In this addition, contributor Melanie Ludlow of Vilanova Law School, gives her thoughts on attorney communication. We strive to maintain prompt and effective communication at all times in our firm. Melanie is working for Goodman Law Center as an independently contracted researcher and writer.
Much in life requires good and effective communication- success in marriage, success at work, success in school. However, in today’s society, most communication gets lost in translation. Depending on factors such as upbringing, educational background, beliefs, emotional status, and interests, each person interprets (insert noun) individually and uniquely. One word/phrase/letter can mean some completely different to two people. Because of this, something gets lost. I believe that something is effect. Law school attempts (and doesn’t fail, usually) to teach future attorneys how to effectively communicate. Law school curriculum includes legal writing and trial advocacy courses to assist in this process. While it is true that lawyers do a lot of writing, most of the time they communicate on the phone or face to face.
Not only are lawyers valued by their clients, the opposition also appreciates communicating with attorneys. Things get done when there is communication. Certain government agencies, for example, require communication, usually by phone or mail. Let’s take the IRS, for example. If a taxpayer has been audited and additional taxes are assessed, the IRS will mail a letter to the taxpayer asking for additional information or requesting a response. If the taxpayer delays or completely fails to respond to the IRS, the IRS gets mad. Never the quitter, the IRS will continue to send additional letters to the taxpayer, more and more threatening than the last. At this point, hopefully, the taxpayer will realize that they have created a serious mess and need to take action. That action usually includes hiring an attorney to represent them before the IRS. What does the attorney do to assist the client? Communicate. Once hired by the taxpayer/client, the attorney’s first move will be to call the IRS. Sometimes, these tax problems can be resolved after the first phone call. Effective communication: it is a skill good lawyers attempt to perfect.