Accomplished attorneys do not achieve their success solely through their knowledge of the law. Like any other industry, there is a balance of various skills that are required to obtain a prestigious reputation. Lawyers have demanding jobs, long hours, and getting to the top may not be as easy as it seems.
The Top 5 Skills Lawyers Need to Be Successful
Strong communication skills
Most attorneys will need to articulate their cases orally, have good written skills, and listen to their clients as well as opposing counsel. To convince judges, juries, and fellow attorneys to see your client’s point of view, great public speaking skills are essential. Many lawyers take years to develop these skills, so take every opportunity to speak in public that you possibly can to remove any fear early on. This will allow you to get into the habit of expressing your opinion smoothly and succinctly. Listening to testimony is not just about what someone is saying – it’s also about body language and tone, so the better you are at giving someone your full attention, the greater the chance of fully understanding their perspective.
The study and practice of law requires attorneys to absorb large quantities of complex information in a rather short period of time. They then have to analyze and interpret these laws in a way that makes logical sense for their cases. At times, more than one reasonable conclusion may be reached, and it is the job of a good lawyer to anticipate weaknesses and loopholes, and find a way to defend against them.
Knowing where to look quickly and effectively can save time and show your clients that you understand their needs. It can also give legal teams more time to focus on other important tasks, like prepping witnesses, or coming up with rebuttals. Research skills require a good memory and high organizational skills.
It doesn’t matter how smart or prepared you are for a case if you can’t work effectively with people – your clients, coworkers, opposing attorneys, judges, witnesses, etc. Lawyers must be personable to a degree in which they are able to read others and have leverage when it comes to persuasion. Lawyers who have a bad reputation when it comes to working with others will have to work extremely hard to get clients, win cases, and get referrals to grow their business.
When the logic of the law does not work in their favor, great lawyers get creative and figure out a way to get things done. The best solution may not be the most obvious, but lawyers who want to succeed cannot be afraid to think outside the box and take risks.