Most useful foreign language for lawyers

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logicianwannabe
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby logicianwannabe » Mon Mar 09, 2009 11:50 am

[hijack thread] How hard is it for someone proficient in French to become proficient in Spanish?[/hijack thread]

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como
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby como » Mon Mar 09, 2009 11:52 am

logicianwannabe wrote:[hijack thread] How hard is it for someone proficient in French to become proficient in Spanish?[/hijack thread]


Spanish is really, really easy to learn. Pronunciation-wise, it's less back of the mouth, and more front of the mouth. It's an easier language than French to speak IMO.

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MeanderingMatty
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby MeanderingMatty » Mon Mar 09, 2009 11:55 am

robcataus, I tend to put "advanced" on my resume instead of "fluent." My standard for what constitutes fluency is extremely high and I don't think I'll be able to claim it for at least another decade. My hope is that adcomms will just see I've studied it for 4 years, two in China, and like it. My guess is it won't make the slightest difference, however.

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SoxyPirate
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby SoxyPirate » Mon Mar 09, 2009 12:01 pm

MeanderingMatty wrote:robcataus, I tend to put "advanced" on my resume instead of "fluent." My standard for what constitutes fluency is extremely high and I don't think I'll be able to claim it for at least another decade. My hope is that adcomms will just see I've studied it for 4 years, two in China, and like it. My guess is it won't make the slightest difference, however.


I echo your sentiments here. I find this notion of "studying" a language to become "fluent" extremely troubling.

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Genki
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby Genki » Mon Mar 09, 2009 12:06 pm

I've spent nearly 3 years in Japan working and learning the language in addition to 5 years of study in the states. I still don't consider my language ability as fluent. But I've met many others who claim to be fluent and still have trouble expressing themselves. Just goes to show that "fluency" is a very subjective term so be careful with how you use it on a resume. Employers know this too and will take your claim to be "fluent" with a grain of salt unless you can provide proof of your actual abilities.

My recomendation is to take a widely recognized proficiancy exam such as the Oral Proficiancy Interview (http://www.languagetesting.com/corp_opi.htm) or another proficiancy exam specific for your language (日本語能力試験 and BJT for Japanese for example). If you can list a score or ranking from a specific proficiancy exam, it will give employers a much better idea of how well you actually speak the language and set you apart from other applicatants who claim to be fluent.

TheJudge
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby TheJudge » Mon Mar 09, 2009 12:11 pm

robcataus wrote:
TheJudge wrote:
MeanderingMatty wrote:I'm happy to see people's posts here about Chinese- I've studied it for over four years, two of which have been spent in China. I wonder though, will admissions boards find it impressive? Can it act as a sort of soft? Or is it pretty much just good for post graduation work, not pre-application filler?



Well I don't know if adcomms find it impressive, but if they don't, screw them. As someone who has studied Chinese for 5-6 years now, I can say that becoming fluent and being able to read fluently as a foreigner should at least be en par with being an olympic athlete. As someone once pointed out learning Chinese is "a work for men with bodies of brass, lungs of steel, heads of oak, hands of springsteel, hearts of apostles, memories of angels, and lives of Methuselah."


I'm on my 9th year of Chinese, and have worked and lived there during 2 of those. My Chinese isn't fluent by the strict definition of fluency, but I don't have trouble conveying ideas and emotions. Having said that, I've heard way too many foreigners while working abroad claim that their Chinese is fluent (not knowing that I speak it), only to embarrass themselves with tones while trying to say the simplest things to local merchants. On this note, the problem is AdComms know how easy it is to lie/exaggerate about language competency, so they pretty much have to take our resume with a grain of salt.

Secondly, some schools have a bigger China connection than others, so I imagine they would be more impressed by those with a Chinese background. UMich, Harvard, Yale, and Georgetown are a few of these.

As for your final statement, Chinese is hard, and I don't mean for this to come off offensively, but I do have a distaste for Chinese-learning Americans who come off as a little big headed for learning Chinese. It's a challenge, but it reflects poorly on all of us when many seem to expect a trophy or something for learning it.


I agree with your last statement. A lot of people claim fluency when they can barely order a cup of coffee. BUT, if you are actually near fluent in speaking, reading and writing, then I do think that person deserves recognition for it. I would claim that only very few people in the West ( i.e. academics, people who live in China for 10+ years, or those that devote years and years of studying to the language) become truly fluent.

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como
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby como » Mon Mar 09, 2009 12:19 pm

Yea, I've always been very hesitant to claim fluency, or even advanced proficiency. I can hold conversations in Spanish for an entire night, but I find my vocabulary is somewhat limited and I probably only solidly understand 50-75% of what's said in a conversation (if I'm listening to other people talk). If I'm speaking with someone one-on-one, I don't miss as much. I consider myself to have an intermediate grasp of spoken Spanish, while it's much easier for me to read and write. I think that's an important aspect of fluency - speed of comprehension and sentence/thought formation.

pptmmt
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby pptmmt » Mon Mar 09, 2009 12:26 pm

TheJudge wrote:
MeanderingMatty wrote:I'm happy to see people's posts here about Chinese- I've studied it for over four years, two of which have been spent in China. I wonder though, will admissions boards find it impressive? Can it act as a sort of soft? Or is it pretty much just good for post graduation work, not pre-application filler?



Well I don't know if adcomms find it impressive, but if they don't, screw them. As someone who has studied Chinese for 5-6 years now, I can say that becoming fluent and being able to read fluently as a foreigner should at least be en par with being an olympic athlete. As someone once pointed out learning Chinese is "a work for men with bodies of brass, lungs of steel, heads of oak, hands of springsteel, hearts of apostles, memories of angels, and lives of Methuselah."


TheJudge, 我同意你的观点。以我的经验,中国人学英文应该比美国人学中文稍微容易一些。

AbsolutLax
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby AbsolutLax » Mon Mar 09, 2009 12:27 pm

Mandarin then Spanish

People keep refering to Chinese as if there was some language with this name...

TheJudge
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby TheJudge » Mon Mar 09, 2009 12:42 pm

pptmmt wrote:
TheJudge wrote:
MeanderingMatty wrote:I'm happy to see people's posts here about Chinese- I've studied it for over four years, two of which have been spent in China. I wonder though, will admissions boards find it impressive? Can it act as a sort of soft? Or is it pretty much just good for post graduation work, not pre-application filler?



Well I don't know if adcomms find it impressive, but if they don't, screw them. As someone who has studied Chinese for 5-6 years now, I can say that becoming fluent and being able to read fluently as a foreigner should at least be en par with being an olympic athlete. As someone once pointed out learning Chinese is "a work for men with bodies of brass, lungs of steel, heads of oak, hands of springsteel, hearts of apostles, memories of angels, and lives of Methuselah."


TheJudge, 我同意你的观点。以我的经验,中国人学英文应该比美国人学中文稍微容易一些。



Pptmmt 同志,你说的对。但是我觉得你犯了一个错误,如果你用稍微这个词, 你不能加“一些”在句子的后面。

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robcataus
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby robcataus » Mon Mar 09, 2009 12:49 pm

AbsolutLax wrote:Mandarin then Spanish

People keep refering to Chinese as if there was some language with this name...


If they tend to categorize Cantonese and Mandarin under the same name of 中文 (instead of 普通话 and 广东话), we can too.

de5igual
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby de5igual » Mon Mar 09, 2009 12:54 pm

logicianwannabe wrote:[hijack thread] How hard is it for someone proficient in French to become proficient in Spanish?[/hijack thread]


it's just a pronunciation and slight vocabulary adjustment. french and spanish are arguably just dialects of the same language.

Snooker
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby Snooker » Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:03 pm

-
Last edited by Snooker on Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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robcataus
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby robcataus » Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:08 pm

TheJudge wrote:
pptmmt wrote:
TheJudge wrote:
MeanderingMatty wrote:I'm happy to see people's posts here about Chinese- I've studied it for over four years, two of which have been spent in China. I wonder though, will admissions boards find it impressive? Can it act as a sort of soft? Or is it pretty much just good for post graduation work, not pre-application filler?



Well I don't know if adcomms find it impressive, but if they don't, screw them. As someone who has studied Chinese for 5-6 years now, I can say that becoming fluent and being able to read fluently as a foreigner should at least be en par with being an olympic athlete. As someone once pointed out learning Chinese is "a work for men with bodies of brass, lungs of steel, heads of oak, hands of springsteel, hearts of apostles, memories of angels, and lives of Methuselah."


TheJudge, 我同意你的观点。以我的经验,中国人学英文应该比美国人学中文稍微容易一些。



Pptmmt 同志,你说的对。但是我觉得你犯了一个错误,如果你用稍微这个词, 你不能加“一些”在句子的后面。


Oh god, here we go:P

TheJudge
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby TheJudge » Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:09 pm

Snooker wrote:Chinese is useful because lots of Chinese companies are moving into the USA, especially relative to the number of lawyers here. In Texas, for example, Sinopec, China Oil, Foxcon, and HTC - fortune 500 global companies, HTC being the fastest growing Tech company in the world - have all made serious forays into Texas this past decade.

Of the T16/biglaw trained attorneys in Texas who speak Chinese, well, everyone knows there's a massive deficit relative to the demand. There's maybe 8 of them in the whole state. There's more fortune 500 global companies from China than there are mandarin fluent elite attorneys,



Snooker you seem to be pretty knowledgable on this subject? Are you a lawyer? If so, how big of an asset was Chinese when you applied for jobs? (I assume you speak it).

de5igual
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby de5igual » Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:10 pm

TheJudge wrote:Pptmmt 同志,你说的对。但是我觉得你犯了一个错误,如果你用稍微这个词, 你不能加“一些”在句子的后面。


同志 = 同性戀 :?:

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studymaster
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby studymaster » Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:11 pm

TheJudge wrote:Chinese. Just because China seems to be one of the least English-fluent regions in the world. Also, their legal market will continue growing tremendously over the next decade or a little longer. So Chinese would help if you want to work there or even set up your own little firm over there.

*cough* BS *cough*

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studymaster
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby studymaster » Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:12 pm

f0bolous wrote:
TheJudge wrote:Pptmmt 同志,你说的对。但是我觉得你犯了一个错误,如果你用稍微这个词, 你不能加“一些”在句子的后面。


同志 = 同性戀 :?:


haha, I think he just means it as comrade, not in the insinuations abotu yoru private actions...

Snooker
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby Snooker » Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:14 pm

texaslawyer wrote:Spanish in my part of the country (Florida) whic is not a difficult language to learn. I speak it fairly well.


Spanish seems like a very useful language for local law. I'd be afraid of using it internationally because of all the kidnappings and gangsters and stuff.

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cantaboot
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby cantaboot » Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:15 pm

I think Chinese/ Mandarin will be very useful. I have a couple of Chinese/ Mandarin native-speaking friends who got their JD/ LLM. They did not have excellent grades, but still managed to get good jobs.

Snooker
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby Snooker » Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:16 pm

TheJudge wrote:
pptmmt wrote:
TheJudge wrote:
MeanderingMatty wrote:I'm happy to see people's posts here about Chinese- I've studied it for over four years, two of which have been spent in China. I wonder though, will admissions boards find it impressive? Can it act as a sort of soft? Or is it pretty much just good for post graduation work, not pre-application filler?



Well I don't know if adcomms find it impressive, but if they don't, screw them. As someone who has studied Chinese for 5-6 years now, I can say that becoming fluent and being able to read fluently as a foreigner should at least be en par with being an olympic athlete. As someone once pointed out learning Chinese is "a work for men with bodies of brass, lungs of steel, heads of oak, hands of springsteel, hearts of apostles, memories of angels, and lives of Methuselah."


TheJudge, 我同意你的观点。以我的经验,中国人学英文应该比美国人学中文稍微容易一些。



Pptmmt 同志,你说的对。但是我觉得你犯了一个错误,如果你用稍微这个词, 你不能加“一些”在句子的后面。


Yes, the sentence has a mistake. It reads:
"Yes [HI I'M THE WORD FILTER. THIS PERSON MIGHT BE A DICK.], you're right." (contemporary)
when you meant to say, "Yea, comrade, you are correct!" (early modern)

Snooker
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby Snooker » Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:17 pm

studymaster wrote:
TheJudge wrote:Chinese. Just because China seems to be one of the least English-fluent regions in the world. Also, their legal market will continue growing tremendously over the next decade or a little longer. So Chinese would help if you want to work there or even set up your own little firm over there.

*cough* BS *cough*


I lived in China. Calling it an english-fluent region is a joke. If 1 million Chinese learn english, maybe 10 of them will ever be fluent.

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como
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby como » Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:22 pm

Snooker wrote:
texaslawyer wrote:Spanish in my part of the country (Florida) whic is not a difficult language to learn. I speak it fairly well.


Spanish seems like a very useful language for local law. I'd be afraid of using it internationally because of all the kidnappings and gangsters and stuff.


Fail

pomona
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby pomona » Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:29 pm

I think it really depends on what type of law you want to practice and what language(s) your clients speak. I'm not sure there is any one language generally that is particularly more beneficial.

For example, I worked at an immigration law firm in a community that had many Brazilian immigrants. As a result, most of the clients were Brazilian and while we had clients who spoke many different languages, it was most essential that there was someone who spoke Portuguese in the office.

TheJudge
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby TheJudge » Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:31 pm

Pptmmt 同志,你说的对。但是我觉得你犯了一个错误,如果你用稍微这个词, 你不能加“一些”在句子的后面。[/quote]

Yes, the sentence has a mistake. It reads:
"Yes gay man, you're right." (contemporary)
when you meant to say, "Yea, comrade, you are correct!" (early modern)[/quote]


It's pretty funny when you read about Chinese histotry (in Chinese) with the modern meaning in the back of your head. Everyone and their grandmother is a 同志。 Then again, when you read older editions of the bible, you can also find that Jesus was often in a gay mood and was engaged in really gay activities.




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