- HOW TO THINK LIKE LAWYERS
- My goal is not to make you a lawyer, but I want to help you understand how you can communicate with lawyers more efficiently.
- It's often said that we, lawyers think differently. What does that mean when people say that lawyers think differently? Well, a big part of what it means is that lawyers rely on different tools for thinking about legal questions than non-lawyers. Non-lawyers tend to approach legal issues by asking simply, does it make sense? So they rely a lot on common sense but lawyers not only rely on common sense, but first and predominantly, lawyers ask, well what legal authorities say about this legal question. So, lawyers tend to start thinking by recalling the laws or guidelines of the regulatory authority. That is, a major difference of how lawyers reach on conclusion on any legal question is by recalling laws of the controlling authority, whether that's be the statute, or a regulation, and if the law is clear, that gets you a long way towards an answer to the legal question.
- If it's not, then you have to take into account a variety of other considerations. So lawyers, for instance, might think about the purpose of the statute, or the intent behind it.
- What was the common law?
- What did legislators intended when they passed the statute?
- What problem was legislator trying to resolve?
- Where there's been litigation in the past related to it?
- When courts considered this issue or a similar issue in the past, what did they say about this issue?
- How did court interpret the language of the statute?
- What do the precedents say?
- And then lawyers also take into considerations for a good policy and justice? And that is what most non-lawyers fail to consider. But, it's not the first consideration for a lawyer. Lawyers tend to start with other things, context, purpose, precedent. So often when people say that lawyers think differently, they're just saying lawyers use different tools than the non-lawyers on legal issues.
- HOW TO READ DOCUMENTS LIKE LAWYERS
- READ EVERYTHING: Lawyers are some of the few people who actually read everything given in document put in front of them. And for good reason: once executed, you will be held accountable for each and every word in that legal document before signing. And you will be amazed when you actually take out time to read it all.
- DEFINE EVERYTHING: If there are terms that not defined properly like, Reasonable Time or Effort, One needs to ask for particular number which limits them like Date, Number etc.
- QUESTION EVERYTHING: There is nothing like stupid questions, if you fail to understand any Paragraph, Line, Phrase or Word, ask for its meaning because at the end of the day you will be held accountable for every word you consented to by signing.
- CHECK EVERYTHING: Work won’t complete by just reading the document; one also needs to read also the supporting or referred documents, Schedules and Annexure because they are equally important as the document itself.
Lastly always take into account the worst case scenario because legal documents are always drafted for times when things are not going well.
Disclaimer: Information contained above is for general information purposes only and no liability express or implied is assumed by the Author or the firm he is associated with. The Author, Sagar Bansal is an Associate lawyer with Veda Legal, Advocates & Solicitors and views expressed are personal.