Welcome to the professional website of Andrew Hammel. I am a former lawyer and law professor, and now a writer and translator specializing in legal, academic, and literary translations. I am a sworn translator, certified by the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court.
I practiced criminal defense law in the USA for ten years, and led the Anglo-American Law Program at the University of Düsseldorf from 2001-2016. In 2016, I became a full-time writer and freelance translator specializing in legal, academic, and literary translation from German and French into English. I no longer actively practice law.
Qualifications and Memberships
I have a Bachelor’s Degree in English from the University of Texas at Austin, a J.D. from the University of Houston, and an LL.M from Harvard Law School. I am licensed by the State Bar of Texas, on inactive status. I have lived in Düsseldorf, Germany for more than a decade, and speak fluent German.
I am an active member of the American Translator’s Association, having passed the special examination in German to English translation in 2005. I am also a member of the leading German professional association for translators, the Bundesverband der Dolmetscher und Übersetzer.
Translation Experience: Legal Documents
I have also translated hundreds of legal documents, including contracts, sales agreements, facility management agreements, court pleadings, court decisions, patent applications, memorandums, law journal articles, prospectuses, and corporate reports. My clients have included dozens of prominent German, American, and British firms, as well as German government organizations. In legal translations, I place a premium on confidentiality and discretion, and treat client documents as if they were subject to attorney-client privilege.
Translation Experience: Books
I have published quite a bit in the areas of criminal law, comparative law, constitutional law, and human rights. In 2010, Palgrave MacMillan published my first book, Ending the Death Penalty: The European Experience in Global Perspective. I have translated three legal treatises from German into English. One was published in 2013 by Cambridge University Press, the other two will be published in 2019 by Oxford University Press. For more information on these books, go here.
I am a former American lawyer with in-depth knowledge of the German legal system, familiarity with the French legal system, and a sophisticated understanding of the characteristic principles and institutions of European civil-law countries. I have published peer-reviewed articles and books dealing with German and civil European law, have taught courses seminars involving German public and private law, and have participated in lectures and panel discussions involving German law, and European civil law in general.
My scholarly background has trained me in the pitfalls of translating legal documents and treatises, including false friends, subtly different concepts, and misleading connotations. I have developed proven methods for conveying the meaning of complex German legal concepts into fluent, readable English.
In technical and legal translations, I strive to combine absolute accuracy with clarity. In all my translations, I aim to produce documents which read as if they had been written by a native English speaker, and which are as readable as the subject-matter permits. As Albert Einstein once said, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.”