Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"The lawyer speaks Spanish." "La abogada habla espanol." "El abogado habla espanol."

I'm looking through Momenta, the Bay Area Spanish language Yellow Pages, and I'm thinking about a quote I read from a judge.

The judge said that it's obviously bad that minorities are not lawyers in the U.S. anything like proportionally to their prescence in the population at large. The judeg said the worst thing about that is that it condemns us to a future of not enough minority judges.

For the appearance and reality of fairness, there must be minority judges at least to the extent that there are minority people in general.

Right now, we're not even close, on lawyers or judges.

The Abogado=Attorney section of Momento has many ads for lawyers, dealing with immigration, DUI, family law (divorce), bankruptcy and on and on. A few of the ads say, "The lawyer speaks Spanish" "El abogado habla espanol."

Most don't say that. Some of the one's that don't say that say, in Spanish, things like "Ask for Rosa, Sandra and Nancy, Legal Assistants." and "Viviana and Yessenia, Legal Assistance in Spanish."

At many of these law offices serving Spanish-speaking people, the person who is actually speaking to the client and listening to the client directly is a woman who isn't a lawyer.

So--how about a big push to get some of those women to law school?

Probably that means first getting them to college, and democracy is worth that, and they are worth that.

Have a really interesting meeting, with music and food, for some of these women, and propose to them that they could be lawyers.

Having already set up much support. The new program gets them scholoarships, if possible for collge, pays outright for law school. Sets up ways for them to support each other in college and law school and be supported by and talk to people who have made similar leaps.

These women have experience in detail many legal cases. They know in detail what one kind of law is like. The new program could show them other kinds of law.

Not everyone who starts college finishes college. Not everyone who starts law school finishes law school. The first lawyer out of a program like this could be very expensive for the program, and worth it. The program would have learned to do what it needs to do much better.

Lawyers from this program could go to firms or start firms that do family law, bankruptcy law, immigration law, all that, and the lawyers could speak directly to clients.

They could become big firm lawyers, legal theorists, law school professors, judges.

They could become people who people know and say, "Yes, someone like me can do that."

To stay smart and accurate in changing times, democracy needs to recruit.

If we don't have enough minority lawyers, and we don't, people who have lots of legal experience and are minorities should be recruited.