Excelling as a legal professional takes a plethora of traits, skills, and abilities. But, in all of this mixture, there are four main skills that every person working in the legal industry must possess -and must constantly seek to improve on. This message applies to attorneys, paralegals, legal administrators, and legal support staff. While the skills are pretty simple in nature, their possession makes for an outstanding legal candidate.
Attention to Detail
In 2017, the court case of O’Connor v Oakhurst Dairy, resulted in the defendants paying out $5 million due to a missing comma in a state statute. The small things matter in the law. Court decisions, settlements, trials, contractual disputes, and negotiations often hinge on the:
- meaning of single words;
- use of precise punctuation;
- interpretation of phrases;
- minute facts; and
- hidden wording.
Professionals in the legal industry must have the ability to focus on details. If a candidate brushes over work, or provides a cursory review of items, bad things can happen…sometimes to the tune of $5 million. Precision definitely pays when it comes to the law.
Work Well with Others
Consider, for a moment, all of the people a legal professional may have to interact with in order to resolve a work issue. The possibilities include:
- Supervisors and subordinates;
- Court administrators;
- Opposing counsel;
- Insurance personnel;
- Tax professionals;
- Experts; and,
This list can keep on going. The point is that every person working in the legal industry will have to work with a broad spectrum of other professionals. Note too that these professionals vary quite a bit in terms of background and demeanor. Thus, it is critical for a legal professional to be able to work well with others. This skill only helps the overall success of a firm or corporate legal department. It helps foster efficiency, effectiveness, a relaxed work environment, and success.
Things do not always go as planned in the legal business. Documents get misplaced. Witnesses are sometimes difficult to communicate with or even track down. Courts may delay important procedural elements of a case. Schedules of other attorneys constantly change causing the need to re-schedule certain meetings or events.
In the often-chaotic world of the law, professionals have to be patient. Level headedness prevails. Further, candidates must be able to control their emotions in times of frustration and stress. Like precision, patience pays.
This is closely associated with a person having the ability to work well with others. Given the extent of people that legal professionals must work with, it is critical that these professionals can communicate effectively. In addition, and as mentioned above, details matter in the law. This means messages have to be clearly given.
We also can’t forget to mention clients here. Clients are always looking for clear explanations and detailed information so they can understand complex legal procedures and certain intricacies within laws. Effective communication is a must when it comes to client interactions.
LAW DAWGS has been in the business of legal staffing for almost 30 years now. We know the skills that make legal professionals stand out. The above represent four of the most important. If you believe you are lacking in one or a couple, contact us now and let us help you improve. We are always here to help our candidates succeed!