Eight transferable skills every lawyer should have


5th January 2017 | 15:35

Over the course of your career you are likely to have many different roles. So it is important to develop a set of skills you can use in any of them, whether they happen to be in the law sector or not. The following eight skills are a good place to start.



If you want to be an effective lawyer, you need to be an effective communicator. This means being able to write clearly, speak persuasively and listen closely. Any opportunity you take to develop these abilities will be time well spent.


Attention to detail

It might not sound exciting, but knowing how to pay attention to fine details is critical. You will be working with complex documents and legal provisions. You will hear and make nuanced arguments. Therefore keeping an eye on small details will be paramount to your success.


Time management

A lawyer’s time is often under incredible demand. One moment you could be meeting with a client or preparing for a case, the next you could making an appearance in court or helping to determine the future direction of your firm. Fitting everything in, every day, requires exceptional time management.



Knowing how to inspire a team and lead them to success is a valuable asset in any role. If you have natural leadership abilities, your potential as a lawyer – or anything else – is limitless.


Sound judgement

Every lawyer is trained to look at the evidence before him or her, and reach a conclusion based on that evidence. Knowing how to avoid bias, address weaknesses in your argument and spot the flaws in your opposition’s argument is fundamental to the practice of law.



Your ability to judge soundly is heavily linked to your ability to think analytically. This often requires absorbing vast amounts of highly complex information, and then using that information to draw clear and logical conclusions.



Although law is a highly academic practice, carrying the law out has as much to do with people as anything else. How you relate to clients, how you work with colleagues and how you interact with the opposition will largely define how well you do in your career.



Some people love it and other people loathe it. However you feel about networking though, one thing is unavoidable: the better you are at it, the more opportunities will come your way. So get to know people from across your firm, in other firms and in other industries too. You never know when your latest contact might hold the key to your next opportunity.



Now that you know the main transferable skills to develop, check out the main skills and qualities we look for in candidates.