24 June 2022

The importance of listening to clients


The use of words is really important in the law profession, however, it is not only useful to speak but also to listen, and it seems that not all lawyers take this into account when dealing with their clients. In the following lines, we will see why this can be very useful for defense and the best tips to carry it out.


To begin with, we will take into account professional consultations, a key moment in the tasks of the lawyer in which listening is essential. Here begins the communication process, it is the presentation letter of the lawyer and therefore it must make the best impression. Listen twice as much as you speak, ask twice as many questions as you make statements, and rephrase the client's words twice as much as your own.


It is the client who comes to expose his problem, so that an active listening with paper and pen in hand, in which the lawyer's silence is accompanied by gestures that demonstrate attention, will be the most appropriate and effective way to obtain the maximum possible information. Despite the advances that our professional experience provides us, the important part is how and not what the client tells us. It is best to interrupt only to rephrase the key parts of the client's presentation and ask only at the end.


When we talk about listening, we also refer to strategy, to the ultimate goal of obtaining success for the client, for the case. And for this, it is essential not only to listen to what for the lawyer may seem transcendent, but also what isn't, because sometimes what for the client may be an unimportant detail, in the end it can be configured as a central element for obtaining the triumph in the framework of the procedural strategy.


On the other hand, it is possible that in many of these situations, the client comes to us for a personal problem that is difficult to deal with and then we must show ourselves empathetic and patient, since their presentation can be full of feelings and here emotional intelligence becomes really relevant.


Showing genuine concern will help us earn their trust, as a good lawyer should. Of course, it would be unprofessional to skip this point, constantly look at the clock or avoid eye contact, obviously taking into account that notes must be taken, but without forgetting the relevance of non-verbal communication, what the client expresses with his body language, and that otherwise will go unnoticed.


Of course, the client wants a legal expert on their side, but there will be plenty of other times to demonstrate brilliancy on the legal performance, for now, remember that you are not the center and they have already chosen you for their defense, the client needs to be listened to and not given hasty answers, or thinking about what to say next instead of paying full attention to their intervention.


Silence is going to be your greatest ally, you are going to obtain much more information than if you break the silence, the client will be in charge of continuing the conversation, since he is the main person interested in solving the case. Most of the stereotypes of lawyers already brand us as chatterbox, and we do not want it to be that way, a good lawyer has to be the exception that confirms this rule.


Respect is a crucial quality to keep in mind, think that probably you yourself have rarely been listened to and paid as much attention as you would like, and those few times that happened you must have felt appreciated and grateful, this is what we seek for our client, to demonstrate our professionalism and stand out among other lawyers, to earn a good reputation and thus get future clients.


Now, as you may have seen, it is not a complicated task and it can generate very good results. Just remember these keys to effective communication and to gain your client's trust: show empathy through gestures, interrupt only to paraphrase for clarity, stay interested and free from distractions, and remember that silence is an ally.

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