The goal of this project is improve lawyer-client communication by combining what has been learned so far within legal education with empirical social science research. We have selected the initial client interview as the focus for the pilot project. The initial interview is, of course, the one unit of service that is constant across all forms of legal service delivery. It is also one of the most critical units of service. The initial interview: (1) shapes client perception of the lawyer; (2) defines the service to be provided in terms of both problem and goal; and (3) is an important opportunity for client education, e.g. confidentiality, substantive legal rights, what the client can do for himself or herself, and the need to preserve evidence. In many cases the initial interview may in fact be the most significant communication before outcome determinative events such as hearing or settlement. By assessing effectiveness at the outset of the case, this approach provides feedback to lawyers during provision of service, thus creating the possibility for improved service and increasing the relevance of the assessment both to lawyers and clients. The use of customer satisfaction surveys is a standard procedures in most service industries. Our forms and procedures are modeled on the standard procedure used by health care providers.
One of the articles linked to is "What Clients Want From Their Lawyers." It's worth taking a few minutes to read. Excerpt (footnotes removed):
It is not unusual to hear lawyers describe such communication practices as patient listening and translation of legal issues into terms the client can understand as “hand-holding” – something to be