By Iman Bahrani • April 06, 2017•Features, Guest Bloggers and Profiles of Women in the Law
Jenna was told that her husband would file for divorce. They have two minor children. They have a business and a house. She can read about custody, parenting time, and division of resources, but what she needs to know is whether she’s going to be alright or not. She needs someone she can trust and rely on to while navigating through the most difficult time in her life.
Jenna’s situation is typical among women who face the same nightmare every day. It symbolizes the changes on value propositions of lawyers. Clients are no longer looking for pieces of information alone. Information now is just one click away and for little or no cost. Online resources have improved by leaps and bounds and now includes legal research, legal documents, document preparers and even attorneys.
This situation and evolving technology that makes artificial intelligence a reality in law makes some people in the law industry think if traditional law firms are dying.
An Internal Game
There’s no need to panic though; people will still seek out local lawyers. The key to sustaining business, however, is to understand what the clients are looking for. It’s not information, legal resources, and not the best technology. What clients want are reassurance and relief. They want a trustworthy advisor to help them with their problem. Clients want someone who knows the players, the system, and the possible outcomes of their legal battles.
So, let’s go back to Jenna. She wants to be understood and be heard. She wants to know what other things she needs. Where can she find a good accountant? Who is the best mediator? How do cases like hers turn out? The answers to these questions start with listening carefully to the client and determining their needs, not just legally, but emotionally and practically.
Emotional Intelligence: The New Competitive Advantage
Research conducted in Harvard concludes that people make judgments and decisions about people they meet within only seconds, basing on the individual’s warmth and competence. People ask these two questions themselves:
Is this person trustworthy?
Is this person worthy of my respect?
The questions go on that order. Warmth and trust are more important than respect and competence, though of course, you need to possess both. This is the area where a woman has her advantages.
Women, on average and as a whole, have higher emotional intelligence than men. Historically, caretaking roles like nursing, psychology, and teaching were dominated by women because of their intelligence and emotional empathy. And now, technology changed the law through leveling the field among lawyers. When information is just one click away, emotional and empathic intelligence prove to be a good advantage in securing clients.
The Office Environment
Advantages of emotional intelligence in the current climate does not only end in securing the client's employment. Turnovers decrease and attracting and retaining talent are goals for all law firms.
Law firms capitalize now on online platforms to gain attraction and rely on marketing agencies like Searchical SEO Gold Coast to make their site more visible to clients. Gone were the days where associates would stay in the office, work for long hours with little feedback and hoping to be a partner.
Now that Millennials (people that are born between 1981 and 1997) represent the majority of associates in many law offices, the landscape has changed. Attrition in law firms is around 20%.
Management of employees go beyond CLEs (Continuing Legal Education). The addition of technical skills is easy but managing the emotions of employees is the critical component in talent retention and attraction.
Google Can’t Deliver What You Can
As pieces of information become readily available to the public, success will rule over softer skills - empathy and personal connection. Women capitalize on this by active listening, paying attention to compassion and honing the personable client relationship.
While women, in general, have natural advantages for these skills, they can be learned by everyone. Female and male, emotional and rational, should allot some time to focus on skills that no one taught in law school. This will assure the clients that you will not only be there for them as their lawyer but as their friend as well.
Iman Bahrani is the Chief Executive Officer of Searchical.com.au. He is knowledgeable in Digital Marketing. During his downtime, he loves to write about his experiences in knowledge in the digital field and shares them with his readers.