Authored By: Iris Garrett
In general, attorneys are taught to be tough in the courtroom in order to win their cases, but that resolve is not always as persuasive when it is unleashed on a client. In an article in Above the Law, Michael McDonald writes that although confidence and other personal characteristics can help an attorney score career success, it is the lesser used soft skills that are just as critical when it comes to working with clients.
McDonald says soft skills, which can include the ability to negotiate deals to having a certain “presence” in a room are very important in both business and law. He says these skills relate to interpersonal interactions and help attorneys build relationships with colleagues, but more importantly with their clients. McDonald says for clients, an attorney’s fundamental role is to act as an adviser. He says an attorney cannot connect with clients, guide them through their cases, or help them understand and mitigate risks without using soft skills along the way.
McDonald says many law school students and new attorneys overlook the importance of honing soft skills even though research shows how much of an impact they can make. A recent study named integrity, communication, courtesy, social skills, responsibility, flexibility, professionalism, teamwork, work ethic, and a positive attitude as the 10 most important soft skills for employees.
McDonald says a shift to having more soft skills presented in the legal field must start with larger firms. He says they can help bridge the gap by training and emphasizing the value of offering insight and guidance in client relationships.
To read Michael McDonald’s full article, click here.
Photo Credit: Sergey Nivens