Core Competencies of a Good Lawyer

In creating a Scorecard for a new contract lawyer position with Heritage Law, these are the key competencies I came up with. I think these competencies probably apply to the majority of legal jobs – with an emphasis on technological affinity and autonomy probably higher for our firm than most.

  • Honesty/Integrity.Does not cut corners ethically.Earns trust and maintains confidences.Does what is right, not what is expedient.Speaks plainly and truthfully.
  • Traditional Intelligence.Learns quickly.Demonstrates ability to quickly and proficiently understand and absorb new information.
  • Emotional Intelligence.Empathy, perspective, understanding, listening skills.
  • Work ethic.Possesses strong willingness to work hard and sometimes long hours to get the job done.Has a track record of working hard.
  • Analytical ability.Can think logically on the basis of a set of rules nad analyse situations using common sense.
  • Logical reasoning.Able to understand, analyse and evaluate arguments.
  • Sound Judgment.Capacity to assess situations or circumstances and draw sound conclusions
  • Advocacy/Persuasion.Able to convince others of a conclusion or to pursue a course of action.
  • Attention to Detail.Thorough in accomplishing a task with concern for all the areas involved, no matter how small. Does not let important details slip through the cracks or derail a file.
  • Communication skills.Speaks and writes clearly, in all modes of communication.
  • Autonomy.Able to work productively and keep motivated in less structured work environment.
  • Pro-activity.Acts without being told what to do.Brings new ideas to the firm.
  • Flexibility/adaptability.Adjusts quickly to challenging priorities and conditions.Copes effectively with complexity and change.
  • Calm under pressure.Maintains stable performance under pressure or stress.
  • Enthusiasm.Exhibits passion and excitement over work.Has can-do attitude.
  • High standards.Expects personal performance and team performance to be nothing less than the best.
  • Openness to criticism and ideas.Solicits feedback and reacts calmly to criticism or negative feedback.
  • Team Player.Reaches out to peers and cooperates with team to establish an overall collaborative working relationship.
  • Sales/Business Development skills.Comfortable generating new business for self and the firm and networking and building relationships with referral sources.
  • Multi-tasking.Can effectively juggle and prioritize competing demands.
  • Responsiveness.Responds constructively and expediently to client and staff communications and requests.
  • Efficiency.Able to produce work with minimal wasted effort.
  • Creativity/innovation.Generates new and innovative approaches to problems.
  • Technological Affinity.Comfortable with and can use current technologies.

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