Every profession is associated with its own skill-set. In other words, education is often only the starting point. Whether you’re an aspiring lawyer or an experienced lawyer, there is always some new skill to hone and advance. The skills we discuss below are, then, ideas that you should at least think about – no matter how far up the legal tree you happen to be. Mastering these skills is, after all, what separates ordinary from outstanding lawyers.
Throughout the legal profession, as with almost every other profession, there is one consistent thread – and that is, education. No matter what type of lawyer you are – from personal injury lawyers to business litigation experts – consistent learning is needed. You need to know how to find the right information at the right time; distilling what’s relevant from what’s not. You also need to stay ahead – understanding your legal specialty as it unfolds in coming years. With this skill in your back pocket, you can move forward and focus on these 7 essential skills that every personal injury lawyer should have.
Qualities of Every Good Lawyer
- Communication skills - both oral and verbal
- Analytical skills – having a logical approach
- Strong judgment – knowing why you’re right
- Commitment – adhering to strict deadlines
- People skills – knowing what your client wants
- Thinking outside-the-box – being creative
- Research skills – filtering large volumes of information
The best personal injury lawyers appreciate the value that these skills add to their professional toolkit. They know that offering the best service means evaluating their own strengths and weaknesses. It means looking for criticism, rather than praise. By these means, they can not only adapt to their legal environment, but very much emerge as a professional within their chosen field.
Communication skills – both oral and verbal – are a core skill of every attorney. Communication is a two-way street, though. It’s as much about listening as it is about delivering your message. In the courtroom, the legal profession often takes on the role of an art-form – where both sides engage, often with passion, that their evidence lands them on the right side of the law. Knowing how to articulate your message is therefore of paramount value. For juries, it impacts the persuasive power of your evidence.
Qualities of Personal Injury Lawyers
The best personal injury lawyers build on their communication and research skills. They scope their client’s needs – being meticulous and careful, yet thorough. They understand their audience and communicate accordingly. They have a long-term vision of how the case should progress, leading to success for both themselves and their clients. These fundamental skills are complemented and enhanced by strong analytical skills.
Because at its heart, law is about logic and evidence and reason – the concepts that Socrates, Plato and Aristotle nourished and nurtured over two millennia ago. Today, lawyers adopt the Socratic approach – a scrupulous method of questioning that, with time, leads to the discovery of truth. It's an approach that swats away confusion, contradiction, misunderstanding and ambiguity. With evidence on their side, lawyers can then construct clear and effective arguments – many of which are analytical and seek to think outside the box.
That’s because the very best lawyers are also creative. Joining the dots between A, B, and C often isn’t enough. What gets the case across the line is creativity; lawyers who marshal the evidence in their favor, irrespective of whether their case is true or not. The best personal injury lawyers also have strong judgment. They know what’s right and what evidence – both legal and otherwise – underpins their conclusion.
Strong judgment comes from experience. It’s not enough to simply believe you are right, as that can lead to disaster. Your judgement must be buttressed by an intense knowledge of the law, by evidence and reason and argument, and by self-belief. Only then, and with persuasive communication to hand, can your case be said to have any real chance.
The essential skills of law can, then, be simmered down to communication, analysis, judgement, commitment, people skills, thinking outside the box and research. These are qualities that every good lawyer should not only have, but should tweak and modulate as their careers advance.