Things I’m trying in our first-ever self-paced, asynchronous legal English course

Stephen Horowitz is the Director of Online Legal English Programs at Georgetown Law.

Since I started my new position at Georgetown Law in January, 2020 (just a couple months before the COVID-19 pandemic descended upon us), my primary focus has been developing a self-paced, asynchronous online legal English course. It’s been an exciting learning and creative experience, and the course now happily exists!

It’s called OLE: Orientation to the U.S. Legal System (though we have also created another iteration with the perhaps more literally descriptive title OLE: U.S. Legal System – Core Concepts & Vocabulary), and though it felt like this day would never arrive, I’ve now actually begun teaching it. (Note: OLE = Online Legal English)

Of course, I’m not teaching in the traditional sense. I’m not in a classroom and I don’t even have any lesson plans. All of that is embedded into the self-paced, do-it-yourself course. The course is set up so that students essentially work through it on their own, with various activities due each day and a final graded writing assignment due at the end of each week. The only synchronous component is are one or two Zoom office hour sessions each week that provide a chance for students to ask questions and discuss anything they want, and for all of us to get to know each other better. It’s this sort of “flipped classroom” model in an online, asynchronous set-up that I’ve never done before. And that I think has not yet been done in the legal English world. (And by the way, if I’m wrong, please don’t hesitate to let me know.)

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Welcome to the Georgetown Legal English Blog!

Hi everyone! We started this blog to be able to:

  • Share who we are, what we do, and what we’ve been doing to help LL.M. and other learners learn more about law while improving their law-related English.
  • Connect and share ideas with others in the global community of those teaching legal English.

Stay tuned. There’s more to come. But while you’re waiting you can meet the Georgetown Legal English Faculty.

Georgetown Law Legal English Faculty

Professor Craig Hoffman

  • Director, Legal English Programs
  • Professor of U.S. Legal Discourse
  • JD, University of Texas
  • PhD, Linguistics, University of Connecticut
  • BA, William & Mary 

Professor Marta Baffy

  • Director, 2-Year LLM Program
  • Professor of Legal English
  • JD, Cardozo Law School
  • PhD, Applied Linguistics, Georgetown
  • Masters, Applied Linguistics, Columbia University
  • BA, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Classes:
  • Foreign Languages: Hungarian, French, Italian, Croatian

Professor Michelle Ueland

  • Director, Center for Legal English
  • Professor of Legal English
  • PhD, Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies, University of New Mexico
  • MA, Applied Linguistics, Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica
  • BA, English Literature and Women’s Studies, Minnesota State University
  • Classes: Advanced Scholarly Writing; Oral Communication in the Law; Foundations of Legal Writing (Two Year LLM) 
  • Foreign Languages: Spanish

Professor Stephen Horowitz

  • Director, Online Legal English Programs
  • Professor of Legal English
  • JD, Duke University School of Law
  • Masters in TESOL, CUNY-Hunter College
  • BA, University of Pennsylvania
  • Classes: Orientation to the U.S. Legal System
  • Foreign Languages: Japanese, Spanish, and a little bit of Chinese, Hebrew, and Portuguese
  • Connect with Prof. Horowitz on LinkedIn

Professor Mari Sakai

  • Professor of Legal English
  • PhD, Applied Linguistics, Georgetown
  • MAT, University of South Florida
  • BA, University of North Carolina
  • Classes:
  • Foreign Languages: Japanese

Professor Andrew Kerr

  • Professor of Legal English
  • SJD, Georgetown
  • JD, Columbia University
  • BA, Wesleyan University
  • Classes:
  • Foreign Languages: A little bit of Vietnamese

Professor Julie Lake

  • Director, JD Legal English Programming
  • Professor of Legal English
  • PhD, Applied Linguistics, Georgetown 
  • MS, Linguistics, Georgetown
  • BA, Oberlin College
  • Classes: 
  • Foreign Languages: German, French, Hebrew, and a little bit of Hindi

Professor Heather Weger

  • Professor of Legal English
  • PhD, Applied Linguistics, Georgetown
  • MAT, TESOL & Bilingual Education, Georgetown
  • MA, Adult & Higher Education, University of Oklahoma
  • BA, Washington University in St. Louis
  • Classes: Fundamentals of Legal Writing I & II
  • Foreign Languages: German, Spanish, and a little bit of French, Korean, and Japanese

Professor Almas Khan

  • Professor of Legal English
  • JD, University of Chicago
  • PhD, English, University of Virginia
  • MA, University of California Irvine
  • BA, Stanford
  • Classes:
  • Foreign Languages: Urdu and a little bit of French and Arabic

Professor Benjamin Cheng

  • Professor of Legal English
  • JD, University of Pennsylvania
  • AB, Harvard
  • Classes:
  • Foreign Languages: Chinese (Mandarin) and a little Japanese

Professor John Dundon

  • Professor of Legal English
  • JD, George Washington University
  • MA, Applied Linguistics, Columbia University
  • BA, University of Virginia
  • Classes:
  • Foreign Languages: French, Russian, Farsi, Tajik and Rushani
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