Legal skills are those abilities people need to know to have a career as lawyers. The most important legal skills are critical thinking, critical reading, critical listening, note-taking, case briefing, outlining, writing skills, time management, organising for success and client service.
Critical thinking is vital to develop a critical lawyer mind. Critical thinking involves both a careful judgment and a judicious evaluation. It is important that learners ask themselves questions and analyse what they hear, read and feel. This skill often includes both deductive and inductive reasoning. Deductive reasoning consists of analysing general rules to generate a specific conclusion. Inductive reasoning consists of investigating specific cases to develop a general rule.
Critical reading is the extension of critical thinking. During the reading process, a lawyer has to develop questions about what the text asserts. As well as this, he/she has to understand every word related to law and written in statutes, ordinances and regulations.
Critical listening is an important skill that a lawyer must have when he/she hears oral words. A lawyer should be able to listen both carefully and analytically. At first, critical listening requires concentration, but over the time, it becomes easier.
Case briefing is another skill a lawyer should have as it helps to summarise the key facts, law and holdings. This briefing should not be longer than a page and should be divided into four parts: the issue, the rule, the analysis and the conclusion.
Note taking is an important skill as it allows the lawyer to capture the case key points, arguments, and hypothesis. As well as this, notes are helpful in the summarizing process.
Outlining is the process of summarising all the case briefs into unique annotations which clarify definitions, clear rules of law and exceptions to the rule.
Writing skills is fundamental for composing briefs, persuasive arguments and readable documents. Written documents should be concise, organised and persuasive.
Organisation skills allow the lawyer to organise different case brief and annotations. As well as this, he/she can manage a large volume of data and documents and create an effective structure from the amount of unrelated information.
Time management is another skill a lawyer should develop as he/she is always under pressure with time and large workloads.
Finally, client capability is crucial for being a successful lawyer as he/she is always communicating with their customers.
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