Easy Ways to Improve your Legal English
by Chris Mitchell of Legal English Language Training
If you work as a lawyer within a law firm that has international aspirations, your English should already be at a decent level. However, our tutors have found that while lawyers are a confident group of people generally, they still have issues with the language. In this article, we look at how you can develop even greater confidence in legal English.
Work on your vocabulary
It has been suggested that we need around 800 words to communicate reasonably effectively in English, but as there are so many words available to you why should you stop there? Having a wider vocabulary and the ability to manipulate those words well is one of the marks of a good communicator.
Improving your word skills can be done actively through lessons with a tutor and passively through listening to talk radio and reading books and newspapers. When you come across a word that appears unfamiliar to you, try to guess the meaning from context and seek to use it in written or spoken form as quickly and as frequently as possible.
Improve your spelling
We have lost count of the number of times that we have seen spelling errors in e-mail newsletters, websites and newspapers. They show a lack of care to the reader and makes us ask the question ‘If they don’t care, why should I?’ so pay particular attention to how we spell words in English.
Good spelling gives you and your firm credibility and shows that you are the kind of person somebody can do business with. Read as much as you can in English and test yourself with spelling websites. Try and develop a sixth sense as to how words are put together.
Read more about English law
We have mentioned reading a few times here because it is vital to improving your English language skills. The Times newspaper in the UK has an excellent legal section on Thursdays that you should seek out. You should also look for the New Law Journal which is published every week and is required reading for legal professionals.
Becoming a confident communicator in legal English is a long journey but by no means is it a difficult one. Immerse yourself as much as you can in the language and in how our legal system operates and you will soon become a better speaker of the language.