There are many skills that are required for the practice of law, which, as a complex activity, requires both theoretical and practical knowledge. These are skills that are not normally taught in the University, but acquired with professional practice.
We do not intend to enumerate such knowledge with exhaustive spirit since it depends on what type of advocacy is exercised: whether it is external consultants, company lawyers, or if it is exercised in small offices or in large firms. Therefore, we will only refer to some of them, according to my professional experience as a lawyer and as a teacher.
We can point out the following:
- Technical knowledge
Lawyers are presumed to have technical knowledge in law that is the basis of our profession and that allow us to carry out a serious and rigorous legal advice to our clients. This also entails capacity for analysis and logical reasoning, as well as the ability to write and communicate through written and verbal messages.
In the application of the legal standard to the specific case we use different resources such as bibliography, databases and jurisprudence, among others, that we have to handle correctly for a better solution of the case that has been entrusted to us. But it is necessary not only to know the law, but also common sense is important that will guide us in the resolution of conflicts.
- Commercial skills
The technical knowledge is not enough, the evolution in the legal sector has meant that we have to adapt our offices to the demands of the modern practice of law in which the ability to generate business becomes a fundamental axis. It is not enough to master the technique perfectly, but it is necessary to have a defined strategy, oriented to the client and give visibility to our project.
Marketing involves asking who we want to target, how we can look for differentiation and what the added value we want to offer is. This entails establishing objectives, creating a brand image, defining services, knowing how to communicate as well as capturing, retaining and customer loyalty.
- Organization and planning
The professional practice of the legal profession is a complex task that entails the need for planning. Having a discipline and organizing our working time is fundamental, so that we can manage several issues with their respective deadlines, devoting to each one the time necessary to solve it in an efficient way and being resolute.
- Capacity for teamwork
I think it is fundamental to have this capability, since there are cases that are very complex and that require analyzing large volumes of information, so it is important to coordinate people and groups by joining forces and being able to delegate.
We must study each specific case that comes to us and decide if the participation of other lawyers is necessary, specifying the functions of each one as well as the intervention of different specialists, such as experts, doctors, detectives, etc. …
- Empathy and communication skills
Contacts are essential to get new customers, so you must have the ability to establish interpersonal relationships.
It is important to know how to listen to customers. We always say that with them we have to do a bit of psychologists, creating a relationship of trust, which ultimately constitutes the basis of the legal profession. Offer them a quality service and inform them of how their things are going before they ask us, they value this a lot.
It is also necessary to know how to listen to the other parties involved in the judicial process, all this will benefit everyone.
- Management of new information technologies
The knowledge of new technologies and know how to use them is necessary in our professional practice, both social networks and blogs are sources of information that bring us interesting things; we have to adapt to the environment that we have lived.
It is essential to negotiate the issues in order to find the best solution to the problem. This implies a technique that, as such, it is necessary to learn and develop.
We must take into account the different options for resolving conflicts before going to trial, which is the last way when we see that the negotiations are unsuccessful. In short, the client wants results and there are different ways to achieve them. This is where the lawyer’s ability to use the most appropriate way comes in.
- Continuous training
The importance of permanent training, of being in continuous learning and studying. This seems decisive to me, both for the people who start and for those of us who have been exercising for years.
- Passion and commitment
In short, it is about exercising our profession with diligence, integrity and honesty, always putting passion and commitment.