Which second language gives biggest boost to employability?

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.

Which language gives the biggest boost to employability?

Chinese (Mandarin)
37
43%
Spanish
30
35%
Japanese
3
3%
Korean
2
2%
German
2
2%
French
3
3%
Italian
2
2%
Portuguese
4
5%
Arabic
3
3%
 
Total votes: 86

User avatar
shepdawg
Posts: 477
Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:00 pm

Which second language gives biggest boost to employability?

Postby shepdawg » Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:54 pm

If a law student was to learn an additional language solely for increased chances at a domestic or foreign biglaw job, which language should they choose?

LawIdiot86
Posts: 1159
Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:21 pm

Re: Which second language gives biggest boost to employability?

Postby LawIdiot86 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:00 pm

I think this survey is flawed in the assumption any law student could learn all of these languages to the same level of comprehension in the same period of time. Learning spanish to a conversational level over a summer is hard, but possible. Learning japanese to even a basic level over a year would be nearly unheard of.

User avatar
drdolittle
Posts: 628
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 4:15 am

Re: Which second language gives biggest boost to employability?

Postby drdolittle » Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:13 pm

I'd say definitely Chinese, but I don't think you'll be able to reach the level of proficiency many native or nearly native Chinese speakers/law students already have in time to make an impact on your near-term hiring. Plus, I'm not sure how open China really is to non-native workers and whether you could land a job there (or in the US with the assumption that you'll conduct business in Chinese) speaking the language on a beginning level.

I wouldn't choose a language based on any perceived legal hiring boost, just pick one based on your interests in the culture, country or whatever -- so in this regard I think Chinese would be a good if not the easiest choice.

kaiser
Posts: 2940
Joined: Mon May 09, 2011 11:34 pm

Re: Which second language gives biggest boost to employability?

Postby kaiser » Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:16 pm

I would say fluent Spanish or Chinese would certainly be an asset.

roranoa
Posts: 588
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2009 11:18 am

Re: Which second language gives biggest boost to employability?

Postby roranoa » Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:18 pm

The importance of Chinese is overrated. I say doing something unusual would actually give you a boost. Like Arabic or maybe Korean. You never know which region will become more important in 20-30 years.

Plus, like drdolittle said up there, there are already plenty (And I mean MORE THAN ENOUGH) of Chinese Americans or English speaking Chinese that no non-native can catch up on fluency.
Last edited by roranoa on Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

thederangedwang
Posts: 1124
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:44 pm

Re: Which second language gives biggest boost to employability?

Postby thederangedwang » Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:20 pm

if its just limited to domestic law..i think spanish or something might be more important than chinese....and arabic is not at all important for law firm work imho unless u wanna go work for the US govt

Anonymous User
Posts: 273316
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Which second language gives biggest boost to employability?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:30 pm

Probably the 5 languages of love.

amyamy
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 9:39 am

Re: Which second language gives biggest boost to employability?

Postby amyamy » Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:31 pm

what do you plan to do when you have taken, say, Chinese 101 or elementary Chinese?
are you going to put this on your resume?

I guess it works - for hiring partners who do not know the language.

amyamy
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 9:39 am

Re: Which second language gives biggest boost to employability?

Postby amyamy » Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:36 pm

as long as the hiring partner is impressed...

american: you know what? I speak Chinese
Chinese: 1!@@#$@!#%@!# (insert chinese words)
american: oh ... no no no.... I have not gone that far yet.
Last edited by amyamy on Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273316
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Which second language gives biggest boost to employability?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:03 pm

Fluent Spanish-speaker here... did not help with OCI. It does help if you want to do criminal defense, immigration, or family law. It is also helpful for getting PI jobs. But if you are going for big law, unless you are Hispanic, I don't think Spanish helps that much. No one cares about my flawless Castellano.

amyamy
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 9:39 am

Re: Which second language gives biggest boost to employability?

Postby amyamy » Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:17 pm

knowing chinese will not offer you a big boost comparable to law review membership or adding 0.2 to your GPA.
I think biglaw firms have translators.

However, it guarantees that some nice firms would take a second look at your resume. a partner of a firm (where I am going to start) told me that they had thick chinese documents involving a company in China. It had never occurred to me that this firm has some sort of international practice.
Last edited by amyamy on Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
ben4847
Posts: 789
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:38 pm

Re: Which second language gives biggest boost to employability?

Postby ben4847 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:20 pm

Hahahah
I don't know, but I do know which first language gives the biggest boost.
English. American English.

adonai
Posts: 1033
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2007 9:09 pm

Re: Which second language gives biggest boost to employability?

Postby adonai » Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:00 pm

Last edited by adonai on Mon Dec 12, 2011 11:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

dixiecupdrinking
Posts: 3142
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 2:39 pm

Re: Which second language gives biggest boost to employability?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:38 pm

The kind of proficiency you'll get in time in any of these languages will not help you in Biglaw. Intermediate Spanish proficiency will help you in many other legal areas.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273316
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Which second language gives biggest boost to employability?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:58 pm

True answer here is Japanese in terms of Biglaw employment. The big caveat here is that you need fairly high ability level. Due to a congruence of factors (lack of Japanese students/ smaller immigrant population/ Big firm presence in Japan/ etc.) truly fluent Japanese speaking T10 grads can basically find employment (and oftentimes 1L SA positions) regardless of grades.

Of course learning Japanese isn't that easy. Chinese is fairly useful, but the increasing focus on hiring native lawyers in China lowers the boost for that language.

User avatar
Na_Swatch
Posts: 472
Joined: Sun Sep 20, 2009 4:40 pm

Re: Which second language gives biggest boost to employability?

Postby Na_Swatch » Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:59 pm

Oops above was me, didn't mean to post anon.

concurrent fork
Posts: 669
Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:40 am

Re: Which second language gives biggest boost to employability?

Postby concurrent fork » Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:31 pm

amyamy wrote:what do you plan to do when you have taken, say, Chinese 101 or elementary Chinese?
are you going to put this on your resume?

I guess it works - for hiring partners who do not know the language.

Right -- which is why you have to be very careful how you represent this to employers. I know someone who had "conversational proficiency in X language" on their resume because they took it for a year in college. An associate tried to have a conversation with them in X language during a callback. Epic fail.
Last edited by concurrent fork on Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
AreJay711
Posts: 3406
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:51 pm

Re: Which second language gives biggest boost to employability?

Postby AreJay711 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:32 pm

Ass kissing.

User avatar
koalatriste
Posts: 269
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:08 pm

Re: Which second language gives biggest boost to employability?

Postby koalatriste » Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:34 pm

fluent mandarin speaker here. it definitely helped with OCI and I am splitting my summer with an asian office.

amyamy
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 9:39 am

Re: Which second language gives biggest boost to employability?

Postby amyamy » Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:42 pm

have fun in asia!

I think knowing Chinese/ Japanese won't save bad grades, but it is a valuable asset that makes a good resume more impressive.

User avatar
Ty Webb
Posts: 517
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2009 10:47 pm

Re: Which second language gives biggest boost to employability?

Postby Ty Webb » Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:42 pm

Fluency in electrical engineering, IMO.

User avatar
Na_Swatch
Posts: 472
Joined: Sun Sep 20, 2009 4:40 pm

Re: Which second language gives biggest boost to employability?

Postby Na_Swatch » Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:43 pm

amyamy wrote:have fun in asia!

I think knowing Chinese/ Japanese won't save bad grades, but it is a valuable asset that makes a good resume more impressive.


Having Chinese won't... Having Japanese might if you interview/ school has decent cachet.

amyamy
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 9:39 am

Re: Which second language gives biggest boost to employability?

Postby amyamy » Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:46 pm

I think knowledge of Japanese is very useful for biglaw jobs.

but knowledge of Chinese is moderately useful for biglaw jobs, and useful for mid- or even small firms that engage in the right kind of practices. I can't think of any mid/small law firms that have japanese practices.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273316
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Which second language gives biggest boost to employability?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:49 pm

adonai wrote:According to S&C, it is French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish. I think Korean is in demand based on other articles I've seen elsewhere. Surprisingly, Chinese and Arabic aren't as much in demand. At least to this firm.

Original Report: http://cache.abovethelaw.com/uploads/20 ... -Guide.pdf


it actually says " French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, MANDARIN, Portuguese, and Spanish" in that file. I guess you didn't know Mandarin is a Chinese language?

User avatar
Na_Swatch
Posts: 472
Joined: Sun Sep 20, 2009 4:40 pm

Re: Which second language gives biggest boost to employability?

Postby Na_Swatch » Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:51 pm

amyamy wrote:I think knowledge of Japanese is very useful for biglaw jobs.

but knowledge of Chinese is moderately useful for biglaw jobs, and useful for mid- or even small firms that engage in the right kind of practices. I can't think of any mid/small law firms that have japanese practices.


There aren't very mid/ small firms in US transactional law in China right now. Basically the main deals (Capital Markets and M&A) are handled by large Biglaw firms with multiple offices worldwide. Also, increasing focus by the Chinese in selecting domestic firms to handle more routine transactions is only going to increase this concentration of work within several major firms.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.