John is an in-house counsel for a technology company. He’s been asked to advise on a highly risky investment agreement but when he starts to raise the myriad of problems with the deal he gets shut down.
Terry is the junior on a large file. In a rush to advance to the next stage of the proceedings senior counsel makes a clear misstep. She tries to point this out but her objection falls on death ears.
The role of legal professionals is to advise, represent, and advocate, but too often the very people needing this help won’t take what is offered.
If you have ever had trouble getting people to listen, my February article in Slaw is for you. Here’s an excerpt:
In conversations with lawyers in private practice and in-house counsel I frequently hear about the difficulties, they run into advising clients and colleagues on alternative courses of action, or risk prevention measures to take.
It is so easy for important advice to be discounted because the lawyer is seen as not getting the big vision, or being too risk-averse, or creating unnecessary roadblocks.
Next time you need to provide a client or colleague with an insight they may not immediately welcome try using this three-step approach to getting your point across, I call it the “3As”.