Foreign Languages

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TrickyIktomi
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Foreign Languages

Postby TrickyIktomi » Sun Nov 10, 2013 11:40 am

Hello TLS!

Well I am currently a sophomore with two more years of school ahead of me and I'm really trying to decide where to best allocate my time. My major is in French and I plan on going to law school straight after and I'm aiming for T-14. Would it be wise to sharpen my language skills in Spanish, Italian, and German to near fluency during my free time to have a significant boost in my app for law schools? Will this also sell me better on paper during OCI?

Also I'm really interested in taking a significant amount of philosophical, logical, and classical courses because, for one, I'm highly interested in the subjects and I believe that they will help me better myself as a person, thinker, and future lawyer. Does anyone have any history taking these classes in undergrad and, upon graduating law school and securing a job, helped him/her out as I previously stated?

TigerDude
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Re: Foreign Languages

Postby TigerDude » Mon Nov 11, 2013 5:22 pm

you haven't said what you want to do.

Spanish will be more useful in the US than your other options (including French). Next would probably be Mandarin or another Asian language.

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Carlo Von Sexron
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Re: Foreign Languages

Postby Carlo Von Sexron » Tue Nov 12, 2013 3:04 pm

1) Some foreign languages are more in-demand in others. Spanish is one of them, in the U.S. German is a good one for EU-related practice. Fluency in any foreign language is always a good thing to put on your resume.
2) Your undergrad coursework will not help you get a law job, unless you're planning on becoming a patent attorney.
3) Bettering yourself as a person has nothing to do with success in law school or lawyerdom.

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Redamon1
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Re: Foreign Languages

Postby Redamon1 » Wed Nov 13, 2013 11:01 pm

Don't worry too much about which classes to take for law school (hard sciences do give you a boost at employment, but that's not your situation). Just do what you enjoy and keep that GPA way way up to have a shot at T14.

Yes foreign languages will be a plus, particularly at OCI and to a lesser extent for law school admissions. Spanish fluency would be great. But French should help you too if you can legitimately claim fluency. Study abroad to learn the language if you can.

Noodlebrain
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Re: Foreign Languages

Postby Noodlebrain » Thu Nov 14, 2013 5:08 am

I think foreign languages can definitely give you something unique to talk about, if nothing else, because in order to truly be fluent in them you really need to have spent a significant amount of time in an environment where that language is spoken exclusively. That'll provide some good talking points in interviews and potentially a good story for a PS.

I can speak Japanese and Mandarin, and I've had interviewers ask quite a few questions about them including how I plan to keep them up when I'm back in America. If you're coming from overseas and have interviews lined up, be sure to think about that question beforehand. You're only as good at a language as you can perform now - nobody cares if you were once fluent but now can't string a sentence together :)

TrickyIktomi
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Re: Foreign Languages

Postby TrickyIktomi » Fri Nov 15, 2013 12:15 am

Hey guys thanks for all the insight provided. I have pretty much decided to become a polyglot and I'll be sure to get all languages to near fluency haha. To be honest, Hanz Landa is the inspiration to all this.

Cheers!

Edit: Yea, I plan on doing a masters in France in Classics to give myself a location where I can practice my French and travel around Europe to hone my other languages.

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banjo
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Re: Foreign Languages

Postby banjo » Fri Nov 15, 2013 1:29 am

I recently spoke with a big firm partner about people with your kind of background/interests (philosophy, classics, linguistics, etc.). Basically, some attorneys will be impressed with your command of languages and your master's in classics. Others might think you're too academic for law firm life. You'll absolutely get asked about why you did what you did and how it fits with your professional goals. Just have a career plan and be prepared to talk about it down the line.

I don't think your advanced coursework in philosophy or classics will help you much in law school. Judges reason out of common sense, experience, and rough notions of fairness and justice--participating in the general business of life (as opposed to sitting in a library all day) will probably help you enjoy the law more than any particular major.

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jordan15
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Re: Foreign Languages

Postby jordan15 » Fri Nov 15, 2013 10:56 pm

Why is your goal to get multiple languages to near fluency? You're much better off being legitimately fluent in just one foreign language.

Philosophy and logic classes will help you immensely for the LSAT but won't help you in employment. Philosophy and classics are extremely common majors for law students.

TrickyIktomi
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Re: Foreign Languages

Postby TrickyIktomi » Sat Nov 16, 2013 11:12 am

Thanks for the input! I'll be taking it under consideration as I move along my UG career and I completely agree with you the life is the best teacher. I'm sure I'll be able to string along something kickass for my PS with my travels and, come OCI, better explain how my academic endeavors relate to my career.

As far as gaining near fluency in many languages instead of just becoming fluent in one, I believe it's better to be 90% fluent throughout 4 languages than 100% in just one.

HYSenberg
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Re: Foreign Languages

Postby HYSenberg » Sat Nov 16, 2013 12:19 pm

Attaining and sustaining 90% fluency in four languages is very difficult, especially if any were learned after the age of five. In addition, the real benefit to knowing a foreign language with regards to a legal career is the ability to convert the text of one language into the legalese of another and vice versa. Given the intricacies of legal wording, that is a very high bar and I would recommend sustaining 100% fluency in only one foreign language given the risks entailed. I currently know five foreign languages -- and will probably learn more in the future -- but I only focus on sustaining fluency in one. Have you tried reading legal texts in Spanish, French, Japanese etc.? It is difficult -- admittedly, I am a 0L though I have taken a course in Spanish legal translation -- and I can only imagine the difficulties of writing a legal text in another language with all the considerations of its foreign legal system.

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worldtraveler
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Re: Foreign Languages

Postby worldtraveler » Sat Nov 16, 2013 2:49 pm

TrickyIktomi wrote:Thanks for the input! I'll be taking it under consideration as I move along my UG career and I completely agree with you the life is the best teacher. I'm sure I'll be able to string along something kickass for my PS with my travels and, come OCI, better explain how my academic endeavors relate to my career.

As far as gaining near fluency in many languages instead of just becoming fluent in one, I believe it's better to be 90% fluent throughout 4 languages than 100% in just one.


That is more likely to make an insufferable PS.

Why do you want to learn these languages? Pick one you like and one that will allow you to use it in the future. And absolute fluency is 100% the way you want to go. A lot of jobs do not care what your language ability is if you're not fluent.

TrickyIktomi
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Re: Foreign Languages

Postby TrickyIktomi » Sat Nov 16, 2013 3:43 pm

worldtraveler wrote:
TrickyIktomi wrote:Thanks for the input! I'll be taking it under consideration as I move along my UG career and I completely agree with you the life is the best teacher. I'm sure I'll be able to string along something kickass for my PS with my travels and, come OCI, better explain how my academic endeavors relate to my career.

As far as gaining near fluency in many languages instead of just becoming fluent in one, I believe it's better to be 90% fluent throughout 4 languages than 100% in just one.


That is more likely to make an insufferable PS.

Why do you want to learn these languages? Pick one you like and one that will allow you to use it in the future. And absolute fluency is 100% the way you want to go. A lot of jobs do not care what your language ability is if you're not fluent.


How so?

And it looks like the general advice from everyone is pick one to be fluent in so I'll be following accordingly with French. Spanish as well since I grew up speaking/reading it so my command of it is pretty damn near fluent. The reason why I want to learn so many languages is for the reason of communication and bridging over to the international aspect of life in general. To be able to communicate with so many different nationalities in their native tongue has been one of my biggest dreams and like I said before, watching Hanz Landa, in Inglorious Bastards, switch from language to language has always seemed badass to me haha.

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jordan15
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Re: Foreign Languages

Postby jordan15 » Sat Nov 16, 2013 8:09 pm

How could 90% fluency ever be useful in a professional setting? You're not asking where the bathroom is or ordering food; if you tell employers you are fluent in these languages they will expect you to be able to communicate with clients on a professional and legal level. That will require an even hire level of fluency than just 100%. What's going to happen if you ever get thrown a bunch of legal docs and expected to translate and analyze them on the spot? You're just going to shrug and tell employers you can recite the days of the week for them instead?

TrickyIktomi
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Re: Foreign Languages

Postby TrickyIktomi » Sat Nov 16, 2013 10:31 pm

jordan15 wrote:How could 90% fluency ever be useful in a professional setting? You're not asking where the bathroom is or ordering food; if you tell employers you are fluent in these languages they will expect you to be able to communicate with clients on a professional and legal level. That will require an even hire level of fluency than just 100%. What's going to happen if you ever get thrown a bunch of legal docs and expected to translate and analyze them on the spot? You're just going to shrug and tell employers you can recite the days of the week for them instead?


No need for the all that attitude man, chill.

It is completely ludicrous to be believe that with a capability of 90% fluency, one's maximum capability in the language is to recite the day's of the week. It's like someone who understands 90% of English can only say, "Saturday comes after Friday" when presented with a legal document. If you would've read my last response, you would've seen I already went with the general advice of sticking with one.

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Carlo Von Sexron
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Re: Foreign Languages

Postby Carlo Von Sexron » Mon Nov 18, 2013 3:51 pm

jordan15 wrote:How could 90% fluency ever be useful in a professional setting? You're not asking where the bathroom is or ordering food; if you tell employers you are fluent in these languages they will expect you to be able to communicate with clients on a professional and legal level. That will require an even hire level of fluency than just 100%. What's going to happen if you ever get thrown a bunch of legal docs and expected to translate and analyze them on the spot? You're just going to shrug and tell employers you can recite the days of the week for them instead?
While I would never trust someone who's 90 percent fluent to draft a pleading in a foreign language, most of document review is screening for responsiveness in internal emails, most of which aren't written in legalese. Translation and analysis would rarely enter the picture for your average click monkey.

PalmBay
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Re: Foreign Languages

Postby PalmBay » Thu Nov 28, 2013 2:41 pm

Just start studying for the LSAT. I've got foreign language fluency and I can say with certainty that while it IS something law schools like, they won't base their decisions around it. LSAT, LSAT, LSAT. If your goal is top-14, your LSAT score will get you there, not your foreign languages.

You're a sophomore, do 5 problems a night.




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