As a trial attorney, no matter what your area of expertise, the fact remains that communicating effectively with your clients and prospective clients is key. This is especially true during the initial consultation, where clients want to get a better idea of what you can do for them. Even during the legal process, your communication with your clients can have a huge impact on your overall success and outcome of the case. As such, all trial lawyers should be aware of and practice a few important communication tips.
Know Which Questions to Anticipate
Your clients are going to have a lot of questions, both during the initial consultation and throughout the process. By anticipating these questions and preparing answers to them ahead of time, you can instill a greater sense of confidence in your clients. For example, during an initial consultation, you should expect to receive some questions about your experience and credibility in taking on the case. Be sure you're prepared to answer questions such as:
- "How many cases like this have you taken on in the past?"
- "What's your success rate for similar cases?"
- "What's your game plan for taking on this case?"
Know How to Deliver Bad News
As a trial lawyer, you're going to have to deliver bad news from time to time; there's no way around it. However, the means in which you deliver this news and proceed with a client's case can make all the difference down the road. Specifically, when a person is delivered bad news, the amygdala, a small organ in the brain, becomes stimulated. When this occurs, many people are so overcome by grief that, for a period of time, they'll no longer be able to process complex ideas. Instead, they'll need some time to cool down.
Therefore, if you have to deliver bad news to a client--whether it be a denied insurance claim or a heightened bail amount--the best thing you can do is break out of your "lawyer" mode momentarily afterwards. Hold off on trying to proceed with telling your client your future legal plans until he or she has calmed down.
Stay Away From Legalese
Finally, understand that clients turn to you because you're the legal professional. However, they also rely on you to help them understand the legal process in layman's terms. Therefore, you should avoid using complicated language and go out of your way to explain things in everyday language whenever possible. Don't assume that clients will ask for clarification if they don't understand something you've said.
At the same time, be careful not to "dumb things down" to the point that you offend your client. It's a fine line to walk, but it's important when it comes to your successful communication. (For more information, contact Irene M Rodriguez PA)Share