Every lawyer needs excellent communication skills to have a successful practice. Lawyers do a lot of communicating with clients, associates, partners, other lawyers, staff, and the court. Excellent communication skills allow lawyers to exude confidence. This will result in attracting more clients.
Clients tend to trust like lawyers more when they can communicate better. You will also have a more profitable law practice because clients will manage to pay your invoice. After all, you were easy to work with.
Communication skills involve the ability to receive and give information. It includes communicating feelings, ideas, and everything that transpires around you.
As a lawyer, you need excellent communication skills to be able to effectively speak, listen, emphasize, and observe your clients. Communication skills for lawyers are categorized as face-to-face interactions, digital communication (social media and email), as well as phone conversations.
During your law studies, ¸ communication skills focused on your persuasion and argumentative skills inside the courtroom. Communication skills outside the courtroom, which happen more and are more vital to your law practice were not taught and developed.
If you want to be a competent lawyer, you need to equip yourself with these communication skills:
Ask the right questions, so you know the kind of help or assistance your clients need. Listen intently to what your clients have to say. Pay close attention not only to what he says but the manner in which he speaks like the tone of his voice, how loud or soft he speaks to you and, observe how the body language is being expressed. is your Client moving their arms about in wide movement, or are their faces looking down at the floor, or maybe they’re pacing; are they smiling or frowning? and etc. These are big indicators of how they feel!
Thoroughly explain everything to your client. In the process, ask more questions to make sure he understands what you are going to do. If you feel he is still doubtful of your explanation, go through it again.
Always remember that your clients are still emotional, regardless of the type of legal issues they have. Thus, they sometimes find it difficult to process complex information.
Your client chose you as his lawyer because he believes you can efficiently work with each other. Always be honest with your client. Provide him with all the information you have to help him to give him enough reasons to trust you.
Be careful not to give your clients unrealistic or false expectations. If anything does not turn out in the manner in which he hoped, discuss with him, other options, if there are any that can still be done.
After completing your job with an individual client, make sure to tell your client that he can always come back if again need your services. Building good relationships with your clients is a big push in building and growing your law practice.
When a client sees you, it means he has a legal problem. Legal problems are always negative issues in anyone's life. During your conversations, you should differentiate when you are acting as a professional lawyer, and when you should show some empathy.
If your client is in the middle of a divorce settlement, she may not appreciate your neutral legal advice. What she needs at this time is someone who can help her legally and emotionally. It would help if you therefore came across as a caring lawyer and not engage her with a cold legal conversation that will scare her. Doing this will force her to find another lawyer.
Your client pays for every minute of your time, so you need to give him your undivided attention. When you are in a meeting with your client, have the secretary or receptionist hold all your calls. Or have the consultation in a boardroom. It is always advisable to meet in a quiet and private place, so there are no interruptions.
Before meeting a client, make sure you have everything needed, so there will be no unnecessary interruptions, and you solely focus on your client.
Although law schools do not focus on developing excellent communication skills needed for a successful law practice, you can enrol in a communication management program for successful business communication. This program is also beneficial to lawyers.
Excellent listening skills are essential if you want to have a competent legal communication strategy. When you listen intently to clients, they can feel your concern, and they will trust you more. Listen to what your clients say and not just to his uttered words.
Listening intently allows lawyers to have a deep understanding of his legal problem. Deep listening can be done by:
• Never rehearse your answers while someone is talking
• Never interrupt while your client is speaking
• Avoid giving your legal answer when you have not yet fully heard the questions
It is important to listen intently and show some care to your clients so they will feel comfortable and will, therefore, trust you more.
Always choose face-face communication instead of communicating through email. If you have something to say to your client pick up the phone. Speak to the client instead of sending an email, especially when you are about to give him some bad news.
Some lawyers tend to avoid speaking to clients, especially when a job cannot be completed on the promised time. As soon as you know that there will be some delays, immediately inform your client.
Successful and confident lawyers are honest and handle problems with prompt communication.
Lawyers need to have a balance between talking just right, telling too little, and talking too much. Never attempt to dominate the conversation, so you still have time to listen, understand, and learn from your client.
Never hold back on the legal advice you are supposed to give your client. You can allow your client to embrace his legal problem and also will enable him to take some action if you give him a complete picture of his legal challenge.
Being curious allows lawyers to dig deep into the legal problem of his client. It also allows them to understand how the client feels, which is crucial in giving sound and logical legal advice.
Make it a point to ask powerful questions to show your client that you have much interest in his legal problem. Asking items all allow lawyers to understand where the client is coming from. This is crucial in giving appropriate legal advice.
A lawyer that is good in persuasion has excellent communication skills. It is an important aspect when negotiating and arguing with juries and judges, as well as opposing counsels.
Lawyers bill clients based on time spent. It is, therefore, vital that they have excellent communication skills. It is also essential that whatever time lawyers spend with their clients have to value so as not to short change them.
Lawyers with excellent communication skills send messages to clients that are understood, and transparent. When speaking to clients, lawyers should think of what they want to achieve out of the conversation and the value of the results of the conversation.
Conversations between lawyers and clients do not always go as planned. It is, therefore, best to anticipate potential problems and prepare for possible answers.
A lawyer's excellent communication skills with his client ensure clients get the proper advice and help for his legal problem.