Technology is rapidly changing the legal profession. So what are some of the important key skills for lawyers today?
Right now the law seems to be in crisis.Technology is forcing big changes on a very traditional profession and the results are messy.
In a recent Linkedin Poll 80 percent of senior lawyers believed that junior lawyers expected too much and delivered too little. Many complain that they lack the essential lawyer skills necessary to deliver good results and do the job properly. In this blog post we will discuss 5 key skills for lawyers for today and the future.
This has to be top of the key skills for lawyers.
Artificial Intelligence is changing the communication landscape and as a result it’s possible that in the future AI will be able to deal with a lot of the written communication. On the other hand AI won’t be able to replace entirely the spoken word, well not yet anyway!
Artificial Intelligence is already capable of doing parts of many lawyers’ jobs. From standardising and analysing contracts to researching relevant case law and regulations. AI does it faster and better.
Written communication as a key skill for lawyers won’t be so important in the future as AI is more than capable of generating emails and letters. It will continue to improve but in the interim there are many free or paid tools that lawyers can use to keep their writing on track
Verbal communication is definitely one of the very important key skills for lawyers that legal professionals should be mastering.
If you are a lawyer whose second language is English, you might feel that mastering English is an impossible task.
This is a normal reaction as in the past many lawyers were told they needed to have perfect English to succeed in an international environment. Speaking like a native and having perfect grammar were seen as vital key skills for lawyers working in a global market.
However, things are changing. There are now more non-native speakers than original English speakers. This is having a dramatic impact on the language and how it is spoken.
You don’t need perfect English but you do need to have excellent English communication skills.
The two things are different. You can have perfect English but if you don’t know how to use it to build relationships then you will fail. If you can use English effectively to help you build trust, deepen relationships and explain difficult concepts then you will be seen as an excellent company asset, one worth keeping.
Showing initiative and being able to act independently are definitely two of the top key skills for lawyers.
Being able to follow instructions is a good solid starting point when you first start out in law as law is structured and has a lot of rules and regulations to follow. However, there is a time to follow the instructions of a senior and there’s a time for working autonomously. It’s like having driving lessons with an instructor, sooner or later you have to start driving the car on your own. If you don’t master this key skill for lawyers your legal career is going to go nowhere.
A good way to develop this key skill for lawyers is to develop a growth mindset. By working on your inner game and developing confidence your ability to work independently and take the initiative will also increase.
Creative problem solving is becoming a very important legal skill for lawyers because of the way the legal world is transforming.
The legal profession is changing into more of a service providing industry. This means legal roles within companies are also changing. Lawyers now have to think more like entrepreneurs. Lawyer entrepreneurs are really the next step in lawyer evolution.
As a result, creative problem solving is going to be a key skill for lawyers to cultivate.
To develop this key skill for lawyers requires a non-traditional approach to the law. Changing to a more positive growth mindset is going to be necessary. Practising habits that support bigger picture thinking are going to be necessary.
Books like The Art Of Impossible, by Steven Kotler are useful, although challenging to read. One great tip from Kotler is to get out into nature.
When we are in wide open spaces it gives our brain the ability to focus on bigger things. It flips a switch and we stop worrying about details and start to think about bigger things. It’s like being able to see the forest. In contrast if we are stressed and inside our brain worries about the details and cant come up with new solutions. This ties in nicely with the next important key skill for lawyers.
It’s no surprise that this appears as a key skill for lawyers. Depending on which field of law you choose to work in there are going to be times when you will have to work incredibly hard. You may have to put in crazy long hours to get a contract completed or if you work in tax law you may have to deal with a really huge volume at specific times.
Juggling cases and deadlines isn’t easy. Unless you are organised and have systems in place you will quickly find yourself drowning in work and suffering from stress.
Working on your mindset and developing good supporting habits is one way to help improve this key skill for lawyers and work better under pressure. Using time management tools like notice is something that helps people to become more productive and stay on top of their workload. It’s also important to take care of your mental health, so developing good habits around sleep and exercise has been proven to help you become more productive and less stressed.
Hybrid lawyers and coders are now entering the workforce. This makes perfect sense when you consider how much information is stored digitally. The new generation of lawyers are being taught to code as part of the essential curriculum which shows clearly how the law is changing. Coding is an essential key skill for lawyers who intend to work with legal tech companies. The new generation of lawyers will need to know the limitations of coding and what’s involved in providing a solution.
Developing a growth mindset will help you master all of these key skills for lawyers. Practise your English regularly to keep your skills up to date and consider getting a coach if you need help to master your mindset and your English.
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