Meeting with legal clients is an important part of the work of every attorney. These meeting could decide whether or not the attorney is hired to represent the client. The meeting can also set the tone for the relationship between the attorney and the client. Handled properly client meetings can make it much easier to get all the information the lawyer needs to get a clear idea of what the client’s case involves and what the attorney has to do to get a victory for the client. But there are several things the attorney should do to ensure that their meeting with the client is going to be successful.
Proper Preparation Is Essential
There are a number of things an attorney should do when preparing to meet a new client.
Those things include:
- Gather Basic Information About The Client
- Create A list Of Pertinent Questions
- Use Open-Ended Questions
- Plan The Meeting Agenda
- Be Prepared To Listen And Take Notes
Although legal case management software may not touch on these points, they are among the fundamentals of law practice. Being prepared to meet with clients can play a role in whether an attorney succeeds or fails in the profession. It does not matter if they graduated from Harvard Law School or Washburn University, making a good first impression is crucial. They then have to follow it up with high-quality legal work.
Tips For Preparing To Meet A Client
Not everything an attorney needs to know is contained in law firm case management software. There are things many country lawyers have successfully use in Tennessee state courts that can benefit even the sharpest legal mind. Knowing as much as possible about your client and their case is one of those things.
1. Gather Some Basic Information About The Client And The Case
As legal case management software teaches, before meeting with a client it is wise to learn as much as you can about them and their case. The secretary, office manager or a paralegals may be able to provide you with the basic information you need. This will help you to have a general understanding of what to expect when the client arrives. It will also help you to prepare some revealing questions to ask them.
2. Create A list Of Pertinent Questions
To get a good understanding of what is involved in the case in which the client is involved, you need to ask the right questions. Even though you may begin the meeting by asking the client to tell you what happened and how they became involved in the legal situation at hand, getting the specific information you need to proceed is vital. To ensure you get that information, you should prepare some direct, probing questions designed to elicit the fact of the case that you need.
3. Begin By Asking Open-Ended Questions
As any good legal case management software will tell you, asking open-ended questions is a great way to get an overview of the client and the case. When you ask open-ended question, they encourage the client to speak generally about the incident that led to the case and their role in it. Once they’ve given you their view of the situation, you can follow-up with direct questions to get the needed fact and details. This method of communicating with a client during the first interview is designed to give the attorney all the particulars of the case and an accurate assessment of the client.
4. Plan The Meeting Agenda
Even though the open-ended questions encourages will make the meeting feel like a free-flowing conversation, planning the agenda will help the attorney maintain control. The goal of the meeting should be reflected in the agenda. It’s legal case software 101. The attorney should guide the meeting in the direction they want it to go. At the end of the meeting, the attorney should have the information they want and need.
5. Prepare To Listen And Take Notes
No matter what you see in the law firm case management software and elsewhere, listening is one of an attorney’s most important skills. While the client rambles on in response to the open-ended question, the attorney should listen closely and take notes on the salient points. This will help them determine what information they have and what points merit further investigation. By the end of the meeting an attentive attorney will have the information they need to move forward with a clear goal in mind.