Becoming a lawyer is a lofty goal, but it’s not impossible, especially if you already naturally have some of the skills that you need to become one.
Are you considering going to school to become an attorney? Do you think you have what it takes to be an excellent lawyer in a high-powered firm? The truth is that becoming a lawyer is about more than passing the bar exam. You have to have certain qualities that help you connect to people during some of the most difficult times of their lives.
1. Good Mental and Physical Health
Granted, when you think of things that a good lawyer needs, you probably don’t first think of physical and mental health. The reality is, though, that an attorney is only as good as his or her health. If you aren’t feeling your best, you aren’t performing your best at your job, either. Maybe you’d like to increase your energy, feel an improvement in your overall mood, or simply stop feeling so under the weather all the time. The best way to do this is to start a routine such as the 75 Hard Program or a similar program that will help you identify where you can make changes and then work to implement them.
2. Excellent Communication Skills
From meeting with clients to questioning witnesses on the stand, a lawyer spends the vast majority of his or her work life communicating with other people. This means that excellent communication skills are a priority. Learn how to articulate your points well when speaking and how to listen actively when someone is speaking to you. This helps you to be sure that you don’t miss important details that could make or break your cases later. In addition to oral communication skills, you must also have excellent written skills for writing recommendations for cases and communicating electronically with clients. If you don’t feel these are skillsets you’ve mastered yet, consider taking a public speaking or written communication class at the local college.
3. Compassion For Other People
No matter what type of lawyer you are, your clients will have emotions that run high from time to time. Criminal lawyers work with people who may be worried about going to jail. Family lawyers often deal with adoptions, divorces, and other highly emotional situations. Estate lawyers often talk to people after the loss of a loved one. All of these situations require an attorney who can be compassionate toward his or her clients when the need arises. This means that you need to focus on how your clients feel, delivering good news with enthusiasm and bad news as gently as you can. You must be able to put yourself in your client’s shoes and think about how you would want to be treated if you were in the same situation.
4. Knowledge of the Law
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many attorneys think they pass the bar exam and then they don’t need to keep up with their education. The reality is that local, state, and federal laws are always changing and a good lawyer needs to keep abreast of those changes. Consider whether you want to specialize in a specific type of law as well. For example, a family lawyer has knowledge that a corporate lawyer doesn’t due to the very different natures of the types of cases that come through the door. If you want to specialize in a specific kind of law, you’ll need to be even more diligent about keeping on top of any changes.
Becoming a lawyer is a lofty goal, but it’s not impossible, especially if you already naturally have some of the skills that you need to become one. Good mental and physical health, strong communication skills, compassion, and a willingness learn will take you far on your goal path.