Essential Legal English in Context

Understanding the Vocabulary of US Law and Government

272 pages

90 black and white illustrations

June, 2019

ISBN: 9781479831678



Add to Cart Available: 5/10/2019

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Karen M. Ross is the Director of the Legal English Program and a member of the Graduate Lawyering Faculty at New York University School of Law. Ms. Ross holds a Master’s degree in Teaching English (TESOL) and a Juris Doctor degree and has taught legal English to hundreds of international lawyers.

All books by Karen M. Ross

An essential handbook for international lawyers and students


Focusing on vocabulary, Essential Legal English in Context introduces the US legal system and its terminology. Designed especially for foreign-trained lawyers and students whose first language is not English, the book is a must-read for those who want to expand their US legal vocabulary and basic understanding of US government.


Ross uses a unique approach by selecting legal terms that arise solely within the context of the levels and branches of US government, including terminology related to current political issues such as partisanship. Inspired by her students’ questions over her years of teaching, she includes a vast collection of legal vocabulary, concepts, idioms, and phrasal verbs and unpacks concepts embedded in US case law, such as how the US constitutional separation of powers may affect a court’s interpretation of the law. The handbook differentiates basic terms in civil and criminal cases and compares terms that may seem similar because of close spellings but in fact have different meanings. For instance, what is the distinction between “taking the stand” and “taking a stand?” What is the difference between “treaties” and “treatises”?


Featuring illustrations and hands-on exercises, Essential Legal English in Context is a valuable self-study resource for those who want to improve their legal English terminology before entering a US law school, studying US law or government, or working as a seconded attorney to a US law firm. Instructors can use the handbook in an introductory US legal English course.