Spanish for Public Interest Lawyers - Spring 2011

Spanish for Public Interest Lawyers is a non-credit class that offers Harvard Law students the opportunity to learn Spanish language skills in a legal context, emphasizing language most commonly used in civil and criminal legal services practice. 

The class will strengthen existing Spanish speaking and comprehension abilities and teach Spanish legal vocabulary to students involved in public interest legal practice. Some grammar will be reviewed while introducing students to general legal Spanish vocabulary through practical exercises that will improve speaking and listening skills, and then the class will progress to the legal vocabulary of specific substantive areas (e.g. immigration, human rights, civil procedure, etc.). Through this class, students can develop stronger attorney-client relations by improving communication with Spanish-speaking clients and enhancing cultural knowledge of the Latino community. The class will be taught by Fernando Elizondo García, an LL.M. student from Mexico with experience in civil and criminal legal services practice.

Students in clinics, particularly those working directly with Spanish-speaking clients or who are interested in working more with this client population, are encouraged to participate.

Note for students who took this class in the Fall: The Spring class will follow the same syllabus than the Fall class. However, students from the Fall class interested in continuing to practice Spanish can send an e-mail to the instructor stating their interest so they can be notified of opportunities to participate in relevant class exercises.

Student Requirements

  • Students must have a strong foundation of Spanish language skills (speaking, listening, reading). This class is aimed at strengthening existing speaking abilities and teaching Spanish legal vocabulary to enable students to better communicate with Spanish-speaking clients in clinics. 
  • Regular attendance is required. The class will meet weekly for two hours throughout the spring term (time TBD, students’ availability will factor into scheduling the meeting time). 
  • Class participation is vital, though outside homework is minimal.

Student Eligibility

  • Open to Harvard Law 1L, 2L, 3L, and LLM students only.
  • Enrollment is limited to 20 students. 
  • 3Ls and students currently taking a clinical will receive priority, and some priority may also be given to students in student practice organizations. Otherwise, enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis.

To Apply

Email with the following information by Thursday, February 3:

  • Name
  • Year (1L, 2L, 3L, LLM)
  • Name of clinic(s) or student practice organization(s) you have worked with, and semester of clinic/SPO participation
  • Rank in order of preference your ideal class time:  (A) Monday 7pm-9pm     (B) Tuesday 7pm-9pm      (C) Thursday 7pm-9pm
  • At least one paragraph, in Spanish, describing your interest in this course, prior or current experience with Spanish-speaking clients, and what you hope to learn by taking this class.


If you have any questions please contact the Clinical office (

Last modified: February 23, 2012

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