E124: Top coursebooks for legal English learning (Monologue)

Which legal English coursebooks can I use to study legal English?

This is a question I’m often asked. Maybe you want to supplement your online legal English courses or live legal English classes with a coursebook or perhaps you want to learn legal English through self-study. In any case,  you need to choose a legal English coursebook that will keep you interested.

This podcast episode and guide will help you find the perfect legal English coursebook for you to improve your legal English. It also answers questions such as:

  • Where can I buy legal English coursebooks?
  • Can I access some sample legal English material online?
  • Some legal English books have new editions – should I buy the new edition? 

You can watch the YouTube video, listen to the episode on podcast players such as Spotify, iTunes, Google podcasts, or use the podcast web player below. If you prefer reading, you can also read the episode overview here in this post. 

What coursebooks do you recommend? Leave a comment below!

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The Lawyer’s Legal English coursebook by Catherine Mason

This is a comprehensive coursebook on legal English vocabulary, grammar, and legal concepts. It focuses on preparing students for the Test of Legal English Skills (TOLES) Foundation or Higher exam. The book is English legal system focused and covers a range of different practice areas such as the legal profession, business law, and contracts. It has plenty of gap-fill-style activities which can be done either in class or through self-study. Note that there are no significant differences between the 2016 and 2021 editions. Buy here.

Advanced Legal English by Catherine Mason and Natalie Canham

This book is ideal for advanced students who are considering taking the TOLES Advanced exam. It is aimed at international lawyers who work in the field of commercial law. It contains 60 units on commercial law topics such as the formation of companies and boilerplate contract clauses. Additionally, it has a range of units aimed at perfecting the language of the law relating to the accurate use of collocations, prepositions, and phrasal verbs. Note that there are no significant differences between the 2018 and 2021 editions.  Buy here.

Legal English by Rupert Haigh

This book is more of a reference book rather than a coursebook. It is split into two parts: part 1 focuses on written legal English and part 2 focuses on spoken legal English. It covers topics such as contract drafting, client meetings, and advocacy giving explanations, vocabulary and phrases, and some exercises. The 2021 edition contains updated examples and an expanded section on writing law essays. Buy here.

The companion website contains a range of supplementary materials: 

Introduction to International Legal English by Amy Krois-Lindner, Matt Firth, and TransLegal

This is a comprehensive coursebook appropriate for beginners of legal English. The book covers different areas such as real property, company, and commercial law, and has a range of exercises, from role plays to discussion questions. When students have finished this book, they can progress on to the next book: ‘International Legal English’ (see below). Note that this book is now out of print but it is available as an ebook hereBuy a secondhand copy here.

International Legal English by Amy Bruno-Linder and TransLegal  

This is a comprehensive coursebook aimed at intermediate and above students. It was originally designed for the Cambridge International Legal English Exam which has been discontinued, however, it remains a helpful coursebook in its own right. It covers many practice areas including contracts, intellectual property, competition law and more. It could be used for class or for self-study. Note that this book is now out of print. You can buy a secondhand copy here.

Express Series: English for Legal Professionals by Andrew Frost

This is a helpful coursebook for legal professionals interested in commercial law. It has a range of sections including mergers and acquisitions, employment law, and intellectual property. It is well structured and has an attractive full-colour layout with many pictures, making it engaging for students. It is appropriate for class or for self-study.  Note that this book is now out of print. You can buy a secondhand copy here.

Professional English in Use Law by Gillian D. Brown and Sally Rice

This is a comprehensive coursebook suitable for upper-intermediate to advanced students. It can be used for both self-study and with a teacher. It contains 45 units covering a wide range of legal vocabulary related to topics such as the English legal system, intellectual property law, and environmental law. Sample content is available here.

Note that this book is now out of print. You can buy a secondhand copy here.

Listener recommendations

These are listener recommendations of books not already mentioned.

English for Law in Higher Education Studies Course Book by Jeremy Walenn, Terry Phillips

Recommended by @marko.veljovic.88 on Instagram. Note that I do not have a copy of this book. The description of the book on the garneteducation.com website states:

“English for Law is a skills-based course designed specifically for students of law who are about to enter English-medium tertiary level studies. It provides carefully graded practice and progressions in the key academic skills that all students need, such as listening to lectures and speaking in seminars. It also equips students with the specialist legal language they need to participate successfully within a law faculty. Extensive listening exercises come from law lectures, and all reading texts are taken from the same field of study. There is also a focus throughout on the key legal vocabulary that students will need.”

Note that the audios are available to download for free here. Buy here.

Absolute Legal English by Edwards and  Callanan

Recommended by @anchoussemenova and @alina.266 on Instagram.  Note that I do not have a copy of this book. The description of the book on the delta publishing website states:

“Absolute Legal English is a comprehensive course book for students of law and practising lawyers who wish to work in an international legal environment and need to extend their language skills. Absolute Legal English consists of nine units which cover the main areas of international law. Each unit gives practice in all four key language skills and all skills work is closely related to real working practice.”

Note that the audios are available via the app here. Buy here.

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