Are you a lawyer considering learning a new language? Maybe you wonder if you’ll ever see the effort actually pay off. Although it can be time-consuming and difficult, it’s well worth your time.
We live in a country where approximately 52.6 million people speak Spanish. To put this in perspective, that means that the US is home to more Spanish-speakers than Spain. In this diverse environment, learning a second language is useful to anyone. However, knowing more than one language– especially one as prevalent as Spanish– is especially beneficial for lawyers.
Bilingual or Non-English Speaking Clients Are More Likely To Hire You
A non-English speaking client will feel more comfortable with a lawyer with whom they can easily have a conversation. If both parties are struggling to understand one another or using translators, everything becomes more difficult. On the other hand, if a potential client who speaks Spanish and is able to talk to you in their native tongue, they’ll likely to feel more comfortable with you and ultimately hire you.
Being In Demand
When word spreads through a non-English or bilingual speaking community that there is a local bilingual attorney, you’ll have an instant edge on your competitors. If you do your job well and make your clients feel comfortable and understood, you can expect word-of-mouth referrals to be a large source of business for you.
Firms Are Looking to Hire Bilingual Lawyers
Learning a second language, especially Spanish, will help ensure that you are always in demand, not only with clients but also with hiring law firms. According to ABAjournal.com, as many as 42% of law firms are looking to hire more lawyers who speak an additional language. Practicing law can be a competitive profession, so every advantage is useful.
You’ll Likely Encounter Witnesses Who Do Not Speak English
Even if you work exclusively with English speaking clients, chances are that one of your future cases will involve a number of non-English speaking witnesses. As a bilingual attorney who is able to communicate directly with those witnesses, you’re better suited to prepare them before testifying. You’re also more able to ensure that they are portrayed in court the way that they intend without any of their meanings being misconstrued. Lastly, you can also ensure that the questions asked of your witness are conveyed clearly and accurately so they can respond appropriately.
Worth the Effort
So, if you’re a lawyer (or an aspiring lawyer) who wants to ensure a full client book, high desirability in the job market, and cases that aren’t hindered by language barriers, you should consider learning a foreign language. It may seem like a big endeavor, but it is well worth the time and effort. In the long-term, knowing a second language will not only benefit your career but your life as well.