Family Law Ch. 3
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What is the difference between representing a
plaintiff spouse and a defendant spouse?
- The difference is what stage the divorce proceedings are at. When representing the plaintiff spouse the divorce is at the beginning stages. Meaning you start the divorce proceedings with the summons and complaint. On the other hand, the process has already begun with the defendant
- spouse. At that point, the defendant spouse needs to provide all the paperwork regarding the divorce and photocopies must be made.
What are some of the techniques for developing
good listening skills?
- Active listening and repeat back/clarify what the client says
- Not being judgmental to clients;
- Keep eye contact and be aware of your body language
- Empathize and acknowledge how the client feels.
Purposes of a client interview
- Opportunity for client to meet attorney and support staff
- Receive preliminary legal advice
- Establish a relationship of trust and confidence with the client
- Determine scope of representation and discuss fees
- Obtain information to assist client with action and determine if able to
How to handle an emotional client?
- provide emotional support in a professional and limited manner
- Acknowledge client’s feelings
- Allow client to express self
- If necessary, refer to other support services
- Refer clients to local agencies if they need help. A client who is getting professional help will be stronger and emotionally better able to handle the divorce process.
- Preparing the interview is just as important!
- Never divulge personal information about self, attorney, or the law firm
- Be professional!
- Gathering information
- Ask open-ended questions
- Narrowing issues
- Concluding interview
- A retainer agreement is a contract between the law firm and client. This agreement determines the legal services requested and fees required.
- The client should fully understand the interest, late fees, and when payments are due.
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