Just like every other sector, the legal field has also undergone significant transformations over the past 10 months owing to the COVID-19 pandemic’s profound impact. Legal cases that were traditionally argued in court have now been moved online and the sector has made alterations to adapt to the new normal. The pandemic has also underscored the urgent need for professionals of all industries to upskill themselves without further delay to sustain themselves in the increasingly competitive markets. The legal sector is no exception.
Amongst the vast, multiple offshoots of the modern-day legal sector is a relatively new and sought-after segment – corporate law. Recent years have witnessed the sector undergoing exponential growth and corporate law has been at the center of this, attracting several aspiring legal professionals. Given that the segment is projected to expand further in the future, corporate lawyers are required to possess multifaceted skill sets to flourish in the increasingly competitive market. Here’s an upskilling checklist for corporate lawyers with some of the most in-demand skill sets.
Sales and Business Development
Perhaps the most crucial skills, a company’s growth hinges on the strength of its sales and business development segments. A solid business development strategy is integral to laying the foundation for success. While it is fairly common for companies from across verticals to have dedicated sales and business development teams, corporate lawyers need to hone/develop their audio-visual skills and keep an open mind when it comes to pitching a target to their customers. Honing their sales and business development skills will enable them to tap the market and look for new opportunities more effectively.
For a lawyer, one of the most important skill sets is interpersonal skills. Building a good rapport and strengthening interpersonal relations with their respective teams, organization, as well as clients form a vital part of a legal professional’s career. Apart from fortifying existing relationships, it is also necessary for legal professionals to form new connections, particularly online given the apprehension surrounding offline meetings. Networking and leveraging their network will play a pivotal role in corporate lawyers’ careers.
In a world where technology has taken center stage, professionals from every industry are required to upgrade their skills to be adept with using a variety of digital tools. For corporate lawyers, with a major shift from offline to online demands that they are well versed with technology to leverage it to continue their business even during a global crisis. Although for corporate lawyers the shift to online has been lesser when compared to other legal professionals, they are required to hone basic digital skill sets to offer their services for clients in various segments such as Project Financing, Private Equity, and M&A, Information Technology, and Banking through digital platforms. This may pave the way for efficient arbitration and dispute resolutions through an online medium without compromising on the quality to provide all-encompassing services to their clients even when working remotely.
It is no surprise that the world is facing unprecedented challenges in several aspects. In such times, a lack of ability to adapt quickly to fast-changing scenarios will eventually make a professional redundant. Possessing the capability to adapt to and survive in unexpected situations and working environments will go a long way in ensuring stability in one’s career. Especially for a corporate lawyer, when times are rapidly changing and the conventional ways of working are disrupted, adaptability is extremely crucial.
Flexible and Self-disciplined Approach
Since remote working has become the norm, there is increased flexibility in certain aspects. However, flexibility comes with its share of challenges. For instance, the most common one is sticking to a routine and adopting an organized, self-disciplined approach to work. Since lawyers are no longer sitting in the same room as their bosses, the need to be self-motivated, organized, and disciplined has become far greater than before. Adopting a flexible yet self-disciplined approach will help strike a perfect balance between lawyers’ professional and personal lives.
The Need for T-shaped Legal Professionals
Employees are the foundation of success for a company, which means that employee development is a vital part of the company’s growth. Given the aforementioned upskilling checklist for corporate lawyers, it’s clear that there is a need for T-shaped legal professionals. A T-shaped professional is one who possesses both the breadth in how to collaborate and innovate across disciplines and depth in specific areas of expertise. Employers today look for professionals who are constantly upskilling themselves and display a keen interest in honing various skillsets to achieve holistic development and excel in the field.
Since corporate lawyers can attach themselves with varying ranges of clients including MNCs, investment banks, private companies, small and medium businesses, and even government organizations, chalking out a lucrative career requires them to develop holistic skills to thrive in the market. The fast-evolving legal field calls for learning, unlearning, and relearning to thrive amidst various challenges and emerge stronger.