The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Speaker discusses language in law

Renee Rosenow

At 6 p.m. Tuesday, the English language was checked at the door before walking into the President’s Room in Davies Center Tuesday. The room was packed, with standing room only in the back available for those who didn’t arrive 10 minutes early for Lisa Boero’s speech.

Boero, a Senior Staff Attorney at the Marshfield Clinic who specializes in immigration law, spoke on invitation from the Spanish Business Association. In her presentation, “Strange Journey – An immigration attorney’s perspective on law, language, and everything in between,” she spoke in Spanish to SBA members and involved Eau Claire residents and students. She spoke about coming from a non-native Spanish-speaking background, her struggle to achieve Spanish fluency and how this struggle has shaped her view of the world and enhanced her current immigration practice.

Boero said she came from a family that didn’t speak any foreign language and learned very little Spanish growing up. Later in high school she began taking classes for the first time.

“The Spanish teacher was a guy who was Italian and kept mixing up the Italian and Spanish verbs,” Boero said, “so it was not exactly the best Spanish class.”

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In college, she took a six-week trip to Madrid between semesters to travel and experience another culture. Submersed in a completely Spanish-speaking culture, she said she was confused the whole time.

“I didn’t understand anything, but it was a good experience,” Boero said. “When I got back, I noticed I could understand more.”

Never planning on being an attorney in the first place or using Spanish regularly in her job, she pursued a career as a professor in history. After realizing there were few job openings, Boero said she took the advice of her boss and husband, and took the Law School Admission Test.

She passed and was accepted into Washington University in St. Louis and St. Louis University. She went to Washington University and pursued law, not taking any immigration classes. Her husband, a native of Peru, was in the country at the time with a visa, so she helped him with the legal paperwork.

“He was basically my first actual (immigration) client,” Boero said.

Eventually, things fell in line for her at the office she was working in and she accepted a job as an immigration attorney.

“This is all by chance; everything is by chance,” Boero said. “I didn’t plan anything.”

Now working at the Marshfield Clinic, 2102 Craig Rd., Boero facilitates the clinic’s employment of foreign-born physicians and other allied health providers.

Boero said she uses Spanish a fair amount in her job and really enjoys her work.

“But actually more than anything, it’s not knowing the Spanish, it’s having the perspective and understanding what this person is going through,” Boero said. “So when I talk to someone who is confused, upset and anxious about their paperwork, I can understand that. It’s given me a better handle on how to handle these situations because I was in it (as well).”

Michael Trimberger, a senior Spanish for business major and vice president of SBA, attended Boero’s presentation and thought it was very interesting. He thought Boero was a good person to speak to SBA because she has had similar experiences as students.

“It’s nice to know that someone went through the problems I’m having,” Trimberger said, “and actually made something of it.”

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Speaker discusses language in law