Becoming a lawyer can be a difficult path, yet a rewarding career later on. Lawyers work in many different areas, such as criminal or commercial, and perform a variety of complex tasks. Successful lawyers are skilled with managing stress, multi-tasking, and dealing with mentally and emotionally intense situations. However, a lawyer needs more skills before they can build a successful career. Below explains three key competencies every aspiring lawyer should develop and maintain.
Apply Organizational Skills
Lawyers in any field must be able to juggle equally demanding tasks while quickly preparing for cases and responding to urgent problems, and you must have excellent time and task management skills. Students can build these skills through applying time and organizational techniques in their personal, academic, and work life. Learn how to use a day planner, smart phone calendar, and Outlook calendar at the same time. Aspiring lawyers should learn how to centralize and standardize the procedures for completing tasks to ensure accuracy and timeliness. For example, use an Excel spreadsheet to track and follow up with all projects and homework assignments. This will allow you to set deadlines, quickly access important information, and plan on future required actions. A good organizational skill set can set you up to finish your Masters in law degree and get you started in a career.
Practice Communication Skills
Lawyers must have excellent communication skills, including reading, writing, speaking and listening. Consider taking debate, public speaking or leadership classes. Practice reading complex legal material and writing a comprehensive review that persuades the reader to action. Learn how to actively listen and ask in-depth questions. Since so much of communication is done through email, consider taking a business writing class that will teach you the necessary skills and techniques for writing a professional email. The key to effective communication is learning how to be thorough with consistent follow-up. Practice effective communication techniques every chance you get. Ask for feedback from professors and other students on how to improve your communication efficacy and style.
Obtain a Master’s Degree in Law
According to the American Bar Association, almost 120,000 law students enrolled in over 200 law schools in 2014, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 10 percent increase in employment for lawyers over the next 10 years. A Master’s degree in Law is an excellent way to learn the necessary professional skills through formal training and education. Consider volunteering at the court or a legal organization so you can apply techniques and improve your skills.
All organizational and communication skills are a must for lawyers. In addition to this, a master’s degree in law is an excellent way to academically build skills. The American Bar Association offers career advice and resources here. It’s up to you to find your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to your career in law. It takes time, but as you build up these skills you will have the necessary support you need to move ahead into the career you want.
This article is from Brooke Chaplan, a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.