Every solicitor has strengths and weaknesses. However, there are some common traits and skills that all solicitors should possess or work towards acquiring. These skills include, but are not limited to, the following:
All solicitors are required to possess a certain level of intelligence. The most common way to gauge intellect is through exam results, although some firms recognise that this is not the only indicator.
Whether a solicitor is in private practice or in-house, it is essential to communicate effectively with internal and external colleagues and clients. This can include breaking down technical legal issues into understandable language or interacting with a range of experienced professionals.
Unlike barristers, solicitors will almost always be required to work within a team, however large or small. This covers other fee earners as well as support staff such as secretaries, office assistants and other support staff.
Motivation / dedication
It is important to remain motivated as a solicitor whether it is early in the morning or late at night. In private practice, solicitors service their clients’ needs which may involve working longer hours than normal on occasions. Similarly, in an in-house role, solicitors service the business which may also require working hours outside of normal working hours. Therefore, it is essential to remain motivated at all times.
Some tasks may also seem repetitive but are very important to complete correctly. Motivation is essential to carry out the task accurately and effectively.
When interacting with individuals internally and externally, there are likely to be occasions when solicitors will need to be resilient to situations. This may include dealing with criticism or completing monotonous tasks.
Being able to adapt to various situations is essential as a solicitor. Also being able to adapt professionally in terms of expertise and practice is essential for career development and business development for the law firm or business.
Being flexible to a range of situations increases your skill set and can help you to create a positive profile amongst internal and external clients and personnel.
Depending on the area of law that you are practising, being aware of developments within that sector is essential. In private practice, clients pay for insightful advice and knowledge on a specific area. Therefore, it is essential that solicitors are aware of key developments that may affect such advice.
Honesty and integrity
Honesty and integrity are essential to every solicitors’ career.
Attention to detail
Solicitors will regularly be required to write letters and review documents. Therefore, attention to detail is essential as clients expect to receive flawless letters and also pay solicitors to pick up on fine details in documentation.