The skills required to be a good lawyer include analytical skills, judgment skills, research skills, communication skills, etc.
But is having these skills and being a good lawyer enough to guarantee success in the legal profession?
In theory, good lawyers should also be successful lawyers. But alas, many good lawyers struggle to make ends meet. It is the irony of the profession.
Look around you, and you’ll find good lawyers who are sound in the theories, principles, and practice of the law. But some lawyers always themselves with worn-out apparels, and drive around in rickety vehicles. (Don’t tell me these set of lawyers are allergic to good things).
You’ll also find many lawyers whose knowledge and practice of the law we could describe as average, but who have learned the tips for building a successful legal career.
Successful lawyers are not necessarily those with the best knowledge of the law. They however have mastered the art of attracting clients and charging proper fees. Successful lawyers therefore can afford lush offices, good clothes, shoes, cars, and other good things of life.
Having the qualities of a good lawyer does not guarantee success in the legal profession. To succeed, you’ll need something more.
Who is a Successful Lawyer?
There are many definitions of success. We however refer to success as the achievement of a desired aim, fame, wealth, or social position.
So what does it mean to succeed in the legal profession? Lawyers join the profession with the ultimate aim of attaining all the status and means that the legal profession gives.
So if you know all the laws in the land but cannot earn good revenue and live decently, can it be seriously argued that you have succeeded?
Some people have argued that revenue and material acquisitions shouldn’t be criteria for success. According to them, there is no definite amount of revenue that one should attain to be classified as successful.
While it is correct, any lawyer who finds it hard to live decently is unsuccessful. While you do not need tons of money to be considered a success, a successful lawyer should be able to afford decent clothing, house, and vehicle.
How to Become a Successful Lawyer and not Just a Good Lawyer.
Besides being a good lawyer, it is imperative that lawyers learn some basic business, technological, and technical skills.
Successful lawyers are those lawyers who transcend the advocacy skills in traditional practice of the law profession.
One way of becoming a successful lawyer is to focus and specialize and become an expert in a particular area of law.
The old adage of being ‘a jack of all trade and master of none’ is very true in the law profession.
Law practice is saturated with many lawyers who are doing the same things with little or no mastery of any area of law.
Another factor that set successful lawyers apart from good lawyers is their ability to sell and market their expertise.
Knowledge of the law is of little or no value until the lawyer sells and markets his expertise to potential clients.
The Secrets of Successful Lawyers and Law Firms.
One reason many law firms and lawyers struggle is the overreliance on school grades and certificates. While hiring lawyers with good degrees is important, it shouldn’t be the only criteria.
For any modern lawyer or law firm to thrive, the lawyer and firm must have good marketing strategies. Like all businesses, law practice must have a way of attracting and holding clients.
Successful lawyers and law firms therefore should not only focus on ‘lawyering’ skills. Marketing skills, networking skills, verbal skills, legal writing skills, relationship building, are also important.
Think about it, if you have a law firm and you insist on employing lawyers with first-class and second-class-upper results, but who lack social, networking and marketing skills, how will clients come to your firm?
Without clients, there’s no business, and without business, there’s no law firm. Except for firms set up for charity, we set every law firm or lawyer in practice up to make money.
All lawyers know the law or where to find them, but not all lawyers are successful. Successful lawyers, besides having law-based skills, have additional social, technological, and networking skills.
Another very important factor that distinguishes successful lawyers from others is their ability to transform their law practice to include the offer and delivery of legal services to other sectors.
Without earning a decent income, there is no way anyone, not even a lawyer, can live a fulfilled life.