Managing Clients’ Anxiety [video]

How well do you manage your clients’ anxiety?

Let’s face it, most of the time clients don’t come to see a lawyer when everything is great in their world. Usually, clients go to a lawyer when they’re in trouble, they’re facing some kind of problem, or they are facing challenging life circumstances. Even if a client comes to you because they are facing an opportunity, there is likely to be risk involved. All of these situations are stressful and anxiety-inducing. On top of that, now they have to deal with a lawyer.

Learn more about how to manage your clients’ anxiety in the video below, or scroll down to keep reading.

While you can’t do much about your clients’ stress or anxiety around the situation that brought them to you, you can do something about two kinds of anxiety that clients experience around your representation.

Those two kinds of anxiety are what I call substantive anxiety and process anxiety.

Substantive Anxiety

Substantive anxiety is anxiety around the legal subject matter of the client’s claim and the outcome the client can expect to achieve. These are the areas most lawyers typically address with clients during the initial consultation and communicate throughout the client’s matter.

They include things like:

  • “How much can I expect to receive from my personal injury settlement?”
  • “Will my spouse be able to prevent me from seeing my children?”
  • “Will I have enough assets left after taxes to take care of my children if something happens to me?”
  • “Will I lose my home if I file for bankruptcy?”

Process Anxiety

In addition to substantive anxiety, clients also have anxiety about the process. This is especially true for clients who have no previous experience with the law or this specific legal issue.

There are two parts to process anxiety. The first is anxiety about how the legal process works – for example:

  • “What is a deposition?
  • “Will I have to testify in court?”
  • “What is the probate process like?”
  • “How long will it take until my trademark is approved?”, etc.

The second is anxiety about the process of working with you. Clients are concerned about things like:

  • How often they will hear from you about their case, and how you will communicate with them;
  • What is the best way for them to reach you if they have a question or concern, and how available will you be for them?
  • How much will this cost, how will fees be charged? What is the total budget for the matter?

Make sure that you are addressing both substantive and process anxiety with your clients throughout the engagement, but especially at the beginning of your representation.