Lieff Cabraser attorney John T. Spragens has written a piece entitled “Lawyering Through Listening” in the August 2017 issue of the American Association for Justice’s Trial Magazine. The article discusses how developing the skill of active listening in litigation matters will help in making a practitioner a better lawyer.
Spragens writes, “A lawyer’s job is to talk. We advocate for our clients and constantly make new arguments to push their cases forward so they can obtain justice. But amid all that zealous advocacy – and the hundreds of emails, calls, letters, and texts that come with it – we too often neglect another key skill: listening.”
The article goes on to note that focused listening as a lawyer can be done in different ways, whether it relates to clients, judges, witnesses, or opponents. An attorney must listen carefully to their clients, especially at the beginning of representation, to make better informed decisions during case matters. Further, lawyers are well advised to listen with particular care to the questions and concerns of the judge on any given case. There are also witnesses who need to be heard, often “the most important source of evidence” because “small clues in stray remarks can lead to important admissions.” Lastly, the legal team must listen to their opponents, as effective communication with opposing counsel can lead to an optimal resolution of the case for all parties.
About John Spragens
John Spragens is an associate in Lieff Cabraser’s Nashville office who represents plaintiffs in class action injury, consumer, and whistleblower litigation against corporations that manufacture dangerous and defective products, conspire to fix prices, and misuse taxpayer funds. A member of the firm’s defective products and personal injury practice groups, he has represented families of deceased smokers in trials in Florida federal court against the tobacco companies for their 50-year conspiracy of misrepresenting the dangers of smoking cigarettes and for intentionally engineering the design of cigarettes to make them more addictive. In 2014, he participated in a tobacco industry trial in which a jury awarded his gravely injured client $27 million in compensatory and punitive damages.