It’s no secret that being a good solicitor takes hard work and expert legal knowledge. But that’s just one part of it. With demanding hours, complex cases and high stakes, your clients need to trust that you’re navigating them down the best possible path on their legal journey.
Being a good solicitor day in and day out takes more than a thorough knowledge of the law. Here we’re taking a look at some of the softer skills that are desirable when it comes to meeting the needs of clients.
Whether it’s via email, over the phone or in person, it’s important for solicitors to express themselves clearly, accurately and without ambiguity. We’re not suggesting that clients will get to grips with everything you tell them immediately – the law can be complex at times. But crossed wires are never good when it comes to helping clients make the decisions that are essentially going to shape their future. Clear, professional communication is vital to ensure that clients get the outcome they need.
Active listening is also essential. Not only to analyse client statements or stay ahead of court cases, but also to demonstrate effective client care.
At Harrogate Family Law, good communication and listening to clients is a cornerstone of everything we do. Clients need to know they’re being listened to and that any advice they’re being given is in their best interests.
Dealing with complex cases, and different clients with different personality traits can be emotionally taxing. However, maintaining a professional attitude at all times is non-negotiable.
For example, avoid sending letters or emails in frustration, whether that’s to a client or to other professionals involved in the case. It’s much better to sit on a draft for 24 hours and read it again before sending it, rather than to make what may turn out to be an error of judgement.
The legal industry is people-orientated. Lawyers work with people, on behalf of people, and the decisions that are made affect people’s lives.
It’s not about making decisions for your clients, it’s about working with them to get the best outcome. That can only happen if they feel comfortable with the solicitor working on their behalf. That’s exactly what we aim for with our clients here at Harrogate Family Law. Our clients know that this is a team effort based on mutual trust and respect.
It’s been said that a solicitor’s practice is 20% law and 80% paper pushing, so organisational skills are absolutely key. Being a solicitor is a demanding job. Solicitors often find themselves juggling several complex cases at once, and each case is just as important as the next.
A good solicitor knows how to be ahead of the game when it comes to organisation, time-management, and paying attention to detail. Prioritising tasks according to urgency is a useful tactic. For example, acknowledging all emails and letters as soon as they’re received where you cannot reply immediately, but don’t try to take on new tasks before you’ve finished the work you’ve already got on. It breaks your train of thought and takes you longer to get back into the frame of mind you were in before.
The law is constantly evolving. Working creatively will make keeping up with any changes far easier to do, and really set you apart from others in the industry.
Law firms, and their solicitors, need to be able to think like a business. You can’t give your clients the best service if you’re unable to keep up with those critical commercial aspects like ongoing costs, in-house management, cash flow and team care.
Solicitors and firms who ask questions about the future and don’t rest on their laurels are the ones who have the best chance of success. Just like any business, you need to think commercially. How are you going to appeal to your clients? How are you going to retain clients? How are you going to reduce staff turnover? What do you need to do in order to adapt to new ways of working? These are the questions you need to be asking your firm, particularly in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
At Harrogate Family Law, we’re constantly aiming to improve and evolve for the better. At the end of the day, we want to be the best we can be for our clients, because they’re the people who matter. Get in touch with us today if you’re looking for a firm that’s on your side, every step of the way.