The Importance of effective communication skills for attorneys and how to develop them

A group of people having a discussion

Description automatically generated with medium confidence

Effective communication is crucial in all aspects of our lives and careers. Because attorneys get clients from all walks of life, these professionals need communication skills to navigate their careers and stand out. Attorneys send emails, attend meetings, brief barristers, and represent their clients in court daily. In a field full of jargon, these processes require them to communicate their thoughts in clear and understandable terms. Unfortunately, not all lawyers do so. If effective communication does not come to you naturally, you can develop it.

What is effective communication?

Effective communication is about the how, when, and why you say something. Do you communicate in clear terms or leave room for assumptions? Are you an attorney struggling to communicate with your clients but do not see a need to upgrade your communication skills? Here’s why effective communication is mandatory for your career success:

You set the expectation from the start

Your clients hired you to solve a problem. The best you can do for them is to be worth your legal fees. Setting clear expectations with them can help avoid disappointments and preserve your name. When a client approaches you about an issue, explain the legal perspectives in clear language, bearing in mind that they probably need help understanding legal jargon. Talking at them and giving them high hopes dents your reputation, as they will likely be dissatisfied unless the potential outcomes of their case have been explained thoroughly.

It helps you become an ardent listener

Communication goes beyond talking. Listening is also another aspect of effective communication. Sometimes, your clients want you just to listen to them. It happens with many attorneys who jump straight into sharing their thoughts before understanding the nuances of the case from the client’s point of view. This leaves clients feeling like you do not care about their case, which may be very personal to them. This skill is also essential outside the profession.

It increases innovation

When your clients are scared to communicate their thoughts with you, the chances are that you will lose the case. Not being known as an attorney that wins cases leads to stagnancy. However, clients are encouraged to speak up without fear when you have built a strong communicative relationship with them. Only innovative people thrive in today’s fast-paced world. Strive to be the attorney that transforms ideas in their client’s heads into a solid legal case and helps them express their thoughts.

It improves team building

Honest and effective communication helps to build a formidable team in any workplace. As attorneys in a firm, it is important to consider each other as partners. Listen to the opinions of others and fine-tune them when necessary. Allowing your colleagues and subordinates to contribute to a project means you respect their opinions and want to see them grow. They are also encouraged to find more creative ideas to grow the firm. Clients searching online for an attorney always look for salient skills before deciding who is best to represent them. They will stumble on some reviews online, and positive reviews about your excellent communication skills can go a long way!

Four Tips for Developing Effective Communication skills

Effective communication skills only come to some attorneys naturally. It takes deliberate efforts to unlearn old habits and learn, build, and maintain these skills. You will find these tips helpful:

  1. Consider your audience

Just as it is important to be mindful of the words you use in certain scenarios, you should also be mindful of your audience. Lawyers may encounter a diverse range of clients. They may be from different walks of life, and these groups may communicate differently. A  laborer, for example, may not be as informed as an office worker, who may be familiar with legal terms. Therefore, your words must be selected carefully based on the client. Your audience should understand you and not feel like you’re reading to them from a book.

  1. Keep it short and simple

No one wants to sit for hours listening to legal advice. Legal jargon can be technical and convoluted. The best way to keep things clear is to be brief. Why give too many examples when they understand one? Treat words delicately, and do not throw them around carelessly. Some attorneys think talking too much is a testament to their vast knowledge in the field. While this may be the case, your client does not care. Enrolling for a degree that teaches you the best practice in the first place is an easy way to imbibe the KISS (keep it short and simple) rule. Your lecturers not only teach you how to hone your skills, but they also show you. A jd program online is one such degree that provides integrated experiential learning opportunities by putting the classroom theory into practice. Students are taught problem-solving, legal research and analysis, ethical practice, and so on. You can even specialize in that aspect of the law you have always admired.

  1. Show empathy

Lawyers often deal with clients who are under pressure. Sometimes, they are anxious and act erratically under stress. A professional understands this and does not judge them. Being empathetic to their plight helps you serve them better and offer quality advice. Empathy also helps them stay relaxed, knowing that someone understands why they may be emotional. If you are struggling to communicate with a client, put yourself in their shoes and imagine how you would feel. How would you want a lawyer to address your case? Wouldn’t you want a representative who understands and empathizes with your situation?

  1. Feedback

A good communicator always asks for feedback after a service. Asking for a service review shows that you care about their opinion. Getting negative feedback and reaching out to acknowledge, apologize or clarify makes you an effective communicator.

Attorneys cannot afford to be poor communicators since they spend most of their day communicating. Aside from losing money, you will lose your confidence if you cannot win clients over with your words. Which of these tips will you try?

Leave a Reply