LAWYER-CLIENT COMMUNICATION: "I DON'T THINK THE LAWYERS WERE COMMUNICATING WITH ME": MISUNDERSTANDING CULTURAL DIFFERENCES IN COMMUNICATIVE STYLE+ Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2003 Emory University School of Law
Emory Law Journal

LAWYER-CLIENT COMMUNICATION: "I DON'T THINK THE LAWYERS WERE COMMUNICATING WITH ME": MISUNDERSTANDING CULTURAL DIFFERENCES IN COMMUNICATIVE STYLE+

+ My thanks to Jeff Siegel for his helpful comments on the draft. All remaining errors are my responsibility.

2003

52 Emory L.J. 1109

Author

Diana Eades*

Excerpt



Introductionn1
 
Sociolinguistics is the study of the way that languages are used in social contexts.n2 One of the major contributions made by sociolinguists to the understanding of society in the latter half of the twentieth century has been in the explanation of the role that cultural differences play in intercultural communication and miscommunication. The aim of this Article is to show how this kind of sociolinguistics can contribute to the area of lawyer-client communication. n3 To do this, I will relate the true story of an Australian Aboriginal woman named Robyn Kina. Her story is a compelling tale of lawyer-client miscommunication, which points to a range of sociolinguistic issues that are important in legal contexts.



I. Robyn Kina's Story: Part 1
 
Robyn Kina was born in 1959 and grew up in an Aboriginal environment in southeast Queensland.n4 As with most Aboriginal people in this part of the country, Kina is of mixed descent and speaks a kind of English that will be discussed later in the Article. One of fourteen children who lived in difficult family circumstances, which included an alcoholic father, Kina left school at the age of twelve to look after her three younger brothers and sisters. Her teenage years were characterized by sexual abuse, prostitution, alcoholism, and trouble with the police. By the time she was twenty, Kina had been charged with a number of the offenses characteristic of the criminal record of many Aboriginal people: obscene language, assault of a police ...
 
 
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