For my TRUE Stories project I interviewed an estate litigation lawyer. I had some prior knowledge about the law going into the interview because I have some relatives who also practice but I was still a little apprehensive about the interview process. My interviewee is a very intelligent person and has been practicing law for many years now so I really got the full insight into what a day in the life of a lawyer is like. It was a very interesting experience; interviewing someone for that long period of time because I have never done it before. I thought that it would become painful with my repetition of asking questions but she did a great job with keeping the conversation lively and giving me responses that I could give feedback and spin off a new question with. It was also interesting to look at a practice like law in terms of the way of listening. I had some clue that law required a decent amount of listening because of clients, judges, and mediators but I had no idea how important it really was. She said that it is one of the biggest parts of her job and she has to practice listening 24/7 while she is at the firm’s office. We did not face many challenges or barriers during the interview in terms of between the interviewer and interviewee but we had to conduct the interview over the phone and I had to record it through my computer. There were some times where the channel of the message became a bit static and was hard to hear at certain parts of the interview. Other than channel of communication there were not many barriers to our interview. I believe that success in the interview came with how easily the conversation flowed. I had lots of questions written out but I only ended up using a handful of them because our conversation was able to spark new questions with almost every response. Overall, I found the project to be very interesting and very helpful for when we graduated from undergraduate school and look for jobs in the real world.
I was very excited to conduct this interview and to learn interesting things about the law profession and the interview surely provided me with that. I was able to find some key findings in my interview with the professional lawyer I had chosen, these were that law involves a lot of listening, and that nonverbal communication plays a large factor in law.
Law is an almost counselor like profession. I learned that, besides the main fact to fight cases, lawyers are hired by clients just as a person to talk to! Clients feel that it is very important to tell the lawyer their side of the story and its very important for the lawyer to actually listen, to show the client that they care about what they have to say. I came to the conclusion that this is best looked at as therapeutic listening. Lawyers are providing a service that is almost like something a therapist would provide. They are hired by a client and they have to listen to the clients problems and whatever case they are about to get into, then the lawyer provides their services to help with the clients outcome as best as they possibly can. I was told during the interview that listening can determine whether you even get hired or not! If the potential client feels that you a are not actively listening to them then they will take their business somewhere else where they feel that the lawyer actually cares about what they have to say.
Nonverbal also plays a large role in being a lawyer. While you are listening to the client you have to show good nonverbal behavior that helps the client know that you are listening. Also during things like mediation, litigation, and court; nonverbal communication can be important to show opposing council, judges, or mediators that you are listening to them and show a professional look. My Interviewee told me that during some court hearings the opposing lawyer will be on his/her phone and not really paying attention to what is going on at the moment. At this point the judge could subconsciously favor the other lawyer more just because it seems like they are paying attention and listening better.
These were the two best key findings I found during my interview. Law requires a lot of therapeutic and active listening and the nonverbal communication you show is very important as well. The interview I conducted was very interesting and I learned a lot of beneficial things from it.
Links pertain to themes found in interview.
URL Link to interview:
The professional I have chosen to interview is a Lawyer who has chosen the option to not use her name. This intelligent woman started a Law firm with her husband in 2002 after graduating from Law School in 1993. She practiced with another law firm from 1993 to 2002 until she moved on and started her own law firm. She specializes in appellant work and estate litigation. She currently still practices law. She has multiple connections throughout the state and her work can vary anywhere from Miami to Jacksonville.
This professional grew up in Florida and attended undergraduate school at the University of Florida. After she graduated from Florida she attended law school until 1993. She worked with two different law firms and has years of experience which have proven to greatly qualify her as a professional in what she does.
I chose to interview this woman because I am very interested in the field of Law. Interviewing and getting to know someone at this level of professionalism is an amazing opportunity and allows me to get a first hand look at what life is really like in the law world. I am also interviewing her because of what a great role model she is and if I ever did choose this career path I would be proud to have this interview as a helpful starting block.
- How did you first get introduced to your profession?
- At what point did you know this was what you wanted to do? What was the key factor in your decision?
- What is a typical day at the office like for you?
- Do you have advice fro someone looking to choose this profession?
- How would you define listening? What role does listening play in your profession?