Chai Khana: The Public Square

11 skills to become a successful lawyer

Working in law naturally requires a certain skill set. Though legal positions vary greatly in scope and responsibility, core skills are required for most of them. Here we list few attributes that come into play when success matters, and thus shouldn’t be overlooked.

  1. Command over language – This skill is quintessential for every lawyer. You need to be able to express yourself efficiently and lucidly, whether oral or in writing, to do well in this profession.

2. Oratory skills – For lawyers in private practice, being a good speaker is vital. A lawyer must develop the art of modulating his voice as per the demand of the situation to emerge successful.

3. The 3 A’s – Attitude, Aptitude and Analytics. These qualities make a lawyer expert in analyzing the legal problems and arriving at calibrated conclusions.

4. Reading habit – A lawyer must essentially develop a regular habit of reading. Reading must be primarily related to law though it should also include culture, history, science, politics, etc.

5. Perseverance – During initial years, a fresh law school graduate may face harsh working hours but one must be patient and focus on his profession.

6. Team work – A lawyer who collaborates well possesses the ability to identify and bring out the best his others colleagues have to offer, submerging his own position and ego where’er necessary in order to achieve the optimal client satisfaction.

7. Emotional intelligence – Clients need the empathy and personal connection of their lawyers to feel whole and satisfied. Judges require your respect, and you require self-respect (not arrogance). How to balance, is an art to be mastered!

8. Financial literacy – Almost every client and every case involves money in some way or the other, and every lawyer in private practice is running a business of one size or the other. Financial literacy becomes essential in such a scenario.

9. Technological proficiency – It has become one of the basic qualities of a lawyer these days. If a person cannot efficiently use e-mail, access the Internet, work with instant messaging, MS Office, Adobe Acrobat and the like, clients and colleagues will pass you by.

10. Time management – To achieve and meet deadlines, whether it is in corporate or litigation practice, time management is very essential. An effective lawyer is one who knows how to manage his time. One has to maintain a fine balance between profession, family and social circles. All are necessary.

11. Looks – It may sound eerie, but it’s a crude fact that the ‘first impression is the last impression’ and looks indeed play a great role in your first impression. So one must dress and groom himself the best but without being pompous and showy. You must keep a check especially on your body odour, nails, teeth and shoes!


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About the author

Sakal Bhushan

A frequent commentator on issues related to constitution, law, and the political and social affairs of Jammu and Kashmir, Sakal is a practicing lawyer at the Supreme Court of India and Delhi High Court.

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