At one stage growing up, it’s probably fair to say that we were all secretly inspired by CSI or Law & Order and thought about having a career in law when we grew up. Some people probably grew out of it and realised CSI is not real life, but some may still feel like a career in law is their calling.
If you are going to make the commitment to study law, you need to think very carefully about whether it is for you. Studying for a law degree is very intensive and, just like the career, can be very stressful. To succeed in law there are a number of key skills and attributes that you need to possess. Here are our top 6 skills you need for a career in law:
First and foremost, you need to have the academic skills. Law firms will look for the top grades when they are recruiting, having a strong set of GCSE and A-Level results will help you get one step further towards your career in law. If you study a law degree, a strong set of consistent marks will help demonstrate your academic ability.
This is an essential skill for anyone considering a career in law. Lawyers must possess strong oral and written communication skills. Being able to speak clearly and confidently is vital if you are arguing a case in court or negotiating a settlement for a client. You must sound persuasive and be able to speak in succinct language. Public speaking is a major part of the role in law, it is a good idea to get involved with a debating society or take on a spokesperson role to try and hone this skill.
Written communication is also very important in law, as you will have to draft letters and legal documents for clients. Using technical language and being able to communicate clearly and concisely is vital. Joining the law society at university can help with this, as you may be able to take meeting minutes, publish newsletters and write social content or emails. Correct spelling and grammar is also important in your written communication. If you are drafting legal documents with spelling errors, this will give a bad impression about your skills and could put clients off working with you.
3. People skills
As a solicitor or barrister you will have to interact with many different types of people, this could be with other lawyers or barristers, or it can be with clients. Some of whom may be vulnerable or going through a hard time, and some who may have huge business interests dependent on the positive outcome of a deal. Having the people skills to effectively manage the relationship with each of these different types of people is important. You have to be friendly yet professional and be able to talk to people from all walks of life.
Practicing law involves reading a LOT of information, which must be analysed and understood so as it can be conveyed clearly and concisely to your client. The key is being able to quickly process information and understand the key points and how this law applies to the facts of the case.
Having a high attention to detail is also very important. When writing contracts or clauses, it is vital that you have attention to detail, as one word out of place can change the meaning and leave people or firms vulnerable should issues arise.
5. Organisational skills
At any one time you could be juggling multiple cases and a high workload. Being able to manage your time is important in order to be as efficient as possible.
A career in law can be a very high-pressure environment. You can be working on cases that decide someone’s fate or on business deals which involve huge amounts of money. You are under pressure from your client to deliver the best result for them. Sometimes this will go your way, and sometimes it won’t. Being able to pick yourself up and carry on is essential and requires a high degree of resilience.
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