Course - Law

Conversational Spanish skills are required. Although you need not be fluent – and the class will be taught in English as well as in Spanish – without a working understanding of Spanish, the course material may be beyond your reach.

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One objective of the course (among many others) is to facilitate an intellectually rigorous exchange about the differences and similarities (or sometimes the absence of such) of traditional and well known legal terms, canons of interpretation, default rules, and the interpretation of treaty rules.   An understanding of this methodology requires a certain level of linguistic sophistication.


The course aims to engage students in provocative discussions about the types of legal norms that apply in the various legal regimes, consider the differences, explore the reasons, and attempt to explain the disparities.  We envision a process nurtured by the desire to educate students on the importance of legal and cultural competency in an era of globalization.


So understood, “Legal Spanish” is not a language course at all.  Although students will likely increase their fluency in Spanish as a result of the material we cover, Spanish for Lawyers is a substantive, liberalarts approach to enhancing – both in depth and breadth – essential skills and understandings of the well prepared lawyer. The reach of globalization has left no corner unaffected. Fluency in Legal Spanish opens doors to a world of opportunities, as it is the second, most widely spoken language in the U.S.; and one of the three most commonly used languages in the world.


It is designed to enable students who possess minimal Spanish proficiency skills, to have a strong footing in globalization literacy and thereby become extremely competitive in today’s job market. 


The components of the course will include, lecture, presentations by students, facilitation by students, role playing,  vocabulary drills, and discussions with local lawyers for whom a basic understanding of Legal Spanish is part of their daily practice.


We expect, as well, to have the collaboration of local attorneys, who although not having a practice composed of Spanishspeaking clients, have learned very quickly the critical importance (and market advantage) that understanding Spanish Legal provides


This course is recommended for any student wishing to expand her marketability, as well as improve her linguistic and cultural literacy.  The seminar is recommended for students interested in Latin American law, in international and comparative law, or, more specifically, in working with Hispanic clients or corporations, or in cross-border transactions.  Using a hands-on approach, the student will work on various kinds of legal documents, such as labor contracts, real estate contracts, statutes, judiciary documents (claims and appeals), and deeds, related to different legal subjects (constitutional and administrative public law, property, contracts, torts, labor, immigration, criminal, tax, corporate, commercial, business, and trade law).  We will also briefly address legal research in Spanish. Some audiovisual material will be used.  Students will be expected to write in fair Spanish an in-class exam (a short commentary on a contract or on an article of a statute, or questions on a case).  Because the seminar will be taught in both English and Spanish, students should be able to speak and write well enough in Spanish to benefit from the course.





This course will rely on a course pack prepared by the Professor.  It will include cases in both English and Spanish, translations of legal terms; readings on how culture, society, and economic circumstances make themselves manifest in legal institutions; and a brief summary of the legal understanding of comparative legal systems.


An excellent SpanishEnglish Dictionary;

Agustin Gordillo, AN INTRODUCTION TO LAW (both versions: Spanish and English) Abeledo Perrot, 2007)

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Type of Exam

Students will be expected to write in fair Spanish an in-class exam (a short commentary on a contract or on an article of a statute, or questions on a case).

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