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A scaffolded speaking and writing ELP course for commercial lawyers: a case study from an undergraduate law school in Istanbul

Anthony Townley
Nagoya University of Commerce and Business, Nagoya, Japan


The presenter was the convenor of an English for Specific Legal Purposes (ELP) course at a private university in Istanbul. The ELP course formed part of the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and English for Specific Purposes (ESP) portfolio of content-based writing courses of the university, which was conceptually designed to enable Turkish undergraduate law students to “use the English language as practicing lawyers”. The curriculum that I inherited from the previous instructor mainly used textbook materials to help students understand commercial law principles in English, but they failed to adequately educate and prepare ESP students for the realities of professional practice. Using content and language integrated learning (CLIL) and genre analytical methodology, the course was redesigned to train undergraduate law students to use English language to give both oral and written legal advice about a business-related contract as a key work activity of commercial law practice. The syllabus was scaffolded so that students began learning the structural-functional organisation and lexico-grammatical properties of the commercial contract before participating in an oral advice role play activity and writing a letter of advice to a hypothetical client in a dispute with the other party under the contract. In conjunction with discussion of the theoretical and epistemological rationales for this syllabus design, observations of student participation in the oral advice activity and examples of a student letter are presented to demonstrate the utility of using genre analysis for this ELP course. The findings from this presentation can be used to assist law students and novice lawyers to understand some of the discourse expertise and interactional roles that are often so critical for commercial law practice, especially those learners from non-English speaking backgrounds, who need to communicate in English as the primary lingua franca for international legal practice.


English for specific legal purposes (ELP), genre analysis, scaffolded learning, professional role play, CLIL pedagogy

International Joint Conference of APLX, ETRA40, and TESPA 2023