Empathy is one of the key foundational life skills that makes up what is called Emotional Intelligence. It is part of how "we get along" and "cooperate" with others as well. If you don't have empathetic listening skills, it will hold you back in life, and if you have a personal injury case, your lawyer needs to be at a high level with it; especially if your case goes to jury trial!
Empathetic listening skills starts when you meet your injury lawyer. Your injury lawyer needs to be able to communicate your injuries effectively. So, listening to you as an injured person, and what you had to overcome from your injury case, is essential. If your injury lawyer is not a good listener, then he or her will have a difficult time communicating your harms and losses to others. This will also help your injury lawyer prepare you as a witness for your injuries when you are required to undergo a deposition in case your injury claim goes into a lawsuit. After that, it helps in preparing you for any mediation to settle a case before trial, and then ultimately, it helps in preparing you for a jury trial.
There is a direct symbiotic relationship between you and your injury lawyer when it comes to empathetic listening skills, and those skills start with your lawyer but end with you if your case goes to jury trial.
So, I would say empathetic listening is utilized in the following heirarchy in a typical personal injury case:
1. Meeting your injury lawyer for the first time, and every other time during the course of your case, so your lawyer can effectively communicate your harms and losses to you and others.
2. Preparing you for your deposition, so you can effectively communicate to deposition defense questions.
3. Preparing your for mediation, so you can effecitvely communicate to any mediator's questions, and your lawyer can effectively communicate your harms and losses.
4. Preparing you for your jury trial, so you can effectively communicate to any cross examination questions, and your lawyer can effectively communicate your harms and losses from jury selection, through trial, and into closing arguments.
An injury lawyer cannot effectively communicate your harms and losses without knowing how to listen to you. He or she must "step inside your shoes" in order to communicate what you went through. Your lawyer must get to know you, as a human being first, then as a client second. Make no mistake. This is a communication skill. There are some lawyers good at it, mediocre at it, and some that are simply not good at it. That is okay. You will find that most successful trial lawyers are very good listeners and understand the importance of this "empathetic listening" skill.
This also holds true in sales. No salesperson can effectively sale without having the ability to listen to the person they are trying to close. A sales person needs to be able to listen to the other person's needs, wants and desires. Likewise, a good trial lawyer needs to be able to listen to jurors in jury selection on an injury case to make sure he or she is picking the right jury for a particular injury case. Those jurors have needs, wants and desires too. Just like an injured client has needs, wants and desires. It all starts and ends with effective communication, and being able to empathize with another is crucial foundational communication skill.
If you still have questions on how empathetic listening skills can impact your personal injury case, please feel free to reach out to me anytime. I make myself available for questions like these every single day, and I would be more than happy to see if I can help you. My phone number is 619.813.7955. Stay strong, Attorney Mark