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Posted Feb. 9, 2020
5 skills for a successful law career
Before you set off on the path to becoming a lawyer you need to know if you've got the necessary skills set.
Some of these skills can be learned and others should be something you have already.
Let’s take a look at five of the skills you should have for a successful law career.
Being a lawyer involves working with people and in some areas of the law, this is even more important. For example, Family Law or Child Protection Law will involve the intimate details of other peoples lives and you'll spend a great deal of time listening to your clients. You have to, perhaps not enjoy listening to the problems that someone is having, but get a sense of satisfaction from helping other people and be a good listener. Spending time networking while you are at law school and participating in the extracurricular activities and societies that every law schools has, will help with your people skills.
Communicating your message efficiently and effectively and leaving no room for misunderstandings is an important part of a successful law career. Many lawyers will need to make themselves understood in the courtroom and in writing either emails, letters or even more formally in contracts. Communication skills also involve interpreting what people are trying to explain to you, so understanding people's body language and cultural differences are all important parts of communication. Studying internationally will help with communication skills, especially if you master another language.
Attention to detail
Attention to detail is a big part of being a lawyer; you need to be able to see all the little details in a contract and how this might impact your client or employer. It's basically what they are paying you for; helping them avoid any nasty legal surprises lurking in the depths of the paperwork. Keeping on topic and not getting distracted easily are all part of this necessary skill set, which will get better with time, but being meticulous is something some of us are just born with.
You might be advising clients on huge business deals or life-changing contracts, so you've got to be confident in what you are saying. Self-confidence is a skill that some people seem to have naturally, but don't be disheartened, as it is also a skill that you can learn. Having a thorough understanding of the topic you are discussing or working in will help build your self confidence, so advanced study at the masters or LLM level will help your self confidence grow. Interestingly, many famous actors started off acting to develop their self-confidence, so while you're at law school see if there are any Drama Societies you might like to join as this could really help your self-confidence grow.
A big part of any legal career is research and you'll gain plenty of research skills while you are doing your LLM or any other postgraduate study. In your early days in law researching might be a huge part of your day-to-day work after you graduate and all law firms are expecting recent graduates to have excellent research skills. Most LLM courses have a module involving Legal Writing and Research Skills to make sure your research skills are as good as they can be when you graduate.
UK law school applicants
Here is a table showing UK and international law school applicants in England and Wales in 2017-2018.
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