Soft skills are just as necessary as hard
skills in the criminal justice profession. While hard skills can be developed through education and training, soft skills are more personality traits. In addition to having obtained hard skills, as an attorney, you need soft skills for effective communication and conflict resolution. If you are advising a client charged with assault, you will require the following soft skills:
Empathy is an essential soft skill when tackling a delicate situation like assault. It helps you understand how the person feels about being charged and also share their feelings. This is important because while advising the client, you need to understand their attitude and look at the situation from multiple points of view. Being empathetic will also allow you to have a deeper appreciation of what the client is experiencing.
As well as understanding how your client may be feeling, compassion enables you to portray that you do appreciate their emotions. A reasonable attorney will know that clients are like family. You have to make it your business to ensure they receive justice. This is only possible if you treat your client with compassion despite the assault. Remember, you work for the client; whether they are guilty or not, it is not your place to judge them. Showing compassion builds a rapport with the client and can bring healing if the assault situation was traumatic.
When advising a client charged with assault, this is the only information you have about them. Now that the person is your client, you have to employ active listening skills. You have to understand their side of the story by being a good listener, even if you have contradicting ideas. What do they think about the situation? According to them, is assault a felony? What they have to say is very important, even if it is wrong. Through active listening, your client will feel more understood and appreciated.
Critical observation is essential when interacting with a client. Applying this soft skill will enable you to gauge the situation visually, emotionally, and mentally for quick in-depth understanding. Every detail is vital for your client’s case, no matter how small it seems. From the way they react and speak to the new information they divulge every time they talk about what happened, everything is worth noting down. If you want to give the best advice to your clients, critical observation is a soft skill you can’t afford to ignore.
If your client notices that you can be trusted, they will be more willing to share their feelings and even the darkest secrets related to the assault case. You have to be transparent about everything. Your client deserves to know the reality of things, no matter how hard they are. Inform them of the possible sentence and reparation if they are found guilty. Tell them what is punishable in a court of law and what is not. Transparency between you and the client is what will help you win the case. You also have to deliver everything you promise them and protect the private information with which they have entrusted you.
Soft skills are largely overlooked in criminal justice professions, but they are of vital importance in practice. This article is not meant to disregard education and training but to emphasize soft skills. After all, law practice tends to require intelligence and diplomatic skills rather than tangible qualifications.