Although there is no objective measure of what makes a great lawyer, the most successful attorneys in their field go beyond
winning cases. They are savvy, self-aware business people who are analytical, motivated, and willing to learn from their mistakes. To be a great lawyer, you must first be a diligent law student and learn from professionals in the field. Once you develop your own presence in the legal field, continue to emulate the work habits habits of more experienced attorneys.
Develop effective work habits during law school. To be a great lawyer, you need a great legal education. Even if you do not attend a top-tier law school, take advantage of the full range of resources your school offers, including research and writing classes, professional development programs, and career coaching services. The Law School Admission Council describes your legal education as a “framework” for the rest of your career.
Take advantage of clerkship opportunities. After your first year of law school, you will have the opportunity to work under the
supervision of an experienced lawyer or judge as a student
clerk. During your clerkship, watch how your supervisor communicates, behaves in the offices, and approaches difficult cases.
Makes notes on what you observe and refer
back to them periodically.
Be self-aware. Great lawyers are confident in their abilities, but also take realistic assessments of their weaknesses. Whether
you are a new law school graduate or a veteran lawyer, get feedback from your supervisors and colleagues and understand what steps you need to take to improve your
Understand your limitations. Even the greatest lawyers don’t take every case or office-related task that comes across their
desks. If you feel you are not the best lawyer for the case, pass it along to a colleague, advises Business Management Daily. Likewise, if you become overwhelmed with work, delegate administrative tasks to your paralegal or secretary so that you can stay on top of deadlines.
See beyond your own perspective. If you want to be a great lawyer, you will need to be able to see cases and situations from the perspective of not just your client, but also that of the opposing counsel, judge, and jury. To take on multiple perspectives requires an open-analytical mind, as well as experience working for both plaintiffs and defendants.