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Qualities of a good lawyer

Jo.PedersonJo.Pederson Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
edited June 2009 in Law School
I like writing. I do enjoy reading. I also like to do research. However, I was also wondering what other qualities make up a "successful' lawyer. Do lawyers have to be quick on their feet...etc etc.... Any tips on the personal qualities that characterize a "successful" lawyer? Also, what are the salaries of "successful' lawyers? How are the working hours? The lifestyle?
Post edited by Jo.Pederson on

Replies to: Qualities of a good lawyer

  • razorsharprazorsharp Registered User Posts: 6,161 Senior Member
    The most important characteristic to be a lawyer is the ability to separate your personal opinions and feelings from your client's objectives and best interests. For example, let's say you have a strong personal preference opposing monopolies but your corporate client desires to merge with another company that will result in some increase in monopoly power. If you are able to present all of the arguments supporting the reasons for merger and do so in a credible manner, then you will have the ingredient to be a lawyer.

    To be a successful lawyer, you need to develope a reputation for being representing your clients well. You then need the ability to market that reputation to other potential clients. Law is a business.
  • xerxeskennedyxerxeskennedy Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    Law is not a business, it is an amalgamation of all of what society believe is "right". Lawyers manipulate words of law to benefit their own idea of justice. A lawyer is not suppose to separate themselves into two for that is impossible but instead must behave in an appropriate manner by balancing both the contrary forces. Remember that at the end of the day, it is not what we archieve with our ability that determines who we are; it is what we do with our ability.
  • ThePhilosopherThePhilosopher Registered User Posts: 1,661 Senior Member
    In terms of the lifestyle of attorneys; it depends on what you practice and who you work for. There are many threads on this.
  • raison_d'etreraison_d'etre Registered User Posts: 138 Junior Member
    thank God for people like xerxeskennedy!
  • sallyawpsallyawp Registered User Posts: 2,059 Senior Member
    Lawyers manipulate words of law to benefit their own idea of justice.

    I disagree. When words of law are clear ("black letter law"), lawyers help their clients to follow the law to the best of their abilities. When the codified law or case law is not entirely clear on an issue, lawyers will do their best to either seek clarification from an appropriate regulatory body or will make a determination, based upon the similar laws, regulations and case law available, of what is the appropriate course.

    Manipulation of the law would be an ethical breach for most lawyers, and I can honestly state that in my practice, there is no manipulation going on whatsoever.
  • PABitzPABitz Registered User Posts: 40 Junior Member

    I mean this to be fully objective.

    1) Law is a business in all but the rarest of instances (policymaking roles, mostly, I suppose). This isn't generally a bad thing, because...

    2) Very little legal work speaks to what society thinks is "right" in a moral sense. A lot of law (and laws, for that matter) revolves around efforts to coordinate activity in situations where the mere fact of coordination is desirable (The paradigmatic example, albeit one less relevant to the practice of law than to the passage of laws, is the concept of driving on the right side of the road. It's not like the left side is "bad.") or efforts to enhance economic efficiency regardless of the morality of the underlying economic activity. To draw sally's point out a bit, a lot of legal practice revolves around explaining complex statutory and regulatory regimes to clients and figuring out how to structure their activity to benefit from the "guidance" provided by rulemakers (think tax law, M&A work, labor and benefits law, etc.).

    3) Whenever an attorney takes on a client, the attorney's primary responsibility is to be an ethical advocate. Largely, this means making the client's argument as strongly as can be made under the law without resorting to absurd/baseless arguments. Even if you disagree personally with the actions of the client, you should align your work with the client's desires (or, in some cases, excuse yourself from the relationship - professionally, of course). While you are free to try to convince your client the your view is right, you should do little, if any, balancing of your position on an issue and your client's if the client does not budge. In fighting for your client, you can, of course, go against the bulk of majority wisdom (popular readings of the law), but only to the extent that you can defend the rationality of your position.
    And a little side note...
    Even when moral issues may be at stake in a given legal battle, the integrity of our legal system is based on the notion that justice is best served when both sides -- however "good" or "bad" they may be -- are presented to the world in full force, moderated only by the bounds of rationality and adjudicated only by disinterested observers. When an attorney understands and accepts the benefits of an adversarial system, (s)he should have no problem taking the side of an argument with which (s)he does not agree.
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