For lawyers, communication is not just simply passing information to your clients and mere listening to them while taking down some notes; it takes more than that. This is because the field itself has its own words that are technical and specific to that field and the client might not understand what you are saying. The nature of cases differ from clients to clients, and thus a lawyer cannot have just one defined way of communicating with the clients. Each case no matter how similar it may seem to another has a different impact on the clients involved.
Understanding the Client
With this in mind, whether the lawyers are offering pro bono services under the Access to Law Initiative
, there is need to separate each case, listen to the one client you are dealing them and try to understand where the client is coming from in regards to the arguments he/she is making. For lawyers who present their cases in Tennessee State Courts
or any other court in the country, the following communication tips are very important especially when dealing with the clients:
Observe and Be Able to Interpret Body Language
At times, the clients go to their lawyers to seek help without disclosing all the needed information. It is the duty of the lawyer to read the mood in the room, observe how the client behaves around you as the legal representative and how he/she will behave when around the people there are suing. With elaborate observational skills, you will know the right questions to ask so that the needed information that the client was hiding will slowly be uncovered. With law firm case management software
which is now linked to the lawyer’s phones and tablets, even behavioral patterns of the clients can be effectively recorded to be used for future or until the case is solved.
Use Simple Language or Analogies as a Substitute for Technical Terms
Communication is never effective if the person you are conversing with does not understand fully what you are telling them. Details involving cases are very important, to make sure that you get all the needed information from your clients, talk to them in a language that they will understand, avoid the use of the big word, these are used more effectively when in court facing fellow counsels or the bench.
Be Present and Attentive
If you are not around, let a paralegal specialist
in your law firm take the calls if your legal secretary is not available. If possible, let your clients talk directly to you. The calls can be put on hold if you are not very busy. Let your clients feel valued. They pay money for you not just to represent them in court or settlement negotiations but to listen to them when they need you to.
Avoid Negative Questions
Even if your client came to you to seek defense for murder or any other major crime, in your questions and quest to find answers, avoid questions that are in any way biased toward your client. No matter how much you are angry with him/her, separate your emotions and your opinions when addressing your clients. Do not let the client think that you are inclined to one side; they will not trust you. Be neutral, even if you need to ask a negative question, paraphrase it so that it can be neutral. Using law firm case management software will enhance your operations.
While still listening actively, ask questions. Questions and observations are the main source of information for lawyers. Know when to ask the questions and when to stop talking. Do not repel your clients by pushing them too far. Let the questions come out skillfully and well calculated. To avoid sending your clients to other lawyers, record every information using the legal case management software, which you can use to keep track of all activities, the time when your clients are available and the scheduled meeting time.
Effective communication combined with effective use of law firm case management software also referred to as legal case management software by some people enables the layer to store the information gathered effectively. It is also easy to make a comparison or confirm if what the client is saying is true based on what was recorded earlier.