St. Thomas Law Review

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This article will progress as follows. In Part 1, I discuss both the medical profession and the legal profession's challenges in relation to effective communication with patients and clients. I suggest that the medical profession's response, specifically as it relates to delivering bad news, has been more proactive and widespread than the legal profession's response. Part 2 briefly reviews research dealing with legal clients' emotional responses to different forms of communication, with a view supporting the argument that clarity of information, empathic responses to clients' reactions, and collaborative problem-solving are important elements of a professional relationship. Part 3 introduces the SPIKES model, applies it with some modifications to a legal setting, and discusses the benefits to lawyers of adopting this type of model. In Part 4, I engage in a hypothetical "bad news" client discussion using the SPIKES model.