If you’ve ever considered going to law school, it’s likely you’ve thought about what it might take to be a successful lawyer. The truth is that empathy is an important trait to possess if you plan to be a respected attorney. If you’re thinking of going to law school and aren’t sure why empathy would be a trait that would matter, read on to learn about ways empathy could take your career from average to something really special.
Building Trust Through Advocacy
Never underestimate the importance of having great empathy if you plan to practice law in a meaningful way. Whether you hope to become an administrative human rights lawyer who advocates for fairness while juggling complex litigation like Malliha Wilson, or you plan to be a litigator focused on working with labour laws on a micro level, the work you’ll be doing matters. The reality is that whether you’re like Wilson and concerned about making sure working conditions are safe and fair for all across Ontario or you’re a personal injury lawyer working in Chicago anxious to see your clients’ medical bills paid, your work in the courts, and other legal networks will change lives.
Especially if you hope to become an advocate for a cause you believe in like Wilson, one way to build trust with not only government officials but the citizens you hope to look out for is to show that you understand the seriousness of their situations. Instead of thinking of clients, citizens, and people in general as numbers, you’ll need to be able to put yourself in their shoes to fully understand their circumstances and best represent their position. Doing so will build trust and give you better odds of successfully advocating for them.
Establishing a Reputation
Like it or not, across all industries and fields, people talk. For this reason, whether or not you have empathy as an attorney will be something that gets around. If you hope to have a great reputation that will keep the clients coming or help to support your cause, it’s a good idea to make your empathy known. Whether in the middle of a courtroom argument or when meeting with potential clients for the first time, your ability to slow down and put yourself in other people’s shoes will become part of how people view you and your work.
Embracing Your Passion
Passion can be a driving force in the difference between a satisfying career and a subpar one. Being empathetic will be easier if you specialize in the type of law that matters most to you. Before entering law school, think about your life experiences and the things that matter to you most. Maybe equality is extremely important to you. Perhaps victims’ rights and justice are causes that speak to you the most. Understanding who you are and what you’re passionate about will help bring that empathy out and make the type of law you practice come easier for you. Instead of specializing in areas of law where you might be more financially successful or in higher demand, it’s a better idea to follow your heart and let that success catch up based on your au8thentic empathy and compassion.
In the end, your ability to be empathetic will make a huge impact on not only your own career as a lawyer but in the lives of the clients that you serve, too. Before finding the perfect law school for you, take some time to think about your personal traits and how your empathy or lack of it might make law the right field of study for you. Best of luck to you if you decide to pursue a law degree with both empathy and compassion. You’ve got this!