M.A., J.D., L.P.C.

1942 North Whipple  773-278-0113         928-832-7749(fax]
Chicago, IL 60647

Building the skills of counselors at law.

I offer individual practice sessions and personal facilitation of difficult client situations in addition to group seminars and workshops.

My workshops in Listening Skills Lessons involve a three-part presentation; all three could be done in an 8-hour day. It’s even better if we can arrange two days of work, especially if we can have follow-up that comes at least a week after the first session.

What I work on first is awareness. Of how we speak, of how we listen, of how the "expectations" of the lawyer-client relationship interfere with both of those.

This component focuses on presentation of ideas; it is an intellectual piece. It can be presented as a separate seminar or used as a kind of interlinear overlay on another presentation. It works particularly well with seminars on Mediation, ADR, and Collaborative Law. Its intent is to get the audience open to the answer to the inevitable question in such seminars. The question of how do I do that?

It can be worked in with another program without adding any significant time to the agenda. But with very appreciable effects in terms of opening the participants to how each and every one of them can make Mediation or Collaboration an effective method of dispute resolution.

The second component is self-awareness. Through exercises and role playing the participants explore the ways in which their clients seek to lay their problems at the attorney’s feet, or even identify the attorney with the problem. We work on how to keep these efforts at bay without pushing the client away. How to notice them without reacting emotionally to them or accepting them. I tailor this to the kinds of situations lawyers actually confront. This involves focusing the attorney on who s/he is as an individual and thus seeing how s/he is not what the client tries to make of him/her.

The third component is self-surrender. This involves quieting the self so that the attorney can truly hear the client. With more exercises we focus our attention on listening. Our exercises are directed at developing the skills of active listening. Reflecting both emotion and content.

The summary is bringing this all back to the legal arena. We address the ways in which these skills cut interview time, increase client and attorney satisfaction, and make it easier for the attorney to be a more effective advocate.