If becoming a criminal lawyer has been your childhood dream, you should ask yourself whether you are ready for it. Criminal law is tough and exciting at the same time; it pushes you to take up challenges and find solutions to tricky situations. If you are determined to face adversities and push yourself, this may be one of the most satisfying and thrilling career options for you.
While knowledge from legal resources will make you qualified to handle criminal cases, you need to see if you have the skills that will make you successful in this field. Here is a list of qualities that you must have if you are considering a career in criminal law in the future:
- Quick thinking: This is one of the must-have qualities in criminal lawyers; if you cannot think on your feet, this career isn’t right for you. You need to be able to break up complex data into simple and concise chunks of information while having the flexibility to adapt to changing and unexpected situations. You can never predict exactly how court proceedings will go; so, you need to know how to take advantage of opportunities.
- Diligence: You must be resourceful and quick to collect information to be able to get the judge to rule in your client’s favour. Being able to filter through large volumes of data, evidence, and records, isn’t going to be easy. It requires a lot of hard work, patience, and diligence.
- Critical thinking: The quality to identify the key facts in a case when these are not apparent enough is a rare quality. But, it’s something that a criminal lawyer must have to be able to look at the facts and relate them to the evidence in hand. You should have an eye for detail and an unflinching focus to record and remember the important details shared during court proceedings.
- Empathy: If you are indifferent, you cannot argue with conviction; you need passion to fight for your client’s rights. If you aren’t empathetic towards people, you can never understand their predicament and vulnerabilities. Putting yourself in their shoes is important to understand how best to fight for their interest.
- Open to feedback: As a criminal lawyer, you must be willing to learn from your mistakes and overcome setbacks. You will learn and grow every step of the way, and for this to happen naturally, you must be able to take criticism, however harsh it may be. It will make you resilient and capable of maintaining your cool when things aren’t going as planned.
- Power to negotiate: Negotiation skills are a must for legal professionals, because, without this, you cannot get the judge or opposing counsel to listen to your arguments. To get what you want and to ensure that your client’s best interests are served, you have to master the art of haggling.
- Ability to lead: You must have leadership skills to stand out from the crowd. You should have the charisma, personality, and acumen to guide others’ actions. Whether it’s leading an entire team of criminal lawyers, giving presentations during seminars and conferences, or networking with those who matter, leadership quality is a must.
- Out-of-the-box thinking: There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to criminal cases; so, you have to be able to think differently. If you aren’t creative enough when things are going south, you cannot win cases. Not every problem will have a ready solution, but with innovative thinking, you can change the outcome of a case.
Criminal law isn’t a walk in the park; it’s filled with challenges and setbacks. Working under pressure can be emotionally and physically exhausting. So, jump into this only if you have what it takes to be a good criminal lawyer.