Nothing ratchets up the value of an in-house attorney as much as a satisfied client (See my post of April 8, 2007 about how to add value.). A satisfied client believes he or she has been heard well by a lawyer, gotten an answer at the right level, and understood that answer in the client’s terms.
This struck me as I read the Harvard Bus. Rev., Vol. 85, April 2007, at 25, about Michael Sheehan, “the renowned communications consultant.” Sheehand would urge lawyers – inside and outside – to LIE.
“L” is for “listen to each word of the question rather than” jumping in and answering too soon. “I” is for “identify the opportunity to answer simply or more deeply”; and “E”” stands for “enhance your reply with something memorable, such as a specific example, analogy, personal experience, or colorful phrase.” A percentage estimate will do the trick (See my post of Dec. 12, 2006 on stories as persuaders.).