TYLA Project

TYLA Project

Coming Soon: Spanish for Lawyers
By: Courtney Barksdale Perez

Did you know that over 6 million Texas residents speak Spanish? Yet, according to an article published in Legal Watch Dallas 2014, Dallas psychologist Edward Rincón and litigation consultant Kevin Karlson, reported that nearly a third of the Latinos they interviewed said they would seek legal advice from a nonlawyer friend or family member instead of going to a lawyer. Twelve percent said they would consult a website, and 9 percent said they would visit a legal clinic. The result is that many Spanish-speaking people who need our legal services are not receiving them. And the reality is that the language barrier is often what keeps us from being able to provide them.

In 2017, the Texas Young Lawyers Association committed to developing a free resource that would expand access to a beginner Spanish course to every lawyer around the state and provide web-resources that attorneys can use to provide additional assistance to their Spanish-speaking clients. The Spanish for Lawyers website will provide Spanish legal resources, including Spanish translations of publications by the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Young Lawyers Association and other bar associations, Texas and federal legal forms in Spanish, a glossary of Spanish legal terms and links to other helpful Spanish resources. The website will also house the Spanish for Lawyers course.  

The Spanish for Lawyers course is an on-demand, web-based course that seeks to provide Texas lawyers with basic Spanish speaking skills they would use in a consultation with a Spanish-speaking client. The Spanish for Lawyers course is taught by Dr. Reynaldo Romero who holds a PhD in Spanish linguistics from Georgetown University and is currently a professor at the University of Houston Law Center. The course is comprised of 12 web-based video classes which are 30- to 45 minutes each, with several classes strictly devoted to legal-related topics including employment law, immigration law, family law, and criminal law. In addition to the video instruction, each class is accompanied by a slide presentation as well as pre-class and post-class materials and vocabulary lists. The TYLA Spanish for Lawyers website will launch in March 2018.      

Courtney Barksdale Perez is a partner at Carter, Scholer, Arnett, Hamada & Mockler and the minority at-large director for the Texas Young Lawyers Association. Courtney can be contacted at cperez@carterscholer.com.

Views and opinions expressed in eNews are those of their authors and not necessarily those of the Texas Young Lawyers Association or the State Bar of Texas.

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