Burg Simpson Attorney Ronda M. Kelso Interviewed by Law 360®
Do Stand-Up Comedians and Lawyers Have a Similar Skill Set?
Effective communication and active listening are essential skills for both improv performers and attorneys. In a recent article published in Law 360, author Jack Karp wonders if a lawyer’s ability to perform stand-up comedy could make them better listeners. Mr. Karp says improv instructors who specialize in teaching lawyers have indicated that many attorneys would be well-served by performing improv. They say the active listening, storytelling, and communication skills lawyers learn while performing on stage are also central to many of the skills required to succeed both in and out of the courtroom.
According to Steve Hohman, the creative director of Haus of Improv, “Performing improv successfully is 90% about being a good listener and only 10% about being clever. That is kind of how it works for attorneys as well.” Mr. Hohman offers workshops for attorneys and other professionals.
Medical Malpractice Attorney Ronda M. Kelso Interviewed by Law 360
Ronda Kelso, a medical malpractice lawyer at Burg Simpson’s office in Phoenix, AZ, has taken classes at Haus of Improv. Ms. Kelso firmly believes that learning to listen and respond empathetically to her clients while continuing to get information from them is an important skill that she has honed through improv. She says that medical malpractice attorneys spend a lot of time interviewing clients and patients, and some of those topics can be hard to discuss. When interviewed by Law 360, she said, “You’re maybe having a very difficult conversation, and the goal is to be empathetic in your responses but to continue to have that story be told.”
The Importance of Effective Communication and Active Listening
The importance of effective communication and active listening cannot be overemphasized in the practice of law. Attorneys must engage in ongoing communications with clients, opposing parties, other attorneys, legal professionals, and the courts. Lawyers must be able to communicate in a manner that is clear, concise, and persuasive. Additionally, they must convey their thoughts and ideas across various venues and communicate effectively in courtrooms before a judge and jury and in group discussions, private interactions, formal legal writing, informal emails, and telephone conversations.
To communicate effectively, lawyers must also be willing to actively listen to their clients if they are to understand and address the client’s priorities and objectives fully. Lawyers must seek to obtain all relevant information, analyze their findings, and create a strategic plan of action. Lawyers who have mastered the art of active listening know that their command of this skill can be the difference between winning a case and losing one.
If it is determined that improv is indeed an effective way to teach lawyers how to communicate more effectively and master the art of active listening, it makes you wonder what law school will be the first to add “Stand Up Comedy 101” to the first-year curriculum!
Ronda M. Kelso practiced law for five years before joining Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, PC, in 2017. Before practicing law, Ms. Kelso was a certified pediatric nurse. After working with children, Ms. Kelso entered the legal field as a nurse consultant to hospitals, physicians, and individual clients and families with regard to medical malpractice claims.
Ms. Kelso has experience working closely with clients who were injured as a result of medical negligence. She received her undergraduate degree from Arizona State University, B.S., Nursing, magna cum laude, and her law degree from California Western School of Law in downtown San Diego.
One of America’s foremost plaintiff trial firms, Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, has a longstanding and nationwide reputation for fighting relentlessly and successfully for victims of negligence, malfeasance, malpractice, and abuse. Our attorneys have never hesitated to fight for our client’s rights and consistently face and defeat formidable adversaries, including big insurance companies, banks, and pharma. As a result, Burg Simpson has secured more than $2.7 billion in verdicts, settlements, and judgments in practice areas spanning catastrophic personal injury, mass tort and class actions regarding gas explosions, dangerous pharmaceutical drugs and devices, medical malpractice, complex commercial and business litigation, construction defects, and workers’ compensation. The firm’s success has also included more than 200 recoveries in excess of $1 million.
If you have been severely injured by the negligence of another party, call Burg Simpson for help now. Our firm offers a free case evaluation for our potential new clients. You can access the case evaluation form at www.burgsimpson.com.
Call Burg Simpson for help now at 888 895-2080