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Lawyering Skills
University of Missouri School of Law
Bailey, Robert G.

I.         Interviewing and Counseling:
a.        Elements
                                                                i.      Formality: informal
                                                               ii.      Expectations for decision-maker: no third party, just you and the attorney
                                                              iii.      Public/Private: private
                                                             iv.      Can you appeal/enforce the result: there may be no result (if tell client, “I can’t help you”);
1.         document the conversation so you don’t get sued for malpractice
b.        Client Centered vs. Traditional Models of lawyer client relationship
                                                               i.      Client Centered
1.        Elements
a.        Legal counseling designed to foster client decision making
                                                                                                                                        i.      Client controls the course of action, attorney merely facilitates decision making
                                                                                                                                       ii.      Ask general rather than specific question
b.        Goal to provide opportunities for clients to make decisions themselves, and enhance likelihood that the decisions are truly the clients
                                                                                                                                        i.      First, as to whether to litigate, sets out legal alternatives to the client
                                                                                                                                       ii.      Next, solicits client’s input regarding additional alternatives
                                                                                                                                      iii.      Discussion of positive and negative consequences of those options
1.        Legal, social, psychological and economic consequences
2.        Lawyer merely assists, with ultimate decision up to the client
2.        Advantages to Client Centered Approach
a.        Lawyers may get more information
b.         results better tailored to clients’ interests
c.        Clients may take more responsibility – and blame – if the results are disappointing (clients care more about how they are treated than the outcome itself)
                                                                                                                                        i.      Higher client satisfaction—more likely to take responsibility
d.        A lot more response from clients in the interviewing process
3.        Potential Disadvantages to Client Centered Model
a.        Not right for all cases (e.g., criminal—don’t WANT to know all the details)
b.        Takes more time—less efficient
c.        Lawyer tends to use less of his expertise
d.        Some clients want and expect lawyers to make most decisions.  Clients may feel overwhelmed or incompetent to make good decisions.
e.        Lawyers may actually know better about what decisions would lead to better results for clients, whose judgment may be impaired by conflict or lack of expertise etc
                                                               ii.      Traditional
1.        Elements
a.        Attorney controls the course of action
                                                                                                                                        i.      Client passive
b.        Asking specific rather than general questions
                                                                                                                                        i.      Then laying out legal options
c.        Makes recommendations or urges a course of action
d.        Assumes reason client came in is want attorney to Control Things
2.        Advantages
a.        Legal decision in the hands of person with legal knowledge
b.        Takes less time
c.        Lets lawyer take over difficult process of decision making
                                                                                                                                        i.      Client relieved of that burden
3.        Disadvantages
a.        If things go ill, more likely to get sued for malpractice
b.        Some clients more knowledgeable about the law/venue than the lawyer, and just want you to advocate for them
c.        Get a lot less information during the interview
d.        Result less likely to be tailored to client’s actual interests
                                                              iii.      Collaborative Model
1.        Client controls the decision but the lawyer structures the process and provides advice in a manner that is likely to yield wise decisions
2.        A hybrid of client centered and traditional
c.        Factors influencing which type of lawyer-client relationship want to have with client
                                                                i.      What client seems to need and/or want (out of relationship)
                                                               ii.      Lawyer’s general preference
                                                              iii.      Type of client (criminal, etc.)
                                                             iv.      Nature of relationship with client
                                                              v.      Type of knowledge needed to make decisions (is it a technical legal problem, or interest problem?)
                                                             vi.      Your knowledge of the client’s needs and goals
                                                            vii.      The client’s ability or inability to make decisions
                                                           viii.      Type of decision, e.g., lawyer decides about certain things and client about others
II.        Elements of Good Interviewing
a.        The Interviewing Process (3 objectives: Goals/interests, facts, establish report/relieve anxiety)
                                                                i.      Introductions:
1.        Icebreaking/relieve anxiety
a.        Meet client in the waiting room to build report
b.        Have a clean office
                                                                                                                                        i.      Don’t want messy office with files laying out (confidentiality)
2.        Put client at ease; build report
3.        Discuss Confidentiality: will consult with other staff members
4.        Discuss purpose of meeting (see if we can work together)
5.        Discuss personal qualifications
a.        What the firm has done; what attorney has done
6.        What has client done?
a.        Seen other attorneys?
7.        Discuss time constraints
8.        Discuss Fees
a.        Flat fee (money up front; know how long it will take you, and how much work)

                               i.      Difficult to exercise client control without understanding client emotions
                                                                                                                                       ii.      Express Empathy
1.        Mirroring client emotions (What client has said, and put into word’s client’s emotions)
2.        Looping (you must be very scared about your daughter being in the hospital)
                                                                                                                                      iii.      Body Language
1.        SOLER
a.        Squarely face your client
b.        Open body posture
c.        Lean forward
d.        Eye Contact
e.        Relaxed Attitude
                                                                                                                                     iv.      Demonstrate your interest
                                                                                                                                      v.      Be Sincere
                                                                                                                                     vi.      Be responsive without changing subject to own interests
                                                                                                                                    vii.      Recapitulate: “it sounds as if…”
                                                               ii.      AVOID
1.        Don’t approach story as though it were dull (if you’ve heard it before)
2.        Don’t be critical of the speaker/client
3.        Don’t get over stimulated
4.        Don’t just listen for the facts
                                                              iii.      Conspiracy of Optimism
1.        Lawyer and Client both reinforce unrealistic expectations of optimism about success of case
2.        To avoid this
a.        Discuss what you will do next; procedural posture; what will happen next
                                                             iv.      Convey confidence and competence
                                                              v.      Is there a conflict of interests? Is someone at the firm representing the other side?
                                                             vi.      Statute of limitations? Any imminent harm or concerns of client?
III.      Client Counseling
a.        4 phases of Client Counseling
                                                                i.      Clarifying Goals or objectives
                                                               ii.      Identifying alternative solutions
1.        Alternative dispute resolution vs. litigation
2.        Are there other ways to solve this? Simple apology?
a.        Christian tribunal? Jewish tribunal?
3.        Keep client involved = satisfaction