Law Talk: the basics

What do we talk about when we talk about law?  It could be any of a thousand different things, given how many ways there are to define the term “law.”  The meaning depends on the context.

This lack of clarity is a frequent feature of language, whether written or oral.  Clarity is very difficult to achieve.  Vagueness and ambiguity are the general rule, not the exception.

The name Law Talk proves the point.  The name itself admits interpretation: what kind of law?  What kind of talk?

What’s more, the name applies to two different concepts: Law Talk the blog (which you’re reading), and Law Talk the consulting firm (home of the Law Talk blog).

In other words, the name Law Talk is both vague and ambiguous!   Yet it works well, according to the feedback that we’ve received, because it’s so evocative and easy-to-remember.  Lawyers, take note: language doesn’t always need to be clear to be effective.  Sometimes it’s useful to “vague it up” a little bit, and rich ambiguity is a cornerstone of good fiction and poetry.

But this isn’t fiction or poetry.  What, then, is Law Talk?

The Law Talk consulting firm provides four service areas. First, Law Talk helps lawyers and other legal professionals impove their Legal English.  Law Talk’s approach is inspired by the Rassias Method: theatrical, fun, and above all, effective.

Second, Law Talk helps non-US lawyers understand and work with American legal concepts.  Whether the need is occasional or frequent, non-US lawyers sometimes need to know more than simple Legal English vocabulary: they need a higher-level understanding of American legal doctrine. Law Talk delivers that understanding quickly, freeing up lawyer time for higher-value activities. Training topics literally span the range from A to Z (from administrative law to zoning law).

Third, Law Talk the consulting firm helps professionals of all types negotiate more effectively.  Law Talk embraces the principle-based negotiating approach developed at the Harvard Project On Negotiations.  Through group workshops and one-on-one coaching, Law Talk guides professionals in skills and strategy.  And through negotiation consultation, Law Talk prepares professionals for upcoming negotiations (developing situation-specific strategy and tactics).

Finally, Law Talk the consulting firm helps disputing parties resolve their business dispute through mediation, a process under which a neutral mediator helps the disputing parties arrive at a negotiated agreement.

As for the Law Talk blog, it will talk about the law, of course, but with an emphasis on the service areas of Law Talk the consulting firm.  You’ll find anecdotes and war stories; reviews of articles, books, and movies; commentaries on relevant developments; interviews with guests of interest; and the occasional joke (with the choice guided by good taste and respect for others).

Please don’t hesitate to suggest ideas for new articles, or to leave comments on what you find here at the Law Talk blog.

Drew Shagrin

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