E100 – What is this podcast and who am I? (Monologue)

This podcast episode gives an overview of what the podcast is and some information about my background as the podcast host. I answer questions such as: What is legal English?  Who is the podcast for?  Where am I from? What are my plans for 2021?



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[00:00:20] LOUISE: Hello and welcome back to the Study Legal English Podcast. The purpose of this particular podcast episode is to welcome back my regular listeners and to welcome new listeners to the podcast, and to wish you all a Happy New Year. In this podcast episode, I wanted to talk about, what the podcast is, and as well, to talk a little bit about me and my background.

[00:01:08] You can of course, introduce yourself to me through an email, my email address is louise@studylegalenglish.com, or you can send me a message on social media, you can find me by searching on Instagram for @legalenglisher, or join my Facebook group, my Facebook group, if you search for Study Legal English Group on Facebook, we’ve got a growing community of lawyers, and law students, and legal professionals. So come on over and introduce herself.

[00:01:40] I was inspired to make this podcast episode, because I’ve been listening a little bit to another podcast called Luke’s English Podcast, and it’s a general English podcast, it’s really, really helpful to listen to if you’re a language learner. And at the beginning of 2021, he went through this kind of Q and A style session with himself about his podcast and about him. So I thought, that’s quite a nice thing to do. So thank you, Luke.  I highly recommend you go and check it out, you can search for Luke’s English Podcast on YouTube and as well, just Google it, and you’re going to find his website.

[00:02:24] So let’s properly start.


[00:02:27] So the first question is, what is this podcast? So the podcast is called the Study Legal English Podcast, hopefully that’s clear to you what this podcast is about, it’s to study legal English.


[00:02:43] So what is legal English? Legal English is the language of the law in English. If there are any Portuguese speakers who listened to the show, which I know there are, you know, Brazilian or Portuguese listeners ‘legal’ in Portuguese means ‘cool’. It’s not to study cool English, sadly. It is to study the language of the law. We generally focus on the English legal system and as well international law, we do stuff on contracts, and commercial law, but with an international feeling to it. And as well, we focus on the language of the law.

[00:03:24] Legal English is the language of the law, it has its own collocations, for example, ‘to breach a contract’, we don’t say ‘to break a contract’. It has certain sentence structures that are used and which you should be able to understand when you should use them, and when you should not use them. When you should be using the active and passive voice, for example. And just loads of vocabulary. Certain words in legal English mean very specific things, whereas in general English, they mean something different.  ‘Consideration’ is one example, ‘consideration’ in legal English is a concept, which is a contract law concept, which is like this element of exchange. So I give you something in return for something else basically. And in general English ‘consideration’ is like something thoughtful. 

[00:04:17] So, this podcast aims to help you improve your legal English. And how do I do that? Well, generally I talk about topics of law, I interview people as well, not always native speakers, but sometimes non-native speakers as well, people who were working in the law, lawyers, translators, interpreters, experts in contract drafting, people who can really help you to improve your spoken and written legal English.


[00:04:52] So my next question is who is it for? It’s for lawyers, it’s for law students, it’s for translators who work with legal English, for interpreters, for paralegals, for judges. It’s for people who work with the law in some capacity, and who require either in spoken form or in written form English.

[00:05:18] This is a podcast about language learning. I’m not necessarily producing these podcasts for native speakers. So the focus is on language learning. So, if English is not your native language, then yes, this podcast is for you. Native speakers do listen to the podcast. I’ve got people who are studying law, who listen to some of the episodes on things like civil procedure, criminal procedure, to help them with their studies. As well, legal English teachers do listen to the show, especially the interviews because the interviews are hopefully, they’re interesting whether you’re a native or a non-native speaker.

[00:06:00] The other thing is about your level. If you’re listening to this podcast and you’re finding it really difficult, then I suggest that you listen to some of my earlier podcast episodes, because those, I did them at a very slow pace. So generally, this podcast is for more intermediate and advanced learners.


[00:06:18] So the next question is, will it help me learn legal English?  So yes, that is the aim of the podcast it is to help you learn legal English.

[00:06:27] And how does it do that? Well, by listening to podcasts, you’re consuming information, you’re getting comfortable with the language of the law. So that just by itself is going to help you improve. You’re also going to learn about the law, about certain legal systems, about contract drafting techniques, things like that.

[00:06:50] It is a help on its own, but it’s not the only thing. If you’re serious about learning, then you should be doing other things. Okay. You should be listening to general English podcasts as well. You should be reading, reading articles, reading books. You should be speaking, get yourself a legal English teacher, or go on a course where you can speak where you can practise and where you can improve.

[00:07:17] Now, I do have something called Podcast Pro and Podcast Lite membership on my site. So these are paid for memberships where you can get extra resources, which will help you improve. So for example, for most of the podcasts, there are these extra materials, for example, transcripts, so you can read the transcript and understand fully what I am saying. There are quizzes to test your knowledge, there are different activities basically to help you improve. So if that’s something you’re interested in, then you can go to www.studylegalenglish.com/pricing you can find the membership levels there. I’m running a promotion where you can enter the coupon NEWYEAR2021, you’ll get 50% off the memberships and that’s just running in January.


[00:08:13] Anyway, let’s move on. So who are you? So my name is Louise Kulbicki. That’s who I am. Sometimes people say, ‘How would you pronounce your name? Where’s your name from?’ So my surname is Polish. Yes, but I’m not Polish. I am British.

[00:08:31] Why do I have a Polish surname? Well, my granddad, my dad’s dad, was Polish. So, where am I from? I grew up in a place called Monmouthshire, which is actually in Wales, however, it’s right on the border of England and Wales, and historically it’s sometimes been in Wales, sometimes it’s been in England. So that’s where I grew up and that’s where I’m from. And so my accent, I don’t have a Welsh accent, the Welsh accent it’s like, ‘Hello. Alright butt? Something like that, how you doing?’ I can’t really do it very well, but anyway, I don’t have a Welsh accent, I would say my accent is quite neutral, quite in line with received pronunciation.

[00:09:19] Why is that? It’s because both of my parents are English, so I didn’t pick up a Welsh accent, and because Monmouthshire is a very English part of Wales, it’s not a place where Welsh is really spoken, although I did learn Welsh at school.


[00:09:34] So next question, what is your background? I studied law at university, I also did volunteer work with some environmental law organizations. I did some volunteer work in the law department of Friends of the Earth, which is an environmental charity. I did some vacation schemes at law firms, for example, Bates Wells and Braithwaite, which is a leading law firm in the area of charities.

[00:10:01] Anyway, once I finished my degree, I did a master’s in international environmental law at UCL, University College London, and when I finished, I got a job with a barrister called Polly Higgins, who was working to promote changes in international law. I did a lot of speaking about our work. I went to universities around Europe. I went to different conferences and festivals to speak about these proposed changes that we were trying to raise awareness of. I went to Rome to UNICRI, United Nations International Crime and Research Institute, I think it’s called, to present our work. And I also went to Rio de Janeiro where I presented our work at this youth conference, and as well, I got to attend the World Congress on Law, which was attended by chief justices from around the world, looking at implementing and improving environmental law.

[00:11:03] Now, when I was in Brazil, I fell in love with Brazil, and I decided to move there.  I didn’t speak Portuguese. My plan A would have been to continue working in the environmental law field, however, you know, not speaking the language of the country, was kind of a barrier to doing that. So before I went, I did do a TEFL course as kind of my plan B, and when I was out that I started teaching English and that’s where my journey into teaching legal English began. After a certain amount of time in Brazil, I moved back to London, and I continued to teach legal English, I taught privately online to private students.

[00:11:45] And I started this podcast as a way to help people have access to resources about legal English. And for me, I love podcasts. I think it’s a great way to learn languages. So I thought why not do that for legal English?

[00:12:00] So what else? I do teach courses, I’ve taught courses in contract drafting. Last year, I started teaching a course in Oman with EMG associates and International Training World.

[00:12:13] I was teaching TOLES, so the Test of Legal English Skills to wonderful students out there. For those of you who don’t know what TOLES is, it’s like an exam to test your level of legal English. It’s based on the English legal system, and there are different levels of it, foundation, higher, and advanced.  It’s quite a helpful test to do, but in order to prepare for the test, you learn a lot of legal English. So you can prepare, you can work through a book and then take the test at the end of it. So I was teaching that.

[00:12:44] Currently, I’m teaching a course on Practical Legal English Skills. So things like negotiation, networking, legal writing, client interviews, things like that. And I’m teaching that in Oman as well. And I’m also writing a book with Natasha Costello, who I interviewed in 2019 on contract drafting, she’s an English teacher and a non-practising qualified solicitor in England and Wales, she lives and works in Paris. And we’re writing a book on practical legal English skills. The aim is for it to be a coursebook, to be used for courses in practical legal English skills, and for it to be practical, for it to be hopefully fun. We both try to make legal English fun. It can be fun. I can assure you. It can be very, very fun. 


[00:13:35] Next question, why should we listen to you? Well, I’m a native English speaker. I’m a qualified teacher. I’ve done my TEFL course quite a while ago. I’ve done extra qualifications in legal English teaching. And I teach. I’ve got experience, as I mentioned, so I’ve taught courses, I’ve taught individuals, and I try to keep myself updated through being a teacher.

[00:14:00] The final selling point about why you should listen to me, I speak other languages myself, we can say, it’s not common for native English speakers. I’ve been through the experience of learning Portuguese and I’m currently learning Italian because I live in Italy. I hope that my experience of learning the language, not just the fact that, I understand how difficult it is to learn grammar and my own experience of having to learn vocabulary and things like that, I hope that that informs my teaching because I can understand what it’s like for you as a learner of a different language. I’ve been through that psychological process of when you might be really an expert in your field, in your own language, and then you get to speak in another language, and it feels like – I’m an idiot. I can’t express myself. I’ve been through that. I’ve been through that humiliating process. I know that it’s different for everybody and everyone has a different experience of learning a language. But I feel for you. I understand what it’s like. I can get it.


[00:15:03] Next question. Are you on YouTube? I am on YouTube. You might even be watching this on YouTube. If you’re not watching this on YouTube and you’re listening to the podcast, head over to YouTube.


[00:15:16] So we are coming to the end of the episode. So what is my main message? Well, I totally forgot to say at the beginning of the episode that this is the 100th episode, so yes, I’m so happy.

[00:15:30] The other final message that I want to leave you with is, if you want to improve, you should be listening regularly to the show and you should be listening to the shows in full. You need to be consuming a lot of legal English. So my advice is to listen regularly, and to listen for long periods, even if it’s not to my show. Go and watch Suits on Netflix, go and watch, Better Call Saul, go and watch other legal films, legal dramas, but do it. Don’t just put it off until tomorrow. Start studying and listening and things like that.

[00:16:10] Anyway, the other point is that I wanted to say, join me on social media. I’m on Instagram, you can find me @legalenglisher, and as well, join my Facebook group, my Facebook group, if you search for Study Legal English Group on Facebook, you’re going to find a nice community, everybody introduces themselves, it’s really lovely.

[00:16:32] So that’s it. Thank you for listening today. I will say bye and, see you next time.

You can also view this episode on YouTube: