Advanced International Training in Written English for Lawyers
LEARNING TO COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY WITH ENGLISH SPEAKING LAWYERS AND CLIENTS
Anyone who works abroad knows that learning a language is not the same thing as understanding how to communicate effectively. Lawyers and business professionals who have studied English as a second language may write with near-perfect grammar and an advanced vocabulary. Yet in business and legal settings with English-speaking clients, customers, and colleagues, they often find, through no fault of their formal education, that they still lack the ability to connect successfully with their audiences.This is part of a series of writing and speaking courses that offer a new cultural approach to communication to bridge the gap.
Part of the problem is that a portion of the non English-speaking world is still taught “the Queen’s English” or some antiquated version of British or American English concocted by local academics or government officials rather than more natural contemporary English. Many foreign lawyers are also trained in a civil system where they aren’t taught how to make effective arguments or write contracts in the common law style and aren’t familiar with how American and other English-speaking lawyers and their clients use memos, email, or other forms of written communication in real life.
Yet the larger problem is that effective communication in English is about a lot more than simply words. It entails understanding the unique way native English speakers think and approach the legal, political, and business world. To Japanese and Chinese, learning to be as direct as a native English speaker can involve nothing less than a kind of personal transformation, at odds with the essence of their own native cultures. In an ideal world, native English speakers would incorporate some of the civility and eloquence of other cultures. But in reality, many assume without realizing it that everyone understands their unique way of communicating.
In this unique course you will learn:
- How to get to the point quickly and directly without making enemies
- How the common law system changes the way lawyers trained in the civil system should write
- How to write research memos, letters, and email in a style better suited to English
- How computers have changed writing and legal research in English
- How to convey complex ideas in a simpler manner
- How to format to make your point more clearly
- How to use storytelling the way English speakers do
- How style differs from the UK to the US to Canada and in the US from region to region
- How to draft effective contracts in English
- How to present written legal arguments that will resonate in New York, Chicago, London, Toronto, and Los Angeles as well as they did in their native language in Paris, Tokyo, or Sao Paulo
This course is designed to meet the professionalism and “elimination of bias” CLE requirements of state bars in the U.S.
Steven Stark, the instructor, has a vast background in the fields of legal writing, communication and inter-cultural studies and has taught writing and speaking to thousands of lawyers, judges, and government officials all over the world. A lawyer and former Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School where he gave several upper-level courses on writing and speaking (including a workshop to international LLM students), he is the author of four books, including the highly-acclaimed “Writing to Win: The Legal Writer,” and one e-book. He has been a commentator for CNN, National Public Radio, and the Voice of America (where his role was to try to interpret American culture to the rest of the world), and he has also made frequent appearances on the BBC. A former speechwriter and issues aide to Jimmy Carter, he has been a columnist for the Boston Globe and Montreal Gazette and has written extensively on American culture in such publications as the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and the Atlantic Monthly. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School.
Who Should Take This Course?
These courses are intended for two types of audiences. They are designed in the U.S. for those international lawyers who have recently been transferred to the United States. In the rest of the world, they are geared to lawyers who are fairly proficient in basic English and work in English speaking businesses or firms, or deal frequently in their work with English speakers.
One-day courses can be taught separately on writing or speaking, or as a combination of the two. In-house courses for law firms, consulting firms, or in corporations that work in specific areas such as pharmaceuticals or information technology are tailored to the particular needs and expectations of the participants in those fields. In corporate workshops or in-house settings, the usual arrangement is to solicit samples in advance from as many participants as possible so the course can be geared to the specific needs of the firm. After the group session, personal meetings are scheduled individually with as many lawyers as possible to go over their writing.
Follow-up by phone and email is provided as necessary.