In late April I attended a Portland Women in Leadership symposium, “Women Blazing Trails, presented by The Pacific Northwest Diversity Council”. The five speakers and moderator were both educational and inspiring. And when listening to how intelligence (IQ), emotions (EQ) and adaptability (AQ) are an important combination for strong and successful leadership, it dawned on me that one should be looking for that same recipe when choosing a lawyer.
IQ: Intelligence Quotient
A number used to express the apparent intelligence of a person. Naturally, you want a lawyer that is smart, educated, and proficient in their particular area of law. This is a trait that most anyone would consider important when choosing someone to help them with their estate planning, real estate transaction, lawsuit, or any legal issue.
EQ: Emotional Quotient
One’s capacity to recognize their own, and others’, emotions and use such information to guide thinking and behavior. This may not be an important trait for every legal situation. Perhaps you are have a business transaction and you simply need someone to read the documents and give you your options. However, oftentimes legal matters bring a broad range of emotional issues into the conversation. Do you want to leave your estate equally to your children or does one have greater needs? Has someone close to you destroyed your trust by stealing from your elderly parents? Are you scared that the IRS is going to take everything you own, because you made a misstep? I would wager that most legal cases would benefit from having an attorney that has a high IQ and a high EQ, for the best service and the best results.
One’s ability to adapt. Your legal journey may have many twists, turns, and options for which path to take. Having an attorney on your team that possesses a high AQ will allow you to not only better respond to the variable terrain. It will also give you numerous options for how to arrive at your destination. Having an attorney with rigid thinking may not give you all the best creative options to meet your needs.
Learning more about this alphabet soup of intelligence and ability puts a new focus on the characteristics you may want for your legal team.
Victoria Blachly is a partner at SYK, and an experienced fiduciary litigator that works with many elderly clients, cases or causes, she is also a proud Board Member for the Oregon Alzheimer’s Association Chapter.