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quem vem la-sou eu

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Bilinguals in law school
« on: April 30, 2007, 11:48:15 PM »
Any bilinguals out there who have looked into options in the profession? I've only been able to find legal interpretation so far. What else is there? And what kinds of courses of study/extracurricular projects would you tend to pursue? Immigration law clinics... Study abroad... anything else? 

SilentSwirl

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Re: Bilinguals in law school
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2007, 12:19:33 AM »
Native languages are English and Spanish. I've picked up French and Italian in high school/college.

I want to go into international law - private sector. I want to focus on transnational trade issues from the company's side, international aquisitions and mergers, international business disputes, or intellectual property issues. Something along those lines, to be more defined as I take more classes and see what I'm getting into.

I am applying for American's Dual Degree program where I would, in 4 years, get a J.D. and a Licenciatura en Derecho from Spain. You live two years in DC and two years in Spain.

This summer I plan on going to Costa Rica and getting a part time job in order to brush up on my "business spanish" skills and maybe take a grammar class since I've never been formally schooled in Spanish.

If I have any "free time" at all during the three years (or at least the summers!) in law school I want to study Portuguese. I know I won't have much time, I don't need to learn it perfectly, just to at least have a working knowledge of it. And Brazil is SUCH an emerging economy! If I can't do China or India I'll settle for Brazil.

Then when it comes time to get a job, hopefully I will be looking at employers who work with clients who do business in other languages and my ability to speak those languages, though I dont count on that to get me the job, I hope it will at least give me a little bit of an 'edge' to at least be considered.

So, that's my very preliminary plan for putting my language skills to use! I sure as hell am not going to have spent so many years studying languages without putting them to SOME use! Well, that's what I'm hoping, at least. :-\

quem vem la-sou eu

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Re: Bilinguals in law school
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2007, 12:36:46 AM »
I was unaware of that dual degree program at American. I took a Portuguese class for Spanish speakers a few years ago that was pretty good. (That is, a Portuguese class for Spanish speakers conducted in English.)

Hypothetically, though, if you were in a plain JD program would you attempt to master all of the technical vocabulary in Spanish as well as English?

SilentSwirl

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Re: Bilinguals in law school
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2007, 01:14:17 AM »
I was unaware of that dual degree program at American. I took a Portuguese class for Spanish speakers a few years ago that was pretty good. (That is, a Portuguese class for Spanish speakers conducted in English.)

Hypothetically, though, if you were in a plain JD program would you attempt to master all of the technical vocabulary in Spanish as well as English?

As of now I *am* in a plain JD program. You can't apply for that program at American until your second semester there (which makes me sad, because a large part of my desire to go to American is that program!).  You can read about it here: http://www.wcl.american.edu/dualdegree/madrid.cfm

So to answer your question -- yes! I would be particularly pleased to take a class, because the whole self-teaching thing just doesn't work out for me (I always seem to find something better to do!).  Even if I am not accepted into the program, I am going to make an effort to also learn the continental legal system, which is used outside of the US and especially in Latin America.

The other thing I think is important beyond the language is to be literate in the corporate culture of the particular country with which you want to work. I don't necessarily want to work IN another country, but if asked to travel for meetings and such I definitely don't want to be caught in a faux-pas!

What about you? Made any plans? Have any ideas? Tips? Suggestions?

quem vem la-sou eu

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Re: Bilinguals in law school
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2007, 12:57:31 PM »
Unfortunately not. The only step I've taken is, I worked in translation for a company that does a lot of global entertainment/IP-related transactions, and I asked them to forward my resume to their legal representation to keep me in mind for a summer associate-type thing.

Now that I'm thinking about it though, with respect to M&A, negotiation might be something to focus on. I had assumed that law school negotiation curriculum was mostly relevant to settlements, but attorneys definitely get into the fray with M&A negotiation. My suspicion is that most of those transactions, no matter where they are, are conducted in English, though. That is what's frustrating me about this. It seems like everything Law is in English.

SilentSwirl

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Re: Bilinguals in law school
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2007, 01:41:45 PM »
Unfortunately not. The only step I've taken is, I worked in translation for a company that does a lot of global entertainment/IP-related transactions, and I asked them to forward my resume to their legal representation to keep me in mind for a summer associate-type thing.

Now that I'm thinking about it though, with respect to M&A, negotiation might be something to focus on. I had assumed that law school negotiation curriculum was mostly relevant to settlements, but attorneys definitely get into the fray with M&A negotiation. My suspicion is that most of those transactions, no matter where they are, are conducted in English, though. That is what's frustrating me about this. It seems like everything Law is in English.

Yeah, but everything in business is about contacts and networking. How much more of a leg up are you going to have for your firm if, once the meeting's over, you can take your clients to lunch and sit around and chat in spanish? Trust me, they will enjoy the lunch MUCH more than if they have to keep speaking in a 'foreign' language, even if they're really good english speakers.

As far as something non-outside-of-the-office related goes, I think it will come in when you are working with an american company that wants to work with american attorneys in order to do business in a foreign country. In other words, let's say Company X wants to do business in Mexico. They need to hire you to be sure they're compliant with US laws, but oh? What's this? You speak spanish and understand the laws in Mexico? Well of COURSE we'd like to hire you.

Of course, I may be dreaming :)

naturallybeyoutiful

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Re: Bilinguals in law school
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2007, 07:17:07 AM »
Native languages are English and Spanish. I've picked up French and Italian in high school/college.

I want to go into international law - private sector. I want to focus on transnational trade issues from the company's side, international aquisitions and mergers, international business disputes, or intellectual property issues. Something along those lines, to be more defined as I take more classes and see what I'm getting into.

I am applying for American's Dual Degree program where I would, in 4 years, get a J.D. and a Licenciatura en Derecho from Spain. You live two years in DC and two years in Spain.

This summer I plan on going to Costa Rica and getting a part time job in order to brush up on my "business spanish" skills and maybe take a grammar class since I've never been formally schooled in Spanish.

If I have any "free time" at all during the three years (or at least the summers!) in law school I want to study Portuguese. I know I won't have much time, I don't need to learn it perfectly, just to at least have a working knowledge of it. And Brazil is SUCH an emerging economy! If I can't do China or India I'll settle for Brazil.

Then when it comes time to get a job, hopefully I will be looking at employers who work with clients who do business in other languages and my ability to speak those languages, though I dont count on that to get me the job, I hope it will at least give me a little bit of an 'edge' to at least be considered.

So, that's my very preliminary plan for putting my language skills to use! I sure as hell am not going to have spent so many years studying languages without putting them to SOME use! Well, that's what I'm hoping, at least. :-\

Wow!  I'm impressed, to say the least.  I didn't even know American had such a program, and I hope that you are accepted and are able to use it to position yourself to achieve yourt futyre career goals.  I can really identify with your last statement, as I studied Spanish for 13 years and want to find a way to incorporate that into my legal career somehow.  I'm not necessarily interested in the international law route per se, so I'll have to figure something else out over the course of the next 3 years.
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SilentSwirl

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Re: Bilinguals in law school
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2007, 10:32:59 PM »
Native languages are English and Spanish. I've picked up French and Italian in high school/college.

I want to go into international law - private sector. I want to focus on transnational trade issues from the company's side, international aquisitions and mergers, international business disputes, or intellectual property issues. Something along those lines, to be more defined as I take more classes and see what I'm getting into.

I am applying for American's Dual Degree program where I would, in 4 years, get a J.D. and a Licenciatura en Derecho from Spain. You live two years in DC and two years in Spain.

This summer I plan on going to Costa Rica and getting a part time job in order to brush up on my "business spanish" skills and maybe take a grammar class since I've never been formally schooled in Spanish.

If I have any "free time" at all during the three years (or at least the summers!) in law school I want to study Portuguese. I know I won't have much time, I don't need to learn it perfectly, just to at least have a working knowledge of it. And Brazil is SUCH an emerging economy! If I can't do China or India I'll settle for Brazil.

Then when it comes time to get a job, hopefully I will be looking at employers who work with clients who do business in other languages and my ability to speak those languages, though I dont count on that to get me the job, I hope it will at least give me a little bit of an 'edge' to at least be considered.

So, that's my very preliminary plan for putting my language skills to use! I sure as hell am not going to have spent so many years studying languages without putting them to SOME use! Well, that's what I'm hoping, at least. :-\

Wow!  I'm impressed, to say the least.  I didn't even know American had such a program, and I hope that you are accepted and are able to use it to position yourself to achieve yourt futyre career goals.  I can really identify with your last statement, as I studied Spanish for 13 years and want to find a way to incorporate that into my legal career somehow.  I'm not necessarily interested in the international law route per se, so I'll have to figure something else out over the course of the next 3 years.

Well, I havent actually DONE any of the impressive stuff yet -- it's all just plans so far! But thanks for your well wishes, I hope things work out well :)

I think the best way to put your spanish skills to use if you're not specifically interested in "international law" is to move some place (like Texas, my home state!) that has alot of spanish speakers. Then you have lots of potential clients that are spanish speakers. Corporate, family, employment, child advocacy, etc ... But yeah, it will be interesting to see what fun stuff you come up with!

keelee

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Re: Bilinguals in law school
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2007, 02:36:47 AM »
FWIW, speaking Spanish or Portuguese is psuedo-requirement to get a good legal job in Miami, especially a BigLaw one.

It is quite obviously not an official requirement, but I couldn't imagine how somebody could survive in the Miami legal market (past their first few years of being an associate) without knowing Spanish or Portuguese.
Going to as of now...USC or Fordham.

quem vem la-sou eu

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Re: Bilinguals in law school
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2007, 07:57:37 PM »
I went on yahoo! respuestas leyes y etica to get a free legal education... found stuff like this:

http://mx.answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=AuKh2wswJ5eSoLKxx5Kgotm2GxV.?qid=20070515123928AABvy81