Legal English for Legal Assistants

Avoid simple but serious mistakes and maximise productivity and efficiency with this intensive two-day In-house workshop aimed at perfecting and polishing the use of legal English for legal secretaries, paralegals and legal assistants.

Course Overview

English is often the basis for international communication. As the legal and business world becomes evermore global, the scope of the legal assistants role has broadened to involve the preparation of more complex legal communications and documentation.

The need for precise and effective legal writing and understanding is essential to ensure the organisation is not exposed to unnecessary legal risk, accuracy can often prove more difficult if you are not communicating in your first language.

A solid and precise understanding of legal English and its uses is a fundamental and necessary skill of the effective legal assistant in international business.

What are the objectives of this In-house workshop?

This two-day experiential workshop has been specifically designed to equip attendees with the ability to utilise their English skills successfully in legal business practice.

During the course of the programme you will:
  • REVIEW the key writing skills of the legal assistant through practical and hands-one exercises
  • LEARN and practice new reading techniques that will allow you to speed through legal documentation with confidence
  • ACHIEVE fluency in all your legal communications
  • IDENTIFY and correctly apply legal terminology to deliver concise and effective commercial correspondence
  • PRACTICE managing complicated and difficult phone calls to complete them with confidence

Who should attend?

  • Legal assistants
  • Legal secretaries in private practice law firms
  • Legal secretaries in corporate legal departments
  • Paralegals
  • Translators

NB: This programme is specifically designed for those who do not have English as their mother tongue.

Interactive and practical workshops

A series of hands-on workshops will allow participants to identify and put into practice the correct terminology essential to any professional conducting legal communications effectively and accurately under guidance from our expert presenter.

Your next step is to call us now on +44 (0)20 7729 6677 or email us at or use our contact form and find out how we can help. There are no commitments, and if we cannot help our advice and recommendations are free of charge.

Sample Programme Day 1

NB: This programme is specifically designed for those who do not have English as their mother tongue

Who’s who in the modern legal practice?
• Modern legal practice and systems
• Structure of law firms
• Areas of practice

Telephone calls
• Practising telephone language
• Taking and relaying messages
• Dealing with difficult telephone calls and learning how to be “diplomatic”
• Using language of offering help and making suggestions

Delegates will be required to deal with a difficult call from a client.

Grammar review
• A review of the main grammatical points that will clarify the meaning of legal documents and correspondence
• Tenses
• Reported speech
• Punctuation
• Avoiding unusual word order in legal documents and correspondence to make them clearer

Writing skills for the legal assistant (1)
• Taking dictation
• Writing summaries
• Taking minutes and learning about their layout
• Writing reports
• Taking notes

Delegates will work in groups and be required to relay messages and take dictation accurately.

Writing skills for the legal assistant (2)
• Technical legal jargon and plain English alternatives
• How to use legal jargon correctly
• Re-wording sentences
• Re-wording clauses
• Avoiding over-complex sentences and structures
• What not to write: repetition, old-fashioned phrases, jargon active versus passive case

Delegates will be required to identify key legal jargon and to rephrase sentences and clauses using plain English alternatives.

Sample Programme Day 2

NB: This programme is specifically designed for those who do not have English as their mother tongue.

Review of day one

Formal letters, emails and memos
• Conventional phrases and structures; opening and closing; listing information
• Presenting information clearly and simply
• The importance of the subject line and introductory paragraph
• Using discourse markers
• The importance of linking paragraphs
• Choosing the right form of communication

Delegates will be given segments of a letter which they will need to redraft using the most applicable form of communication, register and language with personal feedback and advice from the course facilitator.

Principles for drafting a contract
• Structure of a contract
• Key phrases and terms and their meanings
• Common contract templates and contractual clauses

Delegates will be give the task of identifying key elements in a contracts.

Reading techniques
• Skim reading for general idea
• Scan reading for specific information
• Reading for meaning
• Acquisition of contract terminology

Delegates will be required to identify specific information within a contract in a limited amount of time.

Recommended Trainer

Jeremy David Keys, BA, PGCE, Solicitor (non-practising) is qualified both as a lawyer and as an English teacher. He began working as a solicitor for the internationally renowned business law firm Lawrence Graham in London and has been qualified for many years. He has been teaching legal secretaries legal English and business English since 1996 to undergraduates, practicing lawyers and business people, as well as teaching Law to students of the law degrees of Manchester University and East London University. Students include lawyers and trainees from some of the world’s largest and most prestigious firms. Jeremy has also taught for the British Council and Open University.

Continuing professional development

This course qualifies for the following CPD programmes:

  • Certificate

Bespoke training

We can customise this course to meet the requirements of your organisation. Contact us to discuss your training requirements.

You may also be interested in

Previous customers include...

  • ADM International Sàrl
  • Avnet Europe Comm VA
  • Baker Hughes Co Ltd
  • Banca D'Italia
  • BI Pharma GmbH & Co KG
  • Celesio AG
  • Citrix Systems International GmbH
  • CLS Construction Legal Services GmBH
  • CLT-UFA (RTL Group Company)
  • Danieli & C Officine Meccaniche SpA
  • Enovos International SA
  • European Investment Bank
  • Faurecia
  • Fokus Bank ASA
  • Global Blue Holdings AB
  • Grünenthal Pharma GmbH & Co KG
  • Ingram Micro Europe BVBA
  • Lawson Bishop Ltd
  • Nestle Nespresso S A
  • Nissan Europe SAS
  • Novozymes A/S
  • Pronova Biopharma AS
  • Provident Financial Management Services Ltd
  • Societe General
  • Svendborg Brakes
  • Widman & Co Attorneys at Law Ltd
  • Wintershall Holding GmbH
  • Zibara Law Firm