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Transferable Lawyering Skills

published February 14, 2013

By CEO and Founder - BCG Attorney Search left
Published By
( 215 votes, average: 5 out of 5)
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This article is a form of exercise that focuses on two kinds of skills: transferable and legal skills. It will provide you with a sense of the degree to which you feel competent in your skills and the degree to which you enjoy utilizing various skills.

INSTRUCTIONS: For each skill listed, rate yourself on the following scale.
Transferable Lawyering Skills
r /> 4 = Very Confident in your ability 3 = Competent in your ability 2 = Cautious about your ability 1 = Can't Assess
To adjust for the enjoyment level, add the value of 1 if a high level of satisfaction or pleasure is associated with the performance of the listed skill; subtract the value of 1 if you dislike using the skill. If you neither like nor dislike the skill, no adjustment is necessary. Record your totals for the various skill cluster areas.

PART 1: Transferable Skills

Written Communication
  • Correspondence (answering inquires, initiating letters, soliciting business)
  • Editing
  • Creative/Expository Writing
  • Writing (reports, memos, proposals)
  • Technical Writing
  • Translating (foreign language, signing)

Part 1 of this exercise is adapted from material designed by Laura Share Kalin, Director of Career Services and Alice Alexander, Assistant Dean of Cooperative Legal Education at Northeastern University School of Law; Part 2 is adapted from materials designed by Professor Brook K. Baker, Northeastern University School of Law.

Verbal Communication
  • Teaching/Training
  • Public Speaking
  • Persuading/Promoting/Selling
  • Explaining
  • Articulating (quality of oral expression)
  • Connecting (being understood)
  • Social Chatting

  • Listening
  • Advising/Counseling
  • Interviewing (obtaining information)
  • Handling Complaints
  • Confronting
  • Negotiating
  • Mediating
  • Group Facilitating
  • Getting Along With Others
  • Politicking
  • Reading" others

  • Anticipating/Estimating
  • Prioritizing
  • Coordinating/Arranging (events)
  • Compiling/Gathering (data)
  • Classifying/Ordering (information)
  • Programming
  • Planning/Scheduling
  • Record Keeping
  • Meeting Deadlines

  • Conceptualizing (new ideas)
  • Analyzing (events, data, people)
  • Theorizing (drawing generalizations)
  • Comprehending highly technical materials
  • Predicting/Forecasting (trends)
  • Experimenting
  • Remembering Information

  • Supervising/Leading
  • Organizing/Coordinating
  • Motivating Others
  • Initiating
  • Risk Taking
  • Delegating
  • Exercising Good Judgment
  • Accepting Responsibility
  • Deciding

  • Examining
  • Reviewing
  • Assessing (the performance of others)
  • Evaluating (programs, services)
  • Appraising (values)
  • Applying Knowledge to Improve a Situation or Benefit Others
  • Trouble Shooting
  • Resolving Conflicts

  • Working Effectively and Calmly Under Pressure
  • Managing Time
  • Tolerating Delays/Waiting
  • Reserving
  • Accepting Criticism
  • Working Through Problems
  • Adjusting to Changes/Flexibility
  • Competing With Others

  • Accounting/Bookkeeping
  • Allocating Resources
  • Managing Budgets
  • Using Computational Abilities
  • Estimating/Projecting (costs, income)
  • Developing Mathematical/Economic Models
  • Working With Precision
  • Financial Record Keeping
  • Inventorying
  • Using Statistical Abilities

  • Exhibiting/Setting up
  • Displaying Ideas in Artistic Form
  • Dramatizing (ideas, social concerns)
  • Designing Exhibits
  • Making Layouts (media print, public displays)
  • Representing ("x" to the public)
  • Meeting the Public

  • Inventing
  • Imagining
  • Designing
  • Applying Theory
  • Being an "Idea" person
  • Displaying
  • Constructing/Building
  • Assembling
  • Fixing

  • Music (singing, composing, playing instrument)
  • Dancing
  • Drawing/Painting/Sculpting
  • Competing at sports/games
  • Acting
  • Using Humor
  • Other "play":

PART 2 - Lawyering Skills

Legal Knowledge
  • Possess substantive knowledge of basic areas of law
  • Possess substantive knowledge of your particular area of expertise
  • Keep abreast of current developments in the law
  • Possess broad general knowledge of other areas of law in order to "red flag" issues and refer cases to others possessing expertise.

Legal Research
  • Perform research (case law and statutory) in a thorough, organized and competent manner
  • Know various secondary and primary research resources
  • Know how to use indexes
  • Know how to plan a research strategy
  • Familiar with computerized research resources
  • Know how to take systematic, useful research notes

Factual Research
  • Know how to plan fact investigations to obtain desired information
  • Know formal discovery devices and how to use them, including depositions, interrogatories and document requests
  • Know how to respond to formal discovery within ethical restraints to disclose required information

Legal Writing
  • Plan and organize writing by outline or otherwise so that it is coherent, logical and persuasive
  • Draft, redraft, and edit your writing critically
  • Produce well written, good quality legal documents
  • Use language clearly, precisely, and concisely

Legal Analysis
  • Understand how to analyze a case and analogize it to client facts Understand how to analyze a statute or regulation and apply it to a client problem
  • Understand how to synthesize multiple cases and/or statutes Understand how to select legal rules to apply to or distinguish from client or opponent facts
  • Combine legal analysis with common sense and problem-solving abilities
  • Develop creative and/or alternative approaches to problems Develop appropriate strategy to serve client

  • Plan an effective trial strategy
  • Argue skillfully and effectively in court
  • Negotiate disputes skillfully and effectively
  • Prepare witnesses for examination
  • Examine witnesses using rules of evidence effectively
  • Develop ability to determine the credibility of witnesses, clients and testimony
  • Develop ability to determine the efficacy of opposing arguments
  • Practice appropriate courtroom demeanor and courtesy

Problem Solving
  • Negotiate transactional agreements
  • Help clients with strategic planning
  • Advise clients regarding compliance with applicable laws and regulations

Client Relations
  • Conduct sessions that leave the client informed and reassured
  • Understand client's goals
  • Provide realistic assessments
  • Nurture and develop new client base
  • Keep client apprised of progress/status of case
  • Prepare bills reflecting accurately accounted time

Substantive Legal Knowledge
  • Constitutional Law/Litigation
  • Federal courts
  • Commercial Law (U.C.C.)
  • Corporations
  • Corporate Finance
  • Entertainment Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Antitrust
  • Bankruptcy
  • Legal Accounting
  • Securities Regulations
  • Evidence
  • Criminal Advocacy/Procedure
  • Juvenile Law
  • Equitable Remedies
  • Land Use Planning
  • Administrative Law
  • Family Law
  • Estate Planning
  • Trusts and Estates
  • Welfare Law
  • Health Law
  • International Law
  • Comparative Law
  • Conflict of Law
  • Professional Responsibility
  • Labor Law
  • Collective Bargaining
  • Negotiation
  • Torts II
  • Intellectual Property
  • Immigration Law
  • Discrimination Law
  • Tax Law
  • Corporate Taxation
  • Legislation

Alternative Summary

Harrison is the founder of BCG Attorney Search and several companies in the legal employment space that collectively gets thousands of attorneys jobs each year. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placement attract millions of reads each year. Harrison is widely considered the most successful recruiter in the United States and personally places multiple attorneys most weeks. His articles on legal search and placement are read by attorneys, law students and others millions of times per year.

More about Harrison

About LawCrossing

LawCrossing has received tens of thousands of attorneys jobs and has been the leading legal job board in the United States for almost two decades. LawCrossing helps attorneys dramatically improve their careers by locating every legal job opening in the market. Unlike other job sites, LawCrossing consolidates every job in the legal market and posts jobs regardless of whether or not an employer is paying. LawCrossing takes your legal career seriously and understands the legal profession. For more information, please visit

published February 14, 2013

By CEO and Founder - BCG Attorney Search left
( 215 votes, average: 5 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.