BRUSH UP YOUR SKILLS

KNOW WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A SUC­CESS­FUL LAWYER

India Today - - COVER STORY - BY NEERAJ SAX­ENA CEO, AVANSE, AN ED­U­CA­TION FI­NANCE COM­PANY, MUMBAI

Im­pressed by a lawyer’s or­a­tory and an­a­lyt­i­cal skills in court? There’s much more than what meets the eye. Close ob­ser­va­tion will re­veal unique traits and a per­son­al­ity that a lawyer may or may not pos­sess but must even­tu­ally de­velop. The long and of­ten ab­struse route be­gins well be­fore law school; a chal­leng­ing ca­reer with in­def­i­nite work­ing hours forces one to de­velop a crit­i­cal eye and a scep­ti­cal at­ti­tude that can ques­tion the op­po­nent’s moves. Know what it takes to be a suc­cess­ful lawyer even if you’re still in school.

Ef­fec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion and lis­ten­ing skills

A lawyer should not only be ar­tic­u­late but also pos­sess good writ­ten com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills that will al­low him to write clearly, per­sua­sively and con­cisely. To com­mu­ni­cate ef­fec­tively, one must be a good lis­tener, which will help in scru­ti­n­is­ing sit­u­a­tions.

In­de­pen­dent at­ti­tude

As a young as­so­ciate, much of your time will go in re­search with lit­tle or no as­sis­tance at all. If you are the kind who is al­ways look­ing for sup­port, change your­self, as you will be ex­pected to fend for your­self most of the times.

Abil­ity to take sound de­ci­sions

The abil­ity to draw rea­son­able, and log­i­cal con­clu­sions from lim­ited in­for­ma­tion is an­other es­sen­tial trait of a lawyer. Be­fore point­ing out flaws in the op­po­nent’s ar­gu­ment, one must be ready with a counter ar­gu­ment. Iden­ti­fy­ing po­ten­tial ar­eas of weak­ness be­fore­hand is a plus point. A skilled lawyer is ex­pected to be de­ci­sive; one of­ten has to take im­por­tant judge­ment calls with lit­tle time to pon­der.

Re­search and An­a­lyt­i­cal skills

Lawyers need to ab­sorb large quan­ti­ties of in­for­ma­tion and this makes an­a­lyt­i­cal skills ex­tremely im­por­tant, par­tic­u­larly in sit­u­a­tions when there is more than one rea­son­able con­clu­sion, or more than one prece­dent ap­pli­ca­ble to re­solv­ing a sit­u­a­tion. Abil­ity to re­search quickly and ad­e­quately is es­sen­tial to un­der­stand the client’s needs and to pre­pare le­gal strate­gies.

Peo­ple skills

Lawyers work with peo­ple, on be­half of peo­ple, and the de­ci­sions also af­fect peo­ples’ lives. This makes ex­cel­lent peo­ple skills cru­cial for as­pir­ing lawyers. These com­prise a pleas­ant per­son­al­ity, and abil­ity to be per­sua­sive. It al­lows lawyers to gauge the ju­ror’s re­ac­tions and the hon­esty of wit­nesses.

Power of per­se­ver­ance

A bud­ding lawyer is ex­pected to be dili­gent even be­fore pre­par­ing for a le­gal ca­reer. Per­se­ver­ance is re­quired not only to study to be­come a lawyer and com­plete the un­der­grad­u­ate pro­gramme but also to ob­tain a train­ing con­tract be­fore qual­i­fy­ing.

Good with dead­lines

A lawyer who prac­tices in the realm of lit­i­ga­tion, fil­ing and pro­cess­ing law suits, must take dead­lines se­ri­ously as courts ad­here to time frames.

An emo­tion­ally strong per­son­al­ity

The le­gal sec­tor is an emo­tion­ally charged in­dus­try. One faces pres­sure from clients, em­ploy­ers, and op­po­nents and should there­fore be strong as un­rea­son­able con­flicts with op­pos­ing coun­sel, emo­tional im­bal­ances of clients, and billing de­mands of em­ploy­ers can take a toll on sen­si­tive in­di­vid­u­als.

Don’t stop af­ter de­vel­op­ing these traits; one needs more than the ob­vi­ous law-based qual­i­ties to suc­ceed in the field.

THE ABIL­ITY TO DRAW REA­SON­ABLE AND LOG­I­CAL CON­CLU­SIONS FROM LIM­ITED IN­FOR­MA­TION IS AN ES­SEN­TIAL TRAIT OF A GOOD LAWYER

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