DEALING WITH CLIENTS WITH STRONG OPINIONS
There is not a single discipline, where words and punctuation are as important as in the legal practice. Regardless of what the general public believes, there are no two identical business relationships, nor equal outcomes in law practice. However, the biggest problem is how to make clients fully understand that legal advice is a detailed, specific task and that regardless of what the internet states, things may and will go wrong, in the event that careless legal advice is provided. So what do you do with a client with strong opinions regarding the handling of their legal affairs.
That being said, it is important to create a line of defense between lawyers and clients. This line merely consists of letting them know that you, as the legal expert, know better when it comes to putting ideas, drafting documents or making depositions strictly in legal terms. Doing this without offending certain clients is difficult, if not impossible. Lawyers often listen to complaints from their clients, such as “I have been in this business for 3 decades and you will not tell me how to proceed,” or the very popular “you do your job and let me do mine.” Pushing your ideas forward and convincing your client that the current legal way to do these tasks is different from their preconceived ideasis vital for the profitability of their business of the positive outcomes on their cases.
Lawyers will always lose to their clients if they attack their business knowledge or core values. What is important to remember is to not make it a dog fight or a competition; if so, the client will switch firms. Instead of fighting, legal professionals must explain to clients the potential outcome of their requests by carefully analyzing the setbacks, violations, and legal consequences of such. In addition, lawyers must provide the closest legal alternatives to these requests. Doing this shows clients that their legal team actually listens to them and that are willing to go the extra mile to cover their needs.
The internet provides great information on almost every imaginable topic even law. Law is a social discipline, highly dependent on human interaction and drafting skills. In the same manner, as self-medication by internet research is highly unadvisable, this same principle applies to legal advice. The world wide web is filled with boilerplate contracts, stories and case reviews that are only accurate to unique situations and will not be 100% useful in any other case. Letting your clients know that their online findings are useful, but not entirely accurate, is fundamental, not only for the legal advice itself but also for their legal wellbeing.
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