Best Practices for Interviewing Traumatized Clients (Update)
Created on January 22, 2019
Attorneys must often take the worst stories their clients carry, and the most vulnerable situations they have faced, and try to mold them into cognizable claims for relief. One of an attorney’s greatest assets are their memories of their clients, particularly the specific details they use to show credibility. However, the effect of trauma on memory is well documented - often times the most painful moments are hardest to clearly remember. So how can attorneys help their clients to remember the things anyone would want to forget?
In this update to his 2018 program, attorney Geoff Trenchard discusses the latest research in neuropsychology and what it can tell us about how people remember. He will provide practical strategies for conducting client intake interviews with clients who have faced trauma. He will review concrete techniques to reduce client stress during intake interviews, as well as how to best support clients before, during, and after testimony. Finally, he will look at what attorneys can do to support themselves and their colleagues performing this vital and difficult work.
- Explore the definition of trauma, and how it can affect your client’s recollection
- Consider the steps an attorney should take before a client interview even begins
- Develop an effective structure for your client interview
- Discuss other practical considerations to consider when conducting a client interview, including reviewing attorney-client privilege, translating during an interview, and properly framing questions
- Review important next steps after conducting a client interview
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