If you are aspiring to be a barrister, there are some crucial skills that you should start thinking about developing. For you to secure pupillage or a training contract, your skills and attributes are amongst the first things that will be considered. At the same time, they will play a crucial role throughout your career considering that Law is an intellectually-demanding profession.
While academic excellence is one of the more important aspects considered, it, alone is not enough to demonstrate your capability to become a professional barrister, as you can see here. It is, therefore, essential that you nurture, possess and demonstrate other skills that will not only prove you are ready to become a professional barrister but which will also come in handy when your career takes off.
Here are some essential skills a barrister should possess:
Communication and Networking Skills
Successful barristers need to build and maintain healthy, professional relationships with their clients, and these relationships are often based on a rapport established between the professional and their client. Communication and networking skills require good interpersonal skills, which are essential when meeting with colleagues, potential employers, and clients.
Interviewing techniques mainly rely on having exceptional communication and interpersonal skills as discussed above. However, interviewing skills are so important for barristers that they are often considered separately since they are not the same as socialising and one needs to be able to lead a questioning and gather important clues and information from the responses you are receiving. Since interviewing is one of the most common things a barrister will do, it is vital that you sharpen these skills.
Being a barrister involves lots of written correspondence and paperwork. As such, it is crucial that you work on your grammar, spelling, precision and clarity. It is also advisable that you be aware of the people you are writing to and that you always write using a formal tone.
While most of the softer skills like contextually-appropriate communication styles and interpersonal skills have already been covered, soft skills here refers to your general attitude as a Barrister. What will people tell about your attitude through your words, actions, and appearance? How do you handle yourself in different situations? Your attitude will determine how people see you.
Apart from the above, other skills a barrister should possess include, thinking laterally, having an eye for detail, the ability to get the whole picture, and getting along well with others.