Not everyone can do every job there is, which is why when you look around society, you might notice that engineers are great at thinking in 3D, accountants like numbers and patterns and writers tend to be a bit more dreamy and creative. What qualities, then, do you need to have to become a lawyer?
“Becoming an attorney is an exciting and noble goal. Depending on what area of law you decide to practice, the profession generally pays well and you get to put that cool “esquire” after your name as well. Beyond that, you’ll know at the end of every day’s work that you’ve helped someone, often profoundly.” – thebalance.com
You need good communication skills
You need to be able to speak confidently and fluently, as well as to write well. You also need to be a good listener, too, because it’s not all about the barnstorming closing argument – that’s why you have one mouth and two ears!
You can develop your existing skills by joining a debate club and chances are if you’re doing an undergraduate degree then you’ll have plenty of opportunities to learn how to write well and to present arguments.
You need good judgment
You must be able to come to logical and reasonable conclusions from the information you have, be it plentiful or sparse. This skill is essential, as is the ability to “step outside of yourself” and look at your conclusions critically so you can defend them or cover any weak spots in your argument.
That same skill – spotting flaws – is also vital if you’re to win against your opponent in court. Another important personality trait is decisiveness because things can sometimes move very fast and you need to make rapid judgment calls.
Sometimes there’s more than one conclusion that can be drawn from the available evidence and so you’ll need to be able to choose the best or most appropriate one.
Strong analytical skills
Studying and practicing law both involve taking in lots of information, understanding it and then boiling it down into something more concise and easily-digested.
Good researching skills
When you’re preparing a case, you need to be able to perform rapid research in order to understand what your client needs, as well as to understand legal precedents and to prepare your arguments and strategies.
Great people skills
So far, it’s all been about information, logic, and decision-making, but another essential ingredient to becoming a lawyer is to have good people skills. You’re working with people, for people and you should never lose sight of this. You must be able to read reactions so you can judge if a witness is honest or not or if you’re swaying the jurors your way or not.
You must be tenacious
Just studying law is a serious commitment so you have to have perseverance and stamina by the bucketload – even before you handle your first case! You’ll most likely do an undergraduate degree in law, then the Legal Practice Course (LPC) and then take on a training contract. In between all this, you should try to pack in as much work experience as you can.
You also need room for some creativity
Lastly, as well as your great powers of logic and analytical thinking, your people skills and your stamina, you also need to be creative. Many legal cases are about problem-solving and some problems need you to think outside the box if you want to win or get the best outcome for your client.
Have you got the right stuff?