Choosing a law firm based on clear communication
Posted: 2013-12-10 13:55:41
Imagine this. You have just been in an auto accident and you realize you are going to need an attorney to help you recover your medical bills and lost wages from being at home recovering from your injuries.
You go to the internet and you search personal injury attorneys for your geographic region. A list of attorneys pops up on your screen. How do you decide who to hire? Maybe you look at their websites. Maybe you give them a call. Maybe you find out the rates they charge. There seem to be a lot of law firms out there these days. Competition is fierce. How does one decide?
Surely there are many ways for a person to decide who is the best law firm for them. Here is something you may not have considered. I teach lawyers skills sometimes referred to as soft skills. These are skills like time management, trust-building and communication. These skills are sorely lacking in many attorneys. If you find a lawyer or a firm that employs these skills, you will be more likely to have found human beings worthy of your business. (As a caveat at this point, let me say that just because an attorney has good soft skills, does not mean he or she is a good attorney. These skills I recommend considering as a sort of tie-breaker once you have found attorneys that you believe are competent.)
There are three basic qualities that appear in an attorney who is worth your time and money. They are trust, communication and commitment. You obviously want to be able to trust your attorney. You want to be able to communicate with, and understand, your attorney. And you want to know that your attorney is committed to you and your case.
I believe that communication is the best place to start because communication is the most obvious and affects the other two. A good communicator will
- call you back quickly
- create a personal relationship with you and not have various people in the firm return your calls
- reflect back what he hears you saying in order to gain and demonstrate understanding (what it seems that you want from this case is ___)
- speak to you in clear and succinct language (speak English and not lawyer talk)
- tell you what you can expect up front, eliminating surprises
- turn off his computer and phone when you are meeting him at this office so there are no distractions
Look for these signs and your experience with legal representation will be more likely to be a pleasant one.
Cami McLaren is the author of Coaching for Attorneys, which advises Attorneys how to develop client relationship skills in an easy to learn and apply fashion. Coaching for Attorney's is being published by the American Bar Association and set for release in late December 2013.
Disclaimer: Content on this website is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal advice.