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Best Practices & Ethical Issues in Representing Speakers of Other Languages

(901 reviews)

Produced on July 09, 2020

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Course Information

Time 1h 2m
Difficulty Beginner

Course Description

This program will address important ethical issues in the representation of clients with limited English proficiency (LEP). In our increasingly global world, lawyers are frequently finding themselves in the position of needing to communicate with clients whose primary language is not one that the lawyer shares. In such cases, lawyers will need to enlist the assistance of an interpreter to ensure effective communication and ultimately effective representation. But how does a lawyer go about determining which clients need an interpreter? How does the lawyer select the interpreter? How can a lawyer make the best use of an interpreter to promote seamless communication between the lawyer and the LEP client? This program, taught by Jami Johnson, an Assistant Federal Public Defender, and Marcia Resler, a federally certified Arizona Tier 4 credentialed interpreter, will address these topics and others with the goal of assisting lawyers in becoming better advisors and advocates for their LEP clients.

Learning Objectives:
  1. Identify clients who would benefit from the use of an interpreter
  2. Review best practices for finding and working with interpreters
  3. Improve representation of and communication with limited English proficient (LEP) clients
  4. Identify the Model Rules of Professional Responsibility that are implicated by working with LEP clients and interpreters
  5. Avoid committing ethical breaches in your representation 

Credit Information

After completing this course, Lawline will report your attendance information to {{ accredMasterState.state.name }}. Please ensure your license number is filled out in your profile to ensure timely reporting. For more information, see our {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} CLE Requirements page . After completing this course, {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} attorneys self-report their attendance and CLE compliance. For more information on how to report your CLE courses, see our {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} CLE Requirements FAQ .


Jami Johnson

Federal Public Defender

Jami Johnson is an Assistant Federal Public Defender in Phoenix, Arizona. She received her JD from Yale Law School, an M.A. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University, and a B.A. in English in Economics from Vanderbilt University. Prior to becoming a public defender, she worked for five years as a litigation associate at the firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP in New York City. Before and during law school, she worked as an interpreter and translator for indigent French-speaking immigrants from West and Central Africa. As a public defender, approximately half of her cases involve the representation of or communication with individuals with limited proficiency in English.


Bar Admissions:

New York State Bar # 4823373

Marcia Resler

Federal Public Defender

Born in Mexico and raised in Costa Rica, Marcia Resler, federally certified, is also an Arizona Tier 4 credentialed interpreter. She is a staff interpreter at the Federal Public Defender Office, District of Arizona. Prior to joining the FPD, she worked for the U.S. District Courts for 15 years. She holds a B.S. in Journalism from John Brown University. She has been Faculty and a rater for the Federal Court Interpreter Certification Examination since 2007.


Ingrid S.

Excellent, excellent course!

Michelle L.

Excellent presentation!

Barbara K.

The speakers had excellent credentials and were very knowledgeable. I work in healthcare where providing interpreters is necessary under regulations, so it was interesting to see the concept applied to representing legal clients. Interesting situations, facts, cultural issues and scenarios were discussed that I was previously unaware of an am glad to know.

Robin B.

Very enlightening course.

James H.

Very informative and well presented.

arthur a.

very useful session

Holly R.

Very timely course as we look forward to a new administration in 2021! Thank you.

Gal G.

Great class

Chantal J.

Very practical materials providing good insights into situations I have often dealt.

Carla R.


Erin B.

A wonderful, thoughtful and illuminating presentation! Fascinating and helpful. Great work!

Sergey S.

Informative program

Patrick B.

This was a very good course; I learned a lot of new information that I hope to use.

Anthony R.


Alexandria K.

I learned a lot and thank you for this important topic.

Gary D.

Helpful in understanding the dynamics and solutions regarding a client who does not speak English.

Iliana P.

Concise and effective

Todd P.

Wonderful presentation. My only suggestion would be to add a third speaker who can explain the cultural-linguistical nuances of Chinese speakers (Mandarin, etc.) who also comprise a huge number of persons in our legal system but whose cultural approach to the courts is very different from Hispanic/LatinX persons.

Aubrey R.

Great presentation.

Brett S.

Very informative. Excellent!

Antonio M.

This is a great and very useful CLE course

Alyson L.

Informative course

Bryan M.

Very informative!

Sheree W.

Excellent presentation. I wish I had seen it years ago. Thank you!

Bonnie B.

Great information!

Russell H.

Extremely informative, practical and useful. A lot of great practice hints for an important and often ignored subject.

Richard J C.

Very interesting topics. I have little experience in dealding wit foreign language clients. But this might have helped me do better when I did.

richard b.

Good and practical.

Edward B.

thought the interaction betweeen two presenters was excellent and respect for Covid was a good message in these times

Gerard R.

The point about asking the interpreter to notify of any cultural issues was instructive.

Sheila R.

a fascinating topic

Fredrick W.

Very informative

richard l.

Interesting fact patterns.

Susan M.

Thank you!

April W.

I expected some coverage of using interpreters for persons with disabilities

Jaime P.

Eye opening!

Daphne Marie C.

Thoughtful andeye-opening. Although I grew up as a bilingual and use it extensively at work, the speakers brought up in-depth details that I had not thought of that are very useful.

Jason O.

very interesting

Maria S.

Very interesting. I’ve worked with interpreters on numerous occasions in Ohio. Always Spanish. The judges get annoyed at the extra time it takes to interpret. Now I have some stats and other useful info that I can bring up before a hearing maybe in a casual conversation to get these Judges to understand and have more patience. I think the knowledge will impact these particular judges in a good way. Thank you!

Gregg C.

Very good on practical considerations.

Joy A.

Great content and great presentation!

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