Ask any legal recruiter or human resources representative and they will tell you that effective communication is key to the ability to function effectively as a paralegal. This has never been a secret and most paralegal programs teach their students how to effectively communicate as legal professionals. So if you have been to paralegal school or are a great communicator you may feel like now is the time for you to stop reading this post because you have the demonstration of this value in the bag. Before you pat yourself on the back for being such a great communicator keep reading to see why your great writing and oratory skills are proving to be of no value in the grand scheme of things.
Conduct some research on customer satisfaction and you are likely to find numerous articles about why customer satisfaction is important to business success. Now do some research on attorney client complaints and you will find that one of the most common client complaint is not communicating with clients. If effective communication is considered to be one of the most important aspects to being successful as a legal professional why is it that the lack of it is the most common complaint? Is it that legal professionals are taught how important it is to communicate with each other and overlook the importance of communicating with their clients? After all how useful is great communication skills if they are not being used with whom they are supposed to be working for.
Since the lack of client communication is an attorney’s achilles heel a paralegal that wants to demonstrate their value can do so by focusing on a critical area that is being missed when handling legal issues. This means being accessible to clients, ensuring that they are being provided with status updates, and returning their calls. Not only will an employer appreciate a paralegal that takes the time to follow-up with clients, they will be impressed with the fact that a paralegal is concerned about their bottom line by ensuring that it is not blown to hell by costs to defend against a malpractice suit.
If the customer satisfaction approach is not convincing enough to why communicating with clients is a great way to demonstrate value as a paralegal locate your state’s version of ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct 1.4. This rule explains an attorney’s obligation to communicate with their clients. All states have a version of this rule that attorney’s must adhere to. Who would not find value in someone who knows and is concerned about their professional standing and business reputation?