While learning a new language isn’t necessary for law students to have a great career as a lawyer, it’s definitely something worth considering, for a number of reasons. Not only will learning a new language make you more employable, but it will also give your more opportunities for attracting clients if you plan on starting your own law firm later on. Learning a new language isn’t easy, but if you can get through law school, you should be able to manage learning a second language.
Better Career Prospects in the U.S.
Many law firms today are looking for bilingual lawyers to be able to serve their clients better and expand their market reach. There are many people living in the U.S. whose mother-tongue isn’t English. Being able to speak (potential) clients’ native language can help a firm attract more clients and improve communication with these clients.
Not only is mastering a language is important but also understanding cultural differences. Being able to speak a second language and showing an understanding of different cultures can boost your chances of getting the job you want.
International Career Potential
If your ambitions are to have an international law career, being able to speak at least a second language will significantly improve your chances of getting a job that involves international work.
Expanding Your Mind
Learning a new language is great exercise for your brain. Research has shown that learning a second language improves your creativity and sharpens your mind.
How to Learn a New Language
These days there are lots of different ways you can learn a new language. Some of the more popular ways include:
- Language schools.
You can attend a language school where you’ll get professional educational support to help you master your language of choice. This can be especially important for mastering pronunciation and understanding difficult grammar rules. Language schools are expensive however and often require a heavy time investment.
- Self education.
There are a number of different ways you can learn a new language on your own. You can buy books or software with language lessons that you can do whenever you want.
There are also a number of free and paying online learning options, such as DuoLingo and Busuu. Learning on your own requires a lot of self discipline though and unless you really put in a lot of work, it can take a long time to master the basics of a language when studying by yourself. You can try to find a language partner (who wants to learn your native language) to practice with or a tutor who you pay for some lessons.
- Study or work abroad.
If you are still studying, you can do a semester or year studying abroad in a country where they speak the language you want to learn. This is often the best way of learning a language, especially if your courses are taught in the foreign language, because that way you’ll be forced to learn the language well. Spending some time working in a foreign country is another great option that will help you learn a language fast.
Zane Schwarzlose is a writer at Alamo Injury Attorneys, a personal injury law firm in San Antonio, Texas. Zane wishes he knew another language.