CAN SUCCESSFUL LAWYERS THINK IN DIFFERENT LANGUAGES?

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Long title: 
CAN SUCCESSFUL LAWYERS THINK IN DIFFERENT LANGUAGES?: INCORPORATING CRITICAL STRATEGIES THAT SUPPORT LEARNING LAWYERING SKILLS FOR THE PRACTICE OF LAW IN A GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT
Author(s): 
Katerina Lewinbuk
Author(s)' contact information: 
Prof. Katerina Lewinbuk South Texas College of Law 1303 San Jacinto Street Houston, TX 77002 (713)646-2940 (off.); klewinbuk@stcl.edu
Publication: 
Richmond Journal of Global Law & Business
Volume number: 
7
Issue number: 
1
Year: 
2008
First page number: 
1
Last page number: 
13
Country: 
USA

In response to the globalization of the practice of law, law schools in the United States and other countries that are traditionally defined as belonging to the common law legal system have opened their doors to international students from different legal systems for whom English is a second language ("ESL students" or "international students"). Many of these programs have evolved without real assessment of the students' needs and how to meet those needs. After a number of resulting challenges, it became clear that in order to make such programs a success, law professors need to use special methodologies and strategies for teaching ESL students; they cannot use the approaches that have been successful with students from common law countries. The essay focuses on two important discoveries relevant to this topic. First, it proposes teaching legal skills to ESL students while using "storytelling," a method that provides important background for one's understanding of the new legal system and culture. Second, it emphasizes the need for implementing "complete immersion," a teaching methodology that will transform a student's analytical thinking into learning the law in a different language without any translation into her native language. The goal of both approaches is to assist the students with their learning and comprehension of the legal analytical skills that are critical to the practice of law in the common law legal system and in a global multinational environment.

Status: 
Published
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