This post addresses the question of “What do I need do/what skills do I need to demonstrate to be a successful lawyer?”
Bring passion to their work.
Top lawyers have combined what they are most talented at with what they have a passion for doing. And the key is they have found a way to bring their passion and talents while at the same time meeting the needs of clients.
Provide extraordinary service.
Top lawyers deeply understand the business of their clients and their industries. They also see things from the clients’ perspective. They learn what their clients want, need, and desire and help them get it. These lawyers are generally proactive and are able to initiate and develop ideas before their clients really need the help.
Top lawyers are skilled at presenting (through writing and speaking) complex issues in a powerful way. They can translate technical issues into easily digestible bite-size formats for layman to read and understand. Moreover, they appreciate and stay true to Thomas Jefferson’s quote that “the most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”
Top lawyers can take a welter of considerations, sort them out, and make sound recommendations to clients. This skill is one that attracts lifelong clients.
Strong knowledge and understanding of the law.
Top lawyers have deep knowledge of their area and therefore also have good instincts about how the rules operate when working on something new. In addition, they are adept at reading and interpreting statutes. Top lawyers start from the beginning, keeps reading, are patient when reading statutes and do not jump to conclusions, and read and understand the statute before dispensing advice.
Strong knowledge of policy.
Top lawyers have an appreciation for the underlying policy behind the law. As such, where there are ambiguities in the statute, they use this knowledge to help them predict outcomes.