“The best way to persuade people is with your ears – by listening to them.” Dean Rusk
Think about some of your best trips to a doctor. What made the doctor stand out? I’m willing to bet that the doctor was an active listener. Litigators want to be known for their closing arguments, but one of the most important skills a lawyer can develop is the ability to be a good listener.
Listening carefully to the client at the outset of the case allows the attorney to get a good grasp of the facts so that he or she can develop a strategy for the case. Acknowledging what the client tells an attorney puts the client at ease. Some of my best lines during a closing argument have come from random comments by clients during the course of a trial.
Listening to witnesses is equally important. Most of us have some type of outline or list of questions. During depositions, it is easy to methodically walk through the questions. The attorney may get a good answer to a question early in the deposition that eliminates the need for asking a question later in the deposition. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by asking that later question and allowing the witness to change the answer.
The NCADA also wants to listen to its members. How can we help your practice? Is there a topic for one of the coffee talks you would like to discuss? Do you have suggestions for topics for the Fall Seminar? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, please contact me, Lynette, or Jennifer.