August 9, 2015
The skills you need to succeed in law
The law is an intricate and challenging place to build the foundations of a career. When you search Jennifer Atiku, you’ll find many of the qualities that are needed to become successful as a lawyer or paralegal. A former journalist and professor who recently passed the bar exam, Jennifer is just one example of what makes a good lawyer. Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar celebrates his wife passing the bar in this recent news article. Determination and a strong sense of justice are just the beginning. A passion for the law is the foundational trait needed to succeed in the legal field. While determination takes a candidate far, there are also some other key qualities that will help propel you to success.
Business acumen is important in the legal field, as lawyers are often called upon to give commercial business advice. Therefore, it is important for candidates to have a strong understanding of business and industry concepts. While technical knowledge of business law is important, so is an understanding of how decisions will affect the client’s company.
Strong communications skills are another trait that successful lawyers share. Both in writing and in face-to-face interactions, the ability to communicate clearly and effectively is critical for building and sustaining a long-term career in this field. Clients expect advice and also rely upon their solicitor to act as a negotiator with business contacts. Persuasive communication is important to successfully close deals and smooth conflicts.
The ability to work with others, both individually and in a team environment, is also important. Each firm has its own culture, and the new lawyer will have to learn to get along with a variety of people. Respect and understanding go a long way toward ensuring conflicts in personality are minimized. Maintaining a professional demeanor and empathetic attitude helps colleagues work together, even if their personal belief systems or worldviews are vastly different.
Recognizing the role of support staff will help forward a career as well. Oftentimes, secretaries and librarians help move the day-to-day operations of the firm forward by providing information, organizing contacts and appointments, and maintaining the network of information flowing within the firm. By acknowledging the importance of these supporting roles, a solid base of trust and mutual respect is built, which ensures cooperation when dealing with a difficult or time-sensitive case.
A professional image is the final component to succeeding in a law career. Commitment, determination, honesty, integrity, and the willingness to be proactive in the professional sphere all contribute to a positive reputation. Being well rounded means not only staying committed to the job, but also maintaining a personal life, including interests outside the profession, hobbies, and family life.
While technical skills and legal knowledge are foundational to a law career, sincere love of legal work, personal conviction, a good sense of humor, and the ability to get along with others are the keys that will unlock professional doors to success. A good lawyer is first human, and second an expert in the law. By pursuing a well-rounded education and working to improve one’s own situation and invest in personal growth, a law student can rise up through the ranks in a legal firm and find great success within this challenging field.