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Soft skills for lawyers (SHHH...)

Lawyers hone their hard skills—win or-lose skills—in a literal and immediate sense in the course of their practice. Unfortunately, hard skills are no longer enough.

How to improve your interaction with clients, softly

So-called 'soft skills' that make up your EQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient), are increasingly sought after amongst professional services. They are the building blocks of establishing relationships and the foundation of customer service. The law is a face-to-face profession. To be successful, you need to be able to relate to people as humans, not just cases or matters. It’s Mrs May McAlister (Donoghue) and David Stevenson. Not the snail in the bottle. Soft skills help us form relationships and make people happy. Happy is good for business.

Empathy, promptness, kindness, conscientiousness and dependability are soft skills that build and promote positive relationships. Soft communication skills won’t necessarily win the case, but they may win over your audience, your client, or your employer, because these skills make you more engaging. A paucity of these skills tends to do the opposite.

The market remains competitive and clients expect more than just legal technical reliability. Assuming that everyone is equally stellar at the hard skills, it’s the soft skills that will make you stand out. If you completely lack social skills, or the ability to chit-chat, or any ability to so much as feign empathy, you are going to lose the race in all respects. If this is an area you think you need help with, take a course, find a mentor, or, really simply, start taking the time to know your client. Perhaps you could start the process by sharing this blog with someone and having a conversation about it! 

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