How Well Do You Really Communicate?

Exceptional lawyer/client communications depend on an open dialogue at the start, throughout a matter and at the end. How bespoke is your work style? Or do you simply dive in and do it the same way each time? Be honest about what is getting in the way of better communications – your own personality, your fear of technology, your workload, your firm’s platform or the simple fact you need to listen more carefully. Take this quick self-assessment to see how strong your communication skills really are:

Question

Always

Often

Sometimes

Never

I peruse a client’s website and LinkedIn page before I start a project even if it is a repeat client.

 

 

 

 

I set up a Google Alerts for major clients when I start a new matter.

 

 

 

 

I ask about expectations at the start of the project both legal and business.

 

 

 

 

I ask how they define project success.          

 

 

 

 

I ask how often they prefer a matter update.

 

 

 

 

I ask how they prefer to be updated –email, phone, text or an extranet.

 

 

 

 

I ask about specialized communications they may need to pass along to their boss or board of directors.

 

 

 

 

I respond within an hour to time sensitive calls or emails.                     

 

 

 

 

I respond within the same day to calls or emails.           

 

 

 

 

I make sure my clients know who else can be called on our team.

 

 

 

 

I give advance notice if I will be out of pocket.  

 

 

 

 

I don’t dictate project approach but rather collaborate to create the best way forward.  

 

 

 

 

I share reasons for our process and don’t assume it is self evident.

 

 

 

 

I always explain options including pros and cons of each option presented.

 

 

 

 

I write and speak in plain English not legalese.   

 

 

 

 

I make sure my written documents score under 14 on the Gunning Fog Index for readability.

 

 

 

 

I communicate bad news in a timely way including fee creep.

 

 

 

 

I care about my client’s business, not just the legal issue at hand, and demonstrate my sincerity.

 

 

 

 

I ask for feedback at the end of a project.

 

 

 

 

I candidly discuss things we could have done better at the end of a project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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