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Lawyers spend an inordinate amount of their training learning the black letter of the law—the hard skills of practice. They often think that so-called soft skills are undeserving of their attention.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Your client—whether it be in-house or in private practice—will take technical competence as a given. You should be more than just a walking law book spouting out legal titbits like some soulless cyborg. If you are a commercial lawyer, it is increasingly the case that your client will expect you to act more like a businessman or woman, albeit it one with a solid background in the law and with certain professional obligations.
The other day, I spoke with James Harper, the in-house Head of Legal for LexisNexis UK, to see what tips he could offer to lawyers—both new and old—to fine-tune these soft skills. Here are his top ten tips (as translated by me):
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