English for Lawyers
ILSP Student with his EFL Certificate

English for Lawyers is a content-based non-credit second language learning course.  The course promotes advanced language proficiency and communication through legal content, developing work and study skills necessary for international lawyers.  ILSP students learn to demonstrate: cognitive academic language proficiency in a U.S. academic legal context, and professional presentation when speaking as a lawyer using English as a second or third language. 

With the growing importance of Legal English in the international practice of law, this class helps to prepare our students for the global legal workplace.

English for Lawyers supports and is taught in conjunction with American Legal Institutions: Legal Research & Writing. The courses share the same content base and complement each other with mutually coordinated written assignments. English for Lawyers impacts student writing on three levels: sentence, paragraph, organization.

Requirements to Receive a Passing Grade

  • Successful completion of the English for Lawyers course requires full attendance, punctuality, and timely production of all oral and written assignments.
  • Legal English Certificates are awarded upon successful completion of the program.
  • Special focus is given to clear and accurate expression, as well as effective style.
Correct Grammar, Subordination, Paraphrasing, English Sentences, Proper Mechanics, Terms of Art, Coordination, and Revising

Clarity (coherence), Unity and Flow (signals, cohesion). Parallel Structure, Concision (structure), Emphasis: sentence level, List Structure, Precision, Emphasis: paragraph level, Tabulation, Critical Thinking, Logical relationships (transitions), Editing: form and content


Marleen Hein-Dunne

Marleen Hein-Dunne is an Adjunct Professor, teaching English for Lawyers at the Washington College of Law at American University.  In addition, Ms. Hein-Dunne has taught College Writing courses in the Literature Department and Research Writing to international students at American University.  Prior to coming to American University, Ms. Hein-Dunne designed and taught a Writing Course for international graduate students in Georgetown University’s Department of Linguistics.  Ms. Hein-Dunne has extensive international experience.  She taught classes in American Literature and Writing for Master’s Candidates as a lecturer at the University of Bonn, Germany.  She also designed and taught an intensive course on English to German lawyers and corporate executives at the Carl Duisberg Foundation, Cologne, Germany.  Ms. Hein-Dunne received her BA from the University of California, Berkeley, an MA from Columbia University, her TESOL Certificate from Georgetown University and a Diplôme from the University of Nice, France.


Legal English Class with Professor Marleen Hein-Dunne and Director Cathy Schenker (2014)