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Legal Drafting Series: WHY PRELIMINARY TALK WITH A CLIENT IS VALUABLE

While meeting a client to gather the necessary information, engage in a preliminary conversation with them to understand their requirements. This brief discussion, even if conducted over the phone for just 5 minutes, can assist you in gauging the level of preparation needed before the detailed discussion.


Say, the client, in a short conversation, tells you that he has been arrayed as an accused in an FIR and he needs legal help. Now at least you know that he needs immediate help, and you will be needed to file either a quashing or an anticipatory bail petition. Since you are aware of this, you can study the latest case laws on those aspects and also prepare a list of information you need from him for drafting the appropriate petition.


This initial preparation helps you in three ways:



·      First, you will not be in the dark about the agenda of the meeting.

·      Second, your initial preparation will impress the client, showing that you are knowledgeable and competent, which will instill confidence in the client to entrust their case to you.

·      Third, and most importantly, if you have prepared yourself beforehand regarding the latest case laws or legal developments, you will not embarrass yourself by providing answers that are significantly off the mark or by having no idea how to respond when the client poses pointed queries during the meeting.


For example, suppose you have gone unprepared, and the client asks you why you can’t file a Quashing Petition and seek an interim order of no coercive steps.


You might be caught off guard if you're not well prepared, or if you're unaware of the recent Supreme Court decision in Neeharika Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. v. State of Maharashtra and Others AIR 2021 SC 1918. This ruling states that granting any stay of investigation or interim relief under Section 482 Cr.P.C. is reserved for extremely rare cases.


Not being aware of the Supreme Court's decision in Neeharika, you might advise your client that pursuing such relief is feasible and worth a try. However, later you'll find out that obtaining such relief is highly unlikely, if not impossible, because the High Courts, after the Neeharika judgment, are extremely hesitant to grant interim orders of no coercive steps in quashing petitions. This could lead to embarrassment or even losing the client due to such a mistake.


In short, having a quick chat with the client upfront is vital. It helps you understand their urgent needs and get ready. Being prepared shows you know your stuff and impresses the client, making them trust you. Plus, it means you're ready for any tough questions they ask during the meeting, avoiding awkward moments.


Taking this time upfront sets you up for success in your client meetings and legal work.



Previous Posts on Legal Drafting:

-Part 1: "Are You Afraid of Legal Drafting? 🌟 Let's Conquer it Together!" 


Part 2: Drafting Legal Documents: A Three-Stage Process


Part 3: Why Client Meeting/Interview Is Necessary


Upcoming Post:

Part 5: What To Do During A Client Meeting


 

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