Lawyer’s Skills

Subject outline

Effective lawyers not only have extensive technical legal expertise but also excellent skills in:

  • oral and written communication
  • advocacy
  • interviewing
  • drafting
  • negotiating
  • problem solving,
  • managing work and time, and
  • resillence.

This subject is about developing your professional skills, which are not only fundamental to developing a career in legal practice but are transferable to other professional environments and work situations.

Skills development is a continual process, as even the most experienced lawyers will have areas of improvement or new skills to acquire. For example, interviewing clients is a skill that you will develop throughout your working life. Your ability to conduct an effective client interview will be informed by your experience in dealing with people and your experience in giving legal advice.

You will learn strategies and techniques that will assist you to enhance and develop your professional skills.

Learning objectives

At the end of the workshops in this subject you will be able to identify strategies and techniques in:

  • communicating effectively
  • interviewing clients
  • writing and drafting
  • negotiation and early dispute resolution
  • representing clients in court
  • problem solving
  • managing risks for clients,
  • managing time and workload, and
  • maintaining wellbeing in practice

During other subjects in the coursework component, you will continue to develop competence in these skills.

Tasks and activities

You will complete interactive workshops facilitated by experienced lawyers in which you will have the opportunity to role play interviews, negotiation and courtroom appearances. You will learn how to approach client problems, draft written communications and documents, manage risk, and work effectively in your legal workplace. You will have opportunities to apply and practise these skills throughout the course.

To assist your learning, you have online resources such as readings, interactive case studies, and video demonstrations. You also have a hard copy of the College’s Practice Papers, which are available online and in eBook format.

The course calendar sets out the milestones for you to meet, and guides you through the subject. However, other than meeting dates for submission of work and assessments, you can progress through the learning resources and tasks at your own pace, when and where it suits you.
Your lecturer is your mentor and will give you individual guidance and coach you to achieve the required level of competence.

Assessment

You must participate in the workshops to a satisfactory standard. The criteria for assessment of each of the skill areas are set out in the assessment guide for each area.