Law school to have Latin certification

The University of Pennsylvania Law School has established a certificate of study in Latin American and Latino studies.

The Philadelphia Ivy League school said it did this in recognition of the mounting importance of Latin America as both a rapidly growing global legal market and the hub of much U.S. immigration debate.

In collaboration with Penn’s Latin American and Latino studies program, the new certificate will enable Penn law students to enrich their legal educations by gaining knowledge of the social, cultural, and political issues facing Latinos and Latin Americans, while also affording opportunities for students to develop greater fluency in the legal landscapes, history, and languages of the region, said the university. Students will be able to participate in the program at the start of the 2014-15 academic year, it added.

The practice of law has become increasingly global. and 26 U.S. firms have offices in Latin America, and together those offices employ nearly 1,000 lawyers, according to the university announcement.

To earn the certificate, students must complete five courses in the area of Latin American and Latino studies. Two of these courses are taken at Penn Law, and the remaining three courses are taken in Penn’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Course offerings within the law school include Public International law, international business transactions, refugee law, and international trade regulation. Non-law courses cover topics ranging from Latin American political economy to international migration.

Students must also demonstrate proficiency in Spanish, French, Portuguese, or a less commonly taught language such as Yucatec Maya, Quechua, or Haitian Creole.

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