Lawyers as role models: What do they do differently?

We daily hear about great professionals and superb practitioners, lawyers who are sought out by clients for their judgment and wisdom as well as for their technical skills. Such are practitioners known to be exceptionally generous with their time and their talents, counselling scores and eager to learn from others. The truth is some professionals are not just successful lawyers. They are role models—examples of all that a lawyer should be.But what makes them role models?

We all have role models, people who inspire and guide us with their great qualities and achievements. Of course, everyone has a different description of what values a role model should possess. However, most of the times, when we refer to role models, we don’t only identify them with high levels of professionalism but also a personal and emotional intelligence that they use during their practice – what we know as good heart.The common point for all of them no matter the field or area of expertise is that they are outstanding practitioners, experts in their fields and with a tremendous potential. But there are certain other characteristics that role models are also identified with such as:

  1. They have a keen understanding of their profession.

When lawyers enter the world of practice, they don’t deal with only clients. They also must learn how to cooperate and collaborate with their colleagues, partners, institutions and courts. In dealing with all these groups, role models are responsive, proactive, and empathetic. They anticipate clients’ needs, they understand the core of the issues and situations and they immediately think of ways of solving them.

  1. Great lawyers apply values in their daily practices.

The most admired lawyers are straightforward, trustworthy, and reliable. It’s not just that they comply with the Rules of Professional Conduct or Ethical procedures. When it comes to sensitive issues, that ask quick and determined decisions, such lawyers always take the high road, never shade the truth, and don’t make excuses. They admit and take responsibility for any situation related to the outcome of a problem, they share credit, and don’t play games.

  1. They are respectful, not only with clients but also with others.

The legal profession is so often adversarial and the need to respect those you interact with is often lost. However, you can sport a great lawyer by the way he treats others. Role models are generally polite and respectful of their colleagues, clients, opponents, and decision makers, because they know it is a key component of maintaining professional behaviour.  Great professionals treat others the same way they would prefer to be treated – that is fair and right. We can all agree that not many people would consider a lawyer his or her role model if he is rude, abusive, patronizing or oblivious to the feelings or behaviour of others.

  1. They contribute to great causes and give back to their communities.

Lawyers who are role models do pro bono work regularly and throughout their careers. They engage in causes they strongly believe in and stand for such as democracy, rule of law, justice and other. That is how they contribute to the public and community service in their countries and abroad. All their talent’s skills, qualities and values are shared with others for the common good.

  1. They never stop learning and mentor other lawyers.

Regardless of their rich background and knowledge role models never stop learning because they realize the legal profession is a constantly growing, changing, adjusting occupation. They are creative and constantly look for new ways of learning and acquiring more but at the same time, they help and assist other less experiences lawyers achieve great results by mentoring, guiding and coaching them on their way to success. They don’t see that as an obligation or a must, but as an investment to the entire legal profession mostly because they believe in the power of empowering others.

  1. Role models value differences among people.

Great professionals are not self-involved and that don’t have a ‘mania for being always right. They have the confidence and belief that everyone is entitled to have an opinion even if that means completely different and against their own. They know that the highest quality work comes from the pooled talents of people with different perspectives and they value differences. That is why they have a capacity to bring out the best in others and transform even the smallest and poorest portfolio into a great potential.

  1. Role models enjoy what they do.

Not surprisingly, lawyers who own the above characteristics enjoy what they do, and they show it. You can see such lawyers by the way they approach any issue. They are positive, energetic, and enthusiastic about their professional and personal lives. They find fulfilment into what they do daily because they are led by the passion for their profession, by the cause behind their practice and the noble mission to serve others. The above list is not exhaustive but whatever points you might want to add to the list, they are not necessarily related to the educational background, but rather to the qualities and components such lawyers have as individuals. Qualities that transform them into admirable professionals and role models.

Note from the Editorial Board

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