When lawyers must give clients "bad news," they should draw upon the lessons that emerge from the world of medical counseling. Lawyers must be direct and candid about the state of affairs. They must fully describe how grim the situation appears nd explain why this is their opinion. They must enter into a dialogue in which the client's questions are answered and the client's feelings are respected and responded to. Lawyers must be self-aware in order to avoid re-sponding dysfunctionally to the client's reactions. They should show empathy and communicate hope to the "whole person" who is the client. Only after delivering and processing "bad news" n this way can the lawyer counsel the client about choices and_ plans for the future.
Linda F. Smith, Medical Paradigms for Counseling: Giving Clients Bad News, 4 Clinical. L. Rev. 391 (1998)