Has becoming a lawyer crossed your mind as a career goal? Well, why not? A law degree is an exciting and noble goal. The profession usually pays well, and you can have that “solicitor” or “barrister” associated with your name. But, beyond the pay and the prestige, you get to sleep at the end of each working day knowing that you’ve helped someone, often in a very profound way.
So you think you’ve got what it takes? Here are some things to consider before embarking on this career path.
Have the Time to Study
Attending law school will take about three years, that is, if you go full-time and have already completed your bachelor’s degree. Law school is a strenuous program of classroom work, internships and other school-related activities that make virtually any outside job impossible during this time.
Can Perform Well Even Under Pressure
In your course leading to your qualifying exam or licensure, you will undergo rigorous testing and reviews, which you must pass to meet your goal.
Have Public Speaking Skills
Presenting information to others, including clients, other lawyers, witnesses, juries, judges, arbitrators, counsel and colleagues are just some of the skills. Particularly if you choose to become a trial lawyer, you must feel very confident defending your client’s interests before a judge and feel at home being front and centre in the courtroom. A corporate lawyer must also be comfortable in the meeting room, with eyes on you from both sides of the conference room table. Even as in-house counsel, you must lead committees, hold meetings and make presentations to staff and others.
Words are the lawyer’s most valuable tool! A lawyer must be an excellent communicator and adept at playing advocate during oral arguments. They also must be persuasive writers. A trial attorney must master the art of speaking and writing when filing motions, hearing cases, taking statements, and writing various pleadings. A corporate lawyer must be a master negotiator and be adept at drafting agreements, deeds of sale and resolutions.
Always Able to Think Analytically
Logical and critical reasoning skills are essential to legal practice. Analytical skills are needed for all areas of law, whether structuring a multi-million dollar contract or developing a defence strategy. If you like researching and critical thinking, you can love being a lawyer.
Bring In New Business
Most lawyers are required to do business for the firm, at least in part. So, in addition to the law practice requirements, you must excel in promoting yourself and your organisation to potential clients.
Dressed for Success
Most lawyers spend their working days in suits and professional clothes. It helps lawyers gain respect, inspire confidence and give that polished look.
Most successful lawyers do not work 40 hours a week. However, clients will expect your availability once you sign that retainer agreement.