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Communication is Key

Attorneys Appearing in Court

Communication between an attorney and their client is absolutely key. Imagine the world of the client; they’ve never navigated these legal waters before, and they have no idea what’s going to happen. They’re entrusting themselves to your care, but that trust is earned, not granted freely. One of the best ways of gaining someone’s trust is to ensure that they understand your perspective, and the way to accomplish that is through communication.

Subjective experience is bizarre. We collectively agree on what is true, and the more evidence we have that we are subjectively experiencing the same thing, the more objectively true that thing seems to be. You might, for example, live by a particular code of ethics that is true to you, or you might live by a code of ethics that is upheld by everyone in your profession. That code of ethics doesn’t exist to your client, however, unless you tell them about it. Telling them might also be insufficient; while we communicate verbally, our actions can communicate so much more. Taking the time to show your client you care is just as important as taking the time to explain to them what’s going on.

Communication isn’t a one-way street, either. You want your clients to tell you how they’re feeling, what they’re thinking, what worries they have and what they don’t understand. This is all essential because court proceedings are incredibly stressful, and you don’t want an anxiety that your client has that was heretofore unknown to pop up in the middle of a trial. Your client knowing as much as they can about your line of thinking and you knowing as much as you can about your client’s line of thinking is essential, because it gives you a shared narrative about what to expect. Shared narrative makes both of your subjective experience more true to the other, and communication becomes easier.

What this means is that you must carve out time to reach out to your clients; phone calls anytime an important change happens, to be sure, but even phone calls just to reach out, say hello and ask how they’re doing are important. This shows that you care deeply for your client and their success, even outside of the realm of the case you’re dealing with. Of course, a good rapport with your client is relevant to the case, because having a level of ease between yourself and your client will ensure a better performance in court.

All of this communication might mean you don’t have as much time in your schedule, and sometimes scheduling conflicts can lead you to be unable to present yourself for a court appearance. When this happens, communicate what has occured openly and honestly with your client, and ensure that they have proper representation and guidance for the appearance. You can find an experienced appearance attorney to take your place in these circumstances; they’ll be able to take all the relevant information about the case and guide your client through the appearance when you’re unavailable.