Are knowledge of the law, analytical ability, sound judgement, logical reasoning, and attention to detail sufficient skills in today’s day and age for lawyers to grow? Well, not anymore. We here intend to discuss actual skills that enable lawyers to excel in their profession. We are talking about ready proficiency and applied ability honed and developed through training and experience. With Covid-19 and work from home becoming the new normal, brushing these skills can keep lawyers up to date with the latest activities in the industry and enable them to practice law competently, effectively and with confidence.
Here are 5 Essential Skills to be the Best Lawyer
1. Commercial Knowledge and Awareness
A good lawyer knows the law! Besides knowing the law, one must also be thorough with the latest news and should be aware of business and economy on a local and global level. This is important not just for a better understanding of commercial laws with business and economic incidences but also to deliver better services to the client. Having commercial knowledge will help attorneys and law firms alike to appreciate the importance of commercially sensitive aspects of deals and transactions. This shall also enable them to appreciate the importance of meeting deadlines where the transactions are time-bound, handling confidential information and giving strategic advice to their clients depending upon the respective requirements.
The question stands on how to improve the knowledge in this regard? A lawyer can hone the skill of being commercially aware by bringing regular reading of financial or business newspapers into the daily lifestyle. Realising the importance of the internet as an extremely important source for lawyers can serve as a boon. Internet lays out several options to customise news using various applications, keywords and customized news suggestions to enable efficient ways of staying commercially aware. Further enhancing legal skills by taking courses in business management can help lawyers in their day-to-day transactions and effective communication.
We are not talking about arguments and persuasion skills required in a courtroom. However, communications that occur outside the courtroom, are sometimes more critical to a lawyer’s practice. Being a good communicator and conversationalist is essential because the legal profession is a service industry and there has to be constant networking with clients and potential clients. Good communication is not merely about being a good conversationalist, it is mostly about being a good listener and observer. Lacking the patience to listen can lead to disastrous results in a profession which is largely client-focused. It is also important to know what questions one must ask the clients to understand the heart of the matter. While verbal skills are essential, paying attention not just to the words, but to the voice, tone and body language of a client can also prove to be useful. Having good communication skills would form a part of the whole experience of the client in a law firm. What will help to improve the communication? Making it a point to be succinct in communicating and learning to be patient and listening when the other person is talking. This skill might take time but is certainly achievable. Talking to peers in the industry could greatly boost confidence and communication. Being a part of legal networks could also prove beneficial. These networks of global law firms not just expose individual lawyers to their peers in the industry but also promote their active discussions which add to the knowledge and also jolt confidence in an individual which can further be exuberated in front of the clients. We are sure when a client engages a lawyer, they want to believe that they’ve made the right judgement which comes greatly with the confidence a lawyer can instil in the client.
3. Team Work and People Skills
Teamwork is all about creating a collaborative environment at the law firm., Delegating tasks better and working together enhances efficiency and saves time. Overall, teamwork is an attribute of people skills and in an industry like ours, where public dealing is an essential part, having a backing of a strong and competent team provides extraordinary confidence in a law firm’s capabilities. As a lawyer, networking becomes a very important soft skill and to be good at networking one needs to be good with people. A lot of public dealing, at various levels of the hierarchy, is involved in the legal profession. Being personal, patient, persuasive and polite help. There will be transactions where one would be expected to work with in-house counsels of companies in a collaborative effort. Having good people skills and the ability to work in a team will also help create an environment of growth and prosperity.
Considering the importance of teamwork and people skills, it is only natural to expect an infusion of great and constant efforts in honing this skill. l. Actively organising team-working exercises, delegating work by giving opportunities to young lawyers, boosting team morale and being patient with clients and other attorneys are some practices, when incorporated into regular working culture increase the group efforts manyfold. Lawyers can also become a part of organisations such as Interlegal, which provides a collaborative community to network for legal professionals and in doing so, they promote interpersonal relationships and refine work cultures.
4. Research and Drafting
While legal experience holds great value, even the most winning legal arguments may fall flat without solid legal research. Research and drafting are the most important skills that a lawyer requires. Identifying, finding and cite-checking the information in accordance with applicable laws are required to support legal decision-making and provide substance to any argument leading to a better outcome for the clients. As a lawyer, one needs to read diverse texts and information, analyse it, recognise the relevant bits and advise the client accordingly. What does it take to become a pro at legal research? Begin with gathering critical information which serves as the foundation for a more focused and streamlined legal research process. This critical information can be used to pinpoint the legal issue and narrow the field of potential search terms. Making summaries of lengthy cases and information could prove beneficial.
5. Attention to Detail
Excellence is in the details. Accuracy and attention to detail are vital skills in law. Lawyers need to be very focused while reading legal documents. This is important because there are minor details in legal documents that can make or break a case or a transaction being handled by a lawyer. Missing out on important details through a clause in an agreement or in the series of facts in a case can have disastrous results.
To improve attention to detail, some basic things that can help are: making daily to-do lists, maintaining religious schedules and having trackers that outline workflows and software that could proofread the documents.
The world is changing and so are the demands from legal professionals. In a largely digital world especially experiencing a sudden boost in the post-covid era.it has become extremely important for lawyers to be flexible and be at the top of the competition. This is now, not just limited to technical skills but largely depends upon the external knowledge and proper marketing of the skills and knowledge. We at Interlegal, provide a platform for individual law firms to gain exposure to members in the industry globally and work tirelessly to uplift each member of this close community that we’ve built over the years. We want to grow, you are our growth and we shall do all that is in our power to help you succeed.
Frequently asked Questions
1. Is the legal profession a high-stress profession?
With the increasing complexity of the economic realities and the challenging social climates, most professions have their respective stress points. However, learning proper tools and coping mechanisms is also a part of the skill set that a lawyer shall need in the due course.
2. What are the values of a lawyer?
Passion for your job, the ability to put yourself in your client’s shoes i.e., perspective and the ability to work under pressure are the some of the basic values that a lawyer should have