I have an English first and last name, I’m 6’2” and I certainly don’t look Spanish. So, people are surprised when I speak Spanish naturally with a pretty good accent (if I do say so myself). Being a Spanish speaking lawyer in Naples, Florida has been a personal and professional accomplishment.
What’s more, I can speak and understand Spanish on the telephone. This is something very few non-native Spanish speakers can do effectively.
It’s been my pleasure to help Spanish speakers in both Chicago and Naples, Florida resolve their legal issues while communicating with them in their own native language.
Frankly, English-to-Spanish translators just don’t work. Having seen thousands of translators in and out of court, words and concepts just get glossed over. It takes more time to say something in Spanish that it does to say it English so the translator simply must skip words. Worse yet, the translator won’t be familiar with legal concepts and will get essence of the translation wrong.
Beyond that, there is simply not a personal connection when there is a translator between the lawyer and his client. The lawyer is helping a client through the most difficult period in his or her life and a translator makes that process cold and impersonal.
My clients have even told me, “Quiero hablar con el dueno del circo no con los monos,” which very impolitely means “I want to talk to the owner of the circus not the monkeys.” Nonetheless, their point is taken. When you’re spending good money for a lawyer, you want to talk to that lawyer not his assistant.
I learned to speak Spanish as an adult. I was 28 with my first job as a lawyer in a neighborhood law office in Chicago, Illinois. The neighborhood in question was largely full of Spanish-speaking residents. After a month of seeing Spanish-speakers walk through the door I committed myself to learning Spanish.
Luckily, being Canadian, I already spoke French. The grammar system of both languages almost identical and there are lots of the same root latin words.
I drove through the Chicagoland area listening to “learn Spanish” tapes in my car. Then I started seeing a tutor for an hour before court every day. Finally, I quit my job and went to a Spanish learning academy in Cuernavaca, Mexico for a month. At the end, I was dreaming in Spanish.
I later opened up my own law firm and I’ve always had a solid base of Spanish speaking clients whether they were from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Argentina, Guatemala or the Dominican Republic. Today, roughly 25% of my clients are Spanish speakers. It’s my pleasure to help hard working people get through life’s legal problems with the dignity and respect that anyone else would expect no matter what language they speak or where they are from.
Because of my Spanish-language clients, I have plenty of experience with immigration issues even though that is not my specialty. I refer immigration cases to other attorneys but if the issue is about immigration and the issue effects a divorce, I know all about it.
If you speak Spanish or know someone who needs help that would prefer to discuss their problem in Spanish, please contact me. If I cannot help you or your Spanish-speaking friend, I will find a Spanish-speaking lawyer in Naples, FL that can help. If we can’t find a Spanish-speaking lawyer, I will happily translate Spanish-to-english and vice-versa with an English speaking lawyer so you can get the help you need. Contact my Naples, Florida family law office today.