“We are in a different mindset than our clients are. Even that is a barrier because, at that point, we don’t see the context where our client comes from.”
This week’s TLC podcast features trial lawyer Pat Montes, who offers a thought-provoking look at how language and culture impact a lawyer’s relationships with their clients. Bringing to the table her unique perspective as a bilingual and bicultural attorney, Pat stresses the importance of working with clients in their native language rather than forcing them to struggle to convey their authentic story in English.
As Pat and host Rafe Foreman continue their discussion, they raise a new set of questions: How can a client relate to their lawyer when they come from entirely different backgrounds? And how can a lawyer discover their client’s story when their cultural differences, despite both speaking English, effectively mean they’re speaking different languages?
The answers to these questions and more are explored in-depth in this engaging podcast episode. Listen along as Pat and Rafe provide necessary insight into connecting with a diverse set of clients and ensuring equal justice for all.
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Episode Guest, Pat Montes
Patricia Salcido Montes (Pat) is an accomplished attorney and community leader. Although born in El Paso, Texas, Pat lived her first 11 years in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Being in a different country and not being able to speak the language instilled in Pat an inspiration to be heard. She now uses her extensive bilingual, bicultural, psychodramatic, and trial skills to help lawyers and the courts in assisting those seeking justice.
Pat’s former role as a Social Worker at the El Paso Cancer Treatment Center inspired her to become a lawyer when she experienced cancer patients’ lack of a meaningful voice in the healthcare community. Many were Spanish-speakers who were lost in a world they couldn’t comprehend. Realizing she had the heart to understand and advocate for people, she needed to empower herself to be a voice for those who were voiceless in all arenas. With the support of her husband, Gilbert, and her young son, Michael, she uprooted the family to attend Texas Tech Law School in Lubbock, Texas.
A few years after law school, Pat became a partner in the Dallas firm of Ferrer, Montes, Poirot, and Eisenbraun, one of a handful of woman-named partners in the Dallas metroplex. She served as the President of the Mexican-American Bar Association and President of the Mexican-American Business and Professional Women of Dallas. In 1997, Pat opened up the Montes Law Firm in Arlington, Texas, specializing in civil trial law and trial consulting. Pat is now dedicated to representing and obtaining justice for individuals and protecting the rights of the poor, the injured, the voiceless, and the defenseless.