The Lawyer’s Intercultural Communication Problems with Clients from Diverse Cultures

Kessler, Joan B. | January 1, 1988

The role of the lawyer is currently in a state of flux. Former Chief Justice Warren Burger has repeatedly called upon the legal community to increase the study of communication skills in law schools. Other legal and communication scholars have recently discussed the importance of communication skills for the lawyer. More and more lawyers are becoming aware of the importance of understanding the research tools and theories used in communication research. The goal of this Perspective is to unify some of the empirical studies in the social sciences and law and to develop a theoretical model of intercultural interviewing and counseling that can be applied in the legal setting. Intercultural communication problems have been widely studied in doctor-patient and psychologist-client settings. However, few articles have been written on the subject in the lawyer-client context. A second goal of this Perspective is to encourage further empirical research geared specifically toward intercultural communication in the legal setting.