Have you ever wondered if you have what it takes to become a lawyer?
Do you enjoy watching TV attorneys take down the bad guys? Or maybe you’ve been told that you’d be a great lawyer because you enjoy defending your viewpoints.
There are a number of important skills you must have to make an effective attorney. And not all the tasks are glamorous.
Take a look at these necessary traits for becoming a lawyer and see which ones you possess.
If you want to become a lawyer, you’re going to need to analyze complex information quickly yet completely. Often cases come down to the interpretation of the law. The more fully you understand it, the better an attorney you’ll be.
Preparing for trial or work in a legal office requires you to pour through tons of books and prior court cases. You must be able to synthesize facts and construct a logical argument from a mound of data.
If you’re good at putting logic puzzles together, you have a valuable skill all lawyers need.
Love of Research
It goes without saying that lawyers must be prepared. Without doing proper research, you cannot represent your client.
If you want to become a lawyer, you should love doing research. Pouring over law books, conducting interviews, and following up on leads will take up a lot of your time.
If you don’t enjoy the legwork that’s required to get ready for trial, you’ll be miserable most of the time. And you probably won’t do as thorough a job as you need to help your clients.
Good attorneys are well-versed in the law and in how to find the information they need. They’re experts in their field because of the hours of research and study they put into their craft.
Lawyers must be excellent writers. You will draft a number of briefs, motions, arguments, and other legal documents in your work.
Depending on the type of law you choose to practice, you may also be writing contracts which require very precise language. You’ll need to develop specific writing skills to become a lawyer.
As with making oral arguments, your writing must be able to persuade a judge to see the evidence in a way that benefits your client. That often requires a delicate balance between dealing with both objective information and subjective opinion.
It doesn’t matter how smart you are, you must be able to connect with other people to be a great lawyer.
Not only will you need to develop a trusting relationship with your clients, you’ll have to work with your team. As a member of a firm like Savage Villoch Law, you’ll be collaborating with other top attorneys as well as legal assistants.
Strong interpersonal skills will also benefit you when you go before a judge and/or jury. Being likable will help you make a better case and represent your clients more convincingly.
It’s important that you contribute to a positive work environment because happy people are more productive. Building good interpersonal skills will make you a valued asset to your team and your clients.
Strong Public Speaker
Beyond analyzing facts and data, you must be able to convince a judge or jury that your version of events is correct. Lawyers need strong public speaking skills to be effective.
Knowing how to make a good speech is important, but you’ll also need to be able to ask the right questions. A skillful attorney can coax information even out of an unwilling person.
Public speaking is the most common fear, even more prominent than the fear of death. Most people are not cut out for this aspect of the job. But if you thrive speaking in front of others, that’ll help you be a great lawyer.
Determined to Uncover the Truth
Getting to the bottom of a crime or other legal matter requires a high level of determination. The hours are often long. And it can be incredibly frustrating following up on leads that might not yield useful information.
But if you want to become a lawyer, you must be willing to put in the required time and effort to uncover the truth of the case before you.
No matter what kind of law you want to practice, you’ll be representing clients with a lot at stake. It’s your job to search for every possible legal option that might help them.
If you enjoy the dogged pursuit of evidence, you could be a great lawyer.
Talented attorneys think outside the box. They aren’t bound to any one way of doing things, because each case requires different skills.
Your clients’ needs may change on the fly. As new evidence emerges or you’re presented with a counteroffer from the opposing side, you must be able to adjust your strategy accordingly.
Likewise, the judge may force you to alter your approach during a trial. Instead of getting flustered, you must adapt.
There won’t always be an obvious path to getting the outcome you want. But your number one priority as a lawyer is to represent your client as best you can.
Being able to think creatively, to improvise, and to change course midstream will help you become a great lawyer.
Do You Have What It Takes to Become a Lawyer?
Take an inventory of your best skills and interests and see how they stack up with this list. If you’re an independent thinker with a strong writing background and great people skills, you could be an excellent attorney.
If your heart is set on practicing law, work on strengthening your weakest traits. Interning at a law office, starting as a paralegal, or speaking to successful attorneys are great ways to learn more about what you need.
You might also consider these tips for getting a law job without taking the bar. You’ll gain valuable experience and build credibility for your eventual career.
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