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Lawyers pride themselves on their ability to write and speak… and for good reason. To run a successful practice, you need to communicate sophisticated ideas clearly. Connecting with people is particularly important when you practice estate planning. In addition to drafting estate planning documents properly and in plain English (so your clients can actually understand what they mean), you need to be empathetic. After all, by its very nature, estate planning deals with an uncomfortable subject. Many clients are fearful and reluctant even to think about end of life issues. Communicating successfully with them means more than just using “clear language” – it means establishing rapport and trust. You need to anticipate their anxieties and concerns and put them to bed.

But, while law school and legal practice focus heavily on writing and speaking skills, they forget their equally essential counterpart: listening. Read this Insight Brief to learn 5 big mistakes to avoid in client meetings.