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How to demonstrate critical skills on your CV and applications

All lawyers will need to be able to demonstrate critical skills and show this on their application. Whilst high academic achievement is highly regarded, it’s only one of several important characteristics which recruiters look for in potential candidates.

Here are some essential points you should make stand out when sending off applications!


The ability to communicate clearly and persuasively when writing and speaking is very important as a lawyer as you will be advising clients daily. Excellent interpersonal skills are also vital in a profession where you are forming and maintaining strong relationships with clients.

How to demonstrate good communication

Volunteering at advice centres and working with customers requires you to have good communication skills and the ability to listen to clients. Therefore, this is a great experience to talk about on applications to demonstrate your communication skills.


Working well with others is fundamental for lawyers as you will often be working within a team. During the application process, you will be assessed on your ability to fit into a team and to work professionally alongside many different kinds of people, some of who might not have much in common with you.

How to demonstrate teamwork

Extracurricular activities such as playing sports or being part of a debating team (anything that involves a team) shows the recruiter you have good team skills as well as working independently.

Accuracy and attention to detail

As a lawyer, you will be working on matters where stakes are high, and there won’t be room for confusion or mistakes. Attention to detail is a vital as you’ll need to consider every aspect of a task or document to make sure that there are no spelling errors or unclear phrasing.

How to demonstrate your accuracy and attention to detail

You may have demonstrated this skill in any previous work experience you’ve undertaken. You may have been required to proofread documents, input data or create graphs, or conducted an inventory check or stock take. All these tasks require attention to detail and make for excellent examples to present in applications.

Commercial awareness

Lawyers are trusted by their clients, and you will need to be able to apply your legal and commercial knowledge to your client’s circumstances. Many lawyers will serve business clients, meaning that knowing about the wider business sector is essential.

How to demonstrate your commercial awareness

Trainees will not be expected to be economic experts, but they should be able to display basic knowledge of the latest important news stories and developments. It’s not necessary to read the Financial Times every day, but you should follow the news and be able to express a reasonably informed opinion on big issues. Websites like LawCareers.Net have a useful commercial awareness hub to help you develop your skills.

Drive and determination

Motivation is crucial in the competitive legal sector. Law firms and chambers want to recruit driven people who want the job, and they can trust will get the work done to the highest standard.

How to demonstrate your drive

A driven individual has often undertaken work experience and thrown themselves into extracurricular activities. Juggling numerous activities whilst studying can be a great example of determination. Part-time jobs are also a great way to show drive and determination, and they don’t have to be legal related!

Remember to include these key skills and make sure you have examples so you really catch that recruiter's eye and stand out from other applicants!

For more information about the key skills you need to be a lawyer, please get in touch or book a session with me.

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