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Conducting a lawyer-client interview: the WASP approach (2)

Conducting a lawyer-client interview: the WASP approach

Lawyers will generally receive some training in how to conduct an effective interview as part of their law school studies. One approach taught in some English speaking countries is the WASP interview. WASP is an acronym for Welcome, Acquire information, Supply information and advise, Part.

Following the interview, the lawyer will send the client an email or letter of advice. This will confirm the facts of the case, outline the legal issues involved, give details of what the lawyer will now do and whether the client need take any action, and outline the fee structure. It may also give some initial advice.

Here are the first few lines of dialogue taken from a typical lawyer-client interview.

(Welcome/Acquire information)

Lawyer: Thanks for coming in. So, there’s a problem with your stereo?
Client: Yes. Just over two years ago I bought a high-end stereo system. Within a year, it went wrong. It suddenly went into permanent standby mode, and wouldn’t turn on. So it wouldn’t play music any more.
Lawyer: Oh dear, that doesn’t sound very good. But it would have been under guarantee. Did you contact the seller?
Client: Yes. They repaired it, but the same problem happened four more times. The problem was never properly fixed. And now that we’re past the two-year guarantee period, the seller says that there’s nothing they can do.

(Supply information)

Lawyer: Well, under normal circumstances that would be correct. The statutory guarantee period is two years. But from what you say, it sounds as though there was some basic problem that was never properly addressed. It’s certainly unreasonable for the seller to rely on the two-year guarantee period if the same problem recurred repeatedly throughout those two years.

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