I had a friend at University Rory O’Brien who used to often say when stressed ‘A pint of plain is your only man’. Once in front of a pint of plain he would wax lyrical on all manner of subjects but often on Irish literature including and his love of his namesake Flann O’Brien. It was there that I gained a window into a world of bizarre dark humour that are novels At Swim Two Birds and The Third Policeman. From all of that unfortunately I remember very little (perhaps because of those pints of plain) but there is one passage I do recall and it goes ‘A wise old owl once lived in a wood, the more he said the less he heard, the less he said the more he heard, let’s emulate this wise old bird.’
Rory himself never took this advice back then but for lawyers it is wise advice indeed. When meeting clients, preparing for a meeting with opponents or court the major focus tends to be on what you are going to say. That you prepare in detail. It is important to get your points across clearly, with authority and persuasively. If you do that you consider it a job well done. In general you are concerned with yourself and your performance. If you however pause for a moment and emulate the wise old bird you will realise that equally if not more importantly is not what you say but what you hear. Listening is key to achieving results because only by listening very carefully can we really understand the heart of the issues. In our modern rush rush lives there is a tendency to rush at everything and the first casualty of rushing is listening and not giving a client or opponent a chance to say what is on their mind. At Briffa we recognise that to do the best work and to give the best advice we must first listen carefully and we make sure we give you time to ‘tell us all about it.’ In that way we can be confident that our advice is the best available and will truly help you achieve your business goals.
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