CBA Record September-October 2021

Young Lawyers Section Launches “Representing Spanish Speakers” CLE Program in October 2021 By Nina Fain, CBA Record Editorial Board

A s Cook County courts increasingly adjudicate matters involving liti- gants fromSpanish speaking coun- tries, the Young Lawyers Section (YLS) will launch a new CLE course this October entitled “Representing Spanish Speakers.” The 4-week course is designed for attorneys with an intermediate understanding of the Spanish language to explore the cultural challenges in representing Spanish-speak- ing clients, expand their legal vocabulary, and learn to manage client expectations in terms of cultural legal differences. Although the county court system has many bilingual employees, when transla- tors and interpreters are not available, it is prudent to encourage lawyers to upgrade their communication skills. Recently the CBA’s Diversity, Inclusion, Culture, Equity and Engagement Initiative (D.I.C.E.) interviewed Maria Mejia-Ramirez of the Cook County Mandatory Arbitration Pro- gram about her experience with bilingual court matters. Mejia-Ramirez coordinates the scheduling of arbitrators to adjudicate arbitration matters. She observed, “It is no longer unusual for a translator to be sworn before the start of many court proceedings. But some of our litigants cannot afford to hire translators or have no friend or family member available to do so. At that point it falls to the party’s lawyer to find a solution to any language challenges.”

accommodate such traditions. That limitation may force Hispanic/ Latinx people to choose between the use of their father’s or mother’s surname or to try to squeeze in both on a form. In an extreme case, this can have the unintended consequence of an incorrect allegation of fraud against the native Spanish speaker. And, as a client’s choice in surname use may not be consistent, it is important for lawyers representing Spanish speaking clients to understand this concept, review documents used in court carefully, and be able to clarify in court any concerns that could expose their clients to charges of using a fraudulent identity. Culturally-tinged legal issues arise daily at organizations like the Pilsen Neighbors Community, which works with lawyers and clients in navigating immigration, real estate, criminal, regulatory compliance, and consumer matters, among others. Pilsen Neighbors established the Chicago Latino Legal Institute (CLLI). InMarch 2021, the CBA opened the CBAMediationTraining Program to CLLI lawyers. CLLI Executive Director Juan F. Soto said, “We applaud the YLS in its new Spanish language initiative.” DICE congratulates YLS as it launches the new Spanish class series in Hispanic Heritage Month.

Mindful of the complexity of language learning, the YLS program does not seek to replace the need for translation services in the courts. Further, the YLS understands that its course is not a panacea for language challenges. Nonetheless, it will offer an opportunity for CBA members to improve their Spanish language skills and enhance their cultural understanding. With a changing litigant population, mastery of Spanish can be helpful in a variety of cases. For example, the Secretary of State’s Department of Administrative Hearings adjudicates traffic and personal identification matters. During those hear- ings, lawyers and hearing officers must review birth certificates, driver’s licenses, and some immigration documents. Often these documents may appear with differ- ent last names. The Chicago office’s staff has learned that the cultural differences between howAmerican (often Anglo-Saxon based) and Hispanic/Latinx last names are assigned at birth can be a critical issue. That cultural knowledge is fundamental for staff to accurately address legal issues that arise with verifying the authenticity of documents. Specifically, in Spanish speak- ing countries, children customarily carry both parents’ surnames, with the mother’s surname shown in the final position of a hyphenated name. In the United States, however, most document forms do not

For more information on the CLE program, contact YLS Director LindsayWunrow at or register at

Everything You Need to Know about Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals September 29, 2021 | 9:30-11:30 a.m. $0 CLE-Advantage Member | $25 Member | $50 Nonmember 1.75 IL MCLE Credit | Register at (on demand version will be available) The world of emotional support animals and service animals can get very complicated very quickly because so many different laws, guidances, and regulations are involved. For example, the four main sets of federal laws (title I of the ADA, titles II-III of the ADA, the Fair Housing Act, and the Air Carrier Access Act) all vary in their takeaways. This presentation will discuss all four sets of federal laws as well as the Illinois Assistance Animal Integrity Act and examine their implications. This program will be beneficial to any attorney having to deal with service animals and emotional support animals in their practice (including but not limited to those representing employers, employees, nonfederal governmental entities, landlords, tenants, colleges and universities or their students, businesses, and air carriers), can all benefit from this presentation. There

will be time for questions as well. Speaker: William D. Goren, Esq.

12 September/October 2021

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