The Champion

November 2011 , Page 59 

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Practice Points

By Hayes Hunt

Read more Practice Points columns.

Law students rarely concentrate on learning practical skills, and thus few new lawyers are adept at conducting the initial client interview. This article provides tips that will help recent law graduates effectively communicate with new clients and gain their trust. 

Basics of a Client Interview

A lawyer can meet a client in many ways, including a referral by court appointment or in the waiting room of the lawyer’s office. For purposes of this article, let’s assume this is the lawyer’s first discussion with a potential client who is unfamiliar with the criminal justice system. This is a 360° interview — the lawyer and the client are evaluating each another. The client is deciding not only whether to retain the lawyer, but more importantly, whether he trusts the lawyer. Ultimately, will the client accept the lawyer’s advice?

The lawyer must not forget obvious etiquette. Desiring to make a good impression, the lawyer should dress the part. The lawyer should dress as if

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