Problem Solving: Do You Have What It Takes?
We are not all skilled at problem solving; in fact, you probably grew up with a friend or family member who was always a fixer and helped negotiate or smooth over any issue. Perhaps that person was you, or perhaps you are hoping to increase those techniques as you learn more skills in law school. No matter what your background, to be a good trial attorney (or any type of attorney at all!) these are skills that you will need to finely hone, beginning with compiling all the information you need.
If there is a legal dispute at hand, speak with your client at length to understand what type of problem they need solved, how much time (and potential expense) they want to spend on it, and what their goal is. Problem solving in the legal arena can take many different forms, but your job is to understand all the facts and how they have affected your client. Also, if possible, do some research on the other party and try to understand how the issue may have affected them also. While you should remain completely objective, if you can understand what motivates everyone involved, it will help solve the problem—and reach an agreement or settlement.
Understand what challenges both parties face in solving the problem. As an attorney, if a client has gone to the trouble and potential expense of reaching out to you, then obviously they are having major obstacles and you will need to either work with your client in pursuing the case in court of helping them solve it ahead of time if that is what they desire. Strategize with your client regarding all the scenarios, an then begin putting a broad plan into place—usually starting with a phone call or a demand letter. This is where all your communication, interpersonal skills, and writing skills will begin to come together.
If your client has come to you with an issue, it is also important to refer them to someone else if it is not an area you have expertise in; after all, it is difficult to solve a problem if you are not knowledgeable in that area! Most attorneys begin to build up a network quickly, and you should be able to put your friend or previous client in good hands—with such business and referrals being plentifully reciprocated over time.
Are you interested in becoming a skilled negotiator? Our mission at CDTA College of Law is to educate, train, and develop extraordinary legal advocates. Your legal education will be comprised of bar-tested academic subjects, skills training, and values reinforcement. Upon completion of your 4-year course of study you will be fully qualified to take and pass the California Bar examination. Call us today at (760) 342-0900 or find out more online here.