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The Advanced Legal English Book by Cambridge Law Studio

Published Bernice on Saturday, May 25, 2019

The Advanced Legal English Book by Cambridge Law Studio

Cambridge Law Studio is known for being a leader in preparing legal English students to take the next step in their career. Its founders, as well as staff members, came to the realisation that law students were only being prepared theoretically, and their studies lacked practicality. Apart from preparing lawyers for an international legal career, Cambridge Law Studio’s very own Catherine Mason and Natalie Canham, wrote the Advanced Legal English book, to help both teachers and students.

Here’s what you need to know about this book:

The Writers:

The two authors are Catherine Mason and Natalie Canham; both from the Newcastle-upon-Tyne area but who met and started working together in Cambridge. Catherine has been teaching English to lawyers for 25 years now and wrote her first legal vocabulary book while working at a law academy in Moscow. She is currently involved in material development at Cambridge Law Studio, to make sure courses are always up-to-date and relevant. Natalie has just returned from in-company training for an oil company in Oman and is now teaching at Cambridge Law Studio. They both have a lot of varied experience in teaching English to lawyers around the world.

The Advanced Legal English book idea:

Both Catherine and Natalie have had the idea for a very long time. It just took quite a lot of organisation to allow both teachers the time to write it! It all started from the time when they were studying at university, and they realised immediately after graduation, that the law they studied in no way prepared them for actually working in law; they lacked the practical skills and knowledge that employers of lawyers require. This thought continued to be reaffirmed once they started speaking to international students and to various Human Resources departments around the world. This is what the writers had to say about their idea to write this book: “We knew instantly that a good legal English book had to concentrate on work skills, rather than a purely academic study of law. In fact, whilst compiling content we ensured that it brings commercial law to life. It does this by using authentic material, such as real-life contract clauses and case studies, as well as articles from respected publications such as The Financial Times, the MIT technology review, The Guardian newspaper and the British Medical Journal. This therefore is engaging for both students and teachers in an area of law which students can perceive to be dry and boring.”

Students at Cambridge Law Studio have described the book as a necessary bridge between study and work, so it seems like Catherine and Natalie have accomplished what they set out to!

The Content of the Book:

This book is very different to any previous legal English publication because its aim was to give graduates, what partners in major law firms need from new employees. As nothing like this existed, hundreds of hours of research were done, over several years, and both writers have admitted that this was a daunting and exhausting task! A typical unit in this book took around 20 hours to produce and a unit is only two pages. It is very rich in content, and every line of it is intended to be relevant and useful.

There are 60 units in total, and these include topics that EFL teachers haven’t been very confident in teaching until this publication came along to help them. The writers say: “We are extremely pleased to have offered support to other teachers around the world, because we both know very well the feeling of facing a class of law students without having the right materials at hand. Employers want lawyers to know about the vocabulary of international contracts, above all else, and we have concentrated on this very heavily. Employers also want a skill that students tend to not enjoy much – writing. We have included a lot of writing exercises for this reason. We must add as well that we have included the language of finance – in the real world of law, most things are reduced to the question of money, whether it’s paying for something such as goods or services, paying a penalty, dealing with a global banking crisis or suing someone for damages in court. Money is pretty much king, but it hasn’t featured much in previous legal English publications.”

Users of Advanced Legal English:

EFL teachers, law undergraduates, working lawyers and legal translators. The book is designed for both classrooms use and self-study. A motivated law undergraduate with strong English language skills could work through the book very successfully without support. On the other hand, teachers can use the book in the classroom and organise group work or pair work very easily. Teachers can also add to the content provided by creating additional exercises, and there are also discussion points throughout the book which provide genuinely interesting topics for classroom discussion and debate.

Future Publications:

Cambridge Law Studio and TOLES are currently developing podcasts and are looking at developing apps which students can use alongside the coursebooks as additional support. Short videos which students can access via YouTube and LinkedIn, which focus on particular aspects of commercial law and legal English in general, are being developed too. You can watch an example of one of these videos here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDH5egcfJ8U

Anyone interested in buying Advanced Legal English can do so from Amazon, and it is also available to buy from the TOLES website, https://www.toleslegal.com/product/advanced-legal-english/. You can also contact Cambridge Law Studio on info@camlawstudio.com for more information.



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