There are many opinions on the shared qualities of the best lawyers. Experience is very important and fundamental lawyering skills are necessary, but they are far from the only measures.
Researchers identified 26 factors that make for effective lawyering. To get their results, the researchers devised tests to measure specific personal and interpersonal characteristics thought to be important, such as integrity, empathy, situational judgment, and communication and people skills. Then they validated the tests by trying them out on the alumni, whose abilities as lawyers were rated by their peers and supervisors, as well.
The below are characteristics lawyers should have, according to the research.
- Self-monitoring. Individuals who are high self-monitors are good at learning what is socially appropriate in new situations, have good self-control of their emotional expression (facial and verbal), and can effectively use this ability to create the impressions they seek to create
- Dispositional Optimism. This refers to a generalized tendency to expect positive and favorable outcomes in the future
- Situational Judgment
- Emotional Intelligence
- Skills in analysis and reasoning
- Problem-solving abilities
- Strong research skills especially concerning the law and fact finding
- Knowledge of litigation and the nature of legal rules and institutions
- Interview skills
- Writing skills
- Speaking skills, including the ability to communicate complex information to an audience that may not be familiar with the concepts involved
- Listening skills
- Ability to influence and advocate
- Strategic planning abilities
- Ability to organize and manage one’s own work
- Ability to organize and manage others
- Negotiation skills
- Ability to see the world through the eyes of others
- Networking and business development abilities
- Ability to build relationships with clients and counsel them about the decision to be made
- Ability to work well with others
- Ability to evaluate, develop and mentor
- Passion and engagement
- Integrity and honesty
- Ability to manage stress
- Involved in the community
- Desire for self-development. Top lawyers stay on top of developments in the legal field and also pursue continuing training.
By looking for a lawyer with these characteristics, one can narrow down the search and select a lawyer with the experience, legal skills and personal qualities that will best serve the case.