What Does it Take to Be a Lawyer

What Does it Take to Be a Lawyer

Rechtsanwalt must have good written and verbal communication skills to explain legal matters to clients. Reading comprehension is also essential because much of legal evidence is presented in documents.

Becoming a lawyer requires a lot of perseverance. It typically takes at least seven years between getting a bachelor’s degree and passing the bar exam.

Representation

Representation refers to the work an attorney does in a case. The attorney is responsible for filings, appearances, motions and pleas. Some attorneys offer full service representation, charging a fixed rate for legal research and representation in one matter. This type of representation requires a good working relationship between client and attorney and it is best to find an attorney that you feel comfortable working with.

Some lawyers work in specialty fields, concentrating on particular areas of law such as personal injury or contract signings. Others dabble in multiple areas of law and are called general-practice attorneys.

Many attorneys have a written representation agreement with their clients, also known as a fee agreement. This agreement establishes transparency between attorney and client, settling issues that may arise such as disagreements over fees. In addition to money, written agreements often settle non-financial responsibilities that might affect the quality of representation. Attorneys are also required to comply with advertising laws and rules related to comparison of services.

Negotiation

Almost all litigation involves some degree of negotiation, and a lawyer must be able to help clients resolve disputes. This may involve negotiating the terms of a settlement in civil litigation or criminal prosecution, a contract, a rental agreement or a divorce settlement.

Skilled negotiators try to find out as much as possible about the other party’s position in advance of negotiations. This can include determining in advance what issues will be discussed and the order in which they’ll be negotiated, as well as preparing to defend against anticipated counter-arguments.

One skill in negotiation is knowing when an issue is genuinely nonnegotiable. For example, a client in a criminal antitrust case might be unwilling to enter a guilty plea unless there were assurances that he wouldn’t be sentenced to treble damages, or a client in a divorce action might insist on child visitation rights. In these cases, the attorney might choose to refuse to negotiate on that issue and move forward with other more promising issues.

Courtroom Experience

As a lawyer, you may spend much of your time arguing cases before judges and juries. This can be a daunting task for junior litigators, but having experience in the courtroom can help you be more confident when presenting your case to clients.

Many young lawyers do not get enough opportunities to gain stand-up courtroom experience because fewer civil cases go to trial and most proceedings are conducted remotely. However, gaining this experience requires that you be proactive in seeking out these opportunities.

For example, MoloLamken has had associates argue pro bono cases in their first year of practice that have helped them gain confidence and better understand how to prepare for and conduct trials. Additionally, completing programs such as the Civil Discourse and Difficult Decisions program (CD3) can also be beneficial in developing your courtroom skills. You will learn how to engage respectfully with difficult or emotionally charged conversations, which you will need when representing your clients in court.

Communication

Lawyers are able to communicate effectively with their clients, colleagues, and other legal professionals. Effective communication reduces the risk of misunderstandings and helps lawyers build trust with their clients, which can lead to higher client satisfaction and referral business.

Lawyers must also be able to communicate through writing, as they often draft legal documents and write emails to their clients and colleagues. This requires them to be able to explain complex legal concepts in a way that’s understandable for non-lawyers. Lawyers must also be able to compose briefs and pleadings that are clear, concise, and respectful of their clients’ positions.

Additionally, lawyers must be able to clearly communicate with their clients over the phone or through videoconferencing software. This includes letting clients know if their matter will take longer than expected and being honest when they cannot provide an accurate timeline. Lawyers may also use technology tools to manage their cases, including docketing software, word processors, and e-discovery programs.

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