Lawyers and Paralegals Don’t Talk the Same Language. On February 28, 2005, we presented Lawyers Are From Mars. The article hit the internet and we ended up being called by McDonald Legal, flew to Las Vegas, and gave it to them. Since then we have incorporated various verions but it still has the same relevance as it did in 2005. It is a frequent request from both lawyer and paralegal associations.
Lawyers and paralegals live on different planets, breath different air, and they even have different customs. Yet, if there is ever a time and a place and a need for both people to be on the same page, it is with the relationship and communication skills that exist between lawyers and paralegals.
Relationship skills and communication skills are not something you are taught unfortunately to the degree it is needed for a good working relationship between two highly skilled individuals. Until such time as both sides step back and learn the art of business relationships, effective communication, and good feedback skills, the working relationship will suffer and both sides will have great stress.
Lawyers tend to under-estimate the project, tend to assume that the paralegal understands what needs to be done, doesn’t allow time for questions, doesn’t give information, and then when the project is not delivered as the lawyer thought tends to judge the paralegal on lack of performance.
On the other hand, the paralegal, driven by a desire to work at a high level and assume responsibility, takes the information and tries to fill in the blanks, seeing the lack of understanding or communication as a distraction to performance and tends to believe that lawyers do not accept responsibility for their roles.
IT ALL STARTS WITH THE MESSAGE, how it is delivered and how it is received! If you wish a free copy of the entire article please email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be glad to send it.