Aspiring barristers need to show evidence of powerful and agile intellect, alongside other qualities such as commercial awareness, good judgment and clear presentational skills. Barristers should have the ability to motivate themselves to do things that they would rather not. Whether it’s working late on a case at the expense of evening plans or arguing an unattractive point before a court, barristers have to push themselves in order to achieve the best results for their clients. Good barristers think quickly. Quick thought is necessary in court in order to deal with judicial questions, your opponents arguments and witnesses’ oral evidence. Even outside the courtroom, it is needed when fielding questions posed by an instructing solicitor or negotiating with the other side. Other essential attributes of aspiring barristers include self-belief, confidence (or the ability to fake it!), stamina, and being comfortable with the initial financial insecurity of being self-employed (particularly relevant at the criminal or family bar). Finally, be persuasive. Good barristers can persuade a court or jury of the merits of their client’s case; good aspiring barristers can persuade a pupillage committee that they will make an excellent barrister. Tip: Balance your academic studies with extra-curricular activities from other areas of your life, to illustrate you are a well-rounded person with lots to offer. This will almost certainly impress recruiters. One of the most important skills you'll need to be a successful solicitor is the ability to be a useful member of a team. When applying, ensure that you highlight examples that show you're are a good team player and leader during university and your past work experiences. At law firms you will need to be a good team player because teamwork is a very important to get-on in your legal career. Teamwork consists of working with others to form a consensus and reach the best possible outcome for all parties, whether in transactions, mediations or arbitrations. Negotiations are based around working with teams which often not only includes working with your colleagues in your department, but those from other groups to form multi-disciplinary teams, which also has input by the client and other professionals. The ability to work collaboratively and effectively with others is of fundamental importance to working successfully at a law firm. Any lawyer must be able to communicate effectively with their client. Your ability to relate and interact with others in such a way as to engender confidence, form lasting relationships, and clearly explain complex situations in a clear manner is integral to the role of a solicitor. In addition, having good "people skills" will help you to interact with a wide variety of characters at your firm and fit into the culture of the firm. Client care is fundamental and possessing excellent communication skills will help you to communicate ideas and advice to your clients. Commitment and dedication to a legal career - With intense competition for places, it is vital students can demonstrate a long-term commitment to a career in law, which can be shown through work experience. It is important that you acquire work experience in both a legal and commercial environment to evidence your interest, enthusiasm and motivation for pursuing a legal career. A lawyer is expected to have a thorough, accurate and meticulous approach to their work. Committing any glaring grammatical or punctuation mistakes on your application form is the easiest way to fast track your application to the rejection pile.
Firms like applicants who display initiative and a get up and go. They are also impressed by candidates who value their skills and strengths. This can be demonstrated by the way in which you apply to the firm. For example, aspiring lawyers rarely seem to ask law firms for unpaid work experience; shadowing a solicitor is a really good way of gaining...
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