Recently, we came across a wonderful candidate who was a shrewd attorney. However, he was not very technologically savvy. And it got me thinking, what are the new skills that attorneys need to remain competitive in today’s market?
Certainly legal abilities and a breadth of legal knowledge are required to perform well in an attorney position. But beyond the reason you fell in love with the law in the first place, there are often skills that attorneys discover they need along the way in order to remain competitive.
5 New Required Legal Core Competencies
Society has changed rapidly in the past decade, let alone over the past 4 decades. And during this time, the skills required of attorneys have changed with it. The new normal is an attorney who is a jack of all trades beyond just the legal competencies, including:
• Computer literate. In today’s society, an attorney needs to know how to use a computer. There’s just no getting around it anymore. Common programs such as Microsoft Office are standards in a law office environment these days as are skills like email and internet search capabilities. Many attorneys have in depth technological skills, but the basics remain the ability to type, print, and send an email.
• Customer service skills. The business of law is a service based industry. Today’s attorney understands that customer service is important and by providing the client with excellent service, they’ll be doing their part to ensure this client comes back for their next legal need.
• Networking pro. There are literally more legal graduates every year than there are spaces for new attorneys. To remain competitive in a saturated market, attorneys need to know how to market themselves as well as their legal skills. What sets you apart from the pack could be your ability to market yourself.
• Exceptional communication skills. Attorneys are often precise with their statements, but fail to grasp the communication style differences between people. To one person, the attorney can appear concise and to another, that same attorney can appear rude. Being aware of how to effectively communicate with different groups of people can ensure the correct message is heard every time.
• Time management. In days gone by, attorneys worked 12+ hour days in the dim of night to achieve results on behalf of the firm. Today’s new attorneys don’t want to sacrifice their free time in this manner, relying instead upon new technology to manage their time effectively. Attorneys can use updated technology that scans, sends, and receives items at the speed of light in order to do their job more efficiently. With a variety of excellent tools at their disposal, attorneys don’t need to lose track of time at the office all night.
Top tier law firms often seek flexible and intelligent candidates with these kinds of competencies. Try familiarizing yourself with these and see how you can add to your body of skills.