By Andrea D. Smith, Esq.
An anxious client may cope by researching the law on the Internet. With empathy and attention, you can help them manage stress and even help their case in ways you might not expect.
Hear your client out. Although it may be information you already know, what your client is googling or seeking more information about may help you to determine how to advise your client, give you further guidance on the facts of the case, and may help you to alleviate some of your client’s anxiety about the case.
Structure your client’s search. If you have a client inclined to do their own research, it may be helpful to suggest topics for their research. This gives you more control over what the client is viewing and allows you to be more prepared to discuss it with him or her.
Encourage research through the Maryland Courts website. Walk the client through the resources available through the official website for Maryland’s court system. Not only does this website provide a plethora of information, this information is accurate, current, and relevant to cases pending in the state of Maryland.
Set up recurring appointments. Set up a recurring time, as your caseload permits, to speak with the client about questions or concerns he or she may have. Carving out time where the client knows he or she can speak with you about concerns may help reduce the client’s need to exercise self-help.
Andrea D. Smith is an Assistant County Attorney with the Baltimore County Office of Law.