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There are lots of attorneys out there who specialize in various fields of law. For instance, there are sexual assault lawyers, criminal attorneys, tax lawyers, family lawyers and estate attorneys, to name a few. However, how many of these attorneys are really successful in their careers? One of the longest admission exams in the United States (just check out Delaware Bar Exam information, for example) and skills that every lawyer should be able to demonstrate. However below are the 10 essential skills that are vital for everyone who dreams of becoming a successful lawyer.
1) Project management
While it may be fun to think that a litigator’s job is simply to argue in court in front of a judge, the reality is that the vast majority of a lawyer’s job includes long and complex projects.
To be a successful attorney, you must be organized and know how to manage a project efficiently. This is especially true for projects/cases that can last for months or even years.
The same principle applies to transactional attorneys and settlement negotiators.There is no doubt that there are many attorneys out there today. However, how many of these attorneys are really successful in their careers? One of the longest admission exams in the United States and skills that every lawyer should be able to demonstrate.Click To Tweet
2) Customer service
Being a lawyer means being in the service industry. Whether your client is a bank, a multi-million dollar business, or someone who gets divorced or suffers a personal injury, that client will communicate with you throughout the process to understand what is going on with your case.
You are responsible for updating your client and answering their questions. As time goes on, some of the old legal responsibilities like sitting in the basement and writing pleadings become less difficult as technology increases, so it’s important to remember that customer service skills can make a difference.
3) Stress management
Most of the work that lawyers do requires problem-solving. Attorneys solve problems for clients in difficult and stressed situations.
As an attorney, you must be willing to put the client’s stress on your own shoulders and be able to maintain your composure.
Being able to manage your stress in the workplace is a vital skill for a lasting career as a lawyer.
4) Writing and rhetoric skills
There is an old joke that lawyers spend two minutes composing an email response and 13 minutes reviewing and adjusting the response.
This is because specific language will always be important… especially for an attorney. Oftentimes, substantial sums of money can depend on the balance of a single word in a negotiated agreement or contract.
All attorneys have seen settlements that have been terminated after contract litigation due to a single ambiguous word.
Writing and rhetoric skills both in and out of the courtroom are important when it comes to clients and contracts/agreements.
5) Always focused
A successful attorney must be able to focus on whatever job is important and while this may seem like an obvious skill, it is extremely important for attorneys to master in order to be successful.
The main reason is that lawyers are often caught up in multitasking and juggling multiple tasks.
While solving a complex and multifaceted problem, they can also be frequently interrupted by clients and other team members.
In a world where interruptions continue to increase, a senior attorney has to work on his ability to concentrate in order to resolve the issues at hand and keep the error rate low or nonexistent.
The smallest detail that goes unnoticed can be detrimental to the outcome of the case.
6) Technological (operational) skills
It wasn’t long ago that older lawyers insisted they didn’t need to understand “that new tech stuff.”
But those lawyers are now losing more and more. There are now many lawyers in the workforce and with increased competition prices are being reduced.
That means lawyers need to work and use technology to lower the cost of delivering their productions so they can continue to make a decent profit.
For example, attorneys should be able to use tap-to-text dictation for time management, document ornamentation, and client relationship management programs to help increase efficiency in delivering your results.
7) Communication skills
The fact is, customers no longer want to get stuck communicating on the phone alone or waiting 24 hours for a response.
Today’s attorneys need to embrace technology, including but not limited to email communication while on the go.
Clients like the option of texting and attorneys need to know how to text their clients in a way that allows both client and attorney to feel comfortable while communicating.
However, there must be limits to prevent the attorney from being overwhelmed by his personal time. Now there are applications that allow lawyers to send text messages from their phone or from their computer, while also separating this from their personal lives when necessary.
8) Reputation management
Today’s attorneys must have an online presence or social proof where clients can find it and hopefully review it positively.
Not only consumers but also large companies are looking at an attorney’s online reputation before making a hiring decision.
Increasing your brand image and being visible on platforms like Facebook, Yelp, and Google, allows clients to feel more comfortable making a hiring decision.
It allows previous clients to review it and also helps establish your credibility. Knowing how to successfully manage your reputation both online and offline can really determine whether or not you will be successful.
There is a new generation of attorneys who don’t think twice about advertising and marketing to win cases and build their brand.
Large law firms where attorneys just sit and work on their cases without worrying about building their own personal brand are under continual pressure in the marketplace.
Today’s businesses want their attorneys to be able to market themselves, so everyone from the small business attorney to the large business attorney must be willing to promote themselves through both online and offline channels. Distance learning is popular today, so it is enough to take marketing courses for brand design and social media coordination.
10) Magnetic power
There are certain lawyers who seem to have a strange magnetic power and they are those who know how to attract clients. While this has always been the case, the lawyers who make the most money and are most successful in business are the ones who can attract clients.
These types of attorneys can survive on their own if they wanted to or run their own law firm. If these lawyers are more in tune with working for a large company, then the limit will be determined by how much freedom they have to develop fully.
It is not uncommon for large companies to have attorneys whose only real responsibility is to attract potential clients. These attorneys do not have to meet any of the billable hour requirements that their counterparts must do. They bring in the business and get paid accordingly.