first_imgWhy lawyers can’t hear Why lawyers can’t hear Carl Michael Rossi “My lawyer doesn’t listen to me!” “She doesn’t care!” “He isn’t interested in me, he just keeps telling me what to do!”­I hope you’ve never heard these comments directed to you, but the odds are you have, even if you are a very good attorney. No client complaint is more common. Not even billing complaints.How can that possibly be? You sat patiently as your clients went on about all the circumstances around the issue. Every chance you got, you focused your clients on the issue at hand and had them provide the details that you need to solve the problem they brought to you. And you’ve told them what they need to do to solve the problem. So what are they upset about?You did everything law school taught you to do. Recognize and analyze the pertinent legal issues, elicit relevant facts and come up with a strategy to solve the problem. Well, that is what they are upset about.Let me explain. Robert Bolton, in his book People Skills, describes 12 common roadblocks to communications. Activities by the “listener” that almost guarantee that the “speaker” will form a belief that she or he is not being heard. In short, they end up believing that the person they’re speaking to doesn’t care about them.Look at just two of these roadblocks:• Excessive questioning. Questions that ask for what’s important to your checklist send a direct message that you are more interested in that than you are in what’s important to your client.• Giving advice. Telling your client what she or he must do sends the message that they are inferior and incapable of running their own life.“My god, man, you’ve just told me that what I do for a living — find the elements of a case in my client’s situation and tell them how to change that situation — is the very thing that annoys my clients most!” Well, yes and no.­You know that your clients are people, not case summaries in a tort law textbook. You do care about them. But how can you communicate to them that you care and get “the job” done?­It is possible to do both. As attorneys we have developed particular skills. Our lawyer skills of issue recognition, and relevant fact determination and problem solving — are valuable skills. We are also always working to develop additional skills. Effective listening skills can be learned.Effective listening involves accepting the agenda as established by the speaker; an appreciation that whatever is said is important to the speaker. Rebecca Z. Shafir, in The Zen of Listening, describes this as getting into the speaker’s “movie.” Once you have accepted that you genuinely do care about your client, you can learn the skills that communicate that concern to your client.Once your client experiences your genuine concern, she or he will find it much easier to focus on the details you need to assess the case. They are less likely to call you to find out if you are working on the case. You will receive much fewer complaints; and many more referrals.Learning the skills that communicate your genuine concern for your clients is a great way to both increase your business and make it less stressful. ­­Carl Michael Rossi, is an attorney, mediator, coach, and counselor in Chicago and can be contacted at [email protected] or (773) 456-6558. This column originaly appeared on the International Alliance of Holistic Lawyers’ Web site at and is published here, with permission, under the sponsorship of the Bar’s Quality of Life and Career Committee. The committee’s Web site is at April 1, 2005 Regular Newslast_img read more

first_imgSuperSport viewers on DStv can now begin counting down the days until the start of the 2020 Formula 1 season, with the opening race scheduled to take place at the Red Bull Ring in Austria on Sunday.This means that SuperSport viewers, as of today, have just 28 days until they can start their engines, settle in on the couch and enjoy the best drivers battling wheel to wheel in the world’s fastest cars.The 2020 Formula 1 season – which almost began in Australia in March but was canceled late in the day due to world events, and has remained suspended ever since – will start with two races behind closed doors in Austria on July 5 and July 12 followed by six other Grand Prix in Europe. There will then be a two-week break before two consecutive races in Britain and events in Spain, Belgium and Italy. The British Grands Prix at Silverstone will be held 2 and 9 August, followed immediately by the Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona on 16 August. The Belgian and Italian Grands Prix will complete the European part of the season on their original dates of 30 August and 6 September.Formula 1 said it hoped to have between 15 and 18 races in total, with the season being completed in December. Details of the remaining races will be confirmed in due course.Last week, the Austrian government sanctioned the season-opening double-header at the Spielberg circuit after Formula 1 organisers “presented a complete and professional plan”.“While we currently expect the season to commence without fans at our races we hope that over the coming months the situation will allow us to welcome them back once it is safe to do,” said Formula 1Formula 1 Comprehensive coverage of all your major sporting events on, including live video streaming, vide…chief executive Chase Carey. “But we know the return of Formula 1 will be a welcome boost to sports fans around the world.”Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more