Importance of a Strong Attorney-Client Relationship

The following is an excerpt from an interview with Maryland criminal defense attorney Seth Okin.

Question: What are the most important factors in establishing a strong attorney-client relationship?

Seth Okin: The most important thing is conversation. We all have the ability to talk, and we all have the ability to hear what people are saying. But are you really listening? That’s what’s important. We all say a lot of things, we all hear a lot of things, but if you listen, you really establish trust. Your client has to know that you are listening to them. Your client has to know that you are actually part of the conversation. There’s nothing more important than that, and that’s what sets you apart. A client may have met with ten different attorneys, but then they look you in the eye and say, “Thank you so much. I didn’t think anyone was listening to what I was saying. I think they just looked at me as a paycheck.” It’s nice to be able to get paid for what I do, I’m not looking to be a millionaire off of it, I’m looking to give the best representation possible to my client.

They’re paying me to do a service, but I’m cognizant every step of the way when I work for them. I tell my clients, “I work for you.” That’s a way to give your clients power so that they know they’re in charge; they’re running the show. From the moment we start talking, I give them every bit of detail, every opportunity to be honest with me, so we can build the best defense possible against their charges.