In the past several decades, the number of English-as-a-second-language (ESL) speakers attending law schools as part of J.D. and LL.M. programs has increased dramatically. While some of these students are fluent in English, many are not yet able to read, write, and speak English, or understand spoken English, at the advanced level required for successful graduate work in law. The language problems are sometimes grammatical, sometimes cultural, and often both. For those students who are required to complete a writing course as part of their graduate program, deficiencies in writing ability can be a difficult obstacle to overcome. For the legal writing professionals teaching those courses, the challenges of teaching ESL students to write are often very different from the challenges of teaching traditional J.D. students, who are overwhelmingly native English speakers. Many professors of ESL legal writing students do not have backgrounds in teaching English as a second or foreign language, so may be unfamiliar with the second language acquisition and writing research and pedagogy particular to that group of learners. Research on teaching legal writing to ESL students could be of tremendous benefit to these professors.

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