Language skills a plus for lawyers

July 28, 2012 In a tough job market, lawyers might be wise to pick up Korean or Chinese language skills.
Law firms are looking for lawyers with fluency in multiple languages because they are able to navigate global business deals efficiently, although the jobs are almost always temporary.

This spring, for example, Apple Inc.'s legal team brought on dozens of Korean-speaking contract attorneys and document reviewers to help process a last-minute document dump from Samsung Electronics Co. in the patent dispute over smartphones.

Many law graduates are grateful of the opportunities presented by such short-term jobs: “It is a blessing to be able to work and to be able to use my Mandarin Chinese and keep my language skills up," said Paul Dirkmaat, a bilingual document reviewer in Washington DC, who is yet to find permanent employment as a lawyer after graduating from George Washington University Law School in 2010.

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