Being a Lawyer is one of the few professions that require an equal amount of
hard and soft skills. From perspective of hard skills, your professionalism,
certifications and prior experience might set a good initial impression;
however, your soft skills will be the key to success. The world is evolving way
too fast and to keep up with the evolution and to be the best in the game, a
lawyer needs to master his skills according to the changing needs.
Meaning of soft skills & hard skills
Soft skills are character traits and interpersonal skills that characterize a
person's relationships with other people. Soft Skills are more related to who
people are rather then what they know. In the workplace they are used to
compliment your hard skills.
Hard skills refer to a person's knowledge and professionalism in a field. These
skills can be enhanced through practice and can always be taught. Being good in
hard skills can be proved through receiving certificates, awards, foreign
language proficiency, and work experience. Getting the highest marks on a bar
exam and achieving an award are examples of hard skills.
The role of lawyers has changed from 30 years ago due to constant innovation in
technology. The days when lawyers had to screen a room full of case files and
write legal documents in the afternoon are over. Technology means that you can
digitally save and retrieve all your files using document templates with the
click of a button. This means that the soft skills of lawyers will make them
stand out more than ever.
But when you're reading through a job description, it's easy to jump to the
qualifications section and see how you measure up or not.
It is essential to give importance to soft skills as well as hard skills. Hard
skills will make you successful in practice but soft skills will take you to
places. It is equally important to hone both the skills and to learn the
difference between the two.
Hard skills are the skills that can be enhanced through practice and can always
be taught. Being good in hard skills can be proved through receiving
certificates, awards, foreign language proficiency, and work experience. Getting
the highest marks on a bar exam and achieving an award are examples of hard
Whereas, soft skills are difficult to determine in one's Curriculum vitae, and
are hard to define. These skills are more about how you behave as well as how
you communicate to other people, and whether you're competent enough to handle
the problem and how attentive you're to their issue. Having these are called
interpersonal skills or people skills. Your flexibility, problem-solving skills,
motivation, and time management come under this category.
Having command of both skills is really crucial in order to be successful in
one's profession and to be able to be part of this legal profession and to be
accepted in the modern-digitalized world.
Variety of Soft Skills required by a lawyer
There is a huge range of soft skills that a lawyer should possess which are
Variety of Hard Skills required by a lawyer
- Attention to detail:
When applying for a job or internships, recruiters really look into minute
details of the CV of the person applying, any grammatical errors, spelling
mistakes, or even punctuation can cost one's job. Accuracy is important to
have success in the legal arena. A single mistake can cost a loss to the
firm. Inaccuracy gives a bad impression in the eyes of the clients.
Being persistent is a key for being called a good lawyer. Lawyers who sit
idle and wait for the information to come to them may not get many cases but
the lawyers who keep working and adhere to achieve the desired outcome for
their clients. A good lawyer would never let anything affect him and deter
him from his goals.
Joining a team can be the best way to hone your people's skills. Working
alongside a variety of people can help to engage more with people and get to
know their mindset and learn from each other. When a person works in a team
he/she/they get to work with people of all the positions from trainees and
pupils to the members of the judiciary. It's important to have a good
relationship with the clients and be nice and polite with them. Being
personable and persuasive keeps in good books of the clients.
- Commercial awareness:
A lawyer should be known of his surroundings and must be aware of the recent
development in local, national, and world business, especially any issues
concerning a law firm and its clients. Firms expect their employees to
develop trust relationships with the clients and market their services to
Meanwhile, a client expects the lawyer to be knowledgeable, and listen, and
actually understand how their business is run and how any social, political,
or economic issue can make an impact. A lawyer should always think
strategically about the clients' business and its strength and weakness and
be able to provide legal advice to them to the best of their ability.
Being a legal representative, it is very important to have a command over
your oral and communications skills otherwise dealing with clients will
become really hard and may never reach the conclusion because of the lack of
sufficient discussion. To build confidence and relationships with the
clients, your listening ability will make a difference here. You need to be
a confident speaker when arguing in court, negotiating settlements, or
explaining complex situations to the clients. You need to use persuasive and
succinct language in order to get things done.
- Creative problem solving:
A lawyer's whole motto of being a lawyer is to solve the problem. Sometimes
it's not a piece of cake and they have to think out of the box to solve the
problem. There, a lawyer needs to have a creative problem-solving mind to
get things done. All the experienced lawyers and judges know, the best
course of action is not always the easiest or the most salient one.
A lawyer job is the most complicated and hectic job out there. Juggling
between courts, legal documents, research, contract drafting, etc. but
organization skills to manage all these things and still prioritize what's
important is what makes a good lawyer. To be better at your organizational
skills, one should be able to do it through some training or maybe engage in
some organizational events.
Resilience goes hand in hand with confidence and determination. This is a
tough job. It is not going to be easy, rejection is a part of the job and so
is not giving up. Apply, send follow up and reapply if necessary. There is a
huge competition out there and you have to make your place with your
determination and resilience.
Legal positions vary greatly in scope and responsibility, but certain core
skills are required for most of them. It goes without saying that you'll need
the physical stamina and the energy necessary to put in long days, but certain
emotional attributes can't be overlooked either.
There is a huge range of hard skills that a lawyer should possess which are
- Written Communication
From writing simple correspondence to drafting complex legal documents,
writing is an integral function of nearly every position. Professionals must
master the stylistic and mechanical aspects of writing, as well as the
fundamentals of English grammar.
Learn how to write organized, concise, and persuasive prose. You'll need
this skill to draft effective documents such as motions, briefs,
memorandums, resolutions, and agreements.
- Client Service
Serving a client capably, honestly, and responsibly is crucial to success in
the client-focused legal industry. Professionals must master rainmaking and
client development skills and customer service skills.
- Information analysis and research:
To flourish in the field of law, being able to identify what is pertinent
out of the mass information and explain it clearly and precisely to their
client is important. One can gain experience in this by jotting down a few
most important themes of a large document or news article. Knowing how to do
proper research plays a very vital role in the day-to-day life of a lawyer.
- Legal Research
Researching legal concepts, case law, judicial opinions, statutes,
regulations, and other information are important skills. Professionals must
master research techniques and learn how to locate and synthesize legal
You must be proficient at statutory interpretation and learn proper legal
citation. Become proficient with legal research software applications and
- Technology Skills
Technology is changing the legal landscape and is an integral part of every
function. Professionals should master a variety of word processing,
presentation, time management, billing, and practice-related software
applications to remain effective in their jobs.
This includes master communications technology such as email, voice
messaging systems, video conferencing, and related technology. It involves
becoming familiar with electronic discovery, computerized litigation
support, and document management software.
You should also develop the tech know-how to make wise technology decisions.
- Knowledge of Substantive Law and Legal Procedure
All legal professionals, even those at the bottom of the food chain, should
have a basic knowledge of substantive law and legal procedure. Even
secretaries and other support staff must have at least a general knowledge
of local, state, and federal court systems, and relevant filing deadlines.
They should understand the fundamental principles of law in the practice
area in which they work.
- Time Management
Legal professionals are under constant pressure to bill time and manage
large workloads in a profession that's based on the business model of the
billable hour. Productivity equals financial gain.
They must develop superior multi-tasking skills, a strong work ethic, and the
ability to juggle competing priorities. They must be able to meet tight
deadlines, and this requires calendar and time management skills.
The economy is recovering and law firms in India are exceeding in numbers as
well as their demand too. Lawyers are expected to be well-versed. Communication
is the main factor in a legal business. Lack of Communication is among the
topmost complaints reported by the clients. Communication, service orientation,
relationship building is paramount to a lawyer engaging to have an emerging and
successful legal life. It's time to stop making soft skills for granted and
start placing them on the list of priorities because these soft skills hold high
accountability and importance in an attorney's life.