Habla Espanol? You Should

ed. note – OK, I know I saw this topic somewhere in the blawgosphere lately, but I’ll be darned if I can find it now. If you were the smart person who blogged about lawyers learning Spanish, please let me know so I can credit you properly! Found it! Evan Schaeffer wrote about it right here

If you don’t speak Spanish, consider learning it. Not only is it valuable intrinsically (learning a new language keeps the brain cells humming at optimal frequency, plus – learning anything new is good, people!) it may someday soon save your practice. According to some sources, almost 13% of the US population speaks Spanish as their first language, and that number is only getting bigger. What are the odds that, one of these days, your clients will include immigrants who don’t speak English – or don’t speak it well enough to assist in their case?

Consider pro bono programs, if you don’t think you’ll have a communication problem with your paying clients. If you participate in such programs at all (and more and more bars are strongly encouraging their members to do just that), you will undoubtedly run up against a language barrier one of these days.

Still not convinced? Then how about those of you (like me) in states that require attorneys to assist in indigent defense? Think you might get called down to the local detention center one of these days to meet your new client who speaks Spanish – and only a little English, not enough to tell you his or her version of the facts?

If I haven’t convinced you yet, then think of it as a marketing tactic. The percentage of Spanish-speaking immigrants in this country is growing – there’s no doubt about that. That’s a huge market that’s being underserved by the legal profession. What would be the ramifications to your practice as an Inspired Solo to be able to say, proudly “Se Habla Espanol” in your radio ads and on your website? Or even have a Spanish version of your website’s materials?

Well, I convinced myself, so I signed up to get the materials from the Missouri Bar’s upcoming teleseminar, Spanish for the Legal Professional. Tip of the hat to Evan Schaeffer for the referral and suggestion!

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