Communication is one of the most important tools you have as an attorney. Ongoing communication protects you from ethics violations and malpractice claims. It also helps you deliver a top-notch client experience. Every time you communicate with a client, you must focus on building the relationship. Here are some of the best tips to make it happen:
- Improve your listening skills. Don’t listen to respond. Instead, listen to your clients in order to understand. Allow your client to express their thoughts and concerns and then ask questions to gain clarity.
- Be an educator. It’s up to you to break down difficult to understand legal jargon into something your clients can grasp. After all, their understanding is key to connection.
- Remain open and honest. Don’t sugarcoat anything, whether it’s good or bad. Your clients rely on you to do what’s best.
- Return the phone call. Your clients want consistent communication during this time. Make sure you return phone calls and emails.
- Use a client portal. A client portal helps keep all communication secure. It’s easy to access for your clients. Plus, they store all communication in one place, reducing ethics violations and malpractice.
During law school, you spend countless hours honing your lawyering skills by learning trial advocacy. Yet, these skills aren’t refined in law school. Instead, you’ll learn best by doing. Effective trial proceedings require you to grasp and use trial advocacy lawyering skills in your practice.
Grasping the Absolute Basics of Motion Practice
Motions are available at any point during any court proceeding, so it’s important to grasp the basics of this piece of trial advocacy. Whether you’re a new attorney or have years of experience under your belt, a continuous refresh of basic principles is critical to your practice.
Although legal motions differ between levels of court, some examples are relevant to all, including:
- Motions to dismiss. These motions ask the court to dismiss a case, often resulting from invalid claims.
- Summary judgments. This motion is a logical next step if all necessary facts are one-sided or settled and don’t require a trial.
- Motions to compel. Motions to compel ask for action. For example, these motions commonly involve discovery, in which a party asks another party to produce information.
Some motions require a hearing and others don’t. A non-hearing motion’s decision will require written submissions to the court. During a hearing motion, in addition to written submissions, you must appear and argue the motion. After the motion, the court will rule and issue an order.
Motions can be simple or complex, depending on the lawsuit. They’re always available as aids to your case, giving you the option to obtain more information, dismiss, and more.