5 Essential Skills Young Lawyers Need to be Successful
Things they don’t teach you in law school!
After four years as an undergrad, three years of law school, and another couple as an intern or associate, you’d think you were well equipped to be successful as an attorney. But the fact is that there are certain skills school doesn’t teach you and numerous other ways you may be unprepared to make your way in the industry. To help you navigate the career field, we’ve compiled a list of the most essential skills for success:
1. Ability to communicate well
Seems pretty simple, right? But the number of young attorneys who are able communicate well is much less than you’d imagine. Being an effective communicator has less to do with how well you’re able to speak, and more to do with how well you’re able to listen. It’s also about being able to read which clients prefer a quick phone call or email versus the ones who want a multiple-page letter outlining every detail and update in a case. Of course, the more experience you gain, the better you’ll be able to recognize and accommodate clients and their preferences. However, constantly working on communication as a whole is imperative to your success.
2. Express empathy
Although you may have been told by some well-meaning older attorneys not to get emotionally involved in any of your cases, compassion and care go a long way when it comes to serving your clients. When you think about it, people turn to you when they’re facing a difficult situation. Showing that you’re human, that you are interested, empathetic, and that you care should be part of how you operate. Detachment is a thing of the past and every young lawyer needs to understand this in order to truly be successful.
3. Time management and business acumen
Just because you’re working in a firm that has a bookkeeping and scheduling department doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be able to manage your calendar and the tasks at hand. A good attorney possesses the skills to plan, organize, and manage their resources and has a firm grip on how much time it will take for them to perform their job. Without it, you may likely be the lawyer who goes over budget, is always scrambling to file motions, and leaves fellow attorneys and clients frustrated.
4. Ability to collaborate
It’s common for attorneys to work on their own, and many consider themselves their own separate entity even in a small law firm. And while it is true that you will often be handling cases that are solely yours, those lawyers who are able to collaborate are more successful than those who don’t possess these skills. Collaboration brings out the best in people and helps spur ideas that result in better client outcomes. Plus, working with others and exchanging wisdom helps you grow as a lawyer.
5. Always be prepared
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re working long days and rushing around from meetings, court appearances, and back to the office. As a young attorney, a really important skill to learn as early as possible is to always be prepared. Make sure you make a to-do list every day and that you spend at least 15-20 minutes at the end of the day going over what needs to be accomplished the next day. This will help you get into the habit of staying organized and decreases the chances that you’ll be flustered in a meeting because you forgot an important document or some other detail pertinent to the case at hand.
Becoming a lawyer takes a lot of time, effort, and grit. And if you’re going to spend so many years in school and interning, it’s a good idea to hone your skills in these essential areas so you can be the best attorney possible.
If you’re looking for a court reporting firm to be your partner for trials, conferences, arbitrations, depositions and mediations, Boss Reporting is ready and well-equipped to serve you with highly skilled and experienced real-time reporters. Get in touch with us today!