Discover the top 5 attributes of successful lawyers

Feb 26 / On the Run Learning


Ever heard the expression ‘everyone is replaceable’? This may be true in many workplaces but, every now and then, we come across an individual that undoubtedly defies this notion. What makes an individual irreplaceable to an organisation and how can you develop these same attributes?

With budget cuts, pay freezes and layoffs, learn how to master the 5 key attributes of successful lawyers so you can stand out from the crowd during these uncertain times.

1. Being readily adaptable 

Change is inevitable. If 2020 has taught us one thing, it is the need to adapt and evolve in the face of change. As a country, our ability to quickly adapt to the challenges of a post COVID-19 world has set us apart from our global counterparts. How can you achieve the same success at a personal level?

The first step is to understand your natural reaction to change. For most of us, change provokes fear and stress. This triggers a fight or flight response that prevents us from having the clarity of mind needed to successfully adapt to change (for more on the effects of stress on your body, tune in to the session “A Clinician's Insights: identify & manage chronic stress”). The good news is that you can learn to manage this automatic response. Successfully embracing change is a learned behaviour. Mandy Holloway of Courageous Leaders, one of our expert speakers, believes that the secret lies in the habit-building formula enunciated by James Clear:
  • Reminder: trigger that initiates the behaviour
  • Routine: the behaviour itself
  • Reward: the benefit you gain from doing the behaviour

Read more on successful habit-building on the Courageous Leaders blog “Why we are bringing a focus on habits” or tune into the session on “Anxiety first aid & how to use EQ to build personal resilience”.

2. Understanding the importance of EQ 

Lawyers have excellent technical and analytical skills. However, there is an equally important, albeit rarely acknowledged, ingredient in the recipe to success. Highly successful individuals have a high emotional intelligence (AKA EQ or Emotional Quotient).

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and analyse underlying emotions that drive behaviour and decision making in you and those around you. Highly successful lawyers use this insight as just another piece of hard data to achieve their goals. Most people are not natural-born leaders, they have simply mastered the art of using EQ in the workplace to make better decisions that set them apart.

3. Working with real efficiency  

When we think ‘efficiency’, we think ... “multitasking”. We naturally assume that we do well at multitasking if we juggle multiple tasks at any given time. But does this necessarily mean we are being efficient?

Not exactly. Multitasking in this way causes you to constantly switch back and forth from one task to another, which runs the risk of lowering the quality of your work and ultimately failing to get the most out of your day. 
Successful lawyers have mastered the skill of effective multitasking by taking on a reasonable number of tasks, breaking each one up throughout the day and focusing on one single task until completion before moving onto the next. This approach allows individual tasks to be completed well and prevents the feelings of overwhelm and uncertainty (for more on this, tune in to "Tips to manage your time & multitask effectively"). This is only one of the ingredients needed for efficiency. Taking the time to delegate appropriate tasks effectively is the other – tune in to the session "The Delegation Formula: reclaiming your time".

If you can master multitasking and delegation you will improve not only your own efficiency but the overall efficiency of your workplace.

4. Taking care of your physical health 

The most successful professionals also prioritise their health and wellbeing. Those who make time to see friends and family, get enough sleep, exercise and eat well tend to produce better outcomes in all areas of life. But don’t just take our word for it, take the time to look into the science behind it – tune in to the session "A sleep expert's guide to a good night's sleep" and "A dietician's strategies for maintaining a healthy diet".  

5. Being a technical master 

Strong legal minds are constantly challenging and expanding their legal knowledge because they understand that the law and the role of lawyers is evolving over time. They are always looking to learn new ways of problem solving, sharing ideas and using the resources available to them.

Allocating time in your busy schedule toward professional development that provides practical solutions will allow you to adapt to new ways of thinking and working in this new post COVID-19 environment. For practical, informative legal knowledge sessions and resources, check out these ‘Learn in Law’ sessions.

Lawyers who prioritise their wellbeing and practice strategies to adopt these vital attributes will be on top of their game and get noticed for the right reasons in a crowded workplace.