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What skill sets are imperative for me to have if I want to become a corporate lawyer?

I am interested in becoming a Lawyer.
I would like to know what being a Lawyer entails.
I would like to know which High School Subjects I should do to prepare me for University.
Also, is there vacation work that I could do while I am in High School, so that I can learn more about this field, what areas I could specialize in and also if I would really be happy being a Lawyer. #corporate-law


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Allison’s Answer

This is a bit of a complicated question because many lawyers specialize in different areas. For example, I handle contracts in the media space and also protect my company's intellectual property (mainly trademarks). I have colleagues that go to court and litigate, and I never go to court; other colleagues are employment lawyers and advise on areas of the law I have no knowledge of whatsoever. It's hard to imagine that we are even in the same profession our jobs are so different.


So while skills like reading, writing and critical thinking are important for whatever type of lawyer you might become - the skills you need for a certain type of law may vary depending on what area you get into. For me, I spend my days negotiating and drafting contracts and providing legal advice by phone and email to internal clients on all types of questions.


It is hard to get the necessary experience in high school, but when you are in college, you should see if your university has a pre-law program. Connect with the career advisor there. And definitely get as much practical experience as you can through shadowing different lawyers, applying for internships, etc. so you can find out which areas of law you might like more than others. Finally, ask your friends, family and advisors at school to connect you with lawyers they know and ask them lots of questions - what do they do on a daily basis, what do they like about it, what don't they, how did they get into that area, etc. Once you know what type(s) of law you might be interested in, then you can more aggressively pursue specific experiences that might helpful for obtaining a position in that area. And, if you don't know exactly what you want to do, that's okay. Many of my friends didn't figure out what type of lawyer they wanted to be until they were in law school when they could take a variety of classes in different subjects, and then found their passion from there.


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Ken’s Answer

I believe Allison's answer is spot on. I would only add that you take classes and/or participate in activities that require public speaking. Being a lawyer requires the ability to do a lot of speaking to an "audience" - whether it be your client, judge or even your adversary. The more practice - the better.


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