In the legal community, Spanish language skills are a growing trend and for good reason. In the United States, 38 million people speak Spanish as their primary language at home, a number that has doubled since 1990. If your primary language is English, you’ll have no problem finding a lawyer no matter how small your community. If, however, your primary language is Spanish, finding an attorney that is capable of communicating – not just to you, but also to others on your behalf – can be a difficult endeavor. And, the need for bilingual attorneys is growing, just as the population of Spanish speaking Americans is too.
There are many reasons to consider hiring a Spanish-speaking lawyer should you ever find yourself in the position of needing one.
For native Spanish-speakers, having an attorney that can communicate clearly with you is paramount. When communicating across languages, what may seem like a subtle difference in translation can have profound impacts on the overall meaning of what is communicated. When dealing with complicated legal situations that rely on clear and precise communication, even the subtlest of misunderstandings can sink a case. For this reason, having a Spanish-speaking lawyer in these situations is essential. And, an attorney does more than just communicate verbally, but may also be asked to provide assistance with evidence checklists, thank-you letters, client-intake forms, and police or hospital records. All of which may need to be translated from Spanish into English, depending on the situation.
Simply put, we trust what we understand. If an attorney and client speak the same language they can much more easily be on the same page about what the client’s needs are. Given the complicated nature of legal terms and procedures, any lawyer that manages to successfully communicate with his or her client will naturally develop trust. Confidence in an attorney is key, especially when it comes to the handling of personally sensitive cases. If your primary language is Spanish, working with a Spanish-speaking attorney will avoid any language barriers that otherwise make being completely open and honest with your representation difficult. Having a strong sense of faith in your attorney — that they are representing you to the fullest and they understand what your goals are — is a part of the process that should not be taken for granted.
Misunderstandings can drown a case before it ever even begins. And, simple misunderstandings happen all of the time with same-language attorneys and clients. When the two parties working together speak different languages, the chances of a misunderstanding taking place becomes practically inevitable. Again, it all boils down to effective communication, and the less there is to translate, be it paperwork like hospital records and police reports or simply understanding your client’s wants and needs, properly communicating in the same language is an advantage that every individual has a right to when seeking legal representation. By limiting the misunderstandings that occur, a legal case will have a higher chance of success.
As an attorney or law office, having Spanish-speaking lawyers on staff allows for the representation of a wider range of clients and automatically increases your chances of success in the cases that are pursued. With over 10 percent of the United States’ population speaking Spanish as their primary language, catering to this clientele opens up more opportunities for your business and more opportunities to make a difference in people’s lives.
For any law office that practices in an urban environment where large parts of the community are Spanish-speaking, having a Spanish-speaking lawyer is necessary in order to represent clients to the fullest degree.