Olivia Parker, Careers Development Officer at the Law Society, thinks about the business skills newly qualified lawyers can equip themselves with for future success, regardless of the direction they want their career to take.

I think it’s fair to observe that as a cohort of new lawyers you are an ambitious group - always thinking about ‘what’s next?’

This is embedded right from the early stages of your legal career, when you’re working towards a long stream of milestones: the LLB, the Diploma, the traineeship, being admitted and getting your practising certificate. However, it doesn’t stop there.

What are your career ambitions?

To be a partner? To open your own practice, move into a management role or become an accredited specialist?

Regardless of what you want to do, and whether you work in-house, for a big firm or on the high-street, there are some skills that will be indispensable.

Essential skills for any business

To succeed in any business environment, the skills for professionals are essentially the same. This isn’t about technical legal skills or even competencies associated to your specific sector. Remember all the transferable skills you had to sell when you were looking for a traineeship? It’s those, but this time in a business context. You need to become a ‘business person who practises law’.

Some of the big examples are:

  • Presenting

for client pitches, to win business and to communicate effectively with colleagues and clients

  • Networking

to meet new business leads, to create opportunities to market yourself and to put yourself in positions where you can get noticed and promoted in the workplace

  • Negotiation

to navigate complex situations and ensure you’re able to secure a position that works positively for both you, your team and your clients

  • Business development

meaning you can grow your client base, understand how to cross-sell additional client services and nurture your relationships to make them grow


Develop these skills as an NQ    

For any NQs thinking ‘what’s next?' for me, honing these skills is the obvious answer. Even if you aren’t quite sure yet where you want your future to lead, being an effective presenter, negotiator, networker and being confident and proactive about business development is often the basis of any job description.  

Start your training now

Watch our video on ‘Presenting’ now, which gives you a ten-minute practical introduction on how to be a great communicator. Then, if you want more training, book onto our high-impact half-day course which will see you walking away as a great presenter. After all, if you’re learning to communicate with people, the best way to do that can only be face-to-face.

These resources are part of the ‘Commercial skills for young professionals’ programme that we’ve launched in partnership with Sandstone Communications. Presenting is just the first topic in the series and will be followed up with themes like negotiation, business development and networking.