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Survey reveals the skills law firms are looking for in graduates

9th August 2018

When it comes to filling graduate graduate lawyer jobs, law firms are on the lookout for candidates with more than just impressive legal knowledge, project management qualities and people skills.

A recent survey conducted by BPP University Law School found that the most desirable skills are ‘resilience and flexibility’, which 60% of respondents put in their top three of skill requirements.

The research was undertaken at Legal Cheek’s Future of Legal Education and Training Conference, with over 200 law firm graduate recruiters and educators being surveyed about their ideal candidate skillsets and attributes.

The survey also revealed that ‘written communication’ (43%) and ‘commerciality’ (42%) were also cited as essential top three skills, with ‘time management’ and ‘tech and digital skills’ following close behind with 32% and 31% respectively.

According to Legal Cheek, some of the results were incredibly intriguing, with more ‘human traits’ being sought after than more traditional skillsets such as ‘attention to detail’, ‘analytical skills’, ‘networking’ and ‘project management’. These ‘vital’ traits span from emotional intelligence, to having a good attitude, and the ability to take responsibility for things.

Adam Curphey, the head of innovation technology at BPP Law School, told Legal Cheek: “There is a growing realisation that the lawyers of the future do not necessarily need to be tech-savvy in a specific area, but have to be ready and willing to adapt to any change and face any new challenge with an open mind and willingness to turn that challenge into an opportunity.

“We have started to see law firms increasingly embrace cognitive flexibility in seeking a more diverse pool of new entrants, seeking STEM students for example who have different ways of thinking from the traditional law graduate; but a good mix is what is needed.”