The Canadian Bar Insurance Association

Lawyers with second languages in demand in cities, small towns alike

With roughly one-third of his clients communicating with him in Mandarin, Toronto family lawyer Pei-Shing Wang tells Law Times that a large part of his role is guiding them through an unfamiliar legal landscape.

“The biggest item is probably the difference between the legal system and the culture because the people who speak Chinese usually are first-generation immigrants and they have a different set of values and a different understanding of how the system operates, which they carry with them. I need to tell them it’s not like that in Canada — this is how we do things here. I think it helps to put them more at ease when they understand a bit more about what’s happening,” he says.

Wang adds that it is not just large cities where second languages are in demand. He tells Law Times that he gets calls from smaller towns outside of Toronto where there are no local Mandarin-speaking lawyers or where the practitioner is uncomfortable taking a complicated family law case.

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