Posted By , Jan 18, 2014
Tell me if this story sounds familiar. A book you’ve been dying to read has just (finally!) been released, so you head to the store to pick up a fresh copy. Basking in the afterglow of your purchase you rush home, anxious to dive in. The garage door is nowhere near closed, but you’re already inside making a beeline for the couch. And then, you’re ready. You open the front cover, take a moment to appreciate that “new book smell,” then flip to page one. The book is amazing. Too amazing. So amazing that you can’t stop yourself from skipping ahead. Far ahead. All the way to the end, in fact… And then you have to read the rest of the book knowing what’s going to happen.
Posted By Andrew Alfonso, Jan 14, 2014
Effective communication is a hallmark trait of effective advocacy.
In the litigation context, effective communication can include delivering a powerful closing statement to a jury or deftly arguing a motion to a judge. The importance of skillful oral communication to good lawyering is evident both from Law & Order’s Jack McCoy and from the moot court and mock trial programs found at almost every law school. In both training and practice, trial lawyers recognize the importance of strong oral communication skills. Competent written communication is equally valued in the legal profession. The effective advocate knows that a demurrer can defeat a poorly drafted complaint and well-drafted discovery requests can win a case on summary judgment. For career litigators, the power of dispositive motions is never far from mind. Because of this, the legal academy wisely places an emphasis on efficient and effective writing in first-year legal writing and civil procedure courses. Lawyers are trained and retrained, in law school as well as in practice, that strong oral and written communication skills are essential to effective advocacy in litigation.
In today’s legal landscape, however, huge court backlogs and the long shadow of lawsuits’ immense costs mean that an effective advocate must be as comfortable at the negotiating table as they are at counsel’s table. The vital role played by alternative dispute resolution (ADR) — settlement negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and other ADR procedures — in the modern legal landscape is well recognized by both legal practitioners and the legal academy alike. Courts also recognize the utility of ADR: in many jurisdictions, before parties are given their “day in court,” they must participate in court-annexed ADR proceedings.