Are the skills needed by solicitors lacking in today’s legal profession?

Are the skills needed by solicitors lacking in today’s legal profession?

With the legal profession becoming more and more competitive, practitioners are always looking for something to give them an edge above the rest. In our latest Bellwether report: ‘The Good Solicitor’s Skills Set’ we found that the skills needed to help practitioners stand out may not be as difficult to obtain than you might think. 9 out of 10 solicitors believe you must have both good business and human skills, as well as the legal acumen. However, our report questions whether there is a lack of emphasis on those vital business and human skills, due to a “tendency to cling to the status quo, even when beneficial changes, with clearly articulated parameters of success, are identified”.



What skills make a successful lawyer?


According to the solicitors surveyed, both business and human skills are equally important. However, in practice, it was primarily the human skills that were quoted as being the most significant. For example, the top three skills considered to be paramount for success, were:

1. Good at identifying the real problem and the result the client wants

2. Common sense

3. Inspires trust

These skills make it clear that the ability to develop a relationship with clients is considered to be the foundation in the creation of a successful practice. If we consider the client's perspective, they will ask themselves whether they feel they can trust the solicitor's judgement, and whether they can depend on them wholeheartedly. Clients will assume that solicitors know the law inside out, and so in reality, your relationship is far more binary and simple than you might think – as one solicitor articulated: “It’s about having a relationship. It’s about using human skills for a business purpose.”


Legal versus business skills: is there a clear winner?


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About the author:

Hannah is one of the Future of Law blog’s digital and technical editors. She graduated from Northumbria University with a degree in History and Politics and previously freelanced for News UK, before working as a senior news editor for LexisNexis.