Courses for lawyers / non-native speakers of English

Effective contract drafting and legal writing in English

This practical workshop will help you to draft and write confidently and effectively in English. You will develop your skills in drafting clearly, simply and accurately, whatever the governing law. You will improve your ability to modify precedent clauses and to draft from scratch, and you will take with you a set of guidelines for reference in the office. You will also revise some grammar in a legal context.

Delegates often find this course helps them when drafting even in their own language. (We deliver writing and drafting training to English lawyers.)

Practical exercises from start to finish.

Key details

Course length

Two days

(Six training hours each day, plus a one-hour lunch break and two 15-minute refreshment breaks)

Course length may be varied for In-house training.

Who should attend?

Lawyers from private practice, industry and government

What level of general English should you have?

At least upper intermediate. (We will contact you to assess your level.)

Group size:

8 - 10


The course covers:

Day one: contract drafting

  1. Drafting objectives and general ways of achieving clarity and precision in English: meeting own objectives and expectations of readers of English
  2. Brief review of problems that arise (a) when English is not the first language; and (b) Common Law does not apply
  3. Guidelines, including relating to the following:
    1. structuring the document, a clause, a paragraph and a sentence
    2. getting to the point and positioning information, including signposting, “if” clauses, and emphasis
    3. ensuring completeness of content and language
    4. keeping it short and simple, addressing e.g. archaisms, verbal clutter, word order, active voice and passive voice, and noun phrases
    5. dealing with provisos and exceptions, and cross-referencing; the related language (“provided that”, “subject to”, “notwithstanding”)
    6. choosing language of obligation and discretion: shall, will, must, and may
    7. avoiding ambiguity
  4. Exercises on analysing style and redrafting poorly drafted precedent clauses. Group and trainer feedback (including some remedial grammar comments)
  5. Exercises on drafting from scratch. Group and trainer feedback (including some remedial grammar).
    (One or two on day one; more on day two.)
  6. Exercises on grammar in a legal context (kept brief, as a break from intensive drafting), e.g. on prepositions and words commonly used together
  7. Some comparisons between US and English terminology

Homework: up to an hour

Day two: legal writing and more contract drafting

  1. Legal writing
    • reviewing objectives: writing for the reader and achieving one’s purpose
    • comparing the English approach with that of law firms in the delegates’ jurisdictions
    • structuring and ordering information in the document, the paragraph and the sentence, for impact and to meet reader expectations
    • adjusting formality; avoiding standard phrases
    • keeping it short and simple
    • applying and adding to guidelines learnt on day one
  2. Exercises, including analysing and redrafting poorly drafted letters or extracts from reports
  3. Exercises on relevant grammar in a legal context, including on punctuation, proofreading and spelling
  4. Exercises on writing or drafting from scratch: letter, report extract or contract; delegates work individually - trainer feedback
  5. Course round up

NOTE: follow-up

As with any skill, practice is important. We recommend completing a few exercises soon after the course and sending them to us for review. We can discuss follow-up options with you at the end of the course.


Alan Simmons, Jacqueline Jones-Parry or Stella Styllis,  who have for many years been delivering training to both English lawyers and non-native speakers of English worldwide.

Dates & fees

Dates and venues

Please contact us for next public course dates.

The course is available as tailored in-house training and one-to-one training. Please contact Stella Styllis to discuss the options and for a quote.


"The training was very good – all my colleagues said that this is the first time they have got real practical benefit from an English language course. Alan was great: very patient, responsive and helpful. He paid attention to all our questions and comments, and at the same time he managed to control the group and stick to the timeframe. And, of course, we had a lot of fun with some of the exercises!"

Boryana Boteva, Partner, Sabev & Partners Law firm, Sofia, Bulgaria

I enjoyed the course very much and learned a  great deal. Alan is a remarkable speaker and teacher.

Mag. Aurelia Tramposch, Tramposch & Partner, Vienna, Austria

Extremely useful training. Jackie is a very good presenter. 6 out of 6 score for the session.

Lawyer, major internaional law firm in Dubai (In-house training)


Lawyer, major international law firm in London (In-house training delivered by Stella Styllis)

Book now

How to book

On-line: on-line booking form

By email: complete and send your scanned and completed form to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it    Booking Form

By telephone: + 44 (0) 20 7681 0043 then on-line or by email (as above)

Visas: We regret we cannot assist with visa applications for those outside the EU. If  you cannot attend because of visa constraints, please do contact us to discuss other options. We may be holding the course in your or another country, or we can discuss in-house training.

Please contact us to enquire about this course