When making the decision to hire a personal injury lawyer, there is a lot to consider. Certainly, you want to hire a lawyer/firm that has experience, – especially in the area of your injury claim – gets results, and has a good reputation. But most who have suffered an injury through the negligence of another are looking for more. In many cases, they have suffered a life-altering trauma that has left them frightened, confused, and frustrated. They are worried about their jobs, the ability to take care of their families, and not knowing if their lives will ever be the same. Although the end game is a settlement in their favor that will take care of problems like these, it’s a tough road to get there. And the best way an attorney can help the victim through this journey is by showing empathy and resilience.
Empathy vs. Sympathy
People often confuse empathy and sympathy. Both concepts provide “comfort” to another person. The difference is, sympathy is the expression of compassion, while empathy involves sharing in an individual’s emotion. To provide better examples. Saying “I’m sorry,” is showing sympathy. You show empathy by providing support and comfort, and saying something like, “I understand what you are going through. I have worked with others experiencing the same, and I’m here to help you get through it.”
To further complicate things, attorneys must navigate through two types of empathy: cognitive and emotional. Cognitive empathy involves thinking from the same mindset as the client. Emotional empathy is expressed when you can imagine what the client is feeling.
The Importance of Empathy
All members of a personal injury law firm should be trained in empathy and resilience, as it needs to be shown starting at the moment an injured individual reaches out. The person answering the call or having the initial discussion needs to make an emotional connection. By putting the potential client at ease, the more comfortable they will be, making it easier for them to hire your firm for the case.
The last person an injured individual wants to deal with is someone who is insincere, shows no empathy, and comes across as uncaring. Being empathetic allows an attorney to connect with the human side of every case. Understanding how much the individual’s life is affected by the injury, and knowing that they are going through severe emotional and financial trauma shows them that they are dealing with someone they can trust and who will support them through the entire legal process.
Resilience Promotes Confident Relationships
In many cases, a person who has filed a personal injury claim is going through the lowest moment of their life. In order to help the client, it is vitally important for an attorney to deal with “stress-related growth.” That means being resilient. However, there is a problem. Personality research indicates that lawyers as a group tend to score quite low in that trait, in the 30th percentile or lower.
Why do personal injury attorneys in particular need to be more sympathy and resilience than other lawyers? First and foremost, in many cases, personal injury claims can take years to litigate or negotiate. That means not only does the attorney need to stay focused and motivated, he/she has to keep their client engaged, up to date on the progress of the case, and confident that their legal team is able to handle anything that comes their way. The last thing a personal injury attorney can do is become “burned out,” because often, that will result in negative things happening for the case. That said, studies have shown that lawyers who show empathy and resilience handle four specific things better than most:
1. Resiliency breeds INSPIRATION
A resilient lawyer is a motivated lawyer. He/she realizes their work has significant value, and that what they may do/not due will have a significant impact on their client. Losing motivation and energy often has a negative impact on a case. Inspired lawyers don’t let that happen.
2. Resilient lawyers think DIFFERENTLY
When put in a stressful situation, a resilient lawyer don’t crack. They act with purpose. They think out-of-the-box to come with a different solution. They use their legal training as a tool to help their client, not hinder them. A resilient lawyer doesn’t create problems, they solve them.
3. Resilient lawyers turn their Stress Response into a POSITIVE
Dealing with stress allows an attorney to become more resilient because in many cases it causes them to reach out to others, allowing them to find help from other sources. This is important because it means their client(s) can depend on them to continue fighting for them, because they are willing to go outside of usual boundaries to deal with negative situations and come up with solutions. The ability to deal with stress positively is a highly desirable trait among legal professionals.
4. Resilient lawyers are GIVERS, not TAKERS
Being able to deal with high stress situations by being more resilient shows that an individual is able to maintain quality connections with others. Because the lawyer/client relationship is built upon trust, being able to maintain relationships is another positive example of being able to give, as opposed to take. Top attorneys know that the relationships they’ve developed with clients must continue to grow and improve, in order to be meaningful. And at the end of the day, positive relationships are more apt to lead to positive results and outcomes.
The ability to show empathy and resilience are vitally important skills for the personal injury attorney. Showing potential clients that you have both traits, and are willing to use them to build better relationships, and provide a better outcome for the client will play a huge role in the client’s decision to hire your firm versus another.
Have you or a loved one suffered an injury where someone else may have been at fault? The personal injury attorneys at GOLDLAW have the experience and personal skills to help you if you have a case. For a COMPLIMENTARY consultation about an incident, please contact us at 561-222-2222.