Personal Qualities Needed to Be a Lawyer

By Jorge Pena

Many people aspire to become a lawyer. Aside from the obvious desire to earn a substantial amount of money, there is much prestige associated with being an attorney. While it takes a considerable amount of money to pay for law school tuition and successful passage of the bar exam to become a lawyer, there are also certain personal qualities that a lawyer must have.


A lawyer should be open-minded and flexible in how he conducts himself; he should be willing to admit mistakes and correct them. Open-mindedness does not imply that the lawyer is obliged to change any religious or political views or sacrifice his principles. But it does require that in the course of his work as an attorney he maintains flexibility and deviates from his routine way of doing things to best assist his client.


A lawyer must be ethical. Typically the state in which a person seeks a license to be a lawyer requires that the applicant fill out a moral character application. In this application the applicant must disclose whether he has had any arrests or any problems with drugs or other substances, as well as personal references. While a criminal conviction or probation does not necessarily preclude a find of good moral character, it doesn't help, and it may show an unethical character. Furthermore, when a lawyer is already licensed he must maintain his ethical standards when representing his client. This might mean giving his client advice he would not like to hear or otherwise terminating his representation of the client when it would lead to the lawyer committing a crime or fraud.


A lawyer must be logical. An applicant to law school must take and obtain an acceptable score on the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). The LSAT tests basic logic such as critical thinking and reasoning. Once a student has completed law school he must take the bar exam. The bar exam tests her ability to apply the law to the facts in a reasonable way.


A lawyer must be intelligent. A lawyer typically must have completed at least four years of undergraduate college education and then at least three years of law school. He must be able to succeed on multiple admissions tests (the SAT, LSAT, Bar Exam and Lawyers Ethics exams) and be able to communicate effectively in writing.


A lawyer must be persistent. The process of litigation often takes time: a lawsuit might go on for years before completion, and even in criminal cases the matter could drag on for months until a final resolution is found.

About the Author

Jorge Pena is a freelance writer who lives in Southern California. Pena graduated from the University of La Verne College of Law with a Juris Doctor degree and is a graduate of the University of California Irvine where he obtained a Bachelors in Arts degree in political science. He has been a Demand Studios writer for less than a year.