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December 3, 2021
BPP University Law School has close links with firms and chambers, which helps them to keep on top of what they’re looking for in future trainees. This insight shows that there are 9 key skills future lawyers need to focus on in order to thrive.

Digital Literacy

Digital literacy describes your ability to use technology and tools to improve efficiencies in the workplace. If you have this skill, it means you can stay abreast of the rapid development of technology and will be able to intuitively use a range of tools to communicate, collaborate, prepare documents and compile information for clients.

You can build this skill by making sure you use different tools or software and making your studies as digital as you possibly can.

Business Acumen

If you display business acumen, this means you have an ability to understand your client’s business well. You’ll be able to appreciate their commercial objectives and understand their sectors, plus it’ll help you to understand the law firm as a business, too.

This is an important skill to develop because it will impact everything you do, from drafting or negotiating contracts to advising on the legal position. It will also help you to appreciate the challenges they face and to build a stronger relationship with your client.

Wider reading is a good way to develop your business acumen. Take a look at our guide to commercial awareness and sign up for CA newsletter to get monthly updates.

Organisation And Planning

Having organisation and planning skills will allow you to effectively balance your workload, and manage transactions and cases all the way from start to finish.

This is an important skill because you’ll constantly need to juggle different tasks, meet a range of deadlines, and prioritise your workload, so being organised and planning will help you do this well.

A good way to work on your planning and organisation skills is to implement this into your everyday life. Try to plan your study schedules and see which tools and strategies you find the most helpful, so you know what to carry forward as you being your training.

Communication

Good communication skills will help you express your ideas and give advice or information clearly, through a variety of mediums. It means being able to change the content and tone of what you’re saying according to who you’re communicating with, and the purpose of the communication. It’s also about listening well, and adopting the appropriate body language.

This is an essential skill because you’ll have to communicate complex legal terminology in a way that’s concise, and you’ll need to set out your advice clearly so it’s understood. There will be times when you need to deliver difficult messages sensitively, or when you need to make persuasive arguments to a counter-party or when you’re advocating in court.

One way to develop your communication skills would be to practice explaining some complex legal issues to a friend or family member who doesn’t study law. You should try this in a variety of ways, such as speaking with them face to face, over the phone or via email and other written communications. You could also try something fun, like a book club, where you’ll need to express yourself and what you’ve learnt to people you may not know very well.

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Accuracy And Attention To Detail

It’s really important that you are highly accurate and pay close attention to detail while practising law. Being skilled in this area will allow you to stay focussed, to spot key pieces of information and to ensure you don’t make mistakes in the documents that you’re preparing.

It’s an essential skill for lawyers because you’ll be reviewing and drafting lengthy or complex sets of documents and the repercussions of missing a tiny detail could impact the whole case that you’re trying to build. Something as small as a misplaced or incorrect work could actually drastically change the entire meaning of a clause or a contract, which could cause issues to your client in the future.

You can build this skill by being mindful of the things that distract you, and working on ways to reduce this. For example, if you lose your focus every time your phone flashes with a notification, consider putting it away in a drawer or in another room. If you’re easily distracted by noise, try to either find ways to reduce it or increase your tolerance to noise. Work on how you can be present without being distracted for as long as possible.

Collaboration

Collaboration skills will empower you to work well with others and achieve more by working as part of a team. It involves recognising and respecting the contribution of people who have different skills or expertise to you, and learning how to delegate when it’s appropriate.

This is important because lawyers are always collaborating. Sometimes you’ll need to pull together to focus on different aspects of a case, or you might need to create a team of people with varying areas of expertise to solve complex challenges for your clients.

Often you’ll develop collaboration during your studies when you have group work projects. If you need to develop this further, you could volunteer or join some clubs and societies that need support, and spend some time working with others to achieve a shared goal.

Creativity

Creativity skills will help you be open to new ideas or ways of thinking to find innovative ways of working and solving your client’s problems. Developing an innovative mindset will help you question and challenge the norms in order to find more efficient ways to meet your objectives.

It’s an important skill because you’ll need to think flexibly and creatively to comply with the law while solving client challenges.

Luckily there’s a wealth of books, blogs and videos dedicated to improving creative thinking, so this is something you can develop with a little wider reading.

Resilience

Having resilience means you can swiftly recover from challenges or setbacks while remaining calm and positive. It will help you deal with pressure and learn from setbacks.

Being resilient is important because there will be times when you’ve worked for months or years on a transaction or case and then something goes wrong. Being able to keep a positive mindset and learn from the experience will allow you to develop as a lawyer.

Working on your resilience is often a benefit of improved self care. By looking after yourself, you can reduce stress and improve resilience. Tools like meditation, journaling or yoga can all help, so it’s a good idea to try the various options and find what works for you.

Emotional Intelligence

Having high emotional intelligence will allow you to recognise your own emotional reactions, and that of others. Being emotionally intelligent helps you understand how your behaviour impacts those around you and builds a level of self-awareness while enhancing your skill in empathising with others.

Emotional intelligence is key for lawyers because you’ll need to put yourself in the shoes of others in order to persuade, influence and lead. Furthermore, it’s an essential skill for improving relationships with clients and colleagues and will help build trust. It’s also really important for collaborative working.

If you want to improve your emotional intelligence, try to work on responding instead of reacting to situations, improve your active listening, build your self-awareness and learn how to take feedback well.

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