7 Key Skills for Lawyers
Master these skills to advance your career and fulfil your professional potential
By Lucy Taylor, 16 May, 2018
The legal sector is hugely competitive. If you want to land a top job, you need to have the knowledge and the skills to get your foot in the door. And you need to be that bit better than the person standing next to you. Whether you dream of being a criminal lawyer, a corporate lawyer, a family lawyer or an employment lawyer, here are 7 key skills for lawyers. You'll need to master these skills to advance your career and fulfil your professional potential.
Both written and face to face communication is a huge part of your job as a lawyer. You need to be able to express yourself eloquently when arguing in court or negotiating settlements. You need to know how to listen in order to build relationships and a sense of confidence with your clients. And you need to have the communication skills to work well within a team of lawyers if you are to get ahead.
Research and Analysis Skills
As a lawyer, you have to read and process huge amounts of information – information that is often very technical and complex. From that information, you need to glean the useful sections and be able to explain them to your client. Sometimes there may be more than one reasonable conclusion so you’ll need to use your analytical skills to determine which option is more relevant to the case at hand.
Law firms look for graduates with the highest academic qualifications. A good quality degree from a reputable university will show prospective employers that you have the ability to process complex information and draw conclusions from it. They’ll want to know that you have the intellectual ability to cope with such a demanding job and your grades are the first indication of this.
Perseverance has a role to play throughout your legal career. First of all, you need to work hard to get onto a law course. Then you have to fulfil a number of training stages in order to qualify as a lawyer. Then you need to enter a competitive job market to pursue the right opportunities. Resilience is essential if you’re to survive knockbacks and rejections along the way.
Being a lawyer isn’t just about academic and technical knowledge. The ability to think creatively will also serve you well. The most obvious solution isn’t always the best one. And thinking outside the box can help you to outmaneuver your opponent. Creativity along with logic and analysis is a seriously useful skill to have.
Any lawyer will tell you that there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. A challenging workload goes hand in hand with the job. This means you need excellent time management skills. You’ll need to meet deadlines, juggle competing priorities and multi-task each and every single day. Disorganisation in this regard will really hinder your career progress.
Securing work in the legal sector can be attributed to your good academic record along with your soft and hard skills. But who as well as what you know also has a big part to play. If you can build relationships with industry leaders, you could land a placement, a training contract or even a huge job opportunity much more easily than by sending a faceless application in the post.
Successful lawyers are well-rounded, fiercely intelligent and hugely determined individuals. If you dream of a career in the legal sector or are just starting out on a legal training pathway, work to develop these skills now. They will stand you in good stead at every stage of your development as a lawyer.
Lucy Taylor is an avid blogger who enjoys sharing her tips and suggestions with her online readers. Working as a legal expert at LY Lawyers, Lucy often helps people dealing with legal problems, addictions and crime.