ExecutiveChronicles | Essential Skills Needed for a Successful Law Career | The law is an extensive field, and lawyers and attorneys could work in a number of different areas throughout their careers, all involving different roles and responsibilities. However, there are still certain hard and soft skills each legal professional should have in order to succeed, thrive, and make a name for themselves in the industry. If you want to improve your skillsets in order to become a notable industry professional, here are some of the most essential skills you should focus on for a successful career in law:
Attorneys work in dynamic environments that require individuals to come up with creative solutions and think outside the box in an effort to achieve a favorable outcome. The answer to clients’ legal issues might not always be obvious, which is why exploring new tactics, arguments, avenues, and ideas is crucial for doing your job efficiently. To that end, it might be a good idea to begin working on your problem-solving and creative thinking skills early on, such as joining competitions and teams while still in law school.
Attention to detail
Whether you are proofreading contracts in order to find missing links or even going through evidence and case files in an effort to discover that one piece of information to support your claims, you will always be faced with large, unclear, and often complicated documents as a lawyer. Having the ability to easily spot even the smallest of details can be an essential factor of success. So, try to improve your attention and focus, take your time when reading documents, and actively work on increasing your observational skills if you wish to improve attention to detail.
While attention to detail represents the ability to spot a needle in a haystack, logical reasoning involves questioning what that needle entails, what it truly means, and whether similar needles have previously been spotted elsewhere. No matter which piece of information you are working with, questioning its relevance and validity, as well as seeing whether it fits into your narrative and helps build the case, will be a vital part of your work. Logical reasoning will allow you to find necessary explanations and patterns, leading to smarter, more calculated, and more purposeful cases.
The job of a lawyer is primarily to provide a good service to their clients. That is why actively listening to clients, attempting to better understand their concerns, and tailoring your efforts to their needs is quite so important. This is especially true when it comes to wills & estates lawyers, for instance, as this is quite a personal, emotional, and often complicated field that requires lawyers to clearly understand the wishes and needs of their clients. The more detailed knowledge you have of applicable laws and the more relevant experience you can acquire, the more likely you will be to adapt your style of communication to suit each client.
If your goal is to become a barrister, verbal communication will likely be among the most important elements of your job, as your main role will be to effectively present your arguments to the judge or the jury in an effort to make a good case. But communication is not something you could avoid as a solicitor either, considering the fact that phone calls, client meetings, and presentations will make up most of your workday. To enhance your verbal communication skills, be concise and confident, try to employ active listening, be mindful of your body language and tone, and attempt to practice your skills through public speaking, debates, and other similar events.
A significant part of your work as an attorney will likely include writing. From drafting documents and contracts to composing letters and emails to clients, writing is truly an inevitable part of the job. This could be particularly important if your specialization is civil rights law, medical malpractice law, family law, or another form of law where written correspondence is the only viable way of communicating with your clients. Of course, general communication skills can be applied to this aspect as well, but good written communication will also require you to improve your writing skills by paying attention to proper grammar and punctuation and developing an articulate and fluent writing style.
Independence and initiative
Being decisive whenever the situation demands such behavior is another crucial skill all good lawyers should have. During the course of your career, you will be given plenty of responsibility, you will have to make quite important decisions at times, and you will need to find solutions to difficult problems on your own, instead of relying on others. For that reason, working on your decisiveness, attempting to be more independent, and learning how to take initiative are all important aspects that could significantly affect the overall success of your law career.
While different types of legal careers could vary greatly in terms of the scope and responsibilities, specific core skills are needed in all of them. This extensive list will hopefully allow you to enhance some of the most important skills every lawyer should have, in order to achieve greater success.