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Personal Approach to Every Client, Explained

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June 20, 2024 | Attorney, Elen Krut

“Another ad, another promise…” While surfing the social media, passing by billboards, watching TV, listening to the radio, reading paper or magazines, or riding in the public transportation, an average person gets attacked by hundreds of ads daily. Each ad is carefully crafted to get the person’s attention to the product or service advertised and is often accompanied by a phrase or a slogan. Focusing on the legal field and a growing number of law firms’ advertisements, the most used terms are often “results, experience, and focus.” Simple enough, one might say. But how should one interpret something more wordy, for example, “personal approach to every client.” What does that nice in theory phrase mean in practice?

The practical application begins with focusing on the person in “personal.” Behind every phone call, there is a person who is seeking help during the most vulnerable times of their life. Seeking guidance and solution, the potential clients confide in the attorney and disclose the most personal details. The attorney, in turn, takes on an important responsibility and embarks on a new venture trying to get the best results for the client.

The “personal,” however, does not stop at the initial contact. Instead, it lasts from the inception to the resolution of the client’s case. These three essential “personals” are key building blocks for a successful attorney-client relationship.

Personal communication.

Unlike your average communication, personal communication is where “speak” submits to “listen.” In short, the communication is ineffective when the parties listen to respond and not to understand. Therefore, active listening, where the parties listen to understand and not to merely respond, is key. Practicing effective active listening allows the attorney to learn a lot about the client, client’s objectives, concerns, reservations, and goals.

Simply responding without active listening leads to the breakdown in the communication from the get-go. As a result, communication, being an on-going chain process in the attorney-client relationship, is weakened at the very first link. It is only after the client expresses his or her subjective understanding the attorney should proceed to discussing the case from the legal standpoint. At this time, reasonable expectations are discussed and set, and all the details are resolved to the consensus of both parties. 

Personal understanding.

Don’t lecture; educate. Lecturing on the legal issue or the course of action without explaining the reason behind it is not only confusing and leaves many questions unanswered, but it could also be frustrating. It is often easy to simply give a brief general lecture and an overview of how a typical case unfolds. However, no client is alike, and no case is the same. Therefore, general information is not sufficient for the personal understanding. In personal understanding, the client has a clear vision and comprehension of the goal and the roadmap to achieving that goal. That understanding is what makes all the difference since the client may be the best help and resource to help make his or her case successful. Therefore, helping the client understand the reasons and requirements behind the steps to take could lead to a very proactive, productive, and successful outcome. 

Personal delivery.

Tailoring the course of the case to the client’s individual needs and objectives is often challenging. Numerous details and variations must be accounted for in every case, and no case will have a uniform outcome. However, conveying the information, progress, and outcome of the case to clients is equally challenging and requires personal delivery. Simply put, delivering, i.e. transmitting the details of the client’s case requires being able to communicate in the way that will allow the client to grasp and retain the information. Personal delivery is essentially speaking the same language as the client and not necessarily in their native tongue. It requires translating the legalese to layman terms without compromising the content and the meaning. Effectively communicating the strengths and weaknesses of the case in the setting of the personal facts in the way accessible to the client is key. Personal delivery is an essential concept that allows the relationship to continue and for both sides to remain on the same page. 

As we see now, promising is more than simply narrating and circulating fancy language for the public to see. It comes with responsibility and an obligation to fulfill the meaning behind the promise. Whether promising results, experience, focus, personal approach, or anything else, it is important to understand that a client, on average, is foreign to the complex and nerve-wracking process of a legal proceeding. Finding themselves outside of their comfort zone, the clients have to grasp the challenging legal processes and concepts, and they look to their attorney for guidance and support. It is during this difficult time, we put the “person” in a personal approach, and the experience, focus, and result merely complement it along the way. 

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