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Effective Communication with the Legal Services Client

Practising Law Institute

This on demand,  online course will teach new attorneys and seasoned professionals how to work effectively and cooperatively with their pro bono (or legal services) client.

What you will learn

You will learn proper techniques for getting to know your pro bono client including:

  • How to identify common problems that clients living in poverty have with access to resources (e.g., transportation, child care, Internet access).
  • How to create an environment where clients living in poverty feel safe enough to communicate fully and honestly with their lawyer.

You will learn how to communicate effectively with your pro bono client by:

  • Implementing strategies for establishing a trusting and productive relationship with a client living in poverty.
  • Recognizing the signs of poor literacy skills, especially reading comprehension, and make the necessary accommodations.
  • Establishing effective lines of communication with clients whose native language is not English.

You will learn how to educate your pro bono client about the legal process by:

  • Preparing clients for meetings and courtroom appearances.
  • Setting expectations for client behavior in court.
  • Preparing clients for how judges and other court personnel may speak to them and treat them.

 You will learn how to help your pro bono client make informed choices by:

  • Explaining legal options, the negotiation process, and court proceedings in a manner that is understandable to the client.
  • Developing and documenting settlement authority to ensure that decisions to make, accept, or reject offers are the client’s and are not the result of the attorney imposing his/her will on the client.

Click the "go to website" link below for more information, and to access the course from PLI's website.

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