What are the hallmarks of this programme?
Even though MLE is a standard programme suitable for all Dutch legal professionals, it is not an ordinary language programme, nor even an ordinary legal English programme. It is a sophisticated, intensive and high-level programme. It provides an insightful understanding of the specific mistakes that Dutch lawyers make when working in English. The programme is based on a lawyerly understanding of which mistakes are legally significant, and good explanations of some of the trickier issues. It provides clear explanations of some of the more difficult points that Dutch lawyers (despite their already impressive English skills) may not have encountered before.
The participants are Dutch legal professionals working in English in a Dutch legal context. The programme has been designed specifically for Dutch speakers. The training is directly relevant to the context of the day-to-day practice of Dutch law. The objective is to teach useful legal English that results in profound improvement so that participants immediately work more easily and more effectively in English.
The programme is based on standard set of modules and core teaching points that thoroughly cover legal English in some detail.
4. Legal expertise
The programme has been carefully designed by trainers who have years of experience helping Dutch legal professionals practise Dutch law in English. They are not just former practising lawyers, but lawyers who have expertise in legal English and expertise in training Dutch lawyers. They understand the challenge of expressing Dutch civil law in the language of the common law. The teaching points are based on the trainers’ long-term experience working with Dutch lawyers and a professional assessment of their practical needs.
The modules can be combined in various ways and into several different themes. Also, the trainers adapt each course to suit the needs and requests of the participants in each group, taking the level and area of law into account. Special requests from the organisation are accommodated. Questions from participants are dealt with insightfully.
Some aspects of the programme are personalised. During the programme, the participants receive personal feedback from an expert. The programmes create a forum in which lawyers can raise the language issues they encounter in their practices and discuss them with English-speaking counterparts at the same level. Some of the most valuable training takes place when these issues are raised, discussed and resolved. As one participant said, “all my questions were answered”.
MLE is lawyer-to-lawyer training. The trainers are legally trained English-speakers residing in the Netherlands. Although no longer practising law, they bring their legal training, experience and expertise to the Dutch market for legal English training. Quality control is integrated into the training. The courses are evaluated by the participants afterwards. Clients therefore receive direct feedback from their own legal professionals about the usefulness of the training.
8. Client satisfaction
Participants have consistently rated the MLE programme (and its predecessor) highly. The organisations that run the MLE programme in-house include many of the biggest names in the Dutch legal community and Dutch corporate life. Many law firms have relied on the programme for years and, indeed, hold several courses a year. There is no better testament to the quality of the training.