What are effective strategies for negotiating contract terms with a client's legal team? was recently asked. I voted to close it as not about law but about business tactics. The asker pointed out that "dealing with legal professionals" is on-topic here. Should this question, and others like it, be considered on-topic?

This previous discussion seems relevant; Should questions asking about dealing with lawyers (but not about the law itself) be on-topic?

3 Answers 3


Should this question, and others like it, be considered on-topic?

The question is on-topic because it is about dealing with lawyers in their lawyers' capacity. At the outset that makes it likely to entail, or touch on, legal issues.

Characterizing the post as merely "about business tactics" is reductionist insofar as it misses legal aspects that may arise prior, during, and upon negotiations. For instance, were the OP to post his question elsewhere (i.e., a site specializing on business issues), contributors over there are likely unaware of items such as the work-product privilege and how it deters lawyers from being more communicative toward a counterparty such as the OP. Accordingly, this point might help the OP overcoming the frustration he understandably experiences every time lawyers, with no useful explanation, reject his proposed revisions.


Practical questions about getting what you want from a lawyer is off-topic. Questions about the legal obligations of attorneys to their clients or to adversaries are on topic. Indeed, I've faced problems where the attorney responded with a volley of irrelevant legal boilerplate, and as a practical solution I pointed out how the attorney's suggestions thwart the presumed intent (a presumption garnered from prior discussion not involving an attorney). Under the standard premise that Law SE is "about" what the law is, that particular question is not on topic. It is not against the law for a lawyer to offer advice based on what he perceives the clients interest to be, and it is not against the law for a lawyer to be wrong in that judgment (when the judgment is reasonable). The problem is that the expression "dealing with legal professionals" is itself unclear and not clearly justified. IMO, the wording of that bit of the help page needs to be discussed.



There is no bright line between what is a legal issue and what is a commercial or social issue - the law permeates commerce and society and a discussion of one necessitates considering the others.

An individual's training and background will give them a different toolkit when interacting with the law: lawyers think like lawyers, engineers think like engineers, doctors think like doctors etc. Questions about how that may influence the perception and understanding of legal risks and opportunities are on-topic for this site.

While the law is the law, understanding that the lawyer does not understand, say, the engineering risk may lead them to be very risk-averse to a low probability-low consequence risk and overlook a high probability-high consequence risk. The lawyer may see years of expensive and time-consuming litigation, the engineer may see a 5-minute fix, or vice-versa.

While negotiating a contract is a commercial venture, its also a legal one and questions about that are a fit for this site.

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