Top 5 skills for a successful solicitor12th April 2019
Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a successful solicitor? Or whether you might have the skills for a career in law? Read our list of Top 5 skills you will need to really stand out as a top professional in your field.
You simply cannot excel as a solicitor if you are not, first and foremost, dedicated to giving the best possible advice to your clients.
We are here to offer you a service. Our purpose is to provide advice and all the necessary support for our clients to reach the best possible outcome, often in difficult or stressful circumstances.
Qualities like politeness, respect, careful listening and putting people at ease in their interactions with you are invaluable to a solicitor. You can make far more progress if you can build a genuinely trusting working relationship with your clients.
This may sound very similar to the last point, as good communication plays a key role in good people skills, but communication is an important skill that deserves discussing all on its own.
Being able to tailor your way of communicating depending on the context is a vital skill for a solicitor. You will need to use very different language when writing documents that will go to court than if you are explaining options to a client.
On the topic of client communications, you need to be able to get the right information from your client to assess the facts of their case and develop ways of moving forward. Clients won’t always know which bits of information are relevant to their case, as well as often being anxious or emotional, which means that you need to be able to put them at ease and ask the right questions.
Think of the game ‘20 Questions’. You need a strategy in order to guess the answer within your 20 question limit, so you need to take a broad view of the possibilities and cleverly hone in, with as little digression as possible, on the information that will help your client’s case.
An absolutely vital skill for a successful solicitor to master is the skill of research. The law is constantly evolving, with new legislation and new precedents being set all the time.
Research skills include understanding how to seek the information you need, before distilling the key points and then retaining the information. It is important for solicitors to understand in depth how their area of law works. This is what informs the questions that they ask and the avenues that they explore in order to weigh up their options and give each client personalised advice.
Research is a skill that solicitors learn out of necessity whilst training, but they need to be willing and able to continue to seek information throughout their career, in order to stay up to date with legislation and to cater to each individual case as best they can.
This probably goes without saying. By the time you qualify as a solicitor, you have already learned to persevere through a long and arduous training programme!
However, the journey doesn’t stop there. There are so many intricacies involved in individual cases that a solicitor needs resilience and a keen drive to succeed, to get a case resolved in the best possible way.
That said, communication with clients to manage their expectations regarding the length and scope of their case is important. Even with the greatest will and effort, due processes can take time, which makes the character trait of perseverance vital.
This skill may come as a surprise in our Top 5 list, as the legal profession is mostly known for being logical and heavily analytical.
However, all of those facts and detailed information recall is no good if you can’t also adapt your knowledge to the client in front of you. The best solicitors are the ones who can call upon their knowledge and use creative problem solving skills to think outside the box and find the best solution for the case.
It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to become a solicitor, and that effort continues throughout your career. There are other important skills to develop, for example teamwork, commercial awareness and good judgement. The most important thing to remember, however, is that in law, every client and every situation is different.
Good solicitors know the law, but great solicitors know people.