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“Is Your Lawyer Listening to You” Frasier

Burdine & Brown Nov. 6, 2019

Frasier was a great TV series that was on the air for a record 11 seasons. Only Seinfeld, Friends and The Big Bang Theory were on TV for longer.

Frasier Crane was the TV psychologist who would open up his Radio Call in Show by saying: “Good afternoon, Seattle, this is Dr. Frasier Crane. I'm listening”.

I like that greeting. I am listening means just that. Communicating with a client means taking the time to listen. I know many lawyers who turn that job over to their paralegals. Specialized physicians do this too. The orthopedic doctor employs a PA this is actually a physician extender. It allows the PA to assist or to listen to and diagnose the patient's medical problems. There are also nurse practitioners who do likewise.

The lines of communication go from you to one of these paralegals or doctor assistants. But you say, I need to talk to my lawyer. Oh, he's in court, he's in a deposition, he's in a meeting. This could be true. I confess. I, too, use paralegals in my practice. The paralegals on my staff do not give legal advice but they can answer a lot of questions, including scheduling MRI's, PT, medical appointments, depositions or chasing down disability checks.

But my staff is trained to also know who is the one who needs to answer the very complicated questions. That is my job.

I believe I genuinely have an internal clock that lets me know when I need to meet again with my existing clients, face to face. It is amazing that when I schedule a consult to discuss the case progress, how much information I can receive from the client. Don't get me wrong. This does not mean that I need to meet with my clients weekly or even monthly. But it is vital to keep my lines of communication open with my clients. Many of my clients like talking to my staff members and I encourage that. But there is something special about a face to face meeting with lawyer and client.

So if you hear me saying to you “I'm listening,” I really mean it. And as attorney and client, we are better for that interaction.