Maria James

7 skills and competencies needed to be a great lawyer

In previous posts on this blog we have talked about the skills and abilities necessary to practice different professions. In this entry we are going to talk about those that are needed to exercise with guarantees a profession as complex and with as much responsibility as that of a lawyer.

So, In order to practice law in a legal capacity, in most legal systems it is an essential requirement to have completed a Law degree until reaching a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent level. In addition, it is necessary to be registered in a Bar Association.

There are many functions of a lawyer, we have said that the main function of a lawyer is preventive, which is normally done through legal advice. The other basic function of the lawyer is to defend the benefits and interests of the citizens who hire their services.

As with any other profession, to be a great lawyer it is necessary to have a series of skills and competencies. Among them we will highlight seven:

Technical knowledge

If this is a necessary competence in any profession, it may be even more important in a lawyer since in many cases it is a profession in which the defense of essential goods such as freedom or property comes into play; That is why in this case, technical skills such as:

  • Knowledge of the norms of existing law (positive law, doctrine and jurisprudence).
  • Permanent updating in the knowledge of existing law regulations.
  • Ability to grasp the legal problem, which involves a controversial situation and ability to defend the client.


This competition could also be said to be more important every day in any sector and in any profession. In the case of a lawyer, it depends a lot on the branch of law in which he specializes and practices his profession, but in any case, English is a competence that is almost taken for granted when practicing. However, if the lawyer is going to dedicate himself to international law, apart from English it will be necessary for him to learn other languages ​​of the European Union or outside of it.

Empathy and communication skills

In the case of a lawyer, when he approaches a client’s problem, he needs to do it in a very professional, understanding and empathetic way. There are two ways to understand what a person is telling us. One is intellectual understanding; the listener focuses on the events that took place and the way in which they alternated. And the other is empathic understanding; here we focus attention on how our interlocutor is speaking and on the emotional nuances of the narration that provide information about the state of mind of the person who is speaking to us.

These two skills, both empathy and active listening, as well as communication skills are essential to be a great lawyer and also important for federal judge.

Mastery of new technologies

In the same way that digital transformation is reaching organizations, in the world of law it arrives in the same way. The new generations that are digital natives have no problem in this regard. Those lawyers who belong to previous generations will have to make their own digital transformation and adapt to new technologies.

It must also be considered that for those lawyers who dedicate themselves to labor law, in a few years there will be new professions that did not exist until now, as well as new situations in the labor market that are closely related to one another with new technologies.

Bargaining power

Negotiation is defined as a conversation between two or more people to reach a settlement of divergent interests or a mutual agreement. Therefore, negotiating capacity supposes an ability to create a Environment conducive to collaboration and achieving lasting commitments that strengthen the relationship. This competence implies the ability to direct and control a discussion using techniques, planning alternatives to negotiate the best agreements. In the case of a lawyer, it is obvious that he needs to develop this ability to practice his profession; In almost all the cases that it takes, negotiation with one of the parties involved in the process will be necessary.

Search for information and investigation of facts

The best lawyers know perfectly well where to find the legal rule they need to apply it to a specific case: they are good at legislative and case law research. They also stand out for knowing how to investigate the facts of a specific case, in a meticulous and detailed way, and likewise, they are excellent when it comes to asking questionnaires or conducting interviews with the people involved in a specific case, either inside or outside the courtroom. of court hearings.

Conflict resolution

This competence or ability is directly related to the negotiation capacity. A good lawyer knows that a good conflict resolution method is developed in different steps:

The conflict must be adequately defined; establish what the objectives are and order them according to their importance; Designing possible solutions to the conflict; choose the solution that is considered best and develop a plan to carry it out; Put the chosen solution into practice and assess the results obtained and, if they are not the desired ones, repeat the entire procedure to try to improve them.


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