We are Mauricio Munoz (a teacher) and Adela Perez del Viso (a lawyer and trainee teacher), the two Legal English teachers at the Colegio de Abogados de San Luis, the San Luis (Argentina) Bar Association. My idea of teaching Legal English started in 1998 when I took a course at an Academy (located on Huntingdon Road, Cambridge, U. K. ). My teacher was, by then, Mr. Brian Catlow. The organizers made us visit different courtrooms in Cambridge and in London. It was fascinating.
Afterwards, I got to know about the ILEC exam, which was a huge academic improvement: now we had a purpose for these studies, a method, a set of contents, a book (and now more than a book), etc. I sat for the Ilec exam in 2009, after two complete years of hard study. Now we organize these courses at the Bar Association, and we know that only some students will come and stay: those who have a very good command of the language, and at the same time those who are keen on the legal field. During this year we organized two “modules”: the first one, based on General Principles and Contracts. with all the units related to Contracts); the second module, devoted to Company Law (3 units) plus Labour/Employment Law.
The decision to divide the whole course in 3 or 4 modules have allowed us to set some goals which seem to be not so far in time; at the same time, it allows other students (who have not started with the original group) to join us, for instance, at the 2nd module. We organize every class with the material presented by the Ilec book, along with videos taken from the internet, movies, trailers (in this sense, John Grisham? books, movies and trailers are quite good), some University classes that can be retrieved from the internet (for instance, some classes from American universities, related to Contracts), etc.
Only when time presses, we work on the ILEC book alone, which is quite complete. Next year we are planning to acquire the new edition of the ILEC/ TRANSLEGAL/ C. U. P. book, with the hope that it will present new material to practice with our students. One thing that is quite important, as always when training for any international exam, is to teach strategies to cope with the requirements of the different papers.
We explain every one of the papers, and rehearse them with the students, so as they do not feel out of place whenever they sit for the final exam, in the future. Our students are quite committed, even though most of them are lawyers and have a lot of work to do. One of our students comes every time from a place located 140 km from our centre. They have felt quite encouraged with the contents of the course, and some of them are dreaming to travel abroad, or perhaps to get any kind of scholarship and study a course in an English-speaking country.
The only thing that our students sometimes ask us is to provide some information as regards criminal law. We sometimes take some elements from the other book related to Legal English, called Introduction to International legal E. and from “Profesional English in Use”. But we explain to them that these contents are not required for the ILEC exam so far. We think that the ILEC course, and the ILEC exam have really fulfilled the aim of setting an outstanding goal to Legal English students; establishing a future goal to those who like to study English hard, and to combine the experience with their own legal expertise.