Monday, August 3, 2009

Lawyers who speak more than one language - especially Spanish or Chinese - may have an advantage in the job market, a new study suggests.

“The practice of law is increasingly global, with a growing number of law firms serving clients outside the United States and many corporations handling more international transactions,” said Robert Half Legal executive director Charles Volkert.

An independent research firm conducted the study for Robert Half’s legal staffing division. Responses were received from 300 lawyers from firms and corporations in Canada and the U.S. with at least three years of experience.

It reported that 31 per cent of respondents indicated they are seeing a “slight increase” in the need for lawyers with foreign language skills. Five per cent said there was a “significant increase.”
But 58 per cent said there was no change.

Likely because many of the respondents were American, the top language reportedly in demand was Spanish, with 47 per cent of the responses. Chinese came in at 24 per cent.

“To meet the needs of their clients, law offices seek attorneys who not only are fluent in a language other than English, but also understand multi-jurisdictional issues and the distinctions between regulations and laws in the United States and other countries,” said Volkert.
Lerners LLP has snagged the commercial litigation skills of Bill Pepall.
“We are honoured to have Bill Pepall join Lerners,” says the firm’s Toronto managing partner, Brian Grant.

“He is an outstanding addition to our commercial litigation group with a sterling track record and reputation in the legal community.”
The firm identifies Pepall as an expert in commercial, insurance, and professional liability litigation.

Judith Hull is the new president of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association.

Hull, who leads her boutique personal injury firm Judith Hull & Associates in London, Ont., has spent six years on the OTLA’s board of directors, and two years on its executive committee.

The association also announced that Dale Orlando of Toronto’s McLeish Orlando LLP is its president-elect, while Richmond Hill, Ont., lawyer Paul Harte takes on the role of vice president.

The Western Canada Society to Access Justice has announced plans to merge with ProBono Law of B.C. in 2010.

PBLBC executive director Jamie Maclaren says the move will lead to a broader range of services under one entity.

While Access Justice has built a reputation by holding about 60 clinics throughout B.C., PBLBC tries to help clients get lawyers for ongoing cases.

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