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In our everyday lives we are surrounded by laws and the implications they have on a
working society. For those outside looking in one may have a constructed schema that a lawyer's
job is to defend and argue in the presence of a judge and jury. However, through personal
accounts and exposure to different professions through a college campus, it becomes more
apparent that disputing opposing sides is only a marginal concept in the grand scheme of
practicing law. That being said, we looked to uncover the side of law this is rarely discussedwhat goes on beyond the walls of a court house. We wanted to assure that we drew were both
relevant and reliable accounts of how oral and written communication are methodologically
employed within the field. We worked with Mr. Behzad Gohari, a corporate attorney for the
Althing Group based out of Washington, D.C. with hopes of gaining a better understanding of
the logistics of the legal field.
The assignment involves an ethnographic report that details how a professional of our
choice conducts and composes documents in respect to their field. We will be required to
produce a project proposal, a progress report, and a final ethnographic report. Through this
ethnographic research project, we plan to observe and analyze a subject working in the field of
corporate law. Furthermore, this research will work towards understanding the role of legal
writing in the law profession, and their routine writing responsibilities. Our research will focus
primarily on legal memoranda along with the verbal and written communication employed by
the subject to represent clients.
Research Location and Informant
In order to collect the data to adequately answer our research questions we first went to
the Smith School of Business located at the University of Maryland. We were directed to the
Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship; a program that endorses students with business initiatives
by pairing them practitioners in the field to help jumpstart their entrepreneurial ideas. The
associate director of the Dingman Center, Ms. Holly DeArmond provided us with our informants
contact information, in which we formally introduced ourselves via email.
Our research subject is Mr. Behzad Gohari, a practicing corporate and securities attorney,
currently works as a Managing Director for The Althing Group located in Washington, D.C. The
Althing Group accredits itself for impacting the intersection of capital markets, regulation, and
technology. Mr. Goharis responsibilities include strategic advising through utilizing his expertise
involving debt and equity financing. Alongside Mr. Goharis corporate development, he has
guided both clients and portfolio companies through financial crises by developing interactions
between international financial regulation and interlocking regulatory regimes in the global
market. Mr. Gohari received a BA in Government and Politics at the University of Maryland in
1990, going on to earn accreditation in International Law at Delaware Law School. Shortly after,
he received his MBA in Strategy and Marketing The McDonough School of Business of
Georgetown University. Due to our personal interests (one being accounting and the other law)
we saw Mr. Goharis accomplishments and apparent knowledge in the both the business and
legal field as fitting for our intended career paths.
Data Collection Methods
Describe how we collected the info (over how many interviews etc.) - 1 paragraph
Describe how one person asked questions and the other observed (WHAT DID YOU
OBSERVE) - 1 paragraph
o Maybe here we can talk about his background..?

In terms of any written works we could have observed/ collected we should talk about
confidentiality binding and how in his profession it would be unethical to do so - 1

1. Legal Writing Over the Years - (this should be a page long or more..)
Talk about the shift of legal writing over the past 20 years (this is in your field notes)
What did he learn in law school? How applicable is this?
b/c he has to translate the law for his clients and his clients story for the lawyer talk
about how he has to change his jargon for people (list the 3 he talks about)
o Introduce the legal memo for lay ppl what is it?
o Here list the methodology he lays out for writing a legal memo why is it
o Regardless of the method a lawyer understands that 90% of cases are based off of
facts and NOT law 10% is where true legal writing (applying specfic legal
jargon) comes in
b/c of this idea of cases being mostly based off of facts one needs to learn
how to spin the facts in your favor
o Good lawyers must be
Good storytellers
Concise (talk about the facebook analogy he gave)
Argumentative in a structured fashion
o Preparation is KEY.. this is where superiority in legal writing comes in
Use his quotes here!!!!
o IN ALL..
Out of the 25-30 pages of a legal memo the language (legal jargon) used
has been watered down to = an easier understanding for all parties
The effectiveness of written communication truly depends on your
Legal writing is much like clay... it needs to be very flexible
2. Communication in the Legal Field (again a page long or more)
Client Communication
o The type of ppl Mr. Gohari normally works w/ are either business, impverished
ppl, or regular employees
o This is the most important aspect of legal writing
o b/c a lot of the time the client doesnt understand the law and the validity of their
actions/ words the lawyer must act as a liason
Teaching them about interpretations
Exposing them to interactions w/ the jury and opposing counsel
Being a listening ear
Give example about how one of his clients gave his wife a car but
tried to file for bankruptcy
Communication w/ Colleagues (more specifically opposing counsels)
o Three types of lawyers

1. Bombastic (give example about how he one his case by purposefully

making mistakes)
2. Cordial
3. Poker Player
o In terms of comm w/ other lawyers the most important concept is respect.
One needs to understand that although you may be on an opposing counsel
now, one day you could be playing for the same team
3. Responses to Research Questions

Why is this specific ethnography of any importance??? We can talk about how it
solidifies the significance of written and oral comm. in the field

We can also talk about how shocked we were after learning how much technical jargon is
embellished outside of the legal realm many people think that legal writing is so
technical b/c of the terms lawyers are taught to use, however, Mr. Gohari explained to us
that such excessive use of legal language isnt the case anymore its more so appealing to
the audience.. Much like creative writing (while still formal of course)