4  Working with other professionals

I mean there are solicitors I know I’m going to deal with and it’s going to be a battle. Other solicitors I know who will work on what I consider the correct way of doing things, which is as a collaborative effort to get the right result for both clients.

(Solicitor, Scotland)

It is important to remember that everyone has emotions, not just clients and colleagues. Although other professionals may attempt to project a ‘professional’ persona they will be experiencing emotional cues and reactions themselves (however well-regulated). Many of the suggestions above will also apply to your relationships with counsel, expert witnesses and others.

Below are some additional useful points to remember:

  • Professionals often have a strong sense of professional identity, in other words, of how someone in their particular position should be and act. This is likely to influence their responses and behaviour. This can be positive, like being polite and courteous in discussions but it can also be negative, e.g. someone specialising in litigation demonstrating an aggressive approach. Understanding how someone perceives their professional identity can help provide you with insights into how to deal with them effectively.
  • If someone is being critical or disparaging in their dealings with you, this is likely to be a projection of their own insecurities or issues. It is important not to take it as a valid judgement on your own attitude or abilities.
  • Other professionals are not immune to issues with emotions and wellbeing. You may notice signs that someone is distressed or struggling to cope in some situations. Depending on your relationship, you may be able to raise this with the individual yourself or consider raising this with someone else in their organisation.

It’s also because we have a duty to make sure and to promote the wellbeing of colleagues, you know, who are legal colleagues and other colleagues as well, not just legal colleagues.

(Barrister, Northern Ireland)

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