Donna Bain Butler

Adjunct Professor, International Legal Studies Program

Donna Bain Butler is a Fulbright Specialist Grant Recipient in Applied Linguistics/TEFL. She was appointed to WCL from American University’s main campus while working with the English Language Institute and the Language Services Unit at the U.S. Dept. of Justice (FBI).

Donna holds a PhD in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Maryland College Park with a specialization in Second Language Education and Culture. Her research publications focus on graduate-level multilingual legal writers who cross cultures of learning, teaching, and academic assessment. Her scholarship informs planning, policy, and pedagogy in U.S. law schools in English-medium universities, especially when academic legal writing is used to assess international student learning.

As an adjunct professor at WCL (15 years), Dr. Butler designs, implements, teaches, and develops English for Specific Purposes (ESP) courses for international students of law and visiting legal scholars. These courses include:

  • Advanced Legal Research and Literacy (2 credits) spring, 2015
  • Academic Legal Writing (1 credit) fall and spring, 2010 - present
  • Advanced Legal Writing (non-credit) fall and spring, 2006 -2010
  • Legal English; English for Lawyers fall and spring, 2000-2007
  • Ritsumeikan Washington Seminar, legal English seminar, once yearly in August, 2012
  • Summer Legal English Institute, 5-day; 3 week intensive program, 2009-2014

Areas of Specialization

  • Academic Support
  • International Legal Exchange
  • Legal Writing, Reasoning and Research

Degrees & Universities

  • Ph.D., University of Maryland College Park
  • M.A. TESOL, American University
  • B.A., Nathaniel Hawthorne College

  • Selected Publications

    • Donna Bain Butler, Developing Inernational EFL/ESL Scholarly Writers (De Gruyter Mouton 2015).
    • Donna Bain Butler, Yalun Zhou, & Michael Wei, Perspectives of Asian Graduate Student Writers Using English for Academic Purposes (Shrestha, ed., Garnet Education 2015).
    • Donna Bain Butler, Elena Trosclair, Yalun Zhou, & Michael Wei, Student and Teacher Perceptions of Academic English Writing in Russia, J. of Teaching English for Specific Academic Purposes (2014).
    • Donna Bain Butler, The Use of Language and Literacy Strategies in L2 Academic Legal Writing Context, 30 Languages & Linguistics 113 (2013).
    • Donna Bain Butler, Yalun Zhou, & Micahel Wei, When the Culture of Learning Plays a Role in Academic English Writing, 10 Academic English Across Cultures (2013).
    • Donna Bain Butler, Essential Legal Skills: Legal Writing from an Academic Perspective, 1 J. of the Russian Acad. of Leg. Services (2012).