A career in law demands a huge amount of technical knowledge – but it also requires that you build and develop a diverse skillset. One minute you’ll be poring over documents, the next you’ll be sitting down with emotionally vulnerable clients. To excel as a family lawyer, you’ll need to be strong in every respect, and take a proactive approach to identify your weaknesses.
But exactly what skills do you need to develop to excel as a family lawyer? Let’s take a look at some of the essential ones that all divorce solicitors need.
If you can’t get messages across to your clients, then you won’t be of much use as a family lawyer. Your clients may have specific concerns which need to be addressed. You’ll need to listen, and then clearly explain the relevant law in a way that they can understand. You’ll also spend a lot of time negotiating with the other side of any dispute, and keeping everything running smoothly. When matters escalate to court, you should be able to actually do the litigating – which requires rhetorical skill, as well as technical knowledge.
If knowing how to talk is important, then knowing when to talk is absolutely critical. A lawyer who divulges sensitive information to a third party is likely to sabotage their own career in the process. In truth, you might get away with doing this multiple times – but if it becomes a habit, then it’s inevitable that you’ll at some point get found out. Therefore being able to keep things to yourself is essential.
Lawyers can’t be expected to know literally everything. Certain cases might demand that you look up precedents, and this will require an analytical approach to filing and to research. The more efficient this process, the more quickly and reliably you’ll be able to react to the intricacies of any given case.
When you act as a family lawyer, you’ll have to work under the burden of expectation, and of the knowledge that your success or failure could have lasting consequences on the life of another person. Occasionally, you’ll experience disappointment – but you have to be psychologically resilient to ensure that such things do not affect your composure in the future. If you can’t manage your stress, then the chances are that you’ll have a tough time as a family lawyer.
As a family lawyer, time will be your most precious resource. This means getting paperwork in order and keeping everything organized in such a way that you aren’t constantly battling to restore order.
Your timekeeping with clients will need to be excellent. They are likely going through a stressful period, and if the lawyer shows up late to appointments, then they might well seek out a different lawyer.