People are savvier and demand not only satisfactory results but a more humanistic experience with the legal process. This includes a good working relationship with their legal advisors and the negotiation team.
Clients expect their negotiator to be self-restrained and to focus on the client’s goals rather than to get caught up in personal vendetta.
Clients do not want to spend their time and money managing their advisor’s behaviour; they expect their advisor to behave in a professional and respectful manner while advancing their case. The spring 2013 Gazette (which is the Law Society of Upper Canada Publication) published an article about the changing legal profession and agreed that the new role of lawyers includes “people management skills”.
People are embarrassed and uncomfortable when their own negotiator loses their cool or treats other members of the team with disrespect.
People also get deeply offended and hurt when opposing counsel issues personal attacks, put downs or sarcastic comments against them or any member of the team.
While lawyers are obligated to defend their client’s interests, they are nonetheless bound by several often forgotten Rules of Professional Conduct designed to bring civility, respect, and to promote settlements.
Lawyers who lose their focus or issue personal attacks are not advancing their client’s objectives and are certainly not bringing civility to the profession.
I believe that the majority of lawyers do not intentionally lose it in front of their clients or the team. We are simply not trained enough in self-control skills!
The Law Society of Upper Canada recognizes the importance of this topic and approved the program “The New Negotiator: The neuroscience of self-regulation” for mandatory professionalism training. https://www.boutetfamilylaw.com/upcoming-events/
The legal profession is changing. Be that new negotiator for your clients! Register for this fun and powerful conference to perfect your self-regulation!