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Client Counselling By Lawyers

The essential attributes of a proficient lawyer are not just about legal acumen but also the ability to be an attentive listener. A lawyer, in many respects, assumes the role of a psychologist, necessitating an understanding of the client's mindset. Client counselling involves the practice of engaging with a client when they seek legal guidance. A lawyer is expected to possess a comprehensive knowledge of the relevant law pertaining to the case. Failure to do so might erode the client's confidence.

Client counselling is a pivotal skill that every advocate must wield when providing legal counsel in response to a client's inquiries. This practice is governed by a multitude of facets and protocols that a lawyer must comprehend and adhere to.

To excel in client counselling, one must be astute and well-informed. The process of client counselling encompasses several stages, such as:
  1. The Conduct of the Lawyer
    • Responsibility is paramount when conveying legal advice to the client. It is the lawyer's duty to elucidate the client's rights and obligations using plain language, as legal jargon can alienate the client. The lawyer should outline all possible solutions, including their consequences and costs. A patient and understanding demeanor when dealing with the client is crucial.
    • Notably, the lawyer should maintain meticulous records, tracking the interactions from the initial meeting with the client to the delivery of documents. This facilitates transparent reporting of the case's progress if requested.
  2. Understanding the Client
    • Gaining insight into the client's background and profession is essential. This knowledge can inform a more tailored and empathetic approach. For instance, if the client is a medical professional with a medico-legal case, and the lawyer possesses expertise in medical jurisprudence, this synergy can build trust by employing medical terminology, reassuring the client of their lawyer's competence.
    • These principles encapsulate the initial stages of client counseling. Subsequent stages involve the preparation of legal documents, requiring the lawyer to gather specific details, including client and opposing party information, jurisdiction, claims, case history, and relevant documents. It is crucial to maintain strict confidentiality between the lawyer and the client, ensuring that all shared information remains private.
  3. Understanding the Case
    • It is crucial to meticulously document every detail related to the case. Even seemingly insignificant details that may be overlooked by clients without legal expertise can often turn out to be critical elements in building a strong case. This process of fact-finding can be effectively achieved through a methodical questioning technique. Cross-questioning entails the lawyer posing a series of inquiries related to the case to extract as many pertinent facts as possible.
    • Cross-questioning benefits not only the case but also fosters trust between the lawyer and the client, which is advantageous for the lawyer's professional reputation. However, it's crucial to consider the client's comfort and avoid overwhelming them with excessive probing questions.
    • In addition, there are important factors that need to be considered, such as:
      • Whether the opposing party has legal representation.
      • Verify whether the client possesses the contact information of potential adverse parties.
      • Ascertain whether the client has access to or possesses the documents discussed during the consultation.
    • Another pivotal aspect is to understand the client's objectives and what they seek from you. Therefore, it is essential to comprehend all facets of the case, including minutiae, to provide the best possible solution and establish the client's trust.
  4. Familiarity with Legal Principles:
    There are instances when clients seek your opinion or legal advice. In these situations, it's important to have a solid understanding of the law and stay up-to-date with any recent changes. While conducting additional research and providing a comprehensive opinion later is fine, it's recommended to offer initial assistance and schedule a follow up meeting for more detailed guidance.

Transparency regarding the case's strengths and weaknesses is crucial. The lawyer should be well-informed to guide the client and present all potential legal avenues. It is essential to address all client inquiries, doubts, and concerns comprehensively.

In essence, the key is to always provide accurate legal advice when it is sought. If additional time is needed to revisit the legal principles, it should be taken. Effective client counselling is achieved through the harmonious combination of legal acumen and sound judgment.

The aforementioned stages primarily pertain to the initial client consultation. Subsequent stages involve the preparation of legal documents, for which the lawyer must possess the following information:
  1. Client's name, age, profession, and complete address.
  2. Opposing party's name, age, profession, and complete address.
  3. The jurisdiction to be invoked.
  4. Any claim to be made.
  5. A concise list of dates and events relevant to the case, presenting the case's history.
  6. Relevant documents to be annexed.
  7. A copy of the impugned judgment or order to be annexed, if an appeal is being pursued.
  8. All documents intended to be annexed with the petition or written statement, such as copies of issued cheques, return memos, and letters from the opposing party.

In today's highly competitive legal industry, the ability to provide effective client counselling is crucial for lawyers. It is a skill that not only earns the trust of clients but also allows lawyers to thrive in their profession. Adhering to the rules and principles outlined above is instrumental in mastering the art of client counselling. Maintaining client confidentiality is of utmost importance for lawyers. Any details or documents shared by the client should never be disclosed to anyone else, ensuring that the lawyer-client privilege is upheld.

  • Advance Legal Drafting, Abhinav Gaur, Prakash Pandey, Shabdita Singh

Written By: Md.Imran Wahab
, IPS, IGP, Provisioning, West Bengal
Email: [email protected], Ph no: 9836576565

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