When a family walks in to a law office with a family member who has suffered a drug injury, a number of different scenarios are presumably playing through the lawyer’s head. For the family, however, they’re looking to their lawyer in St. George, Utah that will help them and will understand why they need to win this case. For the lawyer this may be just another case, but for the family, this could mean the difference between winning a large sum of money and having a family member go to prison. Being compassionate towards clients is a smart and noble way to inspire trust, and can help you to be a better lawyer.
How to Be More Compassionate
Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” Of course as a lawyer you’re getting paid, but if you genuinely want to help your client, there are some things you can do to better connect with him or her. Tiny Buddha, a website that shares simple wisdoms, suggests listening as a good first step. Listen to your client and give her your undivided attention. Don’t judge her on the basis of her drug injury until you have heard the whole story. This will show your client that you are ready to help and understand her situation.
Respond to Emotions, Not Words
Now that you’re listening to your drug injury client in St. George, it’s time to “see” the person. You may be hanging on to her every word, but how she’s feeling is what’s most important. Actions speak louder than words — so when your client sees you acting sympathetically and believing in the words of your client, that’s when your client’s going to know you’re here to help.
Put Yourself In Their Shoes
The hypothetical family from St. George may be terrified at the thought of the verdict in the drug injury case of their family member, or they may be scared of what legal recourse may come their way. Ask yourself, how would you want to be treated in this situation? There may be more going on in the lives of your clients than this drug injury case — and as a lawyer from St. George, it’s important that you treat your clients with respect and empathy.
Don’t get upset if you initially fail to be sympathetic — we can’t all be perfect. You are just as human as your clients, so give yourself a break if you accidentally say something inappropriate. Be patient with yourself and with your clients; this will not only benefit your client, but will benefit both you and your law firm.