ESSENTIAL SKILLS FOR LAWYERS – ANYTHING BUT SOFT
“To be successful nurses, there is no doubt that we need specialized skills to perform clinical tasks,” writes Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, DRNP in nursingcenter.com. Those measurable, specialized “hard skills”, she explains, are learned through nursing education and on-the-job training. But what about skills such as teamwork, communication, and work ethic? Although those are often termed “soft” skills, it’s important to realize, Bonsall stresses, that they are anything but soft. What’s more, they are just as crucial – sometimes even more so – to nurses’ professional success.
Reading this article, I couldn’t help think about how much truth it contains. In fact, here at Ramey & Hailey Law, our attorneys are increasingly being called upon to help medical professionals deal with the emotional as well as the financial damage they have suffered by having their careers unfairly threatened. When nurses face disciplinary action before a state licensing board, sometimes they have reached that point not because of incompetence or wrongdoing in the course of providing patient care, but because they were involved in conflicts with other staff members or superiors, or perhaps because they failed to manage the timely upkeep of their educational credentials. Now it falls to us, as their legal counselors, to help those unfortunate nurses deal with the emotional as well as the financial damages they will suffer due to the challenges of confronting the disciplinary action.
Bonsall lists ten essential, so-called “soft skills” for nurses:
- attitude and confidence
- critical thinking and creative problem solving
- conflict resolution
- initiative and strong work ethic
Over the past more than forty years in the practice of personal injury law, I have come to realize the degree to which those very skills have proven essential to the legal services we provide our clients. In fact, as findlaw.com reports, studies at the University of Chicago Law School show that new lawyers need to be trained in those very “soft” skills, including interpersonal communication, time management, and conscientious personal habits.
Serving on the faculty of the American Association for Justice/Education’s annual Deposition College since its inception years ago, I have been privileged to counsel attorneys as they launch their careers. We know – it’s just not enough to offer Continuing Legal Education Courses on “hard skills”. In our own practice, where everyday clients relive their worst experiences by talking with us, we must call upon skills of empathy and conflict resolution along with our decades of litigation experience.
At Ramey & Hailey, we know – essential skills for lawyers are anything but soft!