What is it that makes a lawyer an excellent lawyer? What distinguishes a first-class lawyer from a mediocre lawyer? What traits and capabilities should be developed to become an eminent lawyer?
A study conducted in the United States on the practical qualities of the best lawyer’s points out the following aspects:
Intellectual and knowledge development.
The best lawyers have a great capacity for analysis and practical reasoning. They are creative and innovative. They focus on solving problems, not necessarily through litigation, but through the way they think is cheaper and faster to arrive at the best solution to protect the interests of their clients.
Information search and fact investigation.
The best lawyers know perfectly well where to find the legal standard they need to apply it to a specific case: they are good at legislative and jurisprudential research.
They also stand out for knowing how to investigate the facts of a specific case, in a meticulous and detailed way, up to the level of obsession at times.
Likewise, they are excellent when questioning or interviewing the people involved in a specific case, either inside or outside the courtroom.
The best lawyers are excellent in the exercise of communication. How do they do that? Through the development of its ability to influence and persuade others, through a clean, direct, clear and perfectly understandable writing, as well as through the ability to listen to other people (both clients and judges) and even to the counterparts in a trial).
Planning and organization.
The legal profession has become very complex. Great organizational and planning skills are required to be successful in their practical exercise. The best lawyers are masters of strategic planning. They know how to organize and manage their own work, as well as the work of others.
The planning includes substantive issues related to the cases they are attending (for which they must have very well organized the agenda of hearings, expiration of procedural deadlines, etc.), to issues related to the administration of their offices (financial planning, payroll personal, rent or loan payments, etc.).
The legal profession, in practice, requires spending a lot of time on administrative issues for which one must have a great organizational capacity. A law firm after all is a kind of company and as such must be organized and managed.
Solution of conflicts.
Good lawyers are the ones who know how to negotiate the issues in order to obtain the best solutions; knowing how to negotiate is not, as some claim, an art, but a technique and how all kinds of techniques can be learned and developed. They also know, the prominent lawyers, that when a negotiation cannot come to fruition – for whatever reasons – it can open the door of a mediation procedure or even resort to arbitration. They never stop exploring all the available options before going to a trial, which is the ultimate means of conflict resolution.
Relations with clients and business.
Law, like other activities carried out by human beings in a professional manner, is also a business. The best lawyers prosper that dimension of the legal profession, through the development of networks of work and business.
The contacts are essential to obtain new clients and to refer to other firms or colleagues to customers who raise issues that are not part of our field of work.
Clients often seek advice or suggestions from lawyers in order to prevent the emergence of a problem or to make decisions as safely as possible, from the economic and legal point of view; the best lawyers know this and are prepared to advise their clients in a serious and rigorous manner.
Ability to work in a team.
Legal issues that are worthwhile from a professional point of view are often very complex. In many cases, it is not possible for an individual lawyer to give due attention to an issue that is complex or requires the analysis of large volumes of information.
In order to get ahead, teamwork is required. The best lawyers have the capacity to assess the issues to have a clear idea of their complexity and decide if, in a specific case, the participation of other lawyers or specialists in other branches of knowledge is going to be required.
In matters of environmental law, it is common to seek the advice of biologists; in criminal matters the assistance of doctors, forensic science specialists or detectives is often required; in matters related to telecommunications or energy law, the support of engineers is required; In tax matters, the support of accountants is indispensable.
We must know how to work with these professionals, developing relationships of trust and mutual support that allow us to serve our clients with the best possible level.
Not everyone can be a good lawyer, a lawyer of excellence. In addition to everything we have said, a certain character formation is also required. The traits of the best lawyers are: passion and commitment to their profession; diligence in the attention of the cases they carry; integrity and honesty to all test; good handling of stress situations; continuous ability to learn, throughout his professional life.