In the context of recent social changes in Central Europe, the article outlines the need for a change in the traditional syllabi for legal English classes. It deals with needs analysis as one of the most important sources of inspiration in syllabus design. First, needs analysis is situated within the methodology of English for Specific Purposes. Then, the rationale for a needs analysis survey among pre-service students in current legal English courses is presented and, finally, the findings are interpreted with respect to the actual target situations that students are likely to encounter after graduation. The article concludes by pointing out that although pre-service students may have vague ideas about the use of English in their future jobs, course instructors should consider their needs and wants because they are crucial for increasing the students’ motivation. Instructors and course designers should, however, obtain information from professionals and former graduates as well because that will enable them to address the actual target situations most effectively.
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