Skills for law
Skills will be dependent on which area of law you choose.
If you are a barrister representing a high profile celebrity in court then spontaneous articulation and a theatrical presentation can be a useful strategy when confronting a witness. It may sound fallacious but an excellent stage performance can influence the jury if effectively supported with rational argument. On the other hand, a case involving company law where heavy research is required will suit the barrister with strong analytical skills, and who can affect the 'killer punch' by '... referring My Lord to page ...'.
The role of solicitor or barrister involves debate and argument supported by research material and therefore I would nominate the dominant skill as analytical. It is a profession where it is important for the lawyer to depersonalise the scenarios and not to become emotionally involved, though this may be difficult in serious criminal cases where the highly vulnerable have been seriously abused by a predacious perpetrator.
Some people may view the legal profession as cranky and argumentative where there is constant dispute and combatant interaction. Others will view it as a platform for challenging debate and intellectualising which can create a satisfactory outcome for the client by greatly improving their quality of life – a real motivator in the job satisfaction stakes.
You have the choice to choose a specialism which is people-centric, for instance, criminal incorporating murder, GBH, medical negligence or areas such as company law, oil, aviation where people are the secondary focus.
Law is a career choice which requires in-depth consideration as the learning process requires a long-term commitment. Gaining an internship or some voluntary related experience in a legal environment is highly recommended and will enable you to view the profession from the inside out, prior to a final career decision.
The Analytical and Influencer types are most manifest in the profession. Which type is dominant will reflect your choice of specialism.
Law is an intellectually challenging profession with a very varied remit in terms of the specialisms, whether you choose to be a solicitor or barrister, whether you work for a firm with large and medium clients or whether you go it alone in the countryside as a solicitor and represent local clients on a range of disparate issues.
Generally the fundamental difference between solicitor and barrister is that the solicitor will deal directly with the defendant or claimant whilst the barrister will represent the case in court, having been instructed by the solicitor. Giving legal opinion is also part of the barrister's role whereby they use their expertise to advise on the merits of the case if brought to court.
Law is certainly a growth industry and one which is regarded as well paid. There is the obligation to constantly become familiar with new developments and in particular common law where precedents rule.
Law influences the behaviour of individuals, corporations, and governments and is a subject about which most people will take a verbal stand, particularly in topical, high profile or emotive cases involving celebrity tweeters, gagging, human rights, immigration and personal injury. Banking, criminal, admiralty, statutory, constitutional, property, commercial, aviation, shipping and patents are samples of areas of specialism requiring their own expertise.
Technology has greatly enhanced communications. It has created conversational platforms where interested parties can air their views. It is viewed as a facilitator for the promotion of free speech. However, when commentary is considered offensive, divisive or malicious, there is an outcry to curtail its publication and to instigate a legal structure which disallows such actions and/or creates a system to penalise the perpetrator. This is new territory for many jurisdictions and is causing much ethical and moral debate.
But law is not necessarily that exciting or relational. A large international client was insisting that I sign a 300-page document before they were prepared to use my services on a high profile European project. It was necessary for me to give it to a solicitor to review it for onerous obligations. A very dry read indeed, highlighting that all legal experts must have administrative expertise. 'The devil can be in the detail' is always true.