4 Vital Soft-Skills For Top Legal Talent

What sets a good lawyer apart from a great lawyer? In the legal world, it is not enough to be an expert in your practice area or top of your class in law school, if you want to progress in your legal career. Instead, it is your soft-skills as a lawyer, such as communication, social graces, habits, and attitudes, that can set you up for success. When it comes to professional development, more and more law firms are focusing on soft-skills as a measure of top legal talent, whereas they were previously overlooked by professionals in favor of the ‘harder’ skills and niche practice areas.

Soft Skills for Lawyers, by Giuseppe Giusti emphasizes the importance of these skills, stating, “The legal profession is one example where the ability to deal with people effectively and politely, more than their mere occupational skills, can determine the professional success of a lawyer.

Are you ready to set yourself apart from the legal talent pool? Here are a few of the most sought-after soft-skills:

RELATIONSHIP BUILDING

Your legal career depends on your ability to build and maintain positive relationships within the firm, but most importantly, your clients. As a lawyer, you must consistently cultivate, nurture and strengthen relationships with your clients. The ability to build strong relationships helps you receive more work and referrals.

EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION

Communication skills in a legal practice go far beyond the basics. In order to be a successful lawyer, being able to communicate effectively during negotiations, interviews, and investigations is crucial. The key to effective communication is clarity. Keeping the lines of communication open and clear, help establish you as trustworthy source of information with your clients.

EMPATHY

When it comes to relating to people on the job — particularly with clients — it is important to be able to understand and appreciate others’ points of view. In the legal profession, the ability to be empathetic aids negotiation, conflict resolution, and the ability to convince others of your argument’s merits.

TEAMWORK

Top lawyers possess the ability to be a useful member of a team. As legal issues become increasingly complex, teams of lawyers have become more common as there is much to be gained from collaboration and utilizing the knowledge and expertise of the lawyers involved. The ability to work collaboratively and effectively with others is of fundamental importance to working successfully at a law firm. This not only includes working with colleagues, but also clients, outside vendors, and those from other law firms.

In order to distinguish themselves as top legal talent, lawyers need these soft-skills to complement their hard-earned legal expertise and analytical intelligence. Like any other skill, these abilities can be improved with practice. Taking the time to focus on developing your soft-skills will set you apart from the pack as top legal talent, and help you land your dream job.