Lawyering in Spanish Course Descriptions

| Civil Law Systems in Latin America | Commercial Law for Foreign Investors in Guatemala | Comparative Law Perspectives | Doing Business in Latin America | Immigration Law in Spanish | Labor and Employment Law in Spanish | Lawyering Across Borders | Litigation Skills in a Bilingual World | Representing the Spanish-Speaking Client | Spanish for Lawyers I | Spanish for Lawyers II | Transitional Justice in Latin America | Film and the Law in Spanish: Perspectives on Justice | International Business Transactions in Spanish | Counseling and Negotiation in Spanish

Civil Law Systems in Latin America

Civil Law Systems in Latin America (3 units)

This course examines the principal legal system in Latin America: the system commonly referred to in the United States as “civil law.” After examining the history and fundamental concepts of this system, the course will utilize the legal system of Mexico to examine the operation of the civil law in various areas. Areas of law that may be examined include immigration law, labor law, property law, family law, contract law, and criminal law. Upon completion of the course, the student should understand how the operation of the Latin American civil law system, and how to counsel U.S. clients on this sytem. The course also seeks to give the student greater fluency and comfort with legal vocabulary in Spanish.

Commercial Law for Foreign Investors in Guatemala (2 units) (offered in Antigua, Guatemala)

Commercial Law for Foreign Investors in Guatemala (2 units) (offered in Antigua, Guatemala)

This course will use the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to examine the legal framework regulating foreign investment in Central America and Mexico. With ratification of CAFTA-DR, Guatemala opened its doors not only to trade but also to foreign investment, including from U.S. companies looking to do business in Guatemala. While the CAFTA-DR includes norms that govern the relationship between foreign investors and Member States, the domestic laws of each Member State continue to provide the central regulatory structure that governs relations among the parties, including in the areas of commerce, intellectual property, labor and the environment. This introductory course examines the principal commercial norms that apply to foreign investors in Guatemala, with special emphasis on the law of contracts. The course will examine the comparable norms applicable under NAFTA, and will also discuss how CAFTA’s ratification has promoted rule of law reforms in Guatemala in the areas of commerce, intellectual property, labor and the environment.

Comparative Law Perspectives (2 units) (offered in Antigua, Guatemala)

Comparative Law Perspectives (2 units) (offered in Antigua, Guatemala)

This course offers students a unique bilingual, inter-cultural, and inter-disciplinary approach to the study of comparative law in the Americas. Students will be introduced through a series of hot topics to some of Latin America’s pressing issues that require engagement with transnational or international actors, norms, and legal institutions. These topics will include the regulation of the environment in the context of trade, comparative perspective on commercial norms to accommodate foreign investment in the region, and issues of transitional justice and post-conflict democratization in the region.

Doing Business in Latin America (3 units)

Doing Business in Latin America (3 units)

Taught in Spanish, this course acquaints the student with the legal framework of business transactions in Latin America. The course will expose the student to the civil law system used in most Latin American countries, and will cover selected topics of importance to lawyers advising clients doing business, or seeking to do business, in Latin America. Topics may include the development of Latin American law, types of corporate and partnership organization, trade law, foreign investment, intellectual property, taxation of foreign income, environmental and labor standards, and dispute resolution.

Immigration Law in Spanish (3 units)

Immigration Law in Spanish (3 units)

Immigration Law in Spanish is a survey of the fundamental concepts of U.S. immigration law. In addition, students learn and practice the vocabulary required to appropriately communicate these concepts to Spanish-speaking clients.

Labor and Employment Law in Spanish (3 units)

Labor and Employment Law in Spanish(3 units)

This course offers an introduction to labor and employment law. National Labor Relations Act, with an emphasis on unfair labor practices committed by employers and unions. Major sections of the Act as well as relevant cases and materials are reviewed. The course covers both investigatory and litigation strategies in the areas of labor law. Trial and evidentiary issues that arise in connection with the preparation and trial examination of monolingual Spanish-speaking witnesses are also addressed.

Lawyering Across Borders (2 units)

Lawyering Across Borders (2 units) (offered in Antigua, Guatemala)

This course will prepare students with intermediate Spanish proficiency to represent Spanish-speaking clients in the U.S. legal system or to work in Spanish on transnational matters involving Latin America. The class will allow students to practice skills in Spanish, such as client interviewing, intake, and client counseling, through simulations and group exercises. As part of the class, students will work with their individual language instructors on assignments for the Lawyering Across Borders course. Intensive legal Spanish language instruction will be fully integrated with the rest of the course curriculum.

Litigation Skills in a Bilingual World (3 units)

Litigation Skills in a Bilingual World (3 units)

This class will present an opportunity for students to acquire skills that will be of use to them when litigating cases involving monolingual Spanish-speaking parties. They will learn how to prepare Spanish-speaking witnesses with little or no experience in the U.S. court system. Additionally, students will be exposed to evidentiary, immigration, translation and ethical issues that may arise in trials involving such witnesses. All materials for the course will be provided by the Professor and will include actual cases, rules of ethics, the Federal Rules of Evidence and other materials dealing with the preparation of Spanish-speaking witnesses and actual trials. Students will participate in mock witness preparation sessions and trials. Students with basic proficiency in Spanish may enroll in this class.

Representing the Spanish-Speaking Client (3 units)

Representing the Spanish-Speaking Client

This course is a survey of the substantive law of matters likely to be encountered by attorneys representing Spanish-speaking clients in the United States. Topics may include, among others, immigration law, family law, criminal law, employment law, wills and estates, and consumer rights. The course will introduce vocabulary required to communicate with Spanish-speaking clients in the United States, as well as survey the basic substantive law in each area. The course will be taught in Spanish. (3 units)

Spanish for Lawyers I (3 units)

Spanish for Lawyers I (3 units)

This course is in beginning Spanish with an emphasis on the development of listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. The focus is on creating conversational exchanges about selected topics and situations in the present and future tenses. Students will practice oral communication skills needed to converse with Spanish-speaking clients, using basic legal terminology. The customs and culture of Spanish-speaking people will also be examined with the aid of video programs, CDs and readings. Topics: Greetings, spelling names and addresses, personal descriptions, numbers, coordinating meetings (times, driving directions), family members, housing arrangements and meals, grammatical structures, present and future tenses of verbs, ser and estar, possessive adjectives, commands, por and para and direct object pronouns. Legal Topics: intake, phone etiquette, interview, fees, and confidentiality.

Spanish for Lawyers II (3 units)

Spanish for Lawyers II (3 units)

This course is the second of a two part series in beginning Spanish with an emphasis on the development of listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. The focus is on creating conversational exchanges about selected topics and situations in the present and past tenses. Students will practice oral communication skills needed to converse with Spanish-speaking clients using basic legal terminology. The customs and culture of Spanish-speaking people will also be examined with the aid of video programs, CDs and readings.

Topics: Daily routine, the concept of time, shopping, sports and pastimes, holidays and traditions, transportation and travel. Grammatical structures: past tenses, uses of ser and estar, reflexive verbs, double object pronouns, verbs like gustar. Legal Topics: interviewing client (divorce, robbery, domestic violence, and traffic accident), explaining civil and criminal court proceedings.)

Prerequisite: Spanish for Lawyers I or approval from Professor Juárez. Students with some proficiency in Spanish may enroll with approval from Professor Juárez.

Transitional Justice in Latin America (2 units)

Transitional Justice in Latin America (2 units) (offered in Antigua, Guatemala)

As a region, Latin America has endured violent civil wars and repressive regimes. It has also experimented with different models of transitional justice that include the adoption of general or partial amnesties, truth commissions, and prosecutions. This course will explore important topics of transitional justice as these have played out in several countries of Latin America. These topics include the legal and the political in negotiated justice in the context of peace agreements; victim’s rights; the role of certain actors — such as victims and judges — in domestic prosecutions; due process for criminal defendants; and the juxtaposition of the competing goals of criminal justice reforms as between past and current waves of crime affecting the region.

Other Lawyering in Spanish courses offered in the past:

Film and the Law in Spanish: Perspectives on Justice (3 units)

Film and the Law in Spanish: Perspectives on Justice (3 units)

This course will examine court decisions, statutes, international laws and other writings as they relate to legal issues raised in movies and documentaries. Most of the films that will be viewed throughout the semester will either be in Spanish or will contain Spanish subtitles. Weekly assignments will require you to view a film on your own and/or to read applicable written materials, court decisions, statutes and international laws. The movies that you will be required to view on your own will be provided by the instructor. You must be prepared to discuss in Spanish the films viewed in connection to this course and the assigned written materials. There will not be any exams in this class. However, a midterm and final research paper that must be written in Spanish will be required.

International Business Transactions in Spanish (3 units)

International Business Transactions in Spanish (3 units)

This course focuses on the realities of practicing law in Latin America and Spain and considers the following topics from a case-study perspective: (1) the sale of goods across national borders; (2) establishing foreign means of production or distribution through “licensing” or “franchising” operations; (3) direct investment in a Latin American country; and 4) resolution of international commercial disputes in civil law jurisdictions. Students reflect on the legal and ethical issues that the international lawyer is likely to confront when advising American companies on investment activities in Spanish-speaking countries.

Counseling and Negotiation in Spanish (3 units)

Counseling and Negotiation in Spanish (3 units)

This course focuses on the basic skills involved in interviewing and counseling monolingual Spanish-speaking clients in a law office. The course relies on extensive simulations, exercises and discussions. The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with the challenges of communicating with Spanish-speaking clients in a legal environment. Students learn to prepare legal documents in Spanish conduct attorney-client interviews in Spanish, and overcome the obstacles that prevent effective communication in a legal setting. These obstacles include cultural stereotypes and language usage, and misconceptions regarding the role that attorneys, judges, and interpreters play in the U.S. legal system. The course also emphasizes how to build a law practice that attracts Spanish-speaking clients.