This week, I was reminded of the value the general practice lawyer’s experience and perspective can bring to clients in crisis.
Even though we’re there to deal with the varied legal aspects of a crisis, and not to provide personal support, I notice our clients are very comforted by what we do.
It’s worth dissecting this a bit, so, here’s my analysis of what we do, and why it works to provide comfort.
- We listen attentively, and with empathy, but also with a bit of professional distance. We’re not drawn into the whirlpool the crisis creates, and this means we can provide a way out.
- Our questions help people get their thoughts in order. Because we need some precision and clarity in our instructions, we probe a little, finding the sequence of events. This seems to help people create some order in the chaos
- We help prioritise. What’s important? What’s urgent? For a client in crisis – it’s everything. But our knowledge, of how different legal processes work alongside each other, provides order and structure about what happens next. Not everything is dealt with at once, there are a series of steps and we set them out one by one.
It’s also worth remembering that we deal frequently with situations our clients face only rarely. This seems to provide reassurance – we’re not shocked, we don’t judge, and we know there’s a way out.
Many professionals have a role in a crisis, and all bring something important. As lawyers, of course our legal work will be critical, but it’s our approach to problem solving that provides reassurance and comfort.