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Sure, the legal field is tough, competitive and not for the weak-minded. But if you had to list only three “must have” traits to become a successful attorney, what would they be? We asked A. Harrison Barnes, attorney and founder of LawCrossing.com for his four must-have traits. He came up with these in no time. See if yours match his:

Decisiveness – This is absolutely crucial for an attorney to possess, says the LawCrossing.com founder. Anything less than a decisive attitude jeopardizes the faith your law firm, your client and even the judge has in you. This isn’t a naturally acquired trait – so wise lawyers practice it until they feel it. The ability to arrive at a conclusion can put you under the gun, but your client’s relying on you to do just that.

Intelligence – Intelligence, while it’s also related to your education, is also about one’s ability to think fast and come to conclusions even as others haven’t even considered them. A good attorney thinks and works smartly, says A. Harrison Barnes. An intelligent attorney also is intelligent enough to maintain a realistic outlook if he’s to serve his clients. He knows when a client is wasting his time and money and he has the ethics to not allow him to continue to waste either.

Empathy – There comes a time in every lawyer’s career that he must learn to empathize with his client. He must feel the passion that allows him to want to make real change for others. Without this trait, a lawyer will never be as successful as he could be, says Barnes.

The ability to feel empathy keeps us human and keeps us connected. Even if you’ve never walked in another’s shoes, it’s important to empathize with his situation.

Confidence – This one’s as important as all the others. There is nothing that will drain one’s faith in his attorney that to see him not confident and full of self doubt. If you think about it, this applies to humans in general, says Barnes. This one can be tricky, though. Confidence is never synonymous with conceited. Confidence never has to show off and it never has to prove its existence – it just is what it is. No one likes the arrogant lawyer – and if you can’t differentiate between the two, you’re not confident.

While there are many other qualities and traits that attorneys should possess, these are the four A. Harrison Barnes believes must be present in order to define a good legal mind. So what are the traits you have as an attorney and do they flow over into your personal life? Those best attorneys know where the lines are drawn and know how to bring only their best foot forward – whether they’re meeting in a courtroom, a new client or his wife for dinner.

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