Part1: Lawyer Literacy Discussion
Thereare many motives for exploring the legal profession and law itselfbefore actually entering law school. This enables one to have a morerealistic view of the practice than the traditional understanding. Itis important for one to learn and understand the skills employed inthis profession as well as the realities of the legal employment.There exist particular legal vocabularies, concepts, systems andinstitutions. The discussion on law will seek to understand theapplication of reading, writing and information sharing as keycompetencies of a career in law.
Itis important to understand that not all formal writings andcommunications are legally desirable. Formality is usually assessedby critically analyzing and assessing the expectations of theaudience for that particular writing. A formal writing will berequired for an appellate brief to a supreme court in one’sjurisdiction (O’Hair and Kreps 248). This is to show high respectto the court as well as to demonstrate the degree of seriousness ofthat particular presentation. This is conversely expected when one isrequired to present an inter-office legal memorandum in a smalloffice. More so slight formality is expected when one is briefing afriend about a legal matter through a message or E-mail.
Legalwriting places a high dependency on authority. All legal writingsmust therefore back up all assertions or statements with appropriatecitations to the relevant authority. This is done and achievedthrough a complicated and unique citation system that is usuallyabsent in all other forms of writings (O’Hair and Kreps 250). InAmerica, there exist two legal citation methods that are widely usedwithin its territory. They are the professional system of citationand the uniform systems of citation. It is important to note thatthere are many citation methods that are employed by other countries.
Inaddition, legal writings values precedence that is dissimilar fromauthority. This demonstrates the way decisions made before or theexisted laws. In this regard, most lawyers would as a result use acontract that was used before when preparing a similar contract andonly make minor changes (Wan25).Most cases, lawyers use and continue re-using their written documentsto refer when similar matters appear. According to Wan(26), most lawyers usually refer to such documents as forms ortemplates. This is caused by the fact that the laws that were passedin the past may still be used in determining current matters (O’Hairand Kreps 248).
Readinglaw is a vital skill that is required in the legal profession.Literature reading is one method that is used to read and interpretlaw texts although not entirely engaging. One is expected todemonstrate high research skills. According to Ross (7), the bestapproach to reading law is through reading the law rather thanreading about the law. This usually assists in critical, analyticalreading, understanding and interpreting of the key court decisionsthat form the basics of communication law (Wan, 63). It is importantto note that reading is a vital requirement and that there is nosubstitute. Reading is done in full and verbatim that makes legaltexts understandable and alive.
Readingis achieved through diverse opinions of judges and justices, thearguments presented by legislators or lobbyists, when theadministration makes rules and orders and finally the judgment ofthose who make and apply the law. This activity provides anexperience with the maze of texts, the doctrines and standards thatguide the courtrooms to prospective students (Dinovitzer and Bryant18). It also offers an opportunity for readers to engage directlywith the law itself and consequently enable them to unearth keyconcepts in the legal language (Ostrow 28).
Thecareer of law requires regular and professional communication, whichmakes it a communication-oriented occupation. There are specificcommunication channels that are defined according to one’s legalposition. According to Ross (9), information is shared largelythrough motions or advocacy. This is important as it links people’sdaily living in the judicial system and often seeks to offersolutions to complex problems. The communication aspect is a broadprocess that involves justifying judicial decisions in the shape ofjudicial opinions (Dinovitzer and Bryant 15). Judicial system mainlyrelies on certain categories in decision making processes. Thesecategories are history, precedents, current usage, literal meanings,intention of the framers, pragmatism and depreciation of the originalmeanings.
Part2: Analysis of Two Sources
1.The analysis of Ellen Ostrow’s Article on a Successful Law Career
Inthis article, Ellen explores the need of students to criticallyunderstanding legal profession and law itself before actuallyentering law school. The article explains the motive behind this isto enable one to have a more realistic view of the practice than thetraditional understanding. It is important for one to learn andunderstand the skills employed in this profession as well as therealities of the legal employment (Ostrow 7). There exist particularlegal vocabularies, concepts, systems and institutions Understandingall these can help one to advance the understanding of law and legalprofession in general. Thus, prospective legal students ought toprobably apply this practice to gain more insight about the legalprofession.
Itis easy to agree with this article because of the obvious reasons ofcompatibility. It is indeed essential as it helps one to identifycertain areas of interest that suit a particular personality andpersonal values (Ostrow 6). In addition, it helps prospectivestudents` suit for candidacy in both for admission to law schools andalso in employment opportunities. This is during and after completionof law studies. This article sheds light on the importance of gainingexperience as enables one to properly be legally prepared foradmission to practice. It further puts into focus the legalstructures that have been changing over time. Where firms are movingfrom the traditional promotions based on quality work to thecontemporary business generations. This article is relevant as ithelps students to have a clear vision of their professional careerrealities.
2.The Analysis of the American Bar Association book
Inthe article of the American Bar Association strongly argues for theneed of prospective students to engage in networking and mentorshipprograms. American Bar Association (21) further argues that suchprograms should be through a practicing lawyer. This is achievedthrough paid in internships in the law related settings. Suchopportunities can be embraced during school breaks or the summer.They will lead one to make effective and informed decision to asuccessful law career. In fact, it has been noted by the associationthat legal employers are increasing demands for candidates who areready for the practice (American Bar Association 2). In this regard,these programs enhance one to start off on a more knowledge basedbeginnings.
Iagree with the American Bar Association article because students areable to evaluate themselves. The American Bar Association analyzesthe career expectations and the career realities that oneexperiences. There is a lot of career jargon that measure theexpectancy and the ability of prospective students who may beinterested to join the legal profession. It is not possible foranyone to expect to be given specific legal positions that conform totheir likeness or image (American Bar Association 2). Thus thisarticle demonstrates fairly the need for students to experiencefirsthand and earn positions that conforms to their naturalabilities.
Inthe legal career as a lawyer, communication is important because itpromotes information sharing through writing and reading. Forcommunication through writing, it is highly that lawyers understandtheir role and activities well. According to the CEO and founder ofLawyer Life Coach Ellen Ostrow (2015), it is recommended by bothsources that students must strive to learn the differences as legalwriting mainly focuses into those two categories. I decided tointerview my father, Mr. Weidong Yuan, a lawyer who has practiced theprofession for many years. Mr. Weidong Yuan confirmed the need forextensive and careful reading and research of the legal materials.
Predictivelegal analysis is the most commonly used form legal prediction thatusually includes the client’s letter and legal opinion. Accordingto O’Hair and Kreps (5), the legal memorandum typically helps inpredicting the outcome of legal problems. This is achieved byanalyzing the authorities that specifically governing that problemand the available relevant facts that give rise to the legalquestions.
Secondlyit is very important for a lawyer to be able to harness all theskills in writing and present an effective persuasion. This is afundamental requirement and the core principle of legal practice.This analysis is achieved through the use of a motion or a brief(Ostrow 30). They both aim to persuade a deciding authority to makefavorable decisions on the legal problem at hand for the clients(O’Hair and Kreps 2). The writing has to be clear, precise and usethe right legal quotes to help in the argument of a legal dispute.Further, Mr. Weidong Yuan confirmed that in addition to that, motionsand briefs also help to persuade the opposing party. He stressedthat writing of such legal matters must be framed and presented as anargument in the course of resolving a legal matter. By promotingproper communication, a person is able to create satisfaction in hisor her career (Dinovitzer and Bryant 10).
Thereare those lawyers that achieve the level of satisfaction by thewealth they accumulate or prestige that is earned. According to Mr.Weidong Yuan, some lawyers for instance achieve satisfaction in thispractice by the many opportunities that this profession presents thelevel of responsibility and the amount of work that one is capable tocontrol. In this regard, he achieves satisfaction from the meaningfulwork that he is able to deliver to those in need of his professionalhelp. However, Dinovitzer and Bryant (6) attribute the level ofsatisfaction to the variance of economic gains. In addition thepractice setting is a major determinant to the level of satisfaction.
Inconclusion, a successful career in law is determined mostly by thepersonal driving factors. These are mostly personal values thatdetermine the area of specialization of individuals. One is expectedto do a self evaluation and discover their particular area ofinterest. There are many opportunities that are available in thelegal profession that often match individual capabilities. Inconcluding the interview, Mr. Weidong Yuan, attributed successes tothe end feeling achieved each day after practicing law. He oftenevaluates if all actions and endeavors are in the service of hispersonal values. If one is able to stand for what matters to him andis able to bring about the positive impacts around him is all thatthere is in the legal profession.
AmericanBar Association, Makingthe competent lawyer: models for law school action,Chicago: American Bar Association Press, 1990. Print
Dinovitzer,Ronit, Bryant, Garth.LawyerSatisfaction in the Process of Structuring Legal Careers,Law& Society Review,3/1/2007, Vol. 41, (1), p. 1-50
O’Hair,Dan and Kreps, Gary. Appliedlegal Communication theory and research.NewYork: Routledge, 2005 Print
Ostrow,Ellen. (2015). Whatis A Successful Legal Career?,Women Lawyers Journal. 2015, Vol 100 (3), p28-33.
Ross,Susan Dente. Decidingcommunication in law. Key cases in context.London: PsychologyPress, 2004, Print
Wan,Marco. Readingthe Legal Case: Cross Currents Between Law and the Humanities.New York: Routledge, 2009, Print
WeidongYuan (2015, October 30). Competencies of a Lawyer, Personal interview