The Spanish language market represents a massive opportunity for lawyers. Nationally, more than 40 million people speak Spanish, for a total of 13.5% of the population in the United States. Turning your firm into a bilingual operation will open up a new market of people in need of legal services. It can help generate business and drive revenue.
But before your firm starts posting ads in Spanish and assuring the market that you are fully bilingual, there are some things you need to have in place to ensure that you can handle Spanish-speaking business when it comes in.
Here are ten operational things that your firm should have in place to effectively work with Spanish-speaking clients:
- Bilingual staff members. High school Spanish won’t cut it here. Your firm needs to hire someone who is either a native speaker or is entirely fluent. In order to work with Spanish-speaking clients effectively, it is vital to employ someone who can communicate with them comfortably.
- A Spanish version of your website. If you want Spanish-speakers to work with your firm, you need to demonstrate your value with a Spanish-language website.
- A Spanish-language follow-up process. When a potential client reaches out through your website, a quick follow up can quickly close a deal. If someone reaches out through your Spanish-language site, it will look bad to follow-up with an English language email.
- A Spanish-language phone option. A phone tree is a great way to filter callers by their preferred language. Just make sure that you have an option in place for Spanish speakers who want to connect over the phone.
- Translated documents. Sending clients home with English-language documents will not do them any good. Your firm should have key legal documents translated and ready to deliver to any Spanish-speaking client you may wind up working with.
- An office culture of diversity and inclusion. It is important to demonstrate that Spanish-speaking clients are welcome in your firm, and that starts with education on cultural competency and a working environment that values diversity and inclusion.
- Bilingual marketing. In order to reach Spanish-speaking clients, your firm is going to need to advertise to them in their language. English-language advertisements that simply state ‘we are bilingual’ will not cut it.
- In interpretation solution for court appearances. In order to focus your full attention on the case at hand, you should not be acting as an attorney and an interpreter in high-stress situations. Hiring a legal interpreter will help to make everyone comfortable should a court appearance be necessary.
- An understanding of the cultural makeup of your firm’s local area. Are most of your potential clients immigrants of Mexican descent, or are they Costa Rican? Or Honduran? To demonstrate an understanding of your local area, you need to understand who your Spanish-speaking clients are.
- The ability to learn and adapt based on how the Spanish-speaking market responds. No one gets bilingual marketing exactly right the first time. So keep an open mind, be ready to learn new things, and prepare to adjust your strategies depending on your feedback.