Like any other career, a legal career also requires relevant skills. As a lawyer, you not only need to be a persuasive and creative writer but also be analytical. You have to be dedicated to books and also be comfortable with attention. You have to be charming as well as cold and blunt.
Till a few years back, lawyers required only a specific set of skills to thrive in their careers. The adequate skill-set was the basic requirement and would enable the lawyers to carry out their work comfortably. But now, with changing times and rapidly increasing competition, there are some additional skills that a lawyer needs to have to be successful in his/her career.
Lawyers must possess good written communication skills, have articulate speaking skills and also be keen and observant listeners. Those pursuing law can develop written and oral communication skills during the course of their studies by participating in various activities such as general public speaking, debating or mooting.
A lawyer’s primary role is to be able to make convincing arguments in the courtroom, in front of juries and judges. Also, lawyers must be able to excel at written communication and should write with clarity, persuasion and concision, since they have to create various legal documents. The work of lawyers is not just based on projection. It is essential for them to possess good listening skills in order to understand what their clients have shared, understand a complex testimony and analyse them.
Since legal work is always client-centric, apart from being good at their job, lawyers need to be able to work and deal with people. It is a necessary prerequisite to being a part of the legal field. As part of people skills, one must be polite to all those around, including the staff, be genuinely interested in people you meet and be interesting. This does not imply that the interaction should get overly personal.
A litigator’s job is not limited to presenting arguments in front of a judge in the courtroom. In reality, a majority of the lawyer’s work involves complex and lengthy projects. In order to succeed as a lawyer, it is important to be organised and understand the know-how of managing a project. Efficient organisation and management of a project are imperative.
Many legal recruiters consider commercial awareness as one of the most significant attributes that the pursuant can possess. The term means possessing the knowledge of the latest developments in the world of business- at all levels; primarily focusing on the issues that might have an impact on the law firm and the clients.
The employees of a law firm are expected to market their services to potential clients. They must also be able to develop substantial relationships with existing clients. In the end, all law firms are businesses. Hence, commercial awareness becomes an essential skill.
Without perseverance, no war can be won. It takes a lot of determination, commitment and patience to pursue law as a career. Most lawyers study an undergraduate course, do an LPC, and also a training contract to be qualified.
Perseverance is also necessary while working on a case. It takes perseverance to drive the work to a successful finish.
In conclusion, to be a successful lawyer, one must have relevant work experience along with essential skills such as resilience, confidence, and perseverance among others. It is a challenging career but you need to be resilient and keep working hard till you acquire all the skills that you need to be a good lawyer.
Authored by Dr. Purvi Pokhariyal, director and dean, Institute of Law – Nirma University.