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Wednesday 1 November 2023

10 Things Aspiring Family Lawyers Must Know

 10 Things Aspiring Family Lawyers Must Know

In this article, we’re looking at 10 things aspiring family lawyers must know in 2023
Family Lawyer Paperwork

A career with family law solicitors in York can be rewarding, lucrative and, to an extent, future proof. Knowing if you have what it takes to make it in this competitive sector is the first thing to know before considering this profession.  

In this article, we’re sharing 10 things aspiring family lawyers should know

What Can a Family Lawyer Help With?

Within the law sector there are many different specialisms, each with their own set of desirable skills and qualifications. A family lawyer is a professional who handles cases involving circumstances common to family life including: 

Civil partnerships
Child custody and child support
Residential disputes
Neighbour disputes

During their lifetime, many UK residents will find themselves needing the services of a family lawyer and, depending on which part of the UK you operate in, you can expect to earn between £46,000 and £70,000 per annum

10 Things Aspiring Family Lawyers Need to Know

If you’re looking for a career in family law, there are a number of qualifications and hard and soft skills that you’ll need and, in this section, we’ll look at 10 of these:

1. Qualifications

There are a few ways in which you can enter the world of family law but, in each instance, you will need formal qualifications. All roles within family law require education to A Level and most will require a degree - although this doesn’t necessarily have to be a law degree. 

Many legal companies will offer legal apprenticeships to those who have successfully completed their A Levels. With this option, you can expect to spend around six years combining study and work experience. 
Degree qualification

2. Problem Solving Skills

A significant part of family law involves finding a solution to a dispute which satisfies everybody involved and so analytical thinking and the ability to problem-solving is essential.  

3. Excellent Communication Skills

As with other types of law, part of your job as a family lawyer will be to break down some complex legal information and deliver it in a way which your client is able to understand. Having excellent written and verbal skills is essential in order to convey important information effectively. 

4. Negotiation Skills

When dealing with cases such as divorce and child custody / child support, you will often be responsible for negotiating the terms of a settlement which, in many instances, will be extremely complicated. Because of this, strong negotiation skills are essential for a successful family lawyer

Legal Professionals

5. Organisation skills

Life as a family lawyer involves keeping a lot of balls in the air at any given time and, even in the digital age, there is a lot of paperwork to deal with. To be a good family lawyer, you will need exceptional organisational  skills to ensure that your client’s case is not jeapordised by lost or incorrect documents. 

6. Empathy

A big part of family law involves an ability to put yourself in your client’s shoes in order to understand what they’re going through. Empathy is one of the most underrated soft skills in the world of law and a family lawyer who can nail this will usually be very successful. 

7. Compassion

As a family lawyer you’ll often be dealing with people when they’re at their lowest, for example, during a divorce or child custody battles. 

As such, it's incredibly important that compassion is part of your arsenal when dealing with clients who are emotional. Getting the right balance between professionalism and compassion will serve you extremely well throughout your career in family law. 

8. Time Management Skills

In many cases, a family lawyer will be handling a few different cases all at once and so the ability to manage your time effectively is of paramount importance. 

One of the biggest complaints people make about family lawyers is that they are unable to get hold of them when they need to, so it's absolutely worth investing in time management skills and building on small habits to prepare for a career as a family lawyer. 

9. Research skills

Although your clients will provide you with information on their cases, this can often be slightly chaotic and inaccurate. This means that you will need to have the ability to conduct your own research to ensure that the information that you’re presenting is as accurate as possible. 

This is particularly important as clients will sometimes ‘bend the truth’ to make it fit their own personal agenda and so double checking and conducting research is essential. 

10. Stress management skills

A family lawyer will often work long hours on cases that can be emotionally draining. In some instances, this can lead to burnout, particularly when a family lawyer gets into the habit of taking their work home with them.

Learning to manage your stress levels and to ‘switch off’ when out of work is vital for your own wellbeing and that of your clients

Things to know as an aspiring family lawyer…

A career as a family lawyer can be lucrative and personally rewarding but it can also be stressful, emotionally draining and frustrating. Because of this, it's important to understand all of the intricacies of the job and to ascertain whether it's right for you before committing to the world of family law

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