Steven Horowitz (Aichi-ken, 1992-94) is Director of Legal English at St. John’s University School of Law in Queens, NY and publisher of the St. John’s Legal English blog. He will be attending the upcoming TESOL International Conference in Seattle and will be on a panel titled “Legal Language: Strategies for Effective Communication in Law School” scheduled for March 23.
International students in LLM and legal English programs at US law schools come to study law, not ESL. At the same time, law study requires deep engagement with texts and concepts that are complex and challenging even for native English speakers. But how do you have substantive class discussions or evaluate students’ legal writing when students are struggling to sufficiently comprehend the language of the reading?
In linguistics, the relevant term is “comprehensible input.”