To be a lawyer in Australia is like being a walking contradiction. While having a law degree will open up excellent opportunities to work as a solicitor, you’ll need the skills of a scientist and an artist, an extrovert and an introvert, to excel in the legal profession. Skills development is a continual process, as every lawyer will have areas of improvement or new skills to master. Here are some lawyer skills to help you develop a rewarding legal career in Australia.
Being a lawyer requires a balance of technical and soft skills. Besides getting a law degree or equivalent certification and practical experience, you must possess extensive technical legal skills and interpersonal skills.
Let’s take a look at some of the lawyer skills you need and how to develop them.
Knowledge of Law and Legal Procedures
It is a given that clients will choose lawyers who exhibit exceptional knowledge of legal proceedings, acts and laws, and other legalities. Therefore, gaining skills through legal courses and experiences are at the top of the list if you wish to become a legal professional.
Oral and Written Communication
Strong oral and written communication are fundamentally essential to carry out a lawyer’s duties. Excellent listening ability is also a crucial skill in the role of a solicitor because you need to be able to build relationships and engender confidence when working with clients.
Speaking confidently when arguing a case in court, negotiating settlements, or putting forth compelling explanations during client meetings are things that drive home how knowledgeable and professionally capable you are. Hone public speaking skills by participating in debates and volunteering as a spokesperson while at university.
Your writing skills are equally crucial for drafting letters and legal documents. You’ll need reading and writing skills in technical and legal language.
Attention to Detail
Accuracy is pivotal to the success of a lawyer. Being a lawyer entails constructing a case with details. A lawyer’s job involves handling reams of paperwork, hours of audio/video, and tonnes of data. A single word out of place or misspelled can alter the meaning of a clause or contract, costing you a valuable client. Scrutinize your own work with a fine-toothed comb to improve attention to detail.
The law is full of logical reasoning. A good lawyer should be able to analyze and conclude every situation accurately. They must be able to draw possible conclusions from situations and form relationships between them so they can argue logically and convincingly in court. Identifying what is relevant from among a mass of unstructured, random information is the key to a successful law career. To improve logical reasoning, sharpen your observational skills, try to understand actual contexts, and draw correct inferences. This will sharpen your trend and pattern analysis skills.
Winning cases is a team effort, and as a solicitor, you need to collaborate with colleagues and partners and coordinate with clients. Barristers must form a close working relationship with their clerks and other judiciary members. So, people skills are essential to becoming a top-practicing lawyer in Australia, as anywhere else. Join a sports team, drama club, or choir to develop teamwork abilities.
Research is an integral part of a lawyer’s daily job. Tasks such as running background checks on a case, drafting legal documents, or advising clients on complex issues require significant research skills.
Lawyers need to be able to prioritize and stay focused on competing priorities. Researching legal clauses, drafting documents and contracts, managing case files, meeting clients, attending court, and liaising with other legal professionals are all part of a lawyer’s duty. With due training and work experience, you’ll become more organized in your field of work.
Problem-solving skills will help you analyze problems, identify risks, and develop practical solutions. In a lawyer’s profession, each case is unique. Every situation is full of unique challenges, and problem-solving needs to go beyond what has worked in the past. Problem-solvers are prone to thinking creatively. It allows them to find new and different ways of reaching their goals and develop out-of-the-box solutions in the best interests of their clients.
A lawyer needs to create connections with clients — something that’s easier said than done. A good practice would be to view every client and interaction as an opportunity to build a relationship rather than purely professional.
Laws are difficult to understand and challenging to work with. Being a lawyer requires perseverance – be it with handling paperwork, with difficult clients, or with stubborn judges.
Whether people are getting a divorce in Australia, looking for a way out of a criminal case, or searching for a lawyer for any other purpose, they will want only the best legal counsel. Professionals with the above skills are high in demand due to this reason. Therefore, to build a flourishing legal career, one needs to develop mastery in these skills.