Law School Discussion

Miami legal market

Miami legal market
« on: August 04, 2007, 03:36:41 PM »
Anyone know much about legal practice down there? Is Spanish a necessity, or a bonus? What kind of law is generally practiced?

jillibean

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Re: Miami legal market
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2007, 08:57:11 PM »
entertainment and sports law are big- spanish is required for big law, or at least portugese or creole

keelee

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Re: Miami legal market
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2007, 08:21:34 PM »
As jillibean said, Spanish is pretty much a requirement. The only way to get easily around that is if you speak Portuguese. At some large firms, speaking French Creole will also substitute for Spanish. The obvious other big practice area is general Latin American law, whether it relates to immigration, Latin America corporate law, etc., etc., though it is also a big sports/entertainment law market. Sports law is probably the one area of practice in Miami where Spanish isn't required (you still need it for entertainment law).

Nemesis

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Re: Miami legal market
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2007, 07:10:38 AM »
I would have to disagree that Spanish is a requirement. It certainly helps, especially if you want to do international work but it definitely is not a requirement. There are also several strong litigation and bankruptcy practices.

bamf

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Re: Miami legal market
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2007, 09:37:16 AM »
You don't need to know Spanish to work in Miami biglaw. You would need it to work legal aid. I'm at UF, and none of the OCI preferences for Miami biglaw even noted a need to speak spanish.

This just goes to show how you shouldn't rely on the advice of other 0Ls on stuff like this- I'd recommend you post questions like this on the law students and grads board.

keelee

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Re: Miami legal market
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2007, 10:58:50 AM »
You don't need to know Spanish to work in Miami biglaw. You would need it to work legal aid. I'm at UF, and none of the OCI preferences for Miami biglaw even noted a need to speak spanish.

This just goes to show how you shouldn't rely on the advice of other 0Ls on stuff like this- I'd recommend you post questions like this on the law students and grads board.

A simple check of job listings at any big Miami law firm would show you that yes, you need to Spanish. If it doesn't say Spanish required, it says "Spanish strongly preferred" or "Spanish skills a big plus" or something along those lines. They all translate to: "If you don't speak Spanish, chances are you aren't going to get the job." And even if it doesn't ask for Spanish, it would be difficult for a non-Spanish speaker, all things being equal, getting a job over a Spanish-speaker, considering that Spanish, not English, is the dominant language in Miami. Portuguese can substitute for Spanish, pretty much universally.

Lack of Spanish skills is probably a major reason UF and especially FSU place poorly in Florida's largest legal market, despite being FL's two highest ranked schools.

My uncle works for one of the bigger firms in Miami, and I asked him about this yesterday. The conversation basiclly went like this:

Me: "Would your firm hire a first year who didn't speak Spanish?"
Him: "Only if they can speak Portuguese."
Me: "How about if they went to Harvard or Yale?"
Him: "Then we might be able to make an exception."




jillibean

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Re: Miami legal market
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2007, 02:20:16 PM »
You don't need to know Spanish to work in Miami biglaw. You would need it to work legal aid. I'm at UF, and none of the OCI preferences for Miami biglaw even noted a need to speak spanish.

This just goes to show how you shouldn't rely on the advice of other 0Ls on stuff like this- I'd recommend you post questions like this on the law students and grads board.
::)

I suggest you actually look at job listings in Miami. All of the one's I looked at said it was REQUIRED or strongly prefered

jillibean

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Re: Miami legal market
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2007, 02:28:00 PM »
From the webiste bamf posted above:
I worked in Miami BigLaw after 2L. Best city to ever work in, period. The work environment in Miami, even at BigLaw, is ridiculously laid backed, but still challenging.

You do need to know how to speak a second language, though, because you deal so heavily with foreign clients. It does NOT have to be Spanish, however. It could be Portuguese, French, French Creole, or Italian, depending on the firm. If you can't speak a foreign language, opportunities are limited in Miami-Dade County, but much more plentiful in Broward and Palm Beach, which are suburban, but pay the same.

Miami is very much a love it/hate it city, just like LA and NYC. Very few people are in the middle.

In terms of BigLaw, there is a lot of opportunity. Few people realize Miami is one of the ten largest BigLaw markets in the country.

I also don't get why anybody would complain - you get paid similar to other markets, usually have a lighter workload than other markets, have amazing weather 9 out of 12 months, live in an adult playground, and, best of all - no state income tax!

Cost of living in Miami is also extremely reasonable once you get past paying rent.

Seems the only people who complain are the monolingual ones who couldn't get a job there based on the lack of a simple skill: a second language.


Nemesis

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Re: Miami legal market
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2007, 02:43:03 PM »
Well I've had a different experience. I'm currently at a big law firm in Miami and most of the associates here do not speak Spanish (and they're not exclusively from HY). Most of the Spanish speakers work in the Latin America corporate group (although there are a few members of the group that do not speak a second language). And if you speak Portuguese, chances are you'll be doing a significant amount of work with the offices in Brazil. But Spanish or a second language is certainly not a requirement, at least not here.