Merry Christmas from your lawyer

Not just an accessible example of American legal humor, but a great example of American-style contract language and culture. It’s also giving me ideas for new activities around teaching English for contract reading and drafting as we get ready for 2017.

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Wishing everyone a happy and safe holidays and New Year from the St. John’s Legal English team!

Using Legal Humor: Lawyer Joke Telling & Negotiation Activity

Using legal humor in class can be an extremely potent tool. It can also be a minefield as humor often does not travel well across cultures. When not well employed in a classroom, it can devolve into a painful over-explanation of a joke to blank and unsympathetic faces. (I speak from experience.)

But when done right, it can provide a high level of student engagement as well as unique opportunities for vocabulary improvement, language teaching, reading and speaking fluency, paraphrasing, and building of background knowledge and cultural awareness.

One activity that we like to use as Continue reading

Using Legal Humor: “Lawyer Joke of the Day” Activity

A Good Lawyer Great LawyerThe Opportunity: There is a great treasure trove of lawyer jokes and legal humor out there.

The Challenge: How do you incorporate it into a class in a way that feels appropriate, helpful, and non-trivial?

The “Lawyer Joke of the Day” Activity is a simple activity that can stand alone or serve as a platform for more involved activities. The goal is to help students improve their comprehension in law school by building background knowledge and cultural awareness. Additionally, it is a form of extensive reading (more on extensive reading here and here) which helps build reading speed and vocabulary. And perhaps most importantly, it’s an engaging and entertaining form of learning for international students.

How the “Lawyer Joke of the Day” works: Continue reading