Seven transferable skills you develop from studying law
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The law degree in the United Kingdom provides an understanding of what it takes to be a lawyer. The LLB equips students with the calibre of transferable skills that will make any law graduate worth their weight in gold. With law being a very demanding degree and career to break into, such skills are attractive to a range of employers, not just law firms. There are several skills you will leverage from law school; here are the notable seven.
If you want to be a successful lawyer, you need to be an effective communicator. This means being able to write clearly, speak persuasively and listen closely. Whether it’s writing an email to your lecturer or participating in a mooting competition, as a law student you’ll develop communication skills to adjust to any situation, make yourself understood and think on your feet. Communication includes skills such as listening, reflecting, clarifying and negotiating.
Attention to detail
In law school, you quickly learn that you can’t skim through case law the night before and be prepared for your lecturer’s questions the following morning. Instead, you have to pay attention to the details within your assigned reading, since your lecturers will likely test you on specific facts and arguments. Law students often hear and make nuanced arguments, and are used to working with complex documents and legal provisions, so being meticulous is paramount to success.
The ability to draw reasonable, logical conclusions from limited information is essential for a lawyer. Law school trains you to look at the evidence and reach a conclusion based on that evidence. Knowing how to avoid cognitive bias, address weaknesses in your argument and spot the flaws in your opposition’s argument is fundamental to the practice of law. Being decisive is also a part of judgement – this will prevent you from sitting on the fence when there are important judgement calls to make.
Personal qualities cultivated while studying law include:
- self-reliance – the ability to deal with the unexpected and accept constructive feedback;
- self-awareness – knowing your strengths and skills, and having the confidence to put these across in a work setting;
- networking – the ability to build and maintain contacts in the legal sector; and
- time management – the ability to plan and prioritise your workload and to juggle several tasks at once.
Law can be academically challenging, because the cases you work on are like lateral thinking puzzles that need solving. Problem solving includes research – in particular, the ability to plan, conduct and implement a research project coherently. It also involves identifying issues; assimilating, evaluating and analysing information; and making effective use of time and resources available. As well as giving you a wealth of legal knowledge, the law teaches you how to identify and process key information to reach a well-crafted conclusion.
Understanding the law
It seems obvious that a law degree gives you an understanding of the law, but knowing how the law works is vital in the running of any business, no matter the sector. Law students graduate with a thorough understanding of the English legal system. Even if a law graduate is employed in a non-legal role, they can often provide valuable advice as a result of their understanding of contract law, land law, company law and much more.
Strong work ethic
Beyond having attention to detail, a critical yet underrated skill is the ability to put your head down and complete work. Even if you’re tired, stressed or simply bored with the material (which will often be the case), you will have no choice but to complete your work to the best of your ability.
In those moments where you’re not exactly inspired to work, you’ll need to find a way to motivate yourself – for example, you may feel inspired to blog (which was how I dealt with exam stress), or some exercise might do you good. Motivation is extremely beneficial to learn how to grind out work when you’re not feeling 100%. I discovered this quickly during my penultimate year. I was not particularly interested in equity and trusts or land law, yet I had no choice but to grind out the work and prepare myself for exams – blogging helped though! The stakes only get higher after university exams, as clients will be paying you to deliver top-notch legal advice.
In summary, although a law degree is a perfect step for those wanting to work in a legal field, the versatile nature means it can benefit anyone wanting to get ahead in any industry.