Self-Development Through a Career in Law
October 27, 2023
Danyal Hakakzargar, Low Entropy Volunteer Writer
Legal careers promote effective communication and attention to detail, by providing the opportunity for critical thinking, collaboration, information analysis and research.
- Attention to Detail
A successful legal career demands accuracy, consistency and attention to detail. Non-professional or incorrect words can alter the meaning of a phrase or contract, and clients may stop doing business with the firm as a result of receiving emails, letters, or papers that are misspelled or poorly written. Employers look for spelling, punctuation, and grammar issues while reviewing applications for jobs or training contracts. A recruiter could wonder what a potential customer would think of the letter of advice if the cover letter is unclear, excessively long, or filled with spelling errors. To enhance attention to detail, interns can regularly review and proofread documents and note professional and legal words used in case briefs, contracts and notices.
- Information Analysis and Research
Any profession in law involves reading a lot of material, taking in facts and numbers, analyzing it, and condensing it into comprehensible material. The key is being able to identify the pertinent information from a sea of data and convey it to clients in a clear, succinct manner. The daily duties of a lawyer also involve a significant amount of research when conducting background research for a case, producing legal documents, and counseling clients on complex topics. Students can master this skill by building a network of connections and becoming familiar with online and library resources during university. Industry ties can prove to be a valuable source of assistance for a newly qualified solicitor or barrister.
- Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving
Contrary to popular belief, there are many opportunities for creative expression in the legal field. The wisest line of action is not always the simplest or most obvious, as knowledgeable attorneys will attest. Critical thinking and creative problem-solving will be put to use virtually daily to outsmart the opposition and secure the best result for clients. Participating in student competitions, such as mooting, becoming a student representative, or obtaining a position in the students’ union are effective ways to build these skills.
- Organization and Filing
The job of a solicitor or barrister is one giant juggling act from researching legal issues to drafting legal documents and contracts to managing case files, meeting clients, attending court, and networking with other legal professionals. Organizational skills are crucial for prioritizing tasks and effectively simultaneously working on multiple tasks. To avoid confusion and save time, attorneys and interns must file documents, cases, and contracts consistently. Additionally, all papers must be stored per legal requirements to maintain the confidentiality of customer information and communications and to grant only authorized employees access.
- Clear and Efficient Communication
Without excellent oral and written communication abilities, it will be difficult for solicitors to perform their duties. When working with clients, it is crucial to have excellent listening skills to establish connections and inspire confidence. A lawyer must remain confident when arguing a case in court, negotiating a settlement, or educating clients on complex topics. Interns must also write in an effective, concise, and clear manner to reduce confusion. Students can participate in debate teams or mooting competitions as well as serve as a spokesman to master this skill before working as a barrister. Writing proficiency is crucial when writing letters and legal papers, as lawyers must understand and be able to communicate in both technical and legal terminology. University law societies offer a great opportunity to enhance written communication abilities by composing newsletters, drafting emails and recording meeting minutes.
- Commercial Awareness
Lawyers and interns need to be well-versed in current events in local, national, and international business, particularly those that affect a law firm’s clients. Firms anticipate that employees will promote their services to potential clients and build rapport with current clientele. As law firms are ultimately businesses, attorneys must understand the necessity of keeping costs reasonable, meeting deadlines, and treating client information with confidentiality. Clients also demand that attorneys have a thorough understanding of their industry as well as any broader social, political, and economic concerns that may have an impact. Aside from understanding the immediate, moderate, and long-term effects of their client’s business plan, lawyers may also need to consider the organization’s strategic possibilities and threats as well as its strengths and weaknesses. This gives the attorney the best opportunity to offer practical, business-oriented legal guidance.
- Teamwork and Leadership
In addition to communicating with clients, lawyers must work together with partners and other professionals to win cases. Barristers frequently collaborate on high-profile cases with other barristers and must have a close working relationship with their clerks. Individuals at all levels of the legal system master teamwork from interns and lawyers to judges. Clients must also have confidence in their legal counsel, therefore lawyers must be personable, persuasive, and courteous. The simplest approach to improving people skills is joining a team including arts, sports and science teams and activities involving collaboration. In addition, lawyers must have the initiative and fortitude to act independently and successfully collaborate in teams. Finally, barristers and solicitors must manage their time well under pressure to produce high-quality results that benefit their customers while managing demanding workloads and deadlines.
Danyal is a fourth-year criminology and business student at Simon Fraser University with a keen approach to business lawyering, authoring articles about various topics including self-development, education and conflicts.
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