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Intellectually stimulating

So you think you want to a be a lawyerwell, its not as easy or glamorous as popular television shows

According to the Hildebrandt study, lawyers are:

High scorers on learning, "suggesting that they value education and enjoy academic activities";
Self-critical and temperamental;
Lousy on interpersonal sensitivity. They are task-oriented and speak their minds, coming across as
"cold, critical, and argumentative";
Easily excitable, "becoming tense and overly critical";
Cautious to the extent they have a hard time taking risks and making decisions; and
Resistant to authority and skeptical of others.
Despite having a stressful job, lawyers don't adjust well to pressure, says Richard, a psychologist
Once you become an attorney and you are still this awkward and bitter person in social settings, you will
quickly lose in the game whether you are dealing with clients or other co-worker attorneys at a firm. You
must be a great thinker and be highly logical, but also must be a friendly person with people skills.

Can you sacrifice work-life balance?

The sad truth is that many successful lawyers do not work a 40-hour work week.
Lawyers often work long hours, including nights and weekends. Travel is quite common;
lawyers must visit out-of-town clients and attend distant depositions, hearings, trials, site
inspections, board meetings, conferences and other events. Those lawyers that work a
sane schedule such as those in public interest venues and academia often trade
high salaries for a better work-life balance. If you value a short work week and plenty of
downtime, a career as a lawyer might not be right for you.

Are you prepared to dress the part?

Unlike many other industries, casual dress for lawyers is not the norm. Despite the
adoption of casual Fridays and other casual dress conventions, most lawyers wear
suits and formal attire. Client meetings, court appearances, depositions, closings, board
presentations and other events require business dress; formal attire helps lawyers
command respect, inspire trust and convey a polished image.

Do you have an analytical mind?

Logical reasoning and critical thinking skills are essential to the practice of law.
Analytical skills are necessary in every practice areas, whether you are structuring a
multi-million dollar deal, analyzing complex case law, or developing a trial strategy. If
you like logic puzzles, research and critical thinking, then you may enjoy the practice of

Do you like words?

Words are the lawyers tool of trade. Lawyers must be excellent communicators, adept
at oral argument and strong writers. Trial lawyers must master the art of oral and written
persuasion; they argue motions, try cases, take depositions and draft briefs, motions,
legal memos, pleadings, discovery and other legal documents. Corporate lawyers must
master the art of negotiation and be proficient at drafting transactional documents such
as agreements, indentures, resolutions and other legal instruments. If English was not
your favorite subject or you despise writing, you may want to explore other career

Are you comfortable with public speaking?

To be a successful lawyer, you must be comfortable presenting information to large
groups of people including clients,prospective clients, juries, judges and arbitrators,
opposing counsel, witnesses, boards and colleagues. Trial lawyers must be comfortable
advocating to a judge and being center stage in the courtroom; corporate lawyers must
be equally at ease in the boardroom. In-house lawyers, too, are required to head
committees, lead meetings and make presentations to staff, executives, clients,
business units, the board of directors and others.

Do you perform well on tests in high pressure environments?

In addition to the LSAT and the bar examination, law students take numerous tests
throughout law school. In many courses, your grade is determined by only one test
given at the end of a year-long course. Thus, performing well in law school is, in part, a
measure of ones test-taking ability.

Sign #5: Youre cool under pressure

Are you a panicker? Then you may not make a great lawyer (sorry!). Liesje admits to working
long hours in her job sometimes late into the night if shes working on a big case. How does
she do it? By staying calm, focussed and not getting flustered. You need to have faith in your
own abilities to succeed in this career, she explains. That doesnt mean being arrogant, but
just having confidence in yourself. And if thats becomes difficult, use your acting skills!

Sign #3: You like English...

and drama. I always loved English at school, says Liesje. Particularly when analysing
stories and trying to decide what the author meant. I loved drama too and both these subjects
are extremely useful in law. An analytical mind is essential when interpreting the law, while
being able to act is vital for when youre in court presenting the case.

*plotr note: In case youre not sure, barristers are the lawyers who present the case to a judge,
and solicitors are lawyers who prepare the case for a barrister. Sometimes, if the case is very
small, a solicitor will present the case too.

Sign #2: You care

Hate it when someone is blamed for something they didnt do? Feel compelled to report it, or
put the situation right? Lawyers are concerned with fairness and justice and in some cases
stop wrongly accused people from going to jail. Its wrong to think that lawyers are hardhearted, says Liesje. I always feel as though Im making a real difference to the clients
situation. You need to care.
Think all you need to become a lawyer are good grades and a sharp suit? Think again. Some of
the most important skills like passion, motivation and dedication cant be tested by exams.
To find out more, plotr asked Liesje Dilworth, 27, a trainee solicitor at Eversheds, what she
reckons makes a brilliant lawyer

Sign #1: Youre a Sudoku whizz

Law is all about finding solutions to problems and those dont just come out of thin air!
Instead, you need a methodical, clear-thinking way of approaching challenges. As a lawyer, you
do lots of research and reading, and sometimes it takes forever to unearth what youre looking
for, says Liesje. But when you do find the answer to a clients problem its incredibly
rewarding. So if youre somebody who enjoys being analytical, tackling problems and working
your way through them, thats a good sign.