5 Essential Questioning Techniques for Legal Professionals

5 Essential Questioning Techniques for Legal Professionals

This important resource, tailored to a national audience, explores topics such as working with interpreters; Address bias when establishing facts; Selection of questioning techniques; ethical or interpersonal challenges that may arise during the interview; and trauma-informed interviews. Sample scenarios, examples, and role-playing provide a practical, applied guide to the most important aspects of customer-centric interviewing. By implementing the techniques described in this text, readers have the skills to confidently approach fact-finding through customer-centered interviews. In this article and in the video below, we will explore some common questioning techniques and when (and when not) they use. If you use communication techniques 1 and 2 above, I hope you will find out very quickly that you are on the wrong track. Adapt, correct, and then continue on the right path. Be sure to give the person you are interviewing enough time to respond. This may require time for reflection before he or she responds, so don`t just interpret a pause as “no comment” and keep ploughing. Funnel inquiry involves a deliberate sequence of surveys, usually consisting of a long series of closed-ended questions that, when answered, can allow for more open-ended questions later. For example, if you want to learn more about a car accident in which your client was involved, you can use a line of questions similar to the following: Interview Skills for Legal Professionals, 3rd Edition is specifically designed to teach lawyers how to prepare, structure and conduct effective client interviews. The quality of client interviews is essential to ensure that the lawyer receives essential information in order to achieve better results for his clients.

The funnel questioning technique is useful for gathering very specific information about the past (with closed questions) that allows for a clear determination of the facts about a situation or scene setting. Once the facts have become clear, the interviewer can begin to ask effective open-ended questions that allow for further investigation of opinions or issues. We`ve written before about how you can improve the way you conduct customer interviews. Here, we will delve deeper into other questioning techniques that can be used when interviewing witnesses, clients or even employees. We`ll also cover when each should be used and how they work. Tip: Remember that legal action is not always the only course of action needed. Empathy is hard to define, but essentially involves the interviewer trying to understand the client`s experience and impact on them. Empathy develops through effective interview skills. Keep in mind that you will be interviewing people across the social spectrum, some of whom may have acted in a way you morally disagree with. As a lawyer, it is not up to you to judge the client. You need to make sure that your verbal and physical language reflects this non-judgmental attitude.

An interview should have a logical order and structure without being too rigid. There should be flexibility so that the client can be treated as someone with a unique set of issues and not just as a legal issue. Remember that an effective customer interview technique creates a positive atmosphere between you and the customer. The communication techniques that great lawyers use to build a relationship with a client, get the information they need, and make the client feel well cared for and have confidence in your abilities can sometimes seem a bit elusive. Expertise in the most critical communication skills can put you on the right track. If you`re using the funnel survey, start with closed-ended questions. As you walk through the tunnel, start using more open-ended questions. Combine this text with Emond`s Paralegal Advocacy Manual, 3rd Edition, and get 10% off the package. Please note that all bundled products are sold at retail. Combine this text with Emond`s communication and writing manual for paralegals and get 10% off the package. Please note that all bundled products are sold at retail.

Examples of interviews that illustrate the application of interview techniques. You`ve probably used all these questioning techniques in your daily life, at work and at home. But by consciously using the right type of survey, you can get the information, answers, or results you want even more effectively. Difficult questions need to be complemented by attentive listening so that you understand what people really mean by their answers. The conclusion? Questioning techniques can be useful in a number of applications, including but not limited to work situations. In the context of clients, these skills are important for learning case details, confirming information, and avoiding misunderstandings. In the office, they can be useful for the same reasons, as well as for managing direct reports or arbitrating disputes. What questioning techniques worked to get answers from your respondents? Share your strategies in the comments! The overarching goal of a legal interview is to give your client the opportunity to make a decision about the course of action they want to take.

By combining the results of listening and questioning, you should be able to recognize what the customer`s problem is and what possible solutions are available. An interview is not the same as a conversation: it has a specific purpose. An initial conversation is to identify the nature of the customer`s problems. A client will describe the nature of their problem and the effective interviewer will look for salient information. Remember that it is ultimately the customer who gives instructions! In a legal context, a lawyer should be able to give options. The opposite – starting with a general question before focusing on something specific – is often used when witnesses are questioned to get the maximum amount of information about a person or situation. For example, “What do you do to make a living? Do you work at night? Have you seen a burglary? Was there more than one person? And so on. It`s not rocket science, but the opportunity to do a great interview with a client passes to many lawyers because they don`t follow some of these simple techniques.