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what are some personality traits that help with becoming a lawyer? What are some helpful technical skills for becoming a lawyer. Thanks for al of the help! #law #lawyer #law-school #law-practice #personal-development #career-details

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Matthew’s Answer

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In regards to technical skills, the ability to write clearly and concisely is very important as a lawyer as is the ability to speak clearly and concisely before groups of people. The majority of your career will be spent drafting documents, whether it be appellate briefs, motions for court, contracts or other similar agreements. Similarly, your ability to present facts and information based upon your position is equally important.

There is no one singular personality trait that helps with being a lawyer as there are many areas of law which allow all types of personalities to flourish. The trick is finding the area of law which both interests you and matches your personality.

Kim’s Answer

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Hi Katherine!

Having worked with and around lawyers, these are my observations. Bear in mind, the lawyers I know are criminal defense, family law, employment law, Immigration, and Civil Rights attorneys. What I have observed may not hold for all.

  1. Ability to not react to anything they hear or see. That is, keep a "poker face." If you are in negotiations, and someone offers $250,000, when you were thinking you'd do good to get $100,000, you cannot show that you like what you hear. Instead, you need to be able to seriously counter with, "Oh, we were thinking more along the lines of $300,000."
  2. Ability to think clearly, and, to see an issue from all sides. For example, if you are a criminal defense attorney, and think you have a solid case for your client, you need to be able to anticipate what the prosecution will argue.
  3. Energy. lots of it! There will be some long days- and nights. Physical health helps with mental health.
  4. Passion. You need to come across as believing in your client's cause.
  5. Self-confidence and public speaking
  6. Interpersonal skills: ability to get along with people you may not like, so, in the interest of your client, you can work out a deal with the opposing counsel. Sometimes you won't even like your clients.
  7. Active listening skills.
  8. One of the most frequent complaints is that attorneys do not maintain contact with their clients and keep them informed about the case. Work on developing good frequent communication skills, perhaps with relatives you don't see very often.
  9. Persistence! Lots of battles are long, and you might think you are behind, but you never give up until you have explored EVERY possible approach.

So far, we have covered skills you can acquire through: drama, chess-playing (anticipating opponent's move), debate team, Aerobic exercise (getting oxygen to the brain - every good lawyer I know does some form of cardio workout).

Add to that, organizational skills. You will need to be able to develop and maintain lots of files,. For each case, you will probably have paper files, electronic files, and an e-mail file, at a minimum, and thousands of documents! You will need to stay current in technology. Many courts require documents to be filed electronically, and technology is used in the courtroom.

Adding to all of the above, I would encourage you to have a background in Latin, and Logic. It's not all just about research and writing, so you also need to be a student of the world, to understand what people mean when they make comparisons to some tv show or movie, for example.

I hope this has helped. Generally speaking, there is a place within the legal system for most people, you just need to figure out where you fit in!

Barry’s Answer

Updated

I think successful attorneys have strong analytical skills with strong logic skills. You can develop these skills by taking philosophy classes, logic classes, and even computer programming classes.

Ken’s Answer

Updated

Hi Katherine!

You asked a good question. However, I would like to turn it around and ask "What career areas do your personality traits match?" This is a more pertinent question, because if they do not match "lawyer", you will know what career areas they do match. Here is a good way to find out: https://www.themuse.com/advice/14-free-personality-tests-thatll-help-you-figure-yourself-out

If your personality traits do match those of "lawyer", here is some helpful information: http://www.collegeview.com/articles/article/so-you-think-you-want-to-be-a-lawyer

Let me know if and how this helps. Keep me posted. I would like to follow your progress.