Law students are often told in school that the successful lawyer isn’t born but made. What this statement implies is that successful lawyers don’t just rely on their innate gifting but rather have acquired certain essential skills that have been honed and developed over the course of their legal careers. These 7 skills have been identified to include the following:
(1) Analytical and problem-solving skill
The lawyer is an inherent problem solver whose task it is to proffer solutions to the many challenges a client may be faced with in the course of their daily activities. All formal law school training are aimed at developing the lawyer’s legal and analytical reasoning. A successful lawyer must therefore be able to analyze facts and apply precise legal rules to them in providing solutions. Equally, they must know how to analyze both sides of an issue they are presented with.
(2) Critical reading skill
Critical reading skill make the work of the lawyer twice as easy. A successful lawyer must exhibit the ability to look beyond the face value of texts and engage them at a much deeper level of thinking. As a critical reader a good lawyer would understand there exists the world of difference between the words “may” and “shall” as used within the context of a statute. While the word “may” confers a discretion, “shall” on the other hand is an imperative.
(3) Ability to conduct rigorous research
The skill to conduct in-depth legal research is an invaluable arsenal at a lawyer’s disposal regardless of your area of practice. As problem solvers, lawyers undertake thorough legal research in finding legal precedents that will act as supporting authorities for their legal arguments or conclusions.
(4) Oral communication and listening abilities
Lawyers are well known for their oratory skills since their roles as litigators and advocates requires this of them. A lawyer who seeks a successful career in litigation must have an excellent mastery of public speaking and the art of legal advocacy as this will help them better articulate the needs of their clients. In addition to this, they are to possess good listening skills as this can greatly aid their case analysis and identification of potential legal issues when arriving at sound legal conclusions.
(5) Task organization and management skills
Within structures of law firms lawyers may be required to occupy managerial roles and supervise other colleagues. Again, lawyers are required to effectively manage and organize resources in completing tasks assigned by clients. A premium is therefore placed on any lawyer who can effectively organize and manage resources.
(6) Writing skills
Of the skills listed here, the ability to communicate and articulate thoughts on paper is perhaps the most critical to the lawyer’s career success. In legal practice lawyers write brief of arguments for matters in court and in doing so they are to write clearly, succinctly and persuasively while also presenting complex information in as simple a way as possible.
(7) Interpersonal skills
Lawyers are to possess interpersonal skills to enable them persuade clients to follow their advice or convince the opposition to negotiate a settlement that is favorable to his clients. When presenting a case, a lawyer must be able to read witnesses, how they react to statements and whether their testimony is honest and unbiased.
A youngish lawyer with penetrating insight, Patrick Herbert is the Editor-in-Chief and founder of Lawstudenthub, a site dedicated to helping new wigs find their footing in a trickily slippery legal profession and stay current with emerging developments in the legal industry. He holds an LL.B from the University of Benin and a BL from the Nigerian Law School, Abuja.
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