The Role of Foreign Languages in Educating Lawyers for Transnational Challenges

5 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2008

Date Written: November 7, 2008


In a world in which every other country seems intent on teaching English to their youth, and in which the United States educational system does not place a high priority on teaching foreign languages, the American law student, dean and professor may doubt if foreign language knowledge is anything more than marginally helpful to law graduates. Similarly, educators at the primary school level may not be likely to assess foreign language education as warranting a greater allocation of scarce public resources.

The usefulness of foreign languages to the United States lawyer gradually has been gaining increased recognition in the profession, however. While the advantages to a lawyer of being able to communicate in the language of a client or colleague are many, the main need for our students to become fluent in foreign languages is not that they otherwise will be barred from communicating in transnational legal situations. Rather, it is the disadvantage of monolinguism, a problem that can be summarized as a limitation on the imagination.

Suggested Citation

Curran, Vivian Grosswald, The Role of Foreign Languages in Educating Lawyers for Transnational Challenges (November 7, 2008). Penn State International Law Review, Vol. 23, P. 779, 2005, U. of Pittsburgh Legal Studies Research Paper Series, Available at SSRN:

Vivian Grosswald Curran (Contact Author)

University of Pittsburgh - School of Law ( email )

3900 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States
412-648-2649 (Phone)
412-648-2648 (Fax)

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