Our last post examined “THE” In-House Counsel, and explored some of the top traits an attorney should have if working in a corporate legal department. This post is going to switch the focus a bit. We now consider “THE” law firm candidate. The following traits represent the most essential skills a lawyer should have if working for a firm.
Keen Analytical Skills
Attorneys at firms often work with complex problems and cases that include a variety of facts and a host of different parties. Given this, lawyers at firms must have keen analytical skills to spot pertinent issues and solve problems. Closely associated with this is the ability to focus on details. In some cases, the most critical piece of information is some obscure fact. An attorney at a firm cannot let these facts slip through.
Good Communication Skills
This includes both written and oral communication. Litigators and law firm attorneys must communicate with many different types of people. A few quick examples are:
- Opposing Counsel
- Staff Members
- Court Reporters
The list could go on and on. Further, the lawyers in question must speak directly with these people, as well as, convey information to them in official documents, letters, e-mails, etc. All of this means that firm attorneys have to master the art of communication. There really is no other option.
A Quality Team Member
Law firms are comprised of a group of different professionals – attorneys, paralegals, administrative support personnel, office managers, IT specialists, etc. Lawyers must be able to get along with all of these professionals, and, they should support them and motivate them. In essence, the success of a firm is ultimately dependent upon the individual performance of its members. This is why it’s critical for an attorney at a law firm to be an exceptional team player.
Most law firm attorneys will have to bill hours. This means there will be times when these lawyers will have to work long hours and make sacrifices. Drive is of utmost importance during these times. It will keep the attorney focused and will ensure that perseverance prevails over excuses and hesitations.
This doesn’t apply to all law firm attorneys, but many of them. Most lawyers at a firm specialize in a particular area of the law (e.g., personal injury, estate planning, intellectual property, bankruptcy, etc.). Given this, it’s extremely beneficial that an attorney at a firm have some specialized experience that they can bring to the table. Again, this will not apply to all lawyers. Some firms practice in several different areas of the law. But many, require a certain degree of specialty in its attorneys.
Good Academic Background
This applies mostly to lawyers just starting out in their career. Since these professionals will not have much experience, and likely little specialized knowledge, firms will look towards their academic background to help predict success. Thus, a lawyer should have quality grades in an assortment of courses and studies that relate back to the firm they’re interested in.
QUID PRO QUO has been in the business of staffing attorneys for almost 30 years by now. We know a thing or two about the traits that help lawyers survive in a law firm. Please contact us now if you have any questions about the above, or if we can help advance your legal career in any way. Please also visit our Career Portal to learn of the opportunities we currently have open.