Many things go into being successful in legal practice. One of such things is the skills you possess.
According to Wikipedia: Skills are the expertise or talent needed in order to do a job or task. Job skills allow you to do a particular job and life skills help you through everyday tasks.
As an aspiring young lawyer, the skills you acquire will go a long way in determining your rapid rise in your career path. Here is a list of some skills you will definitely need.
An advocate speaks or acts on behalf of another. Where you find the most use of this for lawyers is in litigation. The lawyer acts on behalf of their client or themselves to convince the court to accept their line of reasoning and act in their favour. Advocacy can both be in written form or oral. These require a wide range of skills that a lawyer should use in winning opinion to their side. In advocacy, one must be able to analyze cases critically, know how to do oral submissions, know how to be persuasive, cross-examine witnesses etc. Advocacy isn’t just about presentations in court. It starts from the time you meet the client, works on building and researching your case and all the way to the presentation in court. Advocacy in court also involves certain formalities in the courtroom like how to address the judge, your fellow lawyers etc
Do remember that the skills needed in advocacy are by no way limited to use in the courtroom.
Communication and people skill when it comes to your legal career ranks up there with oxygen – (not literally but you get the point I’m sure).
How to communicate clearly and convincingly and manage people goes beyond the courtroom. It is something you need to succeed in your career. In court, you must be able to clearly and convincingly communicate your argument. With your clients, you must be able to fully understand them, win their trust, extract relevant information from them communicate your thoughts and plans in a way that they understand. The success of your case in court may boil down to your ability to communicate and think on your feet.
Research is a critical aspect of your legal work. Research can be daunting and time-consuming to get all the relevant facts and information you need. In research, speed and quality are very important. With good research, you can easily develop a winning strategy to use for your client. Your research may require reading enormous resources, absorbing (facts and figures) and distilling them into useful information. You must be able to quickly cut through the chaff and get to the relevant facts.
In some cases, there might be more than one precedent applicable to resolving a situation. This implies that you need to hone your evaluative skills to choose what is more pertinent to your needs.
There are quite a number of research tools out there which speed up your research, provide you with relevant information and pools together the vital resources for your research. Legalpedia is on a tool that was specially developed and easily accessible to lawyers like you.
The regular is boring. The regular is predictable. You’ve got to get out of the box. Trust me, that’s where the magic happens. You need it in your career. You need it to get results that attract attention. You need creative thinking and problem-solving skills. It is a must if you want to outmanoeuvre opposing parties and a win.
To improve on your creativity, collaborate and work with others to gain insight into different ways of thinking. Take time daily to develop your mind and expand beyond your current field of knowledge. It is a known fact that many creative ideas were borrowed from other fields.
You’ve got to believe in yourself. Without this, you can’t go far in your career. Perseverance is also a must. Success is not an overnight thing. Growth takes time. You’ve got to have the power to hang in there. Do all you can to gain experience on the job. Offer to take up more responsibilities to expose yourself and gather the necessary experience and also build your confidence. The more you “practice” and get your hands dirty with doing things, the more you build experience and gather confidence. You also develop staying power for the success that is coming your way.
Be the trusted person who puts in the extra time to get stuff done efficiently. Be the person that goes the extra mile. In the end, you will find out it was all for your good. Build your confidence through “practice.” Practice makes perfect. Remember the other side of it – hang in there. Persevere.
To Your Success