Document Type


Publication Title

Oregon Law Review

Publication Date

Spring 2001


The purpose of this Article is to explore the theories of silence developed in other disciplines and apply them to an understanding of silence in different aspects of the lawyering process. This Article will first consider the purposes of speech and the general relationship between utterances and silence. It will then examine the various forms and functions of silence: pauses and hesitations; intervening silences; fore and after silences; silences to communicate assent; silences to promote discussion; silence as an assertion of power; deep silences communicating intense emotions; and silences to mark interpersonal distance. Then this Article will address cross-cultural differences as to the use and views of silence. Finally, it will apply research on the functions of silence to the practice of law, focusing specifically on the skills of client communication; fact investigation; negotiation; and legal narrative.



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