Can you communicate fluently, clearly and concisely? Persuade and negotiate with others in both group and individual situations? Make complex information understandable to clients? What will you do if you find there are problems with communication?
A really helpful website is at http://law.gsu.edu/Communication/ Entitled “Effective Lawyer Client Communication: An International Project to Move from Research to Reform”, the authors describe that the goal of their project is improve lawyer-client communication by combining what has been learned so far within legal education with empirical social science research. We have selected the initial client interview as the focus for the pilot project. The initial interview is, of course, the one unit of service that is constant across all forms of legal service delivery. It is also one of the most critical units of service. The initial interview: (1) shapes client perception of the lawyer; (2) defines the service to be provided in terms of both problem and goal; and (3) is an important opportunity for client education, e.g. confidentiality, substantive legal rights, what the client can do for himself or herself, and the need to preserve evidence.
Professor Clark Cunningham is the Director of an international collaborative project, based at Georgia State University, on lawyer-client communication: Effective Lawyer Client Communication (ELCC): An International Project to Move from Research to Reform, http://tinyurl.com/64csb2g.
The goal of this project is improving lawyer-client communication by combining what has been learned so far within legal education with empirical social science research. The project has the potential to change the way client communication is taught around the world.
Prof Cunningham refers to William Felstiner, former Director of the American Bar Association:
“He gathers from these sources the conclusion that lawyers frequently fail to treat clients with respect, do not consider the nature of interpersonal relations with clients to be an important aspect of law practice, are motivated more by financial returns than by professional values, are inaccessible and unresponsive, are poor communicators, do not know how to deal with clients effectively, are indifferent to clients’ feelings, and are indifferent to the pace of clients’ legal affairs.”
Irene Leonard has produced “‘7 steps’ for effective communication”:
She comments that:
“The practice of law is highly dependent on good communication skills, especially persuasive verbal skills. Mastering these seven keys will allow you to connect with your clients in a more meaningful way and solve problems more effectively. You will have more successful presentations and depositions. Even interactions with your staff will be improved.”
To take the LegalRecruit situational judgement test on communication and negotiation skills, please go to this link.