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Discover the Qualities of a Successful Lawyer - Find Out if You Have What it Takes:

Prior to starting my articling position, I had only met a real lawyer once or twice and both of those times were brief. My idea of the necessary qualities of a successful lawyer came from the stereotypes I saw on television. Maybe this article caught your eye because you want to be the best divorce lawyer you can be. Or, perhaps you are starting a law practice and before starting your own law practice you want to make sure you have what it takes. Having the qualities of a successful lawyer will be a necessity.

When thinking of the qualities of a successful lawyer, I believed in all the stereotypes.

Qualities of Most Successful Lawyers

The Qualities of a Successful Lawyer From Back in the Olden Days:

Then I started my first law job. It was a long time ago now, I started articling in 1995. I worked in a traditional “old boy” law firm. It was so “old boy,” in fact, that of the 12 lawyers that worked there, only two were female. The joke at that law firm was “We have two female lawyers, one of whom is actually a woman!” The point is that the other female lawyer was more aggressive and macho than most men. So, that left me as the only female lawyer so to speak. It was so traditional that long-standing clients of the firm could not seem to get their heads around the fact that the firm did, finally, have female lawyers.

I had the goal of becoming a successful lawyer, however, at least partly as a result of  starting out in such a traditional legal environment, I believed that the qualities of a successful lawyer were very specific and limited. I had a very narrow definition of what it meant to be successful. Becoming a successful lawyer meant that you had to be:

Qualities of a Successful lawyer:

Tremendously Methodical

A lawyer that had no problem bullying other lawyers

Stressed all the time

Miserable at work, saving any “fun” for your limited downtime

Working most evenings and weekends

Conservative professionally, personally, and politically

Arrogant as F


Extraordinarily smart

Aggressive with opposing parties

Always wearing a suit

Always in your Bar’s good books

Someone who kept their dog away from the office

Someone who went straight from high school to undergrad to law school in one straight uninterrupted line

In a traditional family, as in, married with 2.2 kids

Why I started losing hope of becoming a successful lawyer

Oh no, that is not me, I thought. I was everything but methodical. I had undiagnosed ADHD until I was 53 years old.

I don’t even like conflict and think bullying is wrong.

Stress?! I was excellent at being stressed. Chronically stressed, in fact, but I did not want to have lawyer stress as part of my existence.

Having fun is one of my highest values. I wrongly believed that you could not have fun while practising law.

I was no stranger to hard work, but I still wanted to have fun.

Uh oh, I thought. Although I do not have the same type of lifestyle, I used to, in the past, attend many rave-like parties and consumed MDMA. I also believe that psychedelics may help people.

I have had my share of arrogance for sure, and yet, I know that the best divorce lawyers are humble.


Not as smart as a lot of lawyers

The family law industry needs to be transformed to be more respectful and less combative for the benefit of the families we serve.


The Law Society of British Columbia, my governing body, wishes to disbar me.

I love my dog so much, I kiss her on the face.

I got kicked out of high school.

I am separated, have a blended family, and roommates by choice

It sounds pretty bleak and boring doesn’t it? And while it may be true for some lawyers, it was certainly not true for me!! I thought to myself, “how am I ever going to fit into this profession?”

Now For The Real Qualities of a Successful Lawyer:

Now, I don’t want you to despair. Over the years, I have learned that the qualities of a successful lawyer have almost nothing to do with those old stereotypes or the narrow definition of a “traditional” lawyer. In fact, as long as you are authentically you, there is a lot of room for us non-traditional, or “new-fashioned” lawyers in our industry. If you are unusual, weird, not an “old-boy” be heartened. The legal profession is changing and you can safely ditch any of the above descriptors if they are not authentically you. If they are authentically you, that is okay too, the point is you get to be you.

So here is an updated, modern, post 2020, new era, best divorce lawyer list of qualities of a successful lawyer:






B.reathrough Marketing:

You don’t waste time on your marketing efforts by doing the same thing as everyone else. You stand out as your authentic self. Your family law marketing represents who you are and the kind of work your law practice engages in, not only in terms of the type of law, but your specific approach. You are reaping the benefits of your ethical business practices. Because you do the “right thing,” you have happy clients who give you great reviews. Your clients do your marketing for you.

E.xceptional Efficiency:

You are not afraid to learn new things and introduce systems into your practice that make it run as smooth as possible for the benefit of your clients, your support staff, and you. Your office systems are organized and you are always looking for ways to improve. You utilize and optimize cloud based law practice management software.

S.atisfied Clients:

You clearly explain to your clients their legal responsibilities and entitlements. You speak to them in real words, not legal mumbo jumbo that only other lawyers and judges understand. You don’t believe in objectivity because connecting and nurturing your clients is what matters. You refuse to take stupid instructions that will only be costly to your client. You have transparent and clear billing practices so that your clients know how much their family lawyer costs per hour. Whenever possible, you guide your clients to the various alternative dispute resolution divorce processes available thus preserving their resources rather than spending all their time, energy, and financial resources on costly litigation. You have taken extensive alternative dispute resolution training yourself.

T.ake Charge of Your Time:

You strenuously protect your family and leisure time. You don’t work evenings and weekends. You show up fresh and well ready to do your best work for your clients when doing client work. When not scheduled to do client work, you don’t do it.

y.our Best You:

You have a growth mindset. You are open-minded. This means you engage in physical, spiritual, and emotional activities on your own terms that empower you to be the best person, partner, friend, lawyer, you can be. All of the best divorce lawyers have dedicated time they spend on their physical, spiritual, and emotional growth.

Whether or not you are you are a starting your own law practice, building your own law firm, or have a solo law practice, you can take this guide of what it takes to be the most successful lawyer you can be.

Your future is bright my friend.

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