Foreign Language Skills & Biglaw Hiring

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Foreign Language Skills & Biglaw Hiring

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:06 pm

Hi all,

So I got to a T13 school, but my grades are way below median. I've been told I interview well, so I don't have a problem in that area beyond continuing to practice for interviews.

I was wondering how much does knowing a foreign language help for hiring at OCI? I am a native Spanish speaker, fluent in French, and I'm conversant in Portuguese but close to being fluent. What should I know besides targeting firms with a Lat Am practice?

I'm ready for the snark and tough love. TYIA!

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lymenheimer

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Re: Foreign Language Skills & Biglaw Hiring

Postby lymenheimer » Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:28 pm

Sorry mods. Accidental report :oops:

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Re: Foreign Language Skills & Biglaw Hiring

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:30 pm

OP here: :|

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lymenheimer

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Re: Foreign Language Skills & Biglaw Hiring

Postby lymenheimer » Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here: :|


Sorry. Misclick. Fwiw, I've spoken to some attorneys who practice across the Southern border. Most of the ones I've spoken to are in Fl, and they said that they frequently used their language skills. Idk if it'll be helpful with Summer position, but post-grad it can be very helpful. One guy spent weeks in Mexico (off and on) working on a deal because local counsel didn't have the sophistication or know-how, so he had to explain it step by step.

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Re: Foreign Language Skills & Biglaw Hiring

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:44 pm

lymenheimer wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here: :|


Sorry. Misclick. Fwiw, I've spoken to some attorneys who practice across the Southern border. Most of the ones I've spoken to are in Fl, and they said that they frequently used their language skills. Idk if it'll be helpful with Summer position, but post-grad it can be very helpful. One guy spent weeks in Mexico (off and on) working on a deal because local counsel didn't have the sophistication or know-how, so he had to explain it step by step.


And by Fl, you mean Florida? :?:

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lymenheimer

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Re: Foreign Language Skills & Biglaw Hiring

Postby lymenheimer » Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
lymenheimer wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here: :|


Sorry. Misclick. Fwiw, I've spoken to some attorneys who practice across the Southern border. Most of the ones I've spoken to are in Fl, and they said that they frequently used their language skills. Idk if it'll be helpful with Summer position, but post-grad it can be very helpful. One guy spent weeks in Mexico (off and on) working on a deal because local counsel didn't have the sophistication or know-how, so he had to explain it step by step.


And by Fl, you mean Florida? :?:


Sorry. Yea. I had a lot of abbreviations, but thought better of all of them but that one. Most that I've spoken with are in Florida. I know of a couple in Houston as well. (I'm sure there are lots, just from those I've spoken with).

foregetaboutdre

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Re: Foreign Language Skills & Biglaw Hiring

Postby foregetaboutdre » Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Hi all,

So I got to a T13 school, but my grades are way below median. I've been told I interview well, so I don't have a problem in that area beyond continuing to practice for interviews.

I was wondering how much does knowing a foreign language help for hiring at OCI? I am a native Spanish speaker, fluent in French, and I'm conversant in Portuguese but close to being fluent. What should I know besides targeting firms with a Lat Am practice?

I'm ready for the snark and tough love. TYIA!


I'd email (preferably alums) in biglaw Latin America practices (regardless of USA location), mention your three language skills, and ask how they got into the practice and if they regularly use their language skills over a phone call/coffee.

I think in these niche areas being assertive is important. I know a guy who was super into start-ups in SV who did the same thing and got with a firm in that group that way.

ballouttacontrol

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Re: Foreign Language Skills & Biglaw Hiring

Postby ballouttacontrol » Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:43 pm

I speak Spanish but it was absolutely zero help at any firm that came to OCI, even the ones with bigtime LatAm practices. Assuming you want to do some sort of traditional biglaw in the US, I don't really see how a language like spanish would help. On everything that I've ever worked on that has to do with anything foreign, a professional translator/doc reviewer/etc has had at it first, at a billing rate that is one tenth of mine.

I didn't try the foreign associate path at all though.

Language skills can you get higher paying Doc Review, if you're into that sorta thing.



edit: related to the comment below me, I will say, it did come up in interviews, but more just as a thing to talk about, basically like an interest. For this it could be a positive. Never in the context of actually doing legal work

Also, do not over-sell your abilities. There are many stories of people being fucked over by doing that. If you used to be fluent in X language, but haven't spoken it in a year, you're probably going to stumble all over yourself if u get called out on it
Last edited by ballouttacontrol on Wed Apr 26, 2017 11:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Foreign Language Skills & Biglaw Hiring

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 26, 2017 10:31 pm

I did part of one of my interviews in a different language because of the language skills I included on my resume. I like to think it helped since I got an offer but who really knows. FWIW.

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Re: Foreign Language Skills & Biglaw Hiring

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 28, 2017 8:51 am

Foreign language skill is a plus but takes a back seat to all major barometers (grades, school, law review, moot, internship experience,etc.). The skill alone won't get you hired but it would make you stand out when comparing to an equally competent candidate in terms of the typical benchmarks. You might run into the rare cases in Biglaw where there is a need for a junior associate native in a certain language. However those cases are super rare and the firm more likely than will hire a doc review/contract attorney for that niche purpose. Never ever ever pigeon hole yourself as that Spanish speaking guy.

arrowkarrow

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Re: Foreign Language Skills & Biglaw Hiring

Postby arrowkarrow » Fri Apr 28, 2017 9:01 am

Anonymous User wrote:Hi all,

So I got to a T13 school, but my grades are way below median. I've been told I interview well, so I don't have a problem in that area beyond continuing to practice for interviews.

I was wondering how much does knowing a foreign language help for hiring at OCI? I am a native Spanish speaker, fluent in French, and I'm conversant in Portuguese but close to being fluent. What should I know besides targeting firms with a Lat Am practice?

I'm ready for the snark and tough love. TYIA!


White & Case Miami office made a big deal out of knowing other languages when I interviewed.

v5junior

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Re: Foreign Language Skills & Biglaw Hiring

Postby v5junior » Fri Apr 28, 2017 2:25 pm

I don't think it'll be an asset at OCI because it's unlikely you get a Lat Am partner who shows up. I would try reaching out to alums to get your name in front of a Lat Am partner--that's going to be your best best for maximizing the utility of the second language.

michaelscotch99

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Re: Foreign Language Skills & Biglaw Hiring

Postby michaelscotch99 » Fri Apr 28, 2017 2:36 pm

Some firms will look specifically for foreign language skills for certain positions but it is unlikely you'll gain an advantage in the big picture.

It's case by case basis.

Also, might be helpful for you to look into some practice areas (ie: intl project finance) that rely more heavily on foreign language skills.



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