For the majority of people in the world, the thought of having to face a judge or jury is one of the most daunting things imaginable. The weight of the law is intimidating by design as the execution of fair justice is paramount in maintaining a functioning society. Because of the inherent importance of legal proceedings, lawyers must show both extensive bits of knowledge of laws and regulations as well as razor-sharp skills of litigation.
But what are the seven most important things a lawyer must have to advance on the career ladder?
A prerequisite not just for lawyers but for any job, passion is the most important factor in getting ahead in your chosen career. The old saying, “Do what you love and love what you do” is a universal truth. A person who is passionate about their work will always go further as that enthusiasm for what they are doing will help them to go the extra mile. Studying and practicing law is a long and difficult process and as with anything that requires tremendous effort, the work always seems easier when it is something that we enjoy doing and in which we see the intrinsic value. The rule of law is paramount to society and a good lawyer should be passionate about its execution.
The second quality that a lawyer must have to advance on the career ladder is good judgment. The circumstances surrounding even a relatively minor case can be extremely complex and confusing, and a good lawyer must be able to wisely judge what is useful to their case and what is not. This can be evidence that strengthens the case of the lawyer’s client or that weakens the case of the opposition. It is usually impractical in big cases for legal teams to present all of the evidence and information so lawyers have to choose the evidence which will provide the best opportunity for a favorable outcome. It takes excellent judgment to wade through the ocean of evidence and identify what is best to present in the case.
The third important quality of a good lawyer is diligence. No matter what kind of law they are practicing, a lawyer's job is hard and requires very long hours and long working weeks. Preparation is key as lawyers must spend extensive amounts of time researching and preparing cases as well as staying up to date on ever-changing laws and legislation. Whilst practicing law takes a lot of hard work, a dedicated lawyer will reap the benefits of their diligence both financially and with career advancement.
Empathy and communication skills
The fourth most important quality for a lawyer is empathy. A lawyer must be able to put himself in their client's shoes to fully understand the client's needs. Lawyers are often responsible for representing people in emotionally sensitive times. For example, as expressed by one family law firm in this URL, family lawyers must, “Create peace of mind for clients facing divorce and custody battles.” In these examples, a lawyer is almost acting as a kind of therapist and must present as a non-judgmental and sympathetic confidante. Alongside empathy, good communication skills are needed in order to explain legal terms and practices to clients, most of whom will have no background or expertise in law. Legal jargon is alien to the majority of us and lawyers must be able to explain it to their clients in a simple and easily understandable way.
Another extremely important quality that the very best lawyers have in abundance is creativity. If you think about some of the famous trials that caught the public's attention, famous lawyers involved used memorable tactics and one-liners. For example, everybody remembers Johnnie Cochran’s famous line in his defense of OJ Simpson,” If the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit!” Lawyers who are creative and adaptable can gain a winning advantage even when the chips seemed stacked against them. There are so many practicing lawyers these days, so a top lawyer needs a unique set of skills to stand out in order to attract important clients and strong creativity skills are a great selling point.
Project management and delegation skills
The sixth most important quality is good project management and delegation skills. This is particularly important in big cases where more than one lawyer is representing the parties. The lead lawyer on the case must delegate tasks to each lawyer on the team. In order to do this effectively, the lead lawyer must identify and utilize the skills of each team member to optimize the overall potential of the case. The lead lawyer must delegate the research to the team member with the strongest research skills, send another lawyer on the team to talk to witnesses and rely on the most creative lawyers on the team to prepare opening and closing statements.
Skills in research and analysis
The final skills that all lawyers require are an aptitude for research and analysis. At the end of the day, most cases come down to the facts and a lawyer’s ability to uncover those facts, analyze them accurately, and present them in a convincing way is at the very essence of their job. The very best lawyers have incredible analytic minds and this can help them pick out important minute details without losing sight of the bigger picture. Top lawyers must be able to utilize modern technology and resources to build the best possible case for their clients.
Practicing law is a very complex and highly skilled job. Even in everyday cases, a good lawyer has a decisive role to play. A career in legal practice requires lawyers to constantly evolve and they never stop learning and adapting to changes in law and society. It is no doubt a high-pressure job, but one which can be extremely fulfilling. Lawyers are pivotal to society and whilst the profession is changing all the time, these seven qualities will always be vital.