Venezia Investigative Services, former NYPD Sergeant: In a law firm atmosphere, when I refer to a litigation support client, the client could be an attorney or a paralegal. In a service provider atmosphere, the litigation support client could be an attorney, a litigation support specialist or a paralegal. Our clients are the ones asking for our help on behalf of their client.
Your client has requested your help. That’s a good thing, right?
They are not sure what they need specifically, but they might have an idea. When discussing with a client, the key to success is to listen closely more than you speak. Give them an opportunity to explain their situation in full. Ask directed questions that will fill the gaps in their explanation. Asking questions that will give the client some options to consider is a good technique.
Many times it helps make sense to work backwards. Ask the client what they eventually want to achieve or what they ultimately need in the end and then acquire information from them that will assist you to work towards their goal.
Now, there are several mistakes that litigation support specialists make in this predicament. This is a sensitive and important part of the litigation support process. Mistakes can cause your clients to avoid utilizing your services in the future.
- Do not talk about too much. Pay attention First.
- Be sure to take notes. Initially, you need to have a record of this ingestion process. Next, this is a detail-oriented approach and it is upsetting to ask for the details again later.
- Don’t disrupt the conversation with your fantastic solution before the client has discussed their scenario and their needs in its entirety. Wait until you have accumulated all of the information and asked all of your questions.
- Steer clear of using a lot of technical geeky terminology that is not essential in this conversation. This will annoy your client. Keep it simple.
- Try not to dash into providing a solution while in that conversation. It is completely okay to take the information back to your desk to think about the solution you’re organized to offer and then return at a later time to present your well thought out solution.
There will definitely be situations where the client will ask you for a solution on the spot. If the condition is straight forward and you are comfortable stating the solution, then do so. Other times, it might make sense to recommend a couple of solutions for consideration, but then tell the client you will come back with a more formal solution.
Of course, the more knowledgeable you are, the more relaxed you will be with providing solutions on the fly. My general point is that I have seen cases where litigation support professionals mistakenly think that they must offer a solution on the spot and I have also witnessed those that will interrupt the client with their solution before they have gathered all of the details. In return, I have seen clients avoid using litigation support services. That’s a bad thing, right?
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