Not all clients are the same, and a lawyer must learn to "read" them and adapt his or her communication style accordingly.

That was the message Lynn E. Rzonca, managing partner of the Philadelphia office of Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP, carried to the Pennsylvania Bar Association Commission On Women in the Profession (WIP) at the 2008 Fall Retreat & Leadership Forum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, earlier this month. Ms. Rzonca addressed basic communication behavior styles and the best way to work with clients and colleagues in the panel session "Communicating as an Effective Leader."

She also advised participants in WIP's two-day forum, "Taking Your Legal Leadership Skills to the Next Level," to be sensitive to the many facets that comprise communication: verbal, non-verbal, comportment, and written communications.  All of these facets play a role in how attorneys are perceived.  New attorneys, in particular, need to be aware of how they are perceived through each of these channels.

Effective presentation in the courtroom demands similar skills, Ms. Rzonca said.  Be direct, speak slowly, and give your audience time to digest your message.

Ms. Rzonca is a partner in the Litigation Department and a member of the Intellectual Property Group. She concentrates her practice on intellectual property and litigation counseling. She has handled a wide range of intellectual property litigation matters, including patent, trademark, trade dress, trade secret theft, non-compete agreements, false advertising, counterfeiting, and copyright claims, as well as Internet issues.

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