Having been raised in Brownsville, Texas where the Hispanic population constitutes over 90% of the community, I was fortunate to have been exposed to both the Hispanic and American cultures. More importantly, I learned to speak Spanish and English.
According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hispanic workers face a greater risk of dying from work-related injuries with one in three deaths occurring in the construction industry. Consequently, knowing how to speak Spanish and understanding the Hispanic culture has definitely been an advantage in my practice-over half of my clients speak only Spanish.
Many times a Spanish speaking client (or his family) has interviewed other attorneys before contacting me. The client was unable to clearly communicate with the attorney and therefore the client continued interviewing attorneys. Upon contacting me, the client immediately begins the conversation by stating how happy he is to speak to someone that speaks his same language. Also, the client really appreciates actually speaking to me, the attorney, and not to the legal assistant who serves as a translator.
During the initial visit, the client instantly becomes comfortable and begins to tell me the facts surrounding his case. Of course the accident facts are very important, but knowing and understanding the Hispanic culture plays a bigger role by helping me understand how the accident has impacted the client-his damages. For example, when a Hispanic man is injured in an accident, he is completely devastated because he can no longer work and support the family. If he cannot be the “bread winner,” he has not lived up to his responsibilities within the Hispanic culture.
Most of the time, the clients decide to hire me as their attorney. Ask them why and they will tell you that they wanted an attorney that will talk to them in Spanish. If possible, take Spanish classes-I know a few attorneys learning Spanish and a few even travel to Mexico frequently to learn the culture. This education has helped their law practice.