By Candice Larson • February 08, 2018•Careers, Legal Academia
To become a lawyer is to become a person of many hats. Law schools will teach you some of the skills you need, but they cannot teach character. In order to become a “good” lawyer, you have to naturally have certain qualities. Some of these qualities you have discovered within yourself in your time as a law student, but others may need to be worked on.
Below are some of the qualifications of becoming a good lawyer in any field:
Good communication skills
Lawyers must be orally articulate, have good written communication skills and also be good listeners. In order to argue convincingly in the courtroom before juries and judges, good public speaking skills are essential. Communication and speaking skills can be developed during your studies by taking part in activities such as mooting or general public speaking. Lawyers must also be able to write clearly, persuasively and concisely, as they must produce a variety of legal documents.
All attorneys including Parramatta lawyers should be able to look at any situation and analyze it from all points of view. Criminal defense attorneys have to look at the case from the view of the prosecutor, and vice versa and clearly draw the line in the criminal law. All lawyers must be able to take in large amounts of information at a time, organize it, and understand it on the spot. When a case is in session, curveballs will likely be thrown, and they have to be able to interpret and respond to them appropriately.
Those working in the legal profession must have perseverance. Often, cases require many hours of work with heavy research and lots of writing. A good lawyer or legal assistant must be willing to put in the time it takes to get the job done.
As the complexity of cases continues to increase, the ability to effectively manage projects is a must. Maintaining a big picture perspective, while managing the details and sticking to a timeline, requires a skill set that is not often considered when reflecting on the work of attorneys.
Accountability goes beyond just being accountable personally. There is a definite business need for lawyers to be accountable to those they work with, work for, and represent. Without accountability, long term success becomes a more difficult goal.
Similarly, being able to research quickly and effectively is essential to understanding your clients, their needs, and to preparing legal strategies. Preparing legal strategies requires absorbing and comprehending large amounts of information, then distilling them down into something manageable and useful.
Law is not an abstract practice. Irrelevant of how well someone does academically, at the end of the day lawyers work with people, on behalf of people, and the decisions that are made affect peoples’ lives. They must be personable, persuasive and able to read others. This allows them to gauge juror’s reactions and the honesty of witnesses. This allows them to decide upon the best approach to take in order to achieve the desired outcome: either clients taking their advice or reaching a favorable negotiation with the opposition.
In order to properly understand the case, all lawyers must listen to their clients. Without listening skills, the lawyer will miss pertinent information. For the strongest case possible, the lawyer must understand every aspect of the case and look at it from all angles.
Far more important than any other trait, negotiation skill will get you the most value from a lawyer. Good lawyer-negotiators seek to leave all parties feeling like a reasonable outcome was achieved, rather than trying to run over the opposition. It means you get a fair outcome, and you feel good about your outcome. It means the outcome is also workable and has staying power.
A great lawyer is creative and able to think of reasonable solutions when problems and unique situations arise.