After nearly two decades of specialising in disputes, the following are the two questions that one should always pose. Sure, they are both trite, but nail these two questions and multiple possible solutions will immediately be unearthed. Creatively exploring these options – most of which will be fanciful – never ceases to clarify thinking, in both the client and the lawyer. For in disputes, it is easy to get lost in the emotion and the detail: the big picture is usually key.

I bet that these questions can be deployed in multifarious situations, too.

  1. “If I had a magic wand,” asks the lawyer, “what outcome could I get for you?” I.e. paint me your utopia, dear client.
  2. And a client should always be prompted to ask the lawyer this: “If you were me, what would you do?” No escape for the lawyer!

It’s amazing how infrequently these two questions are posed.

(Image from Stable Diffusion with the prompt “client asking a lawyer a question in an office”)