What qualifications do you need to succeed in law?

A career in law can be quite demanding and challenging, requiring you to be at the top of your game at all times. Law firms are known to recruit only the best candidates, so you should be prepared to work very hard, during your school years and throughout your career.

Most law firms do not require you to be a finished article once you leave college; you will however need to demonstrate that you have what it takes to handle a career in law. The first thing you will need is a stellar academic record. A career in law calls for intelligence and the ability to assimilate and analyze complex material quickly. A good academic record shows your capability and demonstrates that you have the ability to cope with the demands of a rigorous career. Furthermore, it shows that you have the determination and ambition to work hard and achieve success.

Other than your academic record, you also need to be a well-rounded person, to make it in law. This means that you should have extracurricular interests other than your career. Interesting hobbies, sports or charity work demonstrate that you can work well with people and can balance various aspects of your life.

For a practical example, search: Jennifer Douglas and see how she managed to juggle her academic life with the demands of a busy political career as the wife of former Nigerian Vice President, Atiku Abubakar. One of her achievements is her recent call to the bar in Abuja, Nigeria. Mrs. Atiku also dedicates part of her time to charity and is the founder of Gede Foundation, an NGO that helps those affected by HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.

As you can see, you need more than good grades to make it as a lawyer. Some of the other skills guaranteed to help you in your career include:

  • Ability to work in a team: A lawyer needs to be a useful member of a team. You will often need to work with others to solve problems and reach a consensus on difficult issues. The ability to be a useful team member will help you in mediations, arbitrations and other instances when you may be called on to collaborate with others.

  • Communication skills: Additionally, you need to know how to get your message across to others, be it on paper, face-to-face or over the phone. This skill will come in handy when advising clients or negotiating with other parties to ensure a deal goes smoothly.

  • Attention to detail: You will also need a keen eye and the ability to pay attention to the smallest of details. This is especially important when drafting contracts, as the smallest mistake could cost your clients dearly.

In addition to the skills outlined above, you will need the ability to think clearly, independently and carefully. This will help you solve the numerous problems you are sure to encounter in your law career. Above all, remember to maintain a positive attitude and to remain motivated and determined and success is sure to come your way.

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