Legal English vocabulary can be difficult for someone whose first language is not English to get their head around. Not only is the non-English speaker having to learn, understand and converse in the English language, they also have to learn the correct vocabulary and the context in which to use said vocabulary in a legal setting.
They must learn when to use vocabulary and understand how to use it in negotiations, meetings, and drafting legal documents. The accuracy and quality of this skill is imperative when working within a professional law firm dealing with real-life scenarios. The consequences of misinterpreting meanings or drafting documents incorrectly can be dire. Clients trusting their legal team with a case could lose if things are done incorrectly. The firm gaining a bad reputation and losing income is just two examples of the potential damaging outcomes legal firms face.
To combat this risk, the Test of Legal English Skills (TOLES) course was developed in 2000, with the skills needed in a legal environment in mind. The TOLES course, aimed at foreign language speakers, international lawyers and legal translators, aims to equip non-English speakers to develop the necessary English language skills required to work in an international law firm.
As members of the International Division of the Law Society of England and Wales, TOLES is highly regarded within the legal community as it equips students and lawyers alike with skills such as commercial awareness, language skills and the competency to carry out essential legal tasks.