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To study law`are there characteristics that will help you get there or is there a personality you must have?

I am a junior at a high school in L.A. I ask this question because law interests me but I don't know if I have the personality to pursue this career. #law #lawyers #business-lawyer


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Nelson’s Answer

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Luz, I don't think there is a right "personality," but I would say that the most important characteristic you can possess is tenacity.


You are a junior in high school. This means that to become a lawyer you have another year of high school left, at least four years of college, and three years of law school. That's eight more years of school and a ton of tests along the way. Becoming a lawyer is a long process and has lots of bumps along the way.


Being a tenacious person will also help you be a good lawyer, because you will likely have no problem advocating for your client, which is something you need to do as a lawyer.


If you are the type of person who doesn't give up, and is very determined, then you have all the tools you need. Also, you better love to read and write, because you will be doing a lot of reading and writing.


Be forewarned, the legal job market is pretty bad right now which makes your path that much harder. All the more reason to be tenacious.


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Sarah’s Answer

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Luz, you have received some great answers above, I thought I would add some insights from an in-house perspective. Although you are still studying, developing these characteristics as you study will stand you in good stead for your future as a lawyer!


Adaptable - working within a business, you will work with colleagues with many different types of personalities and ability levels, and it's important to be able to adapt your style to suit them, as they are all your client.


Clear and Concise: You need to be able to explain the law in a way that they understand - be clear and concise when you are discussing or presenting your thoughts and ideas.


Dynamic: In house lawyers also need to be dynamic, adapting to changing ways of doing business, or working with new technologies, or implementing a new policy or a new law.


Confidence & Public Speaking: As Debolina has said, you don't have to be an extrovert! But being confident and comfortable speaking in front of people will assist greatly. As an in-house lawyer, the business you work for is relying on you to protect them from legal risks, so you mustn't be afraid of telling your colleagues about those risks and giving advice as to what will help avoid them.


Best of luck!


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David’s Answer

Nelson is absolutely right that tenacity and a love of reading and writing is critical. The other trait I think would be most useful is the ability to learn and pick up new skills. The law and your practice can change drastically and even in specialized fields, lawyers are expected to know about a lot of different subjects, and the most successful lawyers I know are the ones that like to learn and can pick up new skills.


Other than that, the traits necessary to succeed can vary wildly based on the different areas of practice. Some practices require you to negotiate with other parties or get up in front of people and speak, so for those, you would need to enjoy public speaking and have the confidence to do that. Other practices require you to review documents all day, so you would need great attention to detail patience to be successful. If you want to be a lawyer, my advice would be to look at what you enjoy and the characteristics you have and try to find a practice that fits you.


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Debolina’s Answer

Hi Luz,


Good question. One common misconception is that all attorneys are extroverts. A recent article published by the American Bar Association Journal points to a study that found 60% of attorneys are actually introverts (http://tinyurl.com/jbm68yz). This makes sense if you think about it. Attorneys spend a lot of time reading, writing, thinking and analyzing, as opposed to what is depicted on television: high drama cross examination court scenes. No matter where you fall on the sliding scale of introversion to extroversion, either now or by the time you reach law school, I believe you can find a fit within the legal field. As my colleagues mentioned above, be tenacious and ready to work hard.


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Teresa’s Answer

I agree with Nelson's response. It requires you to be determined. Law school can be a challenging experience. I have met lawyers with all different kinds of personalities. Good luck!


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Mike’s Answer

You know what type of person you are and need to evaluate your traits and how they would benefit you as an officer. Are you a leader, do you care, are you physically fit, how do you deal with a stressful situation, and does your family support a career in law enforcement.


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Ken’s Answer

Hi Luz!


Here is a site that is very important for you to visit and read:


http://www.collegeview.com/articles/article/so-you-think-you-want-to-be-a-lawyer


Send thank you notes to those who help you. Please keep me posted. I would like to follow your progress!


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