Listening and the art of the “callback”

What do oral argument, marketing pitches, and improvisational theater have in common? This blog previously reviewed Steve Yastrow’s informative and entertaining book, Ditch the Pitch: The Art of Improvised Persuasion, and addressed how some of Yastrow’s recommended approaches could apply in the oral-argument setting. Some of these applications may be unexpected -- but one particular tactic is … Continue reading Listening and the art of the “callback”

Bad listening is stronger than good

What's more productive: targeting problems or building on strengths? Robert Sutton wrote in the Harvard Business Review Blog that “Bad Is Stronger Than Good.” This essentially means that eliminating the bad in the workplace – performance obstacles, bullying behavior, and even toxic people – is more effective than recognizing positive accomplishments and helping employees build on … Continue reading Bad listening is stronger than good

Therapeutic jurisprudence and listening

Suffolk Law School hosted a workshop Friday, April 11, on “The Study and Practice of Law in a Therapeutic Key: An Introduction to Therapeutic Jurisprudence.”  Therapeutic jurisprudence has been discussed and debated since the 1980s, and a working formal definition has emerged, quoted here from Professor David Yamada’s blog post about the workshop at Suffolk: Therapeutic Jurisprudence … Continue reading Therapeutic jurisprudence and listening

Rules for listening

Every law student learns about default rules in contract law. A recent post from Matt Homann at the [non]billable hour shows how default rules can affect communication as well. Here's the scenario: A team (lawyer-to-lawyer or lawyer-to-client) meets to discuss a matter. After the meeting, “everyone seems to reach consensus on what to do next.” But later, … Continue reading Rules for listening

Oral argument as an improvised conversation

Oral argument -- is it really a “conversation”? How can it be an authentic conversation when the power dynamics are so skewed toward the judges and when the attorney is ethically bound to advocate for the client? A recent incident with Judge Richard Posner is just one example of the inherent challenges of oral argument. … Continue reading Oral argument as an improvised conversation