An Advocate for Words

January 29th, 2015

By: Peter Glazer

We are all storytellers. Life is a constant exercise in telling others the story of whatever it is we wish to convey. As a lawyer, I have been trained in the art of advocacy though carefully chosen words, trained in the creation of word pictures to convince others of the correctness of positions I take on behalf of my clients. I tell the story of the case before me.

Most people think lawyers speak a different language, one filled with “heretofores,” “notwithstandings,” “parties of the first part” and “parties of the second part” – in short, gobbledygook. Often, this is an unfortunate reality, and one that in almost every instance does a disservice to the lawyer’s client and the client’s objectives. If the end goal is to convince someone that they should agree with you, which is generally the goal in negotiations and litigation, the word picture created should be clear, concise and accessible.

In 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed Executive Order 12044, directing the Executive Branch of the Federal Government to ensure that regulations were “written in plain English and understandable to those who must comply with it.” This became known as “Jimmy Carter Plain English” and, while rescinded by President Ronald Reagan, speaks to an underlying intent. People are more likely to do what a regulation says when they understand its meaning. This is true in advocacy as well. A judge or jury is more likely to come down on the side of an argument that makes sense, one they understand.

The power of words cannot be overstated. The same set of facts when presented artfully, thoughtfully and in an accessible manner may convince its audience, whereas the same facts presented clumsily, using lazy “legalese,” may leave its audience confused, irritated and unconvinced. Choosing the advocate who will convey the facts is almost as important as the facts themselves. A lawyer who understands his or her audience, and how to most effectively speak to them, is paramount.

All lawyers are not the same, and a good fit is as important in a lawyer-client relationship as in any other relationship. When you need a lawyer, whether for business negotiations, litigation, divorce, estate planning or any of the thousands of other needs that arise in life in which lawyers are involved, don’t be nervous to ask questions about style, tact or any of the “soft” skills that may be just as important as the knowledge and technical expertise that will be necessary for a successful representation. After all, if you have a hard time following what your lawyer is saying, so will others.

For your business’s needs, I stand ready to assist my clients in ways they understand, in Jimmy Carter plain english.


Is Your Business Healthy?

December 4th, 2014

How is your business faring? So often, we get consumed by the day-to-day activities of our business that we neglect the fundamental health of our company. It is worth taking an hour to sit down with Peter Glazer and take a look at those fundamentals. If you own a business, call Peter Glazer to schedule an appointment to look at:

1) Do you have all of your basic documents in order?

2) Have you documented all of your major decisions in the past year?

3) Have you been running the business as required under the law? Are you at risk because you have/have not made necessary decisions?

4) What is your vision for the future of your company, and are you on the best track to allow your company to support those plans?

Make an appointment and make sure that your company is ready for the upcoming year!


Small Business Lecture Series: Business Entities

May 13th, 2014

Interested in learning more about how different business entities operate, and what types of enterprises are best suited for each? Peter Glazer is offering a course through the DC Small Business Development Center at Howard University on Starting a Business: A Legal Perspective.

Starting a business requires you to make many decisions that will affect the success of your company. In this course, you will learn the differences between various forms of business entities, and the advantages and disadvantages of each type. From Sole Proprietor, Partnership, C-Corporation and S-Corporation, LLC and other forms of doing business, this course will teach you about the implications for liability limitation, governance and control as well as the financial considerations of each form of doing business. This course is intended for new and established entrepreneurs who want a deeper understanding about the workings of the different business entities. No prior knowledge of the subject is required.

June 3, 2014: 6 – 8 PM. Sign up by clicking here.