Career Professional Education

How Specialized Spanish Language Skills Advance Legal Careers

According to Forbes, 13% of the U.S. population speaks Spanish at home. However, according to the American Bar Association, only 5% of lawyers in the United States speak Spanish. That leaves a large number of Spanish speakers without access to legal representation in their preferred language. If you are a legal professional, you can increase your earning potential by catering to this underserved market, and SMU CAPE’s Spanish for Legal Professionals Certificate program can help you do that.   

Why Learn Legal Spanish? 

With specialized Spanish language skills, you can offer personalized service and advocacy that will help you to cultivate greater trust and mutual understanding with your clients. Using a client’s preferred language will demonstrate respect, and conducting business in Spanish will support more efficiency through effective communication – leading to streamlined work and timelines. Knowing legal Spanish will set you apart from other legal professionals, and will increase your marketability and the level of demand for your services.  

Why enroll in Spanish for Legal Professionals instead of a typical Spanish course? 

Traditional language courses usually do not cover the specialized terminology and particular nuances needed in law practice. Even if you have some knowledge of Spanish, additional study is needed to help you practice law in Spanish. Programs like SMU’s Spanish for Legal Professionals Certificate program prepare attorneys, legal administrators, paralegals, and others to engage effectively with Spanish-speaking clients and other stakeholders in professional legal settings. Miroslava Detcheva, the instructor for Spanish for Legal Professionals, is Senior Lecturer in Spanish in SMU’s Department of World Languages and Literatures. She also is a graduate of SMU’s Dedman School of Law and a licensed immigration attorney focusing on employment and business immigration law. Her tremendous experience will help guide you through your legal Spanish journey. 

What are the details? 

While you do not need to be fluent in Spanish to enroll in this program, you should have some basic knowledge of the language. Students who have the equivalent of one or two semesters of college-level Spanish, or heritage speakers without formal Spanish study, will be well-suited for this program. Classes will be online with both live and self-paced components, so you can enroll even if you don’t live near the SMU campus. Add Spanish language credentials to your resume, increase your capacity for impact with clients and in the community, and earn Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit with 9 weeks of study! Applications are open now for the cohort starting June 29, 2023