Thursday, August 21, 2014

Peirce Leadership Series: The Top 10 Skills Needed for Leadership in the Legal Field

This post is part 3 in our Leadership Series examining what it takes to be a leader in today’s quickly evolving workforce.

Leadership in the legal field can come in a variety of forms depending on the type of career path you pursue. Because this field offers so many options, it’s impossible to narrow down the top two or three skills you’ll need to succeed as a leader. However, when examining some of the most common careers people pursue after a legal studies program, it’s clear there are a core set of skills that all leaders of those careers possess.

We continue our leadership series by examining the top 10:
  1. People Skills – Building, nurturing, and maintaining relationships is a key part of a successful legal career. From colleagues to clients, people like to do business with people they have confidence in, trust, and like. 
  2. Familiarity with technology – As new technologies are introduced into the legal field, you’ll need to be able to quickly understand how to use them and how they can help you achieve your goals. These technologies may include the latest multimedia applications for presentations, online research tools, billing systems, video conferencing, and case management
  3. Organization – Legal professionals are faced with large amounts of complex information, documents, and managing multiple priorities that have many different sub-projects. They work on competing deadlines and may have to sort through volumes of data to find a few key points. Understanding how to keep all of these different elements organized in a manner that works for you and other team members will be absolutely critical for success.
  4. Attention to detail – I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “go over this with a fine-tooth comb.” That’s part of daily life as a legal professional. Simple mistakes can have huge
    consequences so a keen eye for detail is an extremely important for everything that gets done.
  5. Desire for ongoing education – In a field where new developments happen daily, legal professionals will continuously need to update their knowledge and skills. Most  states require annual continuing education credits for many legal professionals.
  6. Creativity – This is truly a field where no two days will be alike. You’ll need to apply creative thinking to develop effective solutions based on circumstances that are unique to each scenario.
  7. Analytical and logical thinking skills – Leaders in the legal field must be able to examine and comprehend large amounts of complex information. They will be responsible for connecting the dots and painting a digestible picture for others to easily understand. In addition, they’ll use inductive and deductive reasoning to draw logical conclusions.
  8. Research skills – Most professionals in the legal field understand that excellent research skills are required to be successful. In addition to finding key pieces of pertinent information, they’ll need great comprehension skills and the ability to concisely communicate their findings.
  9. Writing – Leaders in the legal field must possess excellent writing skills. From emails and legal motions to contracts and agreements, a small grammatical error or poor choice of words could change the entire meaning of the document. Professionals in the field must have a strong grasp of the English language in addition to any technical terms that may be associated with a case.
  10. Time Management – It’s unlikely you’ll ever find a leader in the legal field who has an abundance of extra time on their hands. With hard deadlines and multiple priorities, understanding how to best manage your time will be a critical skill to develop.
No matter which career path in the legal field you’re interested in pursuing, these skills will help you succeed and achieve personal and professional leadership. To learn more about the different opportunities in the legal field and how Peirce can help you prepare, visit our Legal Studies Programs and find out how you can get started today.