A major challenge inherent in a course of legal English taught to students outside the common law tradition lies in the very fact of the difference between the legal system native to the student and that of common law. This difference, manifested in every aspect – formal and cognitive – of legal language, should be made aware to the students from the start and throughout the course. Comparative method is therefore the best strategy of teaching English to international lawyers. This method will only be effective if the students are able to understand the legal intricacies and implications concealed in vocabulary, grammar, and syntax. For this reason, MGIMO adheres to the policy of introducing its students to the language of profession after they have achieved a high command of language. Teaching legal English in the Russian universities was traditionally confined to the development of specialized vocabulary and the translation of professional texts. Today, however, even a profound knowledge of terminology will not suffice – the employers expect that the graduates arrive prepared to act in a professional environment. A university course should be focused on the development of the required competencies, and the choice of teaching methods and techniques must serve this goal. Already on the early stages of foreign language training, MGIMO students are instructed in various forms of professional usage - the writing of a memorandum, a letter, an essay - where they can develop the skills of research and analysis, opposition and generalization, argumentation and persuasion.
Tatiana Kalugina, MGIMO University, Russia
Maya Golubtsova, MGIMO University, Russia
Stream: Teaching Experiences
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