One of the greatest qualities of any business lawyer is having the ability to hear the client’s needs and translate such needs in legal parlance. This seemingly simple exercise takes a lot of practice because often, clients will use industry specific terms or will not always understand the legal ramifications of their requests. On the other side, the lawyer can sometimes be paralyzed by a rigid thinking framework which does not give room for much creativity (not all problems can be solved by an IRAC memo!).
Beyond properly understanding the client, an experienced business lawyer will always think of the worst-case scenario while providing solutions to these scenarios. Such planning is key to avoid any type of business disruption.
As the relationship between the lawyer and the client grows, something interesting happens where the lawyer begins to anticipate the clients needs and proposes solutions or business strategies without having been consulted on them. That level of synchronism is what great and long-lasting relationships are made of.
Building successful business relationships is a two-way street. Clients have to trust that their lawyer has their best interest at heart and lawyers have to practice active listening to avoid providing generic advice. Giving advice also involves empowering the client to trust their instincts because sometimes, being a sounding board for our clients is all they need.