Foreign Language, boost of any kind?

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CyanIdes Of March
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Foreign Language, boost of any kind?

Postby CyanIdes Of March » Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:20 pm

Anyone have any stories of being bi/tri-lingual helping an app? I guess this would be hard to know (and I know it's nothing in light of GPA/LSAT), but I'm right on the cusp of being a decent app at Harvard and I'm also pretty close to mastering a second language, wondering if this would provide me any motivation to learn it more efficiently.

EDIT: I ask because I've seen a few people put "bilingual" as a soft on their LSN apps and I could use all the help I can get considering my softs are fairly weak.

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jrsbaseball5
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Re: Foreign Language, boost of any kind?

Postby jrsbaseball5 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:23 pm

CyanIdes Of March wrote:Anyone have any stories of being bi/tri-lingual helping an app? I guess this would be hard to know (and I know it's nothing in light of GPA/LSAT), but I'm right on the cusp of being a decent app at Harvard and I'm also pretty close to mastering a second language, wondering if this would provide me any motivation to learn it more efficiently.

EDIT: I ask because I've seen a few people put "bilingual" as a soft on their LSN apps and I could use all the help I can get considering my softs are fairly weak.


What languages do you know? If you feel confident with the language you could put it on your application but I don't think it will help much. Won't hurt though. I would imagine it would have more bearing on future employment opportunities than the law school app.

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CyanIdes Of March
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Re: Foreign Language, boost of any kind?

Postby CyanIdes Of March » Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:26 pm

Spanish, I live pretty close to the US/Mexico border. I can read/write it with relative ease, speaking it to the point where I could be considered fluent would take a little bit more time and effort, probably require a bit more immersion than I've had (I've had some).

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jrsbaseball5
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Re: Foreign Language, boost of any kind?

Postby jrsbaseball5 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:32 pm

Well, as a fellow Spanish speaker I hope that it provides some sort of boost, but from what I've read of others experiences on here it doesn't make that big of a difference. What I would imagine is that it would be helpful to round out your application and help you perform up to your numbers. Will it help you outperform them? No

Are you a URM or does your knowledge of Spanish make you more diverse? If so, it would be much more likely to help.

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cinephile
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Re: Foreign Language, boost of any kind?

Postby cinephile » Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:37 pm

I'm tri-lingual. It was of no help at all in admissions, my acceptances were entirely dictated by my numbers. Not even useful in job interviews. The only employer who cared to ask me about it was JAG.

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spicyyoda17
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Re: Foreign Language, boost of any kind?

Postby spicyyoda17 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:41 pm

Really does depend on the language. When evaluating the impact of a soft, ask yourself:

1) Will this help my employment prospects compared to other students at the school?
2) Is this soft uncommon enough that the school would be proud to have one of their students with this on their resume?

The first question gets at making sure schools admit students that will improve their employment statistics. The second question gets at making sure schools admit students that will improve their prestige.

That's why most softs aren't a game-changer.

So, as it relates to a foreign language, most will not help the candidate because few lawyers are going to practice in a foreign language. Also, common languages like Spanish are spoken so broadly that no prestige will be added.

There are some languages, such as Arabic and Mandarin, where fluency can be a nice soft should the candidate's application point toward a career that would utilize such a language. However, these would still not be game-changers; they would most likely just be a nice little positive tick on the candidate's broader application.

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patienunderstanding
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Re: Foreign Language, boost of any kind?

Postby patienunderstanding » Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:48 pm

I know a person who got accepted into T30 only because s(he) was fluent in 4 languages. S(he) was WAAAY below both 25% and when the school notified him/her of admission they said they accepted him/her due to the fact that s(he) knew 4 languages.

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sinfiery
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Re: Foreign Language, boost of any kind?

Postby sinfiery » Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:09 pm

I hope so. I can speak enough Urdu to have a conversation and can understand much more. I could go be like a CIA agent or something. A JD makes you qualified for something like that, right?

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dingbat
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Re: Foreign Language, boost of any kind?

Postby dingbat » Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:14 pm

patienunderstanding wrote:I know a person who got accepted into T30 only because s(he) was fluent in 4 languages. S(he) was WAAAY below both 25% and when the school notified him/her of admission they said they accepted him/her due to the fact that s(he) knew 4 languages.

This is the exception rather than the rule. I'm fluent in 2-3 languages (don't ask) and had excellent softs and barely outperformed my numbers

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jrsbaseball5
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Re: Foreign Language, boost of any kind?

Postby jrsbaseball5 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:35 pm

spicyyoda17 wrote:Really does depend on the language. When evaluating the impact of a soft, ask yourself:

1) Will this help my employment prospects compared to other students at the school?
2) Is this soft uncommon enough that the school would be proud to have one of their students with this on their resume?

The first question gets at making sure schools admit students that will improve their employment statistics. The second question gets at making sure schools admit students that will improve their prestige.

That's why most softs aren't a game-changer.

So, as it relates to a foreign language, most will not help the candidate because few lawyers are going to practice in a foreign language. Also, common languages like Spanish are spoken so broadly that no prestige will be added.

There are some languages, such as Arabic and Mandarin, where fluency can be a nice soft should the candidate's application point toward a career that would utilize such a language. However, these would still not be game-changers; they would most likely just be a nice little positive tick on the candidate's broader application.


I think this is an excellent summation of what makes a soft unique. Thank you

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heythatslife
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Re: Foreign Language, boost of any kind?

Postby heythatslife » Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:00 pm

sinfiery wrote:I hope so. I can speak enough Urdu to have a conversation and can understand much more. I could go be like a CIA agent or something. A JD makes you qualified for something like that, right?


CIA and FBI do take some JDs, but my impression is that they're legal counsels more than anything else. I highly doubt they'll actually put those people in the field, where oral language proficiency might matter. In any case, if you want to be a spook, why don't you just sign up instead of putting yourself through law school?

I've qualified the above and said "oral language proficiency" because foreign language skills probably do matter for CIA or State Department legal advisors IF they're able to read and write at professional standards in their target languages. But that level of proficiency is often hard to achieve without some formal education conducted in the language at question (especially non-European languages).

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magp90
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Re: Foreign Language, boost of any kind?

Postby magp90 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:05 pm

I have four/five languages on my resume for various reasons, and I know that it helped for the majority of my applications. It helped me articulate my interest in working in the field of international law, and I'm sure that it may help in other sectors as well.

All things considered, though, it won't make or break you, but it adds another layer to the story that you may talk about in a personal statement, perhaps.

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heythatslife
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Re: Foreign Language, boost of any kind?

Postby heythatslife » Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:11 pm

Regarding foreign language skills on applications generally, I think that to be able to market these really as softs, you should demonstrate what you've done with your languages. Examples are foreign degrees, overseas work, legal translation volunteer work at court, etc.

After all, "fluency" is a very loosely defined thing, and it's hard to prove or disprove the claims of fluency in languages on applications.

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cahwc12
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Re: Foreign Language, boost of any kind?

Postby cahwc12 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:17 pm

magp90 wrote:I have four/five languages on my resume for various reasons, and I know that it helped for the majority of my applications. It helped me articulate my interest in working in the field of international law, and I'm sure that it may help in other sectors as well.

All things considered, though, it won't make or break you, but it adds another layer to the story that you may talk about in a personal statement, perhaps.



Image

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BullShitWithBravado
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Re: Foreign Language, boost of any kind?

Postby BullShitWithBravado » Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:22 pm

Spanish is a pretty common second language to have, so it probably doesn't help on it's own. If you're not a native speaker, maybe you could indicate that on your app to demonstrate that you've actually put in an extra effort to learn a language and didn't just grow up knowing it. Probably won't give much of a boost though, but worth a shot maybe. Keep in mind that a ton of people put second and third languages on their apps even when they they don't speak any second language at even a basic level, so schools probably won't put as much weight on those kinds of softs. I'm a native spanish speaker and I've talked to people who put "intermediate Spanish" on their resume and, when I spoke to them in Spanish, they said something along the lines of: "Hola, yo estoy hablo John." Terrible.

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magp90
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Re: Foreign Language, boost of any kind?

Postby magp90 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:45 pm

cahwc12 wrote:
magp90 wrote:I have four/five languages on my resume for various reasons, and I know that it helped for the majority of my applications. It helped me articulate my interest in working in the field of international law, and I'm sure that it may help in other sectors as well.

All things considered, though, it won't make or break you, but it adds another layer to the story that you may talk about in a personal statement, perhaps.



Image


Hahahahahaha wow, your eloquent advice really showed me the way. I don't know what I would do without you.

20141023
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Re: Foreign Language, boost of any kind?

Postby 20141023 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:13 pm

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20141023
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Re: Foreign Language, boost of any kind?

Postby 20141023 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 11:40 pm

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soontobelawschooler
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Re: Foreign Language, boost of any kind?

Postby soontobelawschooler » Sun Feb 10, 2013 4:08 pm

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Crowing
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Re: Foreign Language, boost of any kind?

Postby Crowing » Sun Feb 10, 2013 4:57 pm

kappycaft1 wrote:I forgot to mention this, but the languages that will likely give you a boost if you can prove your fluency in them can be found on the Critical Language Scholarship Program website. Just for reference, they are:

Arabic
Azerbaijani
Bangla
Chinese Mandarin
Hindi
Indonesian
Japanese
Korean
Persian
Punjabi
Russian
Turkish
Urdu

Basically, these are languages that are important in the world today but for which there are a limited number of Americans that can speak them fluently. If you can speak one of these and tie it in with your purpose for wanting to go to law school, I think it has the potential to give a decent boost.


FTFY. Nobody cares about other Chinese dialects.

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CFprez
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Re: Foreign Language, boost of any kind?

Postby CFprez » Sun Feb 10, 2013 5:01 pm

kappycaft1 wrote:I forgot to mention this, but the languages that will likely give you a boost if you can prove your fluency in them can be found on the Critical Language Scholarship Program website. Just for reference, they are:

Arabic
Azerbaijani
Bangla
Chinese
Hindi
Indonesian
Japanese
Korean
Persian
Punjabi
Russian
Turkish
Urdu

Basically, these are languages that are important in the world today but for which there are a limited number of Americans that can speak them fluently. If you can speak one of these and tie it in with your purpose for wanting to go to law school, I think it has the potential to give a decent boost.


So kappycaft1 in your opinion would even more obscure languages provide a boost? I speak a very small minority Asian language. If it is a minority, does no one truly care? BTW it is not Indonesian or Punjabi.

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dingbat
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Re: Foreign Language, boost of any kind?

Postby dingbat » Sun Feb 10, 2013 5:02 pm

As an aside, I heard from one particular biglaw firm that if you speak mongolian it'd be a big boost

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CFprez
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Re: Foreign Language, boost of any kind?

Postby CFprez » Sun Feb 10, 2013 5:05 pm

I wonder exactly why Biglaw firms would care about Mongolian......

I can see an added boost for knowing a language like Somali for the Somali refugees living in the US, but I think in that case you would just be a really good family/criminal lawyer. (Not saying that the only reason a Somali would need a lawyer is in criminal courts, but many refugees do come in contact with it.)

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dingbat
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Re: Foreign Language, boost of any kind?

Postby dingbat » Sun Feb 10, 2013 5:09 pm

CFprez wrote:I wonder exactly why Biglaw firms would care about Mongolian......

I can see an added boost for knowing a language like Somali for the Somali refugees living in the US, but I think in that case you would just be a really good family/criminal lawyer. (Not saying that the only reason a Somali would need a lawyer is in criminal courts, but many refugees do come in contact with it.)

Presumably because that firm has some kind of dealing with Mongolia.
Also, from wikipedia:
Wolf Economy wrote:The term was notably coined by Renaissance Capital in their report - Mongolia’s "Blue Sky Opportunity. They state that Mongolia is set to become the new Asian Tiger, or "Mongolian Wolf" as they prefer, and are "unstoppable".[11] With the recent developments in the mining industry and foreign interest increasing at an astonishing rate, it is claimed their Wolf Economy looks ready to pounce. The term’s aggressive title mirrors the country’s attitude in the capital market environment, and with newfound mineral prospects it has the chance to retain its title as the fastest growing economy in the region.

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CFprez
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Re: Foreign Language, boost of any kind?

Postby CFprez » Sun Feb 10, 2013 5:11 pm

hmm interesting, thanks for posting that.




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