If You Don’t Speak The Language, How Can You Work Together? Steven A. Lauer On Effective Attorney-Client Communications

If You Don’t Speak The Language, How Can You Work Together? Steven A. Lauer On Effective Attorney-Client Communications

The law creates a form of "combat" in the form of the clash of ideas waged with words. In the context of the relationship between clients and their counsel, though, lawyers seem to forget or fail often to apply those lessons. However, with care and attention on both sides, however, miscommunication can be reduced, if not eliminated. Success in that endeavor should rebound to the benefit of both in-house and outside counsel. In this Emerging Issues Analysis, Steven A. Lauer writes:

“Lawyers live and die (at least, professionally) with language. The law creates a form of ‘combat’ in the form of the clash of ideas waged with words, to replace earlier forms of conflict resolution. Those earlier forms included jousting, person-to-person fighting and trial by combat. The criminal law no longer leads to a defendant being lowered into a body of water to determine, by whether he or she sinks or floats, guilt or innocence.

“Law school training inculcates its students into this practice. They spend their time studying prior practitioners and the decisions of courts in order to understand how the use of words and intangible concepts can create, change and otherwise affect individuals' rights in many contexts.

“In the context of the relationship between clients and their counsel, though, lawyers seem to forget or fail often to apply those lessons. This failure is particularly surprising and ironic when the client is represented by an in-house law department staffed by lawyers often as capable as those in the law firms that represent those businesses.”

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