Top 8 Skills Needed to Be a Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer

Obtaining the best results possible for their clients is the ultimate goal of a criminal defense lawyer.  To reach that goal, a criminal defense lawyer needs the following eight skills.

Analytical Skills

Developing an appropriate strategy for a criminal case often requires analytical and creative thinking. The criminal defense lawyer also uses analytical skills to ask the right questions of clients, witnesses, and others. In the courtroom, the lawyer needs to think both analytically and quickly to provide excellent advocacy for the client.

By means of analytical thinking, a defense attorney may detect a flaw in the prosecution’s case. The defense lawyer then figures out how to take advantage of that flaw for the client’s benefit.

Research Skills

Meticulous research is key to the success of a criminal case. A criminal defense attorney needs strong investigative skills. A defense attorney has to search deeply into the facts surrounding the crime the client is accused of. The lawyer also needs advanced research skills to look into case law and precedent.

Oral Communication Skills

Frequently, the client has to make important decisions based on the defense attorney’s advice. A criminal defense lawyer needs to make sometimes complex legal situations clear to clients. An essential component of oral communication is verifying the client understands the attorney’s counsel.

The attorney has to understand how something is said is often just as important as what is said. Knowing how to address the court appropriately and speaking persuasively to convince a jury require superior oral communication skills.

Listening Skills

Effective listening is as critical as speaking well. Attentive listening reveals questions the attorney needs to ask. Clients want to feel heard. Attentive listening protects that aspect of the client-attorney relationship.

Observing tone and body language can yield valuable information. An effective listener notices when words and body language do not match and tries to learn the reason for the discrepancy.

Written Communication Skills

Constructing legal documents and creating other written product form a major portion of a criminal defense attorney’s workload. Accurate, clear, and well-organized writing is essential to the success of a criminal defense attorney and his or her clients. Erroneous or unclear written communication can damage a client’s case.

Interpersonal Skills

A criminal defense attorney must be able to work effectively with people from all walks of life. The attorney needs to be able to build a rapport with witnesses, prosecutors, court personnel, and the local police.

Establishing strong attorney-client relationships is crucial to retain clients. A defense attorney must seek to avoid common pitfalls in client-attorney relationships. Those pitfalls include:

  • The client’s perception that the attorney lacks interest in the case
  • A failure to regularly communicate progress on the case
  • Moving forward with a defense strategy the client does not agree with

Being a collaborative member of the legal team is necessary even in offices in which the attorney doubles as the sole supervisor.  Excellent interpersonal skills are the key to mastering the art of getting things done through subordinate staff.

Negotiation Skills

More than 95 percent of criminal cases are resolved with a plea bargain rather than a trial. Negotiating well on the client’s behalf brings about the best possible conclusion for the client.

Time Management Skills

Typically, a criminal defense lawyer has multiple cases in his or her caseload. Of course, each case is at a different stage. Excellent organization and time management skills are necessary to juggle court dates, deadlines, client meetings, research, writing, and other duties related to each client.

Our experienced legal team works hard to get the best outcome for each client. If you need a criminal defense lawyer in Minnesota or Wisconsin, contact our office today.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Please contact attorney Kirk Anderson for an initial consultation.