Do top level law firm positions require you to be a 'people-person'? Watch

mrahim
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Do you need to be very confident socially?
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J-SP
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There's a difference between being a people person and being confident. There's some exceptionally confident lawyers whose people skills are a lot to be desired.

I personally think to be successful in a senior position in a law firm you need both though. Some lawyers might not be great at the people management side, but those who do tend to be the better lawyers and prime candidates for promotion over those who are not. As a lawyer, working with people is vital, whether it's your colleagues or clients. Instilling confidence of your abilities in those people is also important.


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Vav Sartrean Po
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(Original post by mrahim)
Do you need to be very confident socially?
I think it just depends on performance, IMO who cares if you suck at socialising if you're winning every case and raking in loads of money?
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999tigger
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Top level law positions, then it's a definite yes imo. What JSP said.

1. Good with colleagues to form effective teams.
2. Good with colleagues to negotiate office politics and social aspects.
3. Good with clients to keep and win business.

There is scope for being technically brilliant and even have some very unpleasant characteristics as long as you deliver in billing terms, but progress isnt always about being the best lawyer and you will need to master other skills.
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MagicNMedicine
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(Original post by Marshall Taylor)
I think it just depends on performance, IMO who cares if you suck at socialising if you're winning every case and raking in loads of money?
Because you need to attract business in the first place. I'm not saying you can get away with being substandard if you have the gift of the gab, its better to be good at the job. However fields like law, consultancy etc place a high premium on having teh ability to win business from clients before you get a chance to do a job for them.
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mrahim
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(Original post by 999tigger)
Top level law positions, then it's a definite yes imo. What JSP said.

1. Good with colleagues to form effective teams.
2. Good with colleagues to negotiate office politics and social aspects.
3. Good with clients to keep and win business.

There is scope for being technically brilliant and even have some very unpleasant characteristics as long as you deliver in billing terms, but progress isnt always about being the best lawyer and you will need to master other skills.
How do you learn to do 2 and 3?
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J-SP
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(Original post by mrahim)
How do you learn to do 2 and 3?
Life experiences of dealing with people help before you start working. Learning on the job is how you really gain the more practical/real life side of those skills.
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mrahim
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(Original post by J-SP)
Life experiences of dealing with people help before you start working. Learning on the job is how you really gain the more practical/real life side of those skills.
Basically I want to know if I am I screwed if I have the occasional social anxiety?
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J-SP
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(Original post by mrahim)
Basically I want to know if I am I screwed if I have the occasional social anxiety?
It depends what your triggers for that anxiety are to be honest and how extreme it is. If you are just an introvert (which in my view has nothing to do with anxiety) then you will be in good company - not all lawyers are extroverts.

But I've met a fair number of people who have been successful lawyers who aren't the best at social interaction. They tend to be vey good technical lawyers who leave more of the social aspects to colleagues.


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mrahim
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(Original post by J-SP)
It depends what your triggers for that anxiety are to be honest and how extreme it is. If you are just an introvert (which in my view has nothing to do with anxiety) then you will be in good company - not all lawyers are extroverts.

But I've met a fair number of people who have been successful lawyers who aren't the best at social interaction. They tend to be vey good technical lawyers who leave more of the social aspects to colleagues.


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Alcohol, Sleep deprivation.

Also is there any immediate way to recognise if I'm smart enough for law? Any tests you can suggest?
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J-SP
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(Original post by mrahim)
Alcohol, Sleep deprivation.

Also is there any immediate way to recognise if I'm smart enough for law? Any tests you can suggest?
The latter might be an issue. Sleep deprivation can be quite common in lawyers given the demands of the work and the long hours that many will experience.

Alcohol is often around in the more social aspects of working in a law firm (social events/celebrations/client events). I don't know if you meant you don't like being around those drinking or whether alcohol affects your anxiety. If the latter then you would just have to avoid it within the workplace if it has that much of an impact.

In my opinion, trying to work out whether someone is smart enough is quite difficult, and this comes from a recruiter who had to try and assess candidates "intelligence" or level of "smart". Most firms look at it fairly holistically though but it is usually through academic achievement (school/university grades) and psychometric testing (verbal reasoning, logical reasoning, Watson Glaser).

Being smart is only part of being a lawyer though. I've seen enough fairly "average" graduates in terms of academic prowess who make up for it with a bucket load of grit, determination, hard work, drive, motivation etc. And I wish there was a test for assessing that, because if there was I could make a fortune selling it to law firms to inform their recruitment process.
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mrahim
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(Original post by J-SP)
The latter might be an issue. Sleep deprivation can be quite common in lawyers given the demands of the work and the long hours that many will experience.

Alcohol is often around in the more social aspects of working in a law firm (social events/celebrations/client events). I don't know if you meant you don't like being around those drinking or whether alcohol affects your anxiety. If the latter then you would just have to avoid it within the workplace if it has that much of an impact.

In my opinion, trying to work out whether someone is smart enough is quite difficult, and this comes from a recruiter who had to try and assess candidates "intelligence" or level of "smart". Most firms look at it fairly holistically though but it is usually through academic achievement (school/university grades) and psychometric testing (verbal reasoning, logical reasoning, Watson Glaser).

Being smart is only part of being a lawyer though. I've seen enough fairly "average" graduates in terms of academic prowess who make up for it with a bucket load of grit, determination, hard work, drive, motivation etc. And I wish there was a test for assessing that, because if there was I could make a fortune selling it to law firms to inform their recruitment process.
Thank you for your post
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J-SP
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(Original post by mrahim)
Thank you for your post
A lot of people have things that stress them out and working in law can often not help. But there will be plenty who carefully manage it themselves. Being self-aware and knowing how to tackle/avoid triggers is a major advantage. Many will deny they even have them.
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