Spanish for Public Interest Lawyers 2008

Spanish For Public Interest Lawyers are non-credit classes that offer HLS students the opportunity learn Spanish language skills in a legal context, emphasizing language most commonly used in civil and criminal legal services practice.  The classes strengthen existing speaking and comprehension abilities and teach Spanish legal vocabulary  to students involved in public interest lawyering.  Students are able to develop stronger attorney-client relations by improving communication with Spanish-speaking clients and  enhancing cultural knowledge of the Latino community. Clinical students, particularly those working directly with Spanish-speaking clients or who are interested in working more with this client population, are encouraged to participate.

Students are required to have basic Spanish language skills - those with little to no background in the language should consider taking general language classes at Harvard College or Harvard Extension School. Regular attendance is required, class participation is vital, and outside homework is minimal. Classes meet once a week for two hours.  Enrollment is limited to 15 students.  Students in clinical programs receive priority in enrolling, and some priority may also be given to students in student practice organizations. Within this group, enrollment will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

Two class levels are offered in Fall 2008:

  1. Intermediate: This course is for students with a foundation of Spanish language skills (speaking, listening, reading).  Some grammar will be reviewed while students are introduced to general legal Spanish vocabulary.  Class will meet Wednesdays 5-7pm.
  2. Advanced: Intended for students who are comfortable carrying a conversation in Spanish.  This class will be conducted primarily in Spanish, and will involve much class participation to improve students' fluency and style.  Each class session will focus on specific substantive area of law (immigration, human rights, criminal defense, housing, etc.). Class will meet Tuesdays 7-9pm.

To sign-up, send an email to with the following information by Friday, September 12:

  • Name
  • Year (1L, 2L, 3L, LLM)
  • Resume (for informational purposes only, admission is not selective) 
  • Level of Spanish (Intermediate or Advanced)
  • Clinic name and term of clinical work 
  • Brief explanation of your interest in this course, including prior or current experience with Spanish-speaking clients

Students will be contacted on September 15 if they received a spot in one of the classes or were waitlisted.  Classes will begin the week of September 22, and end the week of December 1, 2008.  

Last modified: July 17, 2010

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