Mediation is a language activity that has been unjustly neglected when preparing law students for their future professional careers. When trained in a professional context, students need to develop and improve complex communicative skills. These include not only the traditional language skills such as reading, writing, listening and speaking, but also more advanced skills such as summarizing, providing definitions, changing registers etc. All these are involved in the students’ acquisition of ‘soft skills’ that are particularly important for students of law since much of their future work involves interpersonal lawyer-client interaction. This article argues that mediation is a crucial (though previously underestimated) skill and that law-oriented ESP instruction should provide training aimed at developing this skill. Showing a practical application of this approach, the paper demonstrates that mediation can be successfully integrated in the legal English syllabus and make the learning of legal English more effective.
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