Public Defense - 1L Summer Spanish Immersion?

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wintersm05
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat May 01, 2010 9:12 pm

Re: Public Defense - 1L Summer Spanish Immersion?

Postby wintersm05 » Sat Jan 21, 2012 4:34 pm

The beauty of Spanish is that now you don't need to leave the US to have immersion in the language. Unless you are studying somewhere that's completely homogenous, you have opportunities to use Spanish here. Volunteer somewhere, convince Spanish-speaking friends to only use Spanish with you, spend weekends in a "Latino neighborhood". There are plenty of creative ways that you can get legal experience here but still gain fluency.

Cinderella
Posts: 71
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:04 pm

Re: Public Defense - 1L Summer Spanish Immersion?

Postby Cinderella » Sat Jan 21, 2012 4:48 pm

Ok ok, the overwhelming response, especially from future and current PD's, has persuaded me to work in public defense for the summer.

The reasoning is less than satisfying, though. I've seen what law clerks "do," and it doesn't seem very substantive, especially for 1L's. My resume already screams public defense, and I thought that learning Spanish would further demonstrate my commitment. The suggestions to learn Spanish on my own time are short sighted - I took Spanish K through college, and I'm not close to being fluent. I doubt studying at night (in lawl school, no less) will benefit me. I agree that going abroad for a month would also not be enough - that's why I was think 3-4 months of immersion, where you're taking classes all day + living in a foreign country. But I agree that even that wouldn't be enough to qualify me as a court-certified translator or anything.

So, it really comes down to deciding which is more important - being able to converse in Spanish, or spending the summer making more connections and doing what law students are expected to do. I thought Spanish might be better, but it appears I was wrong.

seatown12
Posts: 614
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2009 9:16 pm

Re: Public Defense - 1L Summer Spanish Immersion?

Postby seatown12 » Sat Jan 21, 2012 5:17 pm

Cinderella wrote:I've seen what law clerks "do," and it doesn't seem very substantive, especially for 1L's.

I don't know where you've observed law clerks, but in my 1L internship I was researching and writing motions, interviewing clients and witnesses, and observing court. Not only did I get a great insight into the day to day work of a PD, but I also learned a ton of what we're taught in Crim Pro on my own on the job. It was extremely valuable.

Plus, if you've been learning Spanish since you were 5, and you recognize that you are not going to become competent to do legal translation over a summer, than what is the benefit? To become marginally more conversational? I don't get it.

Sounds like you just wanted to spend the summer abroad in Latin America. Can't really hate on you for trying to pull that off.

Cinderella
Posts: 71
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:04 pm

Re: Public Defense - 1L Summer Spanish Immersion?

Postby Cinderella » Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:07 pm

seatown12 wrote:
Cinderella wrote:I've seen what law clerks "do," and it doesn't seem very substantive, especially for 1L's.

I don't know where you've observed law clerks, but in my 1L internship I was researching and writing motions, interviewing clients and witnesses, and observing court. Not only did I get a great insight into the day to day work of a PD, but I also learned a ton of what we're taught in Crim Pro on my own on the job. It was extremely valuable.

Plus, if you've been learning Spanish since you were 5, and you recognize that you are not going to become competent to do legal translation over a summer, than what is the benefit? To become marginally more conversational? I don't get it.

Sounds like you just wanted to spend the summer abroad in Latin America. Can't really hate on you for trying to pull that off.


I've observed law clerks working for private firms, DAs, and PDs. What you listed is what I've been doing for the past 2 years, minus the researching and writing. I mean, there are certainly worse jobs, but the law clerks were always wanting to do what I did...I'm not foaming at the mouth to do what they did. Oh well.

I think it's already been mentioned, but I thought that more Spanish would make it easier to establish relationships with clients, and it's probably helpful when interviewing clients to get info for the investigation (though not enough for legal counseling purposes). And it would look good on a resume. Working abroad would be a marginal plus, but that's honestly not what this is about. I truly thought it would substantially improve my job prospects.




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