News UK Business Leadership Careers SRA director slates trainees’ English By The Lawyer 29 September 2008 10:37 13 December 2015 22:20 Sign in or register to continue reading. It's FREE Sign in Email Password Keep me logged in Forgot your password? Not registered? It's FREE! Register now Register with The Lawyer Anon 29 September 2008 at 12:21 WEV OMG grmmR is like so L8m. Reply Link Anonymous 29 September 2008 at 12:25 Inglish I’m ok because I can speak and write Inglish gooder than anyone else at my furm Reply Link Shania 29 September 2008 at 12:30 Conjugate! Good, gooder, goodest. Reply Link Rob Bushnell 29 September 2008 at 12:36 Poor Standard of English I personally agree with Liz McAnulty, that the standard of English is unacceptably poor. Thinking of the candidates we see for Training Contracts, it appears to be getting worse each year. I’m not certain though that a Foundation Course is necessarily the right course of action. It seems to me that poor spelling and grammar is a generational issue, and needs to be tackled far early in the education process. It strikes me that the candidates are over reliant on computerised spell checking and that common errors, and frequently Americanisms, are not being corrected and that the candidates may not even be aware of their own errors. Reply Link Anon. 29 September 2008 at 12:59 Education At risk of going over the same old ground that is so often debated in this arena, a large contributor to the poor standard of grammar is the post-1960s inheritance that is the idea of grammar being ‘elitist’. For this reason, formal teaching of grammar was dropped from the national curriculum (to the astonishment of overseas observers). The effect of this was to widen rather than narrowing the gap between the elite (who go to private schools where they carried on teaching grammar) and those in state schools subject to the whims of naive policy makers. Reply Link Anonymous 29 September 2008 at 14:03 Pot-kettle? “The effect of this was to widen rather than narrowing the gap”. Hmmm. Reply Link Anonymous 29 September 2008 at 15:31 Physician heal thyself… This would be the same SRA who sent a letter to a trainee about to qualify with the words ‘You may now apply to be admitted to the ROLE”. I know many of us are frustrated actors but really…people in glass houses… Reply Link Anon. 29 September 2008 at 15:54 Too little, too late? My LPC provider teaches a legal writing module. We are even provided with the Oxford Guide to Plain English! I have mixed feelings about the module. Certain elements are useful for some students; for example, letter writing; preparing memos; file notes; etc. However, we have also been asked to complete a spelling test; provided with information on grammar, punctuation and syntax. In that context at least, I would suggest it is too little too late! Reply Link Anonymous 29 September 2008 at 17:09 Spelling for lawyers! Gotta love this article. My very well educated attorney son, well placed in corporate law, advised me several times in a personal email regarding my financial assets how I should handle my “Idel Funds”. With no immediate response to my inquiry about just what these funds were, I began ruminating about what these funds could possibly be; I didn’t remember buying them. It came to me in the shower. Of course!! “Idle Funds”. So much for literacy in law school! Reply Link Anonymous 29 September 2008 at 17:12 Too little too late It seems that the problem stems from a younger age. During my LPC we were given a guide to plain English and spelling tests and it just smacked of being ridiculous. However, most people were surprised at the poor standard they have. English language should be taught better at a younger age then there wouldn’t be this problem when you are set in your ways. Reply Link Aleana 29 September 2008 at 18:03 Spelling for Lawyers- Idle Funds!!! Sir, your comment was hysterical (sp?)!!!! Too funny, brightened up my dreary day drafting a no-drainer form! FYI, to be truthful, you see it all the time, glaring spelling mistakes in email correspondence from trainees and lawyers, however, it is a generation thing, seriously two culprits (I) no one reads books anymore – too many other distractions like internet and cable tv and (ii) blame spell check!!! In all seriousness since we began using spell check for everything, I began noticing I had forgotten how to spell even the simplest words. Now I am a slave to my spell checker…. do they have this (spell check) on blackberry’s??? Reply Link Chris Jarrett-Kerr 30 September 2008 at 09:38 Spelling for lawyers Spelling and grammar may not seem so important to some people. However, the lawyer who outsourced the scanning and indexing of his client’s documents to a bureau that couldn’t spell “Correpondence” (Correspondance) cost his client a great deal of money. The work was as shoddy as the spelling. Attention to detail is important in legal work and spelling is part of the detail. I think lawyers should get it right. Reply Link Anonymous 30 September 2008 at 11:00 poor English I am an international student and currently taking a gap year because of my baby. I do worry about my English as it is not perfect. It is quite important to have English Legal Language course, I think. Reply Link Anonymous 30 September 2008 at 14:15 Poor English Well Mr Bushnell, It is great to hear your (very strong) views on the matter. I am sure, however, that you meant to say “needs to be tackled far earlier in the education process” or even “far more early” rather than ” far early in the education process”? Perhaps you too are overly reliant on computerised spell checking? Reply Link Joan 2 October 2008 at 18:27 Poor English To Aleana You had better hope they have a spell checker on a blackberry-you do not stick in an apostrophe simply because something is plural ie blackberry’s. Isn’t the plural of this word blackberries? It might even be BlackBerrys, (or BlackBerry phones) since BlackBerry is a registered trademark. But it isn’t blackberry’s. Reply Link Anonymous 3 October 2008 at 15:48 View from an LPC Provider I check LPC students’ CVs and application forms every day and see frequent basic errors of basic English. The apostrophe, for example, is certainly dying as its correct use is simply beyond most twentysomethings. I agree with others that this is far broader than something which can be fixed by a short course on the LPC, but rest assured that those of us working with law students do our best – we certainly don’t let poor language past without concern. Reply Link Anonymous 9 October 2008 at 16:26 Basic English for legal writing A very interesting article. It is shocking that many law students have passed through our educational system not being able to write a coherent and structured letter, for example. This problem is not exclusively to be found amongst students who have English as a second language either. As an English teacher, currently teaching a grammar course at two law colleges in London, I can’t emphasise enough the importance of even a short course. These two colleges have clearly seen the need and are prepared to fund it. If nothing else, it highlights the students’ gaps in their knowledge. And the colleges have seen huge improvements as a consequence of students attending this course. Reply Link Simon Brooman 22 October 2008 at 10:56 Standard of English As a lecturer on an undergraduate law programme I too have noticed the fall in standards of English of our new students. It certainly seems to be linked to the reliance on computer assistance. However, I also think that lecturers have different attitudes as to what to do when faced with poor English. Knock off a few marks? Down a classification? We seem to have developed our marking strategies on the hoof as the problem became worse. In my law school we are now tending towards ‘severe-ish’ penalties as this certainly sharpens up student’s care and attention on the matter. I also think it stengthens the cause when looking at exams as the primary (not only) method of summative assessment. No spell-checkers or dictionaries there. Thats when we see the real student in most cases. Reply Link Name Email Cancel reply Threaded commenting powered by interconnect/it code.