1) 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. But it’s not all about projection. To be able to analyse what clients tell them or follow a complex testimony, a lawyer must have good listening skills.
The ability to draw reasonable, logical conclusions or assumptions from limited information is essential as a lawyer. You must also be able to consider these judgements critically, so that you can anticipate potential areas of weakness in your argument that must be fortified against. Similarly, you must be able to spot points of weakness in an oppositions argument. Decisiveness is also a part of judgement. There will be a lot of important judgement calls to make and little time for sitting on the fence.
3) Analytical skills
Both the study and practice of law involve absorbing large quantities of information, then having to distil it into something manageable and logical. At times, there will be more than one reasonable conclusion, or more than one precedent applicable to resolving a situation. A lawyer must therefore have the evaluative skills in order to choose which is the most suitable.
4) Research skills
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.
5) People skills
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 effect 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 favourable negotiation with the opposition.
“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other.” Even studying to become a lawyer takes a great deal of perseverance and commitment – and that’s before you even start work! Typically, a lawyer will do an undergraduate law degree, an LPC, and then a training contract before qualifying. Most will also complete a vacation scheme or some other kind of work experience. When working on a case, you must have the perseverance to complete the work necessary to drive it to a successful finish.
The very top lawyers are not only logical and analytical, but they display a great deal of creativity in their problem solving. The best solution is not always the most obvious and in order to outmanoeuvre your challenger it is often necessary to think outside the box.