Lost in Translation

Language should not be the only consideration when choosing an attorney, but it is a very important one. At difficult times when we may be at our most vulnerable, it is very important that our concerns and needs are completely understood and addressed by the person representing us in a legal matter.

In most law offices with signs reading "Se habla español", the attorneys actually rely on an employee, usually a secretary or paralegal, to speak to the client and translate during meetings. This indirect flow of information can result in miscommunications, confusion and misdirection. Usually, the person translating does not have the same level of education as the attorney, or only speaks Spanish as a second language, further reducing the effectiveness of communications. When you eliminate the translator, a different, closer relationship emerges between you and your legal representative.

Another important consideration is our particular cultural sensibilities. Latin Americans are a very diverse group, but we share certain cultural traits and beliefs that sometimes make it more difficult for us to share certain issues. It is important that the attorney representing us understands those cultural issues and helps us communicate honestly about topics which are relevant to our case, even if they are difficult to discuss. These days you do not have to be afraid of compromising the quality of your attorney by choosing one who speaks your language. There are many very well-respected and experienced attorneys in all fields of the law who are native Spanish speakers. For instance, I have over twenty years of experience in litigation in the courts of New York, and have handled just about every type of civil matter imaginable, as well as having been active in numerous legal organizations.

Your attorney needs to have your trust. If you want to make sure you are clearly understood by your attorney, that all the right questions are asked, and that all answers are clearly understood, choose an attorney who speaks your language and who can communicate with you directly instead of through an intermediary.

We can be contacted at 914.713.1400, or at any time through our firm's website (www.wandcllp.com).