the Zealous

03 Aug 15
Mine is the maxim that every word and clause in a contract is presumed to have meaning, and to have a purpose for being included. Reyes v. Metromedia Software, Inc. (S.D.N.Y. 2012) (a court must evaluate the disputed language "in the context of the entire agreement .... [to] safeguard against adopting an interpretation that would render any individual provision superfluous.").
As a deal lawyer, this maxim is what makes my job challenging and intellectually rewarding. It serves to remind me that words matter, and that precision and concision are the tools of our trade.
What's your favorite?
26 Jun 15
Knocking down a false, weak or misleading characterization of your opponent's argument is to engage in strawmanning. This kind of argumentation fallacy "requires that the audience be ignorant or uninformed of the original argument" to be successful.

The opposite of strawmanning is steelmanning:

You know when someone makes an argument, and you know you can get away with making it seem like they made a much worse one, so you attack that argument for points? That’s strawmanning. Lots of us have done it, even though we shouldn’t. But what if we went one step beyond just not doing that? What if we went one better? Then we would be steelmanning, the art of addressing the best form of the other person’s argument, even if it’s not the one they presented.

29 May 15

This is the title of an actual Reddit discussion. My favorites:
  • you can't unring the bell
  • the judge will probably split the baby
  • I won't negotiate against myself
  • it's a belt-and-suspenders approach
  • out of an abundance of caution