What Does It Take to Be a Great DWI Attorney?

Every day 29 people die on American roads due to motor vehicle accidents that involve a driver under alcoholic influence.

According to the law, a driver is alcohol-impaired when their blood alcohol concentration exceeds .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL).

In all states, driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail (if it is a first offense).

In addition to jail time, a court can also fine you between $500 to $2,000. Your driver’s license will also be at risk of suspension for a specific period.

If you want to work as a DWI attorney you need to know the qualities that will set you apart from the crowd. Here are some attributes of successful DWI lawyers.

People Skills

How you go about servicing your clients can be the single most critical determinant in whether you succeed or not.

When a client comes to you they are facing a case that could adversely affect them. In many times, the client will worry about what will happen to them.

You need the ability to discern what your client is going through and offer the professional support they need.

A successful DWI lawyer is one who can identify the emotions their client is experiencing, speak to that turmoil, and calm the client.

Another social skill you need is the ability to make your clients feel like they can trust you.

Whenever a new client walks through your door, it does not guarantee that they will be honest with you. Some of them might be naturally untrusting of people.

In light of this, you need interpersonal skills that will make your clients feel that you empathize with them and that they can open up to you.

If a client’s case hits some speed bumps, and you need to relay the bad news, your tactfulness will determine whether the client speaks well of you or not.

It is therefore essential that you learn how to share difficult information in a way that does not frustrate or alienate your client.

At the end of the day, how the client feels when they leave your office is what will stick with them.

You may have a natural talent for the law, but if you lack the people skills to put your clients at ease and comfort them your reputation as a lawyer may suffer.


A rainmaker is a lawyer who has the expertise to continuously bring in new clients.

When you become a rainmaker, you can thrive in any context. If you are part of a firm, you will be a top earner and thus, have no limits on who you can work with.

In fact, in big firms, it is not unheard of for leadership to task a rainmaker with only that task. Once the clients are through the door, their peers will be the ones to do the billable work.

If you are running (or want to branch out and run) your own firm you will be able to stand on its feet.

Professional Accreditation

It goes without saying that you can’t practice as a DWI lawyer without the proper qualifications.

It takes a lot of hard work and determination to finally become a sought after attorney in this sector.

You will first need to get a bachelor’s degree then take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).

The LSAT is a standardized examination you must take, and pass, for admittance into any law school approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).

If you manage to pass your LSAT exams and get admitted to law school you will study for three years.

Your first year of law school takes you through general law. The remaining two years will see you concentrate on a specific area of practice.

Once you finish law school, you will have to take the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE).

The MPRE is a test that will assess your conduct and professionalism as per the standards set by the ABA. Only students from Maryland, Wisconsin, and Puerto Rico are exempt from taking the MPRE.

The last step before you become a DWI lawyer is the bar exam. You must take, and pass, the bar exam in the specific state you plan to practice in.

Your learning doesn’t end once you officially become qualified to practice law. Many states now require lawyers to take continuing legal education (CLE) courses if they want to keep practicing.

These are classes that will keep you up-to-date with legal matters, case precedents, and new laws. Each state will determine the mandatory number of hours you will need to cover and how frequently you will attend the classes.

Networking Skills

Any occupation in today’s job market will require you to know how to build and cultivate networks with your peers.

Being a DWI lawyer is no different. To succeed, you will need the necessary skills to form relationships with different cadres of lawyers.

For example, if you have a positive relationship with an auto accident attorney they can refer clients to you should the cases involve drunk driving.

Being able to connect with other lawyers will help you keep up with new trends in the industry.

Since they are exposed to different aspects of the legal world than you, you can learn from them as they also get to learn from you.

Communication Skills

There is a saying that lawyers will spend two minutes drafting an email response and the next 13 minutes reviewing and tweaking their answer.

Communication skills are paramount for a DWI lawyer because you can lose a case if you don’t articulate yourself clearly.

Whether it is in front of a judge or other parties, you will be passing on information to other people and you need to be precise to avoid costly mistakes.

Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Top Notch Dwi Attorney?

Motor vehicle accidents involving drivers who have had too much to drink occur every day across America. For those who get caught, jail time, a fine and the suspension of the driver’s license is a possibility.

If you want to become a DWI attorney and help those facing such charges, you need to know what skills are necessary to succeed.

Are you inspired to improve your skills as a lawyer? You will find many articles on this blog that will whet your knowledge.

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