G. Managing Client Expectations and Legal Counseling

The following points are provided to facilitate a discussion about proper legal counseling techniques and duties and responsibilities of advising clients.

  1. Discuss the different roles a lawyer plays with clients in advising them. Discuss the aspirational goals which encourage sharing with clients non-legal considerations for their informed decision-making. Discuss the importance of not delving into areas which are outside a lawyer’s expertise. Discuss how a lawyer balances these considerations.
  2. Provide examples of the types of decisions in the mentor’s practice in which s/he involves the client. Share tips on counseling the client for each of those decisions.
  3. Discuss the importance of being sensitive to emotional aspects of clients’ cases but not becoming emotionally involved in their matters. Discuss what you should do if you do become emotionally invested in your clients’ cases.
  4. Discuss the obligations a lawyer has in advising his or her clients. What does it mean to make sure clients are informed in their decision-making? What should you do if your client elects a course of action against your advice?
  5. Discuss the basic elements and techniques for counseling a client, including the following:
    1. Talking to the client about time, such as how long the case will take, what could delay it, or what the opposition could do to prolong it;
    2. Considering cost, what types of expenses should be expected, and how much the case could end up costing;
    3. Discussing the upsides and downsides of the case;
    4. Focusing the interview. How to outline what will happen during the meeting with the client and keep on track;
    5. Being a good listener;
    6. Advising fully on all relevant considerations or consequences to a course of action;
    7. Following up; and
    8. Informing the client of privilege issues when the client wants a third party involved during meetings.

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