The title of Jaimie’s post made me chuckle a little, since it’s the middle of the night on the east coast at the moment, and I am wide awake, as I’m currently in Shanghai for our Asia Pacific conference. I was awake myself last night on and off, in part because of jet lag, in part because I was worried I’d sleep through my alarm and miss the morning meetings, and in part because I was mentally running through my conference checklists and thinking about all of the emails and work I could be doing instead of sleeping.
But, despite all of that, I’ve managed to get through almost all of it, as usually is the case, and we’re almost ready for tonight’s kickoff reception and dinner. Keep an eye on our Instagram and Facebook pages for photos from the events! Now, on to Jaimie’s post!
Sometimes it’s tough to walk a mile in their shoes – we are so busy taking care of our own lives that it is difficult to think about what worries your clients most.
As attorneys, we are tasked with trying to help people with their legal woes. Whether it is about their business or whether it is about their families, something is disturbing their sleep. However, if you can determine what keeps your clients (and potential clients) up at night, you can find a way to articulate how you can help them.
Attorneys are really not known, as a gross over-generalization, as being empathetic. In fact, we are known as being pragmatic, dogmatic, and sometimes lacking in sensitivity. But empathy, the ability to understand and share in the feelings of others, is one of the best traits you can learn.
Even if what is keeping your client up at night is not a legal issue, by listening, putting yourself in their shoes, and trying to help them find a solution, or by referring someone to them that can help them with that issue you accomplish two things:
- You position yourself not just as an attorney working on a matter, but as a trusted advisor to your clients and trusted advisors get referrals, and
- You have given a referral to someone who is going to try to find way to pay you back because of the Law of Reciprocity.
Developing empathy will not make you a weaker lawyer; it will make you a stronger advocate for your clients.
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