Skills needed to become a lawyer - Law Training Centre

Skills needed to become a lawyer

Skills needed to become a lawyer

In addition to any academic qualifications required to become a lawyer, there are a number of attributes and skills which are common to all lawyers. These skills are developed by the lawyer during the training stages of qualification and further whilst working in legal practice.

• Research skills

A key strength of any lawyer is the ability to research effectively on a particular issue to establish the law in support of their client’s case and/or be aware of any law which undermines the case so that the client may be advised accordingly.
In addition, the law is continuously updating and so remaining up to date with new statutes and decided cases is important in ensuring the advice given is accurate.

• Investigative skills

A lawyer shall be instructed to deal with the client’s interests and should act in accordance with client instructions (subject to any professional conduct obligations).
In matters of dispute, part of this is establishing new lines of investigation to strengthen the client’s case or weaken the case of the opposing party. In other matters, this is to ensure that the client’s interests are protected.

• Analytical skills

In order to fully assess a legal situation, a lawyer must be able to problem-solve and note both the strengths and the weaknesses.
A lawyer will need the ability to analyse complex legal situations and present solutions to the client.

• Communication skills

Good verbal and written communication skills are fundamental tools for a lawyer.
Verbal communication skills are required to explain complex legal matters to clients in language that is understood. This can also be key for a lay tribunal (such as Magistrates who are non-legal trained). You will also need to be able to speak confidently when conducting advocacy in court.
Written communication skills are required to be able to write clearly and concisely when drafting legal documentation and in providing confirmation of advice to clients.
In whichever form, the ability to use persuasive language with legal and factual accuracy are qualities a successful lawyer will acquire.

• Ability to work under pressure

You will often have to deal with a heavy workload as well as dealing with the pressure of performing in court.

• Respect for confidentiality

A lawyer’s work can is very interesting with new client queries each day. A lawyer must, however, be able to work with discretion on behalf of their clients.

• Computer literacy

An increasing number of legal tasks are now being completed electronically, such as research and case management. In addition, it is increasingly common for case papers to be served digitally, and therefore computer literacy is invaluable to a modern lawyer.
In addition to this, as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, lawyers, courts and tribunals have all needed to adapt to digital ways of working to hold a meeting and even conduct court hearings online which due to its convenience and popularity is likely to continue in part in the future.

• Ability to work independently and as a team

A lawyer will ordinarily be acting alone when obtaining instructions from a new client and providing initial advice. Additionally, in court, a lawyer has no one to turn to for assistance. In these actions, a lawyer must have the confidence to rely upon their own understanding in the advice and the submissions made.
In the background, however, there will often be a team to support the lawyer, and the lawyer will be expected to support others.

• Numeracy skills

The area of law that is being practised will dictate how often a lawyer will be working with numbers however everyone will have some component whether it is determining fees for the work undertaken, establishing maintenance in family proceedings, calculating tax in probate matters or understanding a complex fraud investigation in criminal proceedings.