If you're considering a law career, learning at least one more language besides your own can be a definite asset.
Consider the usefulness of being able to offer better representation to your clients who may speak a different language, may be involved in legal proceedings in another country or be part of a legal action where parties may speak different languages.
In any of these scenarios you may want to consider hiring interpreters, researchers or co-counsel better versed in the local language and culture of your language destination. But ultimately it will be in your and your client's best interests if you have some familiarity if not fluency with another language.
Take college language coursesYou may already have a full load of classes at law school. But trying to squeeze in an extra undergraduate course in a certain language might have its advantages.
Your law school is likely a part of a larger university so it's likely you can find some introductory language programs if you haven't already taken some prior to law school. You may also be able to get easy access to study groups, helpful instructors or other on-campus resources to help you add the additional language to your coursework.
Your campus may even have international organizations or foreign exchange programs which can give you additional perspectives for your legal jobs into the different culture and language.
Buy coursesSome language companies offer their material on a series of CDs plus a workbook. These programs allow you to work at your own pace and gradually increase the complexity of the lessons and subject matter. These might be suited to people who may not have the time or the funds to take complete college courses but may have an hour a night for a law school study break to focus on language courses.
Today, there are a variety of courses available from the basic Romantic ones such as Spanish, French or Italian to other European tongues to many Asian options.
Online coursesAnother easy way to learn language while working on law jobs is by signing up for a languages online course. Instead of trying to hang onto dozens of CDs plus other printed materials, all the information is on a site you can visit anytime.
Two excellent examples of language online sites are www.Languages.net and Lingualia, which helps you master different languages in a comfortable, non-threatening and sometimes fun environment. Your guide is the Lingualia Lingubot robot, who congratulates you on areas you do well and offers assistance if a unit or concept is particularly challenging.
Lingualia also includes an online social network, where you can interact with online users others studying their own lessons. Discussing common terms or modern dialects is also helpful in developing fluency and putting your lessons into practice. Who knows? Contacts you make through both sites may come in handy later in your legal career when you have to travel to different language learning destinations.