The skill set of a consumer bankruptcy lawyer must include a healthy dose of the skills of a teacher.
The client has to master any number of legal issues and procedures to make informed decisions about the case. An effective lawyer has a plan for how to convey all those things the debtors need to know.
As the parent of children with learning disabilities, I learned that each person has a preferred learning style: some learn best by seeing; others learn best by hearing; others by feeling; and some by movement.
And the indisputable fact is that individuals contemplating bankruptcy are generally not functioning at their best. Study after study shows that stress makes us stupid.
The challenge for a bankruptcy lawyer to teach the client enough about bankruptcy to make the necessary decisions is daunting.
So, how to do it?
Many roads to wisdom
Maybe we don’t need to aim for “wisdom”. Maybe it’s enough to convey sufficient information that the client can participate in the necessary decision making.
After all, there are lots of decisions to be made in filing a bankruptcy case and many of them must be the client’s choice.
Use each learning channel
Different clients will pick up the information better in one fashion than another. You probably can’t determine upfront which learning channel works best. A married couple may have different styles.
So, Tell the client what they need to know, and,
Provide written summaries of the material.
Put basic information on your web site. Remind them of basic points when you meet. Summarize important decision points in a letter.
Belt and suspenders, put the information in several forms and you increase the chances that your client absorbs the information.
When all else fails
Recall that there is a another learning channel: some folks are tactile learners.
So I am often tempted to slap them alongside the head, and pound the information in. I try, however, to resist temptation….
Image courtesy of Pixabay.