What do you need: attitude, skills or experience?

I was a panellist recently at an event organised by Pure Potential for state school educated first year University students, which was ably hosted by Neeta Halai whose business is training and coaching lawyers (http://www.nh-training.co.uk/). There were about 200 students split across the morning and afternoon, who attended a Question Time style panel discussion about legal careers and then went in smaller groups to spend a few hours with various City of London firms.

One of the exercises that Neeta organised was for the students to shout out their first thoughts about what makes a good solicitor, and then to analyse whether those qualities were “attitude, skill or knowledge” – the ASK exercise. Some examples: attention to detail, commercial awareness, willingness to take on work, open to new ideas, analysis, client development, drafting, problem-solving, listener, academic ability, people management, motivation and ambition.

Most of these fitted into at least 2 of the 3 categories, but it was very interesting that the most common category was “attitude”. And that was the point of the exercise – the takeaway for the students is that the most important part of being a successful solicitor, trainee solicitor and even interview candidate is having the right attitude.

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