September 10, 2022
Toles is world’s leading English exam for lawyers, law students, and legal translators
The TOLES organization is a private legal training company which was created as a direct result of extensive consultations with a leading commercial law firm. The existing experience has demonstrated that law graduates holding a wide variety of English language certificates lacked the level of English required to carry out essential legal tasks. TOLES materials and exams were developed in 2000 as a direct solution to this problem.
TOLES exams provide input into the English language level a lawyer needs to reach in order to have a successful career and carry out essential legal tasks. The TOLES program consists of a structured course of legal English training materials supported by three levels of professional exams. The exam levels are progressive steps towards reaching the standard of legal English required by employers such as international commercial law firms, in-house legal teams in private companies and top-class translators.
TOLES legal English training materials and exams have been developed following the advice of experienced commercial lawyers. The top requirements of employers are excellent drafting skills, first-class negotiating skills and a strong sense of commercial awareness. As members of the International Division of the Law Society of England and Wales the TOLES organization is in an excellent position to support international legal professionals in achieving these goals.
The TOLES organization is the member of the International Division of the Law Society of England and Wales and the training materials and exams provided by the company are very well-known among law firms and very highly valued by them. It is not affiliated with any university or English language organization simply because they cannot guide and inform in the way other members of our Law Society division are able to.
TOLES is intended to assist working lawyers and there are other legal English courses and exams which are more academic, more fluency based, and therefore more suitable for international law graduates who plan to take an LLM or a Ph.D. in law.
The Foundation Exam is the FIRST step in successful professional development with TOLES. The Foundation Exam is the recommended starting point in legal English training for international law students. For more experienced lawyers, this may be the correct starting point for those who wish to begin training in professional legal English while continuing to develop English skills in general.
The Foundation Exam has been described by employers as ‘an excellent bridge for international law students between the world of university and the world of work’. As well as testing legal English, the Foundation Exam develops an awareness of the real tasks a lawyer carries out in an international legal office and focuses on real and recent legal developments and cases. For this reason, even learners with advanced general English can benefit from the Foundation Exam.
The aim of the Foundation Exam is to ensure learners are equipped with a strong basis upon which to build the skills required by employers.
The level of English needed for this exam is elementary level. The priority at this stage is to make sure that a genuinely strong foundation of legal English is in place in order to allow learners to progress successfully to the next level. This strong foundation includes consolidating basic grammar before moving on to more complicated language structures. The exam is based on absolute accuracy in written English, not fluency. This means that when learners answer questions we expect their use of English to be very good and they will lose points for imperfect grammar as well as for vocabulary mistakes.
The TOLES Foundation Exam requires little or no knowledge of British or American law. It requires knowledge of useful, international legal terminology, a strong, active use of basic grammar and a sensitivity to use of register in the following general areas:
Higher Exam is the SECOND step in successful professional development with TOLES.
The Higher Exam builds on the language skills and knowledge of practical legal vocabulary acquired at Foundation level. The Higher Exam moves learners to the next stage and requires the ability to deal with more complex authentic legal documents and scenarios while also continuing to focus on a strict attention to detail and grammatical accuracy.
The major aim of the Higher Exam is to build on the skills and knowledge learners have acquired at Foundation level and take them on to the next level.
The focus of all of the TOLES exams is absolute accuracy, a strong legal vocabulary and familiarisation with modern legal style. All of these elements continue with this Stage 2 exam. Learners are challenged to deal with information concerning current and relevant legal topics and cases and to be absolutely accurate in areas such as collocation, preposition and legal terminology. They are also asked to deal with short yet complex extracts from contracts and to demonstrate a close understanding of them as well as providing their own definitions of specific legal terminology. Sensitivity to appropriate register is essential for the section dealing with a formal letter. In the listening section of the exam the focus is on a totally accurate understanding of conversations based on relevant legal topics.
The TOLES Higher Exam requires little or no knowledge of British or American law. It requires knowledge of useful, international legal terminology, a strong, active use of authentic grammar and a sensitivity to use of register in the following general areas:
Advanced Exam is the THIRD step in successful professional development with TOLES.
The Advanced Exam was created and then developed in consultation with leading commercial law firms and is considered to be the gold standard of legal English achievement.
The major aim of the Advanced Exam is to equip lawyers who do not have English as a first language with the skills they need to work in a modern commercial legal environment at the very highest level.
The focus of all of the TOLES exams is absolute accuracy, a strong legal vocabulary and familiarisation with modern legal style. All of these elements come together at the highest level with this Stage 3 exam. The priority of the TOLES Advanced Exam is to give learners an opportunity to genuinely test themselves at the most challenging level possible and to provide employers with a certificate they can trust.
The TOLES Advanced Exam requires little or no knowledge of British or American law but learners who do well at this level usually have a strong awareness of commercial realities when dealing with the UK and the USA. Commercial awareness is an essential skill when it comes to scoring well in the TOLES Advanced Exam and some background reading and knowledge of current events in the international legal market is vital. Extra material on best practice in the profession in key areas is highly recommended. The exam requires knowledge of essential, international legal terminology, a mastery of complex grammar and complete sensitivity to use of register in the following general areas:
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