript with video (here); Link to related article (here)
  • Contemporary Ukrainian authors recommended by Veronika Plotnikova
  • “Ukrainian Literature in Times of War: A Conversation with Oksana Zabuzhko” (here)


“Do you have any resources you recommend for international students trying to get their bearings in constitutional law?”

This great question was recently emailed by Prof. Eileen Pizzurro, Director of Academic Success & Bar Studies at Rutgers Law School to me and to Prof. Daniel Edelson (founder of USLawEssentials and Director of Academic Success at Seton Hall Law School.)

It gets at the challenge many law schools face in supporting international students–particularly those in JD programs as opposed to LLM programs–since those in JD programs need to take Constitutional Law with all the American JD students. And of all the 1L courses, Constitutional Law in the US has a particularly high degree of the kind of background and cultural knowledge that you absorb by growing up and going to school in the US.

And it’s frequently academic support faculty, legal writing faculty, and occasionally legal English faculty who find themselves needing to provide self-guided resources (because who has the time to teach a 1-on-1 Constitutional Law seminar?) to students thrown into the water and trying to learn to swim.

“Do you have any resources you recommend for international students trying to get their bearings in constitutional law?”

After hitting send on my email reply, I realized this should be a blog post so that other instructors out there have something they can easily refer students to when asked this question.

Below is my response. Though I’m happy to add more if others have suggestions:

1. USLawEssentials videos on the Constitution and Fundamentals of the US Legal System

Easily accessible (for free) on YouTube and created by Prof. Daniel Edelson (Director of Academic Success at Seton Hall Law and the founder of USLawEssentials), these often animated videos may be the quickest and easiest way for non-native English speaking lawyers/law students to start getting their head around the US Constitution and related topics in the US legal system.

In particular, there are playlists (i.e., multiple videos on a related topic) relate to Constitutional law on topics such as Constitution: The Federal Government and Important Freedoms (30 videos) and The Constitution: Tests for Constitutionality (18 videos). There are plenty of other helpful explainer videos Daniel has created that might be helpful. But those two playlists are good place to start and will give a learner plenty to do. Notably, Daniel has a great knack for communicating in a way that is intended specifically and very accessible for non-native English speakers.


2. USLawEssentials self-guided online pre-LLM course

Daniel Edelson and I have created an online self-guided pre-LLM course program based on curriculum we’ve developed and taught in the past. It’s currently being provided on a pro bono basis to Afghan judges and lawyers in connection with the ABA Afghan Legal Professionals Scholarship & Mentoring Pilot Program. Certain course modules focus on the Constitution and fundamentals of the US legal system. (Others focus on Case Reading & Analysis; Fundamentals of Legal Writing; the US Civil Litigation System; and a Law & Language podcast-based study module.) The course has not yet been made generally available. But if anyone has interest–either as an individual or an organization–you can contact Daniel Edleson at


3. Georgetown Legal English Blog

The Legal English Resources page lists various books and podcasts, among other items, that may be helpful to learning about US Constitutional Law and related topics.


4. Civics101 Podcast

An extensive series of podcast episodes, created by New Hampshire Public Radio, which are great explainers on a wide range of relevant topics.



An online gamified way to let US school students teach themselves about US government and constitution. Many (most?) schools in the US are using this to teach civics to their students. (My 10 year old daughter has been using it a lot lately.)


6. Khan Academy

Khan Academy has a large library of lessons that might be helpful. I once went through all the offerings that seemed possibly relevant (there’s a lot!) and pulled out ones that might be helpful for my students. Then I organized them into a “course” on the Khan Academy website and titled the course “OLE: US Legal System-Core Concepts & Vocabulary (supp). A fair amount of the lessons I think were intended for AP History/Government students in US high schools. I haven’t used it in a while, but it still exists. So if you don’t feel like looking for all the lessons yourself, feel free to just join my course. Here’s the link for the OLE: US Legal System-Core Concepts & Vocabulary “course.”. And the join code for my “class” is VQ6XUCKW if you need it. 


7. Street Law: Understanding Law and Legal Issues, Student Edition (Civics & Government) 

Intended for high school students as a practical guide to US law, government, and civics. But great for non-native English speaking lawyers and law students because it is rich in law-related vocabulary and US legal system concepts, it’s easier to read than a law school textbook, and it has a great glossary in the back of the book.


8. US Government Resources

Recommended by Prof. Susan Landrum, Dean of Students and Assistant Dean of Academic Administration, University of Illinois College of Law

These are some additional resources on U.S. government resources that my students have found helpful in the past:

9. Netflix series: “We the People”

Recommended by Prof. Bythia Louzoun, a legal English lecturer at the Academic College of Natanya in Israel where she teaches classes with Muslim, Jewish, and Druze students together in the same class. In addition to English language, Prof. Louzoun also teaches Hebrew and French.

Additional suggestions from Prof. Louzoun include:

The Judicial Learning Center – Great activities, short quizzes, and simple explanations. – A great website for debates!

Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers: The Informer – My students love the Informer from FLETC. And their FLETC Office of the Chief Counsel podcast on Spotify (and YouTube series “FLETC Talks“) is very helpful in explaining criminal procedure under the 4th Amendment. (Warrantless searches are a big part of our syllabus!)

I use videos from iCivics -The Constitution Explained

I also use a lot of material from ICivics and Street Law and I create my own Quizlets.


Do you have ideas and suggestions for other materials that should be included here?Maybe something that has been been helpful to you or someone else you know?

Just email and let me know. I’m happy to add more to this post. Thanks!

Legal English faculty win TESOL scholarship

Post by Stephen Horowitz, Professor of Legal English

We’re very proud to share that Georgetown Legal English faculty members Profs. Heather Weger and Julie Lake for winning Washington Area TESOL‘s Jim Weaver Scholarship for Professional Development.

Profs. Weger and Lake, who both teach in Georgetown Law’s Two-Year LLM Program, plan to use the funds for the purchase of research materials related to legal writing for multilingual students. Weger explained, “We are on a mission to use linguists to bridge the gap between legal content and multilingual legal experts.”

The Two-Year LLM Experience: Tzu-ching (Jin) Lin

By Tzu-ching (Jin) Lin, Georgetown LLM Class of 2024. Lin is a graduate of National Chengchi University and previously practiced law in Taiwan for five years.

I’m very happy to have the opportunity to share my two-year LLM experience at Georgetown Law. 

Before I started at Georgetown Law, I didn’t know much about Georgetown Law’s Two-Year LLM program. Initially, I thought the one-year program was too short, and pursuing a JD was too expensive for me. However, over these two years, I’ve gained valuable knowledge and accumulated local experience in the US.

So, I want to take this chance to share my LLM plan and experience, and offer some advice to future students considering this path. In this post, I’ll first outline my LLM plan and how I executed it. Next, I’ll share insights on finding externships. Finally, I’ll delve into my overall experience and provide some advice. My aim is to create a comprehensive two-year LLM guideline that can assist future students.

Through these two parts, I hope to convey that the two-year program isn’t just for those who aren’t proficient in English; rather, it’s an academic program where you can enhance your knowledge, skills, and accumulate practical experience in the US.

  1. LLM plan

Before enrolling in Georgetown Law, my plan was to enhance my legal writing skills and complete 12 credits to meet the NY Bar requirements during my first year. For my second year, I intended to enroll in an Environmental and Energy Law program, with a focus on international arbitration and energy law.

National Chengchi University (NCCU) in Taiwan

During the first year of Georgetown Law’s Two-Year LLM program, most classes are mandatory, eliminating the need to worry about registration. Instead, the focus should be on immersing oneself in the class material and understanding the US culture. In the Legal English I & II courses, taught by Professors Stephen Horowitz, John Dundon, and Benjamin Cheng, they not only guided us on how to read cases thoroughly but also provided a critical thinking aspect to help us better understand how to work with common law. This guidance proved invaluable, allowing me to read cases more efficiently in my second year. 

One unique aspect of the two-year program that I particularly enjoyed was the emphasis on Legal Writing. What made it special was having professors with both law and linguistic degrees. It felt like having a writing coach guide us in thinking like English writers and developing skills in crafting memoranda and academic papers.

Prof. Julie Lake

For example, Prof. Julie Lake, my instructor for the Fundamentals of Legal Writing course, was able to provide invaluable suggestions and guidance as I learned the process of writing a legal memorandum and an academic paper. She not only taught me the basics of English writing, but more importantly, she taught me how to analyze my own writing problems so that I could develop a method of self-correcting my writing. This enabled me to write very effectively and with confidence in the seminar class I took in my second year of the program.

To further support my goal of enhancing my legal writing, I also applied to become an advisor for the Georgetown Journal of International Law (GJIL) and was fortunate to be selected. As an advisor, my responsibilities included checking citations and even afforded me the opportunity to write posts for the GJIL blog on topics such as how arbitration awards from Taiwan can be recognized internationally. Typically, LLM students are not afforded the opportunity to publish notes in student journals. But if you’re motivated and know about opportunities like this in advance, you can gain writing experience that can be beneficial for your career.

  1. Externship

Additionally, for those interested in an externship, whether in the summer or the following spring, it’s advisable to start crafting a resume at the beginning of the semester.

Lin (center) with some of his classmates in Prof. Horowitz’s Legal English I class.

In general, LLM students are usually limited to one externship opportunity, and some two-year students may opt to undertake an externship during the summer. However, if you enroll in Georgetown’s Environmental and Energy Law LLM program, you have the chance to pursue a second externship, as it is a requirement for the program; otherwise, you would need to take a practicum course. Personally, I completed my first externship in the summer and my second externship in the spring. As a Two-Year LLM program student, you can utilize “Pre-completion OPT” (i.e., Optional Practical Training) after completing your first academic year. I used this option to secure an internship during my second year, accumulating three local experiences in the US., which I believe will enhance my job prospects.

For a Taiwanese lawyer without international experience, finding an externship in the US. can be challenging. However, there are ways to enhance your chances. Firstly, it’s crucial to prepare a  resume, cover letter, and writing sample, as these materials play a more significant role than you might think. They not only align with the American culture of job hunting but also reflect the effectiveness of your written communication – how well you can showcase your strengths in concise terms. Regarding resume and cover letter, the staff of Georgetown Law’s Office of Graduate Careers are always ready to help. But for me I think the most helpful material was their “Career Manual” because it contains numerous templates, which are extremely helpful when writing an American-style resume and cover letter.

Secondly, adopting the right mindset is essential. Many may think, “My English is not good enough,” or “I lack relevant experience, so I won’t be able to find an externship.” However, sometimes, it’s not just about language skills and experience; it’s about having the courage to try. As Prof. Yi Song, Executive Director of the Office of Graduate & International Programs at Georgetown Law, wisely advised me, “You have nothing to lose, just try it.” With this mindset, I believe that you can successfully secure an externship during your LLM.

  1. Conclusion

Studying abroad is a fantastic opportunity. You can choose to travel around and experience different cultures, or you can opt to focus on building up your professional skills. It’s not a matter of right or wrong; it’s a matter of personal choice. 

Lin (back right) at end-of-semester bbq party at Prof. Horowitz’s home.

However, when you choose to enhance your professional skills, don’t limit yourself to just studying at school. You can add vibrant colors to your study abroad experience by actively engaging with professors and seeking externships. This advice holds particularly true for those interested in a two-year program. 

With more time at your disposal, you have the opportunity to explore your interests, resources and deepen your professional knowledge. So, be sure to approach this journey with passion and enjoy every moment of it.