6 Skills Lawyers Need to Stay on Top of Their Game


Group of six lawyers’ lower body



As the legal profession evolves and becomes more competitive, lawyers can no longer solely rely on their legal expertise to excel in their careers. To build a thriving and long-lasting career, lawyers must continually develop and hone critical skills that will set them apart. Learn more about how these six skills will help you stand out in the coming year.

 1. Embrace social media

Social media is an excellent avenue for lawyers to connect, share information, and build their brand. It also provides cheaper and more accessible advertising platforms for lawyers and law firms to market their services to the general public. So it’s no surprise that an increasing number of lawyers are trying to leverage the power of social media.

But embracing social media also means taking steps to minimise its associated risks - especially those related to ethical obligations. In fact, recent incidents where lawyers have inadvertently breached client confidentiality, exposed themselves to cyber risk, or posted potentially damaging information online, illustrates how social media misuse can have significant consequences for your legal career.


How it sets you apart

Understanding how to effectively use social media in your personal and professional capacity can provide you with a true competitive edge. It means you can utilise a powerful tool to attract clients and build your brand, whilst neatly navigating any potential pitfalls.


2. Refine cross-cultural communication skills 

Today, businesses of all sizes are entering into partnerships with foreign or multinational companies. Legal considerations are often the focus of these business arrangements, but if lawyers fail to understand cross-cultural nuances then negotiations may not succeed.

It’s not only in business that cross-cultural communication skills are critical to a lawyer’s success. Australia is a multicultural country, which is evident in the wide range of clients seen every day in all areas of practice. In this context, failing to recognise and address cross-cultural issues can have serious consequences - including critical miscommunications, conflicts, and damaged lawyer-client relationships.


How it sets you apart

Whether you're general counsel at a large company entering the global market or a lawyer advising local clients, learning practical strategies to understand and address cross-cultural issues will make you a more versatile and successful lawyer. You will be well equipped to build strong relationships and provide the best possible advice to clients, making you a significant asset to any team.

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3. Build healthy strategies for balance in the law

There is no set formula for finding happiness in the law. But there are a few crucial elements that can really contribute to your overall sense of joy, purpose and wellbeing

Prioritise your physical health - take care of your body by treating it with wholesome food and sleep combined with a dose of physical movement each day.

Adopt a positive mindset - practice kindness and empathy towards others, and yourself. Don't be afraid to become your own cheerleader!

Fuel your passion - try to articulate what you really love doing and then ask yourself, "how can I integrate more of this into my daily work?"

Build your resilience - this is one of the essential skills that helps lawyers to adapt and cope with the profession’s intense demands. 


How it sets you apart

By identifying and implementing healthy habits that contribute to your sense of wellbeing, you are laying the foundation to becoming a more resilient and adaptable lawyer. This will enable you to find a happier, fulfilling, and long-lasting legal career in the law and ultimately become the best lawyer you can be. 




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4. Adopt assertive communication strategies

We all encounter challenging situations at work - from receiving criticism to dealing with demanding clients or colleagues. Assertive communication is one of lawyers’ greatest assets in managing difficult situations successfully

Assertive communication - is a two-way process that enables constructive dialogue and creates space for each party to be heard. It's based on: 

  • being honest about what is relevant; 
  • being clear about your bottom line; 
  • and communicating as equals


How it sets you apart

Being able to communicate assertively means you can more confidently navigate complex and challenging situations. You are also more likely to set clear and realistic expectations with colleagues and clients, a critical foundation for any professional relationship.


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5. Understand the complexities of cyber risk

From small businesses to multinational companies - cyber risk affects everyone. Lawyers and law firms are particularly vulnerable due to the confidential and valuable data they deal with on behalf of clients. The consequences of a cyber breach can be disastrous for lawyers, law firms, and clients. Unfortunately, many lawyers and law firms are still struggling to take the necessary steps to protect themselves against cyber incidents. 


How it sets you apart

When you understand the common cyber risks facing lawyers, you are in a better position to implement processes to protect your practice and clients from cyber incidents. Practically applying your knowledge in this way truly adds value to both your firm and clients.


6. Learn the ins and outs of negotiation

Negotiation skills are among the most common legal skills lawyers rely on in their daily practice. Although there is no fool-proof formula for successful negotiations, there are some recurrent traits of successful negotiators. These include being able to deploy active listening and tactical empathy, understanding the impact of emotions, and knowing how to identify clients’ (and opponents’) needs. These skills can all help to keep negotiations on track - even when emotions run high. 


How it sets you apart 

By understanding the multiple facets of negotiation, you will be in the best possible position to achieve a great outcome for your client. And in the case where a negotiation breaks down, you will possess the critical skills to get it back on track. 


Are you ready to give your legal career a boost this year?

Our One-Click CPD Pack for All Lawyers brings your first-hand knowledge from leading experts to expand your expertise in areas such as:

  • Legal ethical implications of email and social media use
  • Cyber risk mitigation strategies
  • Negotiation and influencing skills
  • Cross-cultural communication
  • Productivity and collaboration strategies

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