English for Legal Studies is a two-level-reading textbook for students of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) who have a basic knowledge of English. It is designed primarily for law school students, lawyers, and other legal professionals with interest in learning legal English.
English for Legal Studies is made up of ten thematically-based units, each of which contains one/two readings. Skill-building and vocabulary-building activities accompany each reading.
An important goal of English for Legal Studies is to help students become confident readers by increasing their vocabulary base and improving their word-comprehension skills. It engages them in the process of reading thoughtfully and encourages them to move beyond merely passive reading. To accomplish this, the BOOKaddresses the reading process in a direct manner, and various reading and vocabulary skills are presented as part of that process. The instruction and practice with reading skills help students increase their reading fluency, and equip them with skills they need for academic achievement. Focus on vocabulary-building promotes their language acquisition and academic advancement. Also, the lexical and syntactic content of the readings has been controlled. The tasks are varied, accessible, and engaging, and they provide stimuli for frequent student-teacher and student-student interaction.
Student awareness of reading and thinking processes is further encouraged in many parts of the BOOK by exercises which require students to work in pairs or small groups. In discussions with others, students formulate and articulate their ideas more precisely, and so they acquire new ways of TALKING and thinking about a text. These activities present opportunities for real-world contact and real-world use of language. Students are asked to write, and then to read each other’s work so they can experience the connection between reading and writing.
Traditionally reading classes are based on one of two approaches: in one approach, class time is primarily spent with students doing individual reading and exercise-completion; in the other, class time is devoted to group discussions of the reading and exercise-completion. Because both approaches are important, this BOOKintegrates them by alternating reading activities with speaking and/or writing activities.
Within each unit, students will not only practice reading, but they will also receive instruction in various skills and strategies incorporated into the reading process.
The basic format of each unit in English for Legal Studies is as follows:
These pre-reading questions serve to introduce the topic of the reading and get students thinking about that topic. Activating prior knowledge allows students to tap into what they already know and then build on that knowledge, and stirs curiosity. The questions allow students to interact with each other.
A number of key words and phrases which are common in legal English are explained in simple English. These are followed by a fill-in-the-blanks exercise to make sure that students understand the words and can use them in context. Understanding is crucial to language acquisition.
Scanning and Skimming
In this section students are asked to scan the reading for specific information, or to skim it for main ideas and other general information.
In this section a variety of skill-building and vocabulary-building exercises is introduced: determining the main idea; understanding reading structure; guessing meaning from context; recognizing contextual reference; finding topics and topic sentences; understanding signal terms; making an outline; understanding cause and effect; comparison and contrast; exemplification; classification; understanding antonyms and synonyms, etc. These dynamic skill and vocabulary acquisition exercises ensure that students will develop and acquire the important reading skills and vocabulary needed to make them good readers.
Each unit concludes with discussion questions designed to encourage students to think about, distill, and exchange views about the information they have been presented with throughout the unit. Following the discussion, the students are sometimes requested to write down answers to the discussion questions, a place for students to reflect in writing on the learning in the unit.
Unit 1: Attorney Misconduct
Reading: Attorney Misconduct
Unit 2: Probate Guardianship
Reading: Probate Guardianship
Unit 3: Federal versus State of the BANKRUPTCY Laws
Reading: Federal versus State BANKRUPTCY Laws
Unit 4: Mediation vs. ARBITRATION
Reading: Mediation vs. ARBITRATION
Unit 5: Differences between Mediation and ARBITRATION
Reading: Differences between Mediation and Arbitration
Unit 6: Conflict of Laws
Reading: Conflicts of Laws
Part 2: The Stages in a Conflict-of-Laws Case
Reading: The Stages in a Conflict-of-Laws Case
Unit 7: The Attorney-Client RELATIONSHIPS
Reading: The Attorney-Client RELATIONSHIPS
Unit 8: Defenses against Criminal Charges
Reading: Defenses against Criminal Charges
Unit 9: Lay Witness and Expert Witnesses
Reading: Lay Witnesses and Expert Witnesses
Part 2: Expert Testimony
Reading: Expert Testimony
Unit 10: BANKRUPTCY
English for Legal Studies, Intermediate Level