So often do people who excel at critical thinking, debating, and logical reasoning believe that their calling in life is to be a lawyer.
And I don't blame them.
From the day you enter high school, romanticizations of becoming a lawyer are ubiquitous, almost as prevalent as the similar ideas associated with becoming a doctor.
This contributes largely to the fact that the industry of law is currently oversaturated, with tuition fees skyrocketing, acceptance rates lowering and, most significantly, job opportunities dwindling.
Too often do people associate cogent argument skills with a promising career in law.
If you are one of these people, it's worth exploring other careers. Think twice before you commit the next three years and $150,000+ towards a degree that might not be your best outlet.
My recent article discussed the similarities between psychologists and sales people. Even more noteworthy than this parallel are the similarities between lawyers and sales people.
While the field of law is currently overpopulated, the field of enterprise technology sales is currently under-saturated. Better yet - the earning potential is greater in sales. There are dozens of tech companies that pay hundreds of sales people $1 Million per year for handling large accounts. There are countless more sales people who make this type of income over lawyers, which is a demonstrable fact.
If you consider yourself destined for a career in law, consider other outlets through which your skill set will be advantageous. In particular - consider sales, and look at these 10 character traits before taking out a law school loan:
1. Results oriented
You're results-oriented? Great. So is every good sales person. If you like to close deals and make things happen, there exists no better outlet than sales. In law being results oriented is relevant primary in regards to paperwork.
2. Ability to argue
In reality, most lawyers only get to "argue" after they've made it through 4-8 years as an associate and have become a partner in their firm. This is, of course, only if they go into litigation - any other practice consists of very little "arguing" in the way you might think of it. In sales you're arguing and negotiating with prospects constantly.
3. Ability to persuade
Lawyers have become synonymous with persuasive, manipulative people. This is a fallacy. While the elements of day-to-day legal practice which require persuasiveness are (comparatively) seldom, in sales your success hinges on this factor.
4. Ability to see and understand both sides of an argument
In law the side you defend is the side you're assigned to defend. Similarly, in sales you need to understand thoroughly both sides of a deal to make the deal happen.
6. Good verbal and writing skills
Sales is the art of communicating effectively to achieve your means. No job or career is more closely tied to verbal and written skills than sales.
"Writing skills" takes on a different meaning in law... It's not so much creative and cogent messaging as it is a regurgitation of previously expressed views, sentiments, and legalities.
7. Excellent speaking skills
Lawyers need good speaking skills. Sometimes. If they happen to be a litigator, and today happens to be the one day of the month that they are litigating. Sales people are talking with prospects and clients 9 hours a day.
8. Ability to connect with clients
Understanding and connecting with your clients is important as a lawyer in order to fully grasp and articulate your client's position in a way that resonates with your audience - whether that audience is a jury, judge, or whomever it may be.
The adeptness of the sales person to build quick and meaningful rapport with his clients through a strategic and intentional sequence of empathy-building dialogues and questioning is miles ahead of the forethought that lawyers put into comparable scenarios.
9. Ability to separate personal beliefs from business
A lawyer's agenda is centered around his business goals and is not guided by his own moral compass or personal beliefs. Similarly, sales people embrace an agenda tied to their company's growth, and the pursuit of additional partnerships.
10. Good critical thinkers
Lawyers and sales people both solve problems. The ability to critically understand, analyze, evaluate, and then act on a point of tension is pivotal to their abilities in competently executing deals and settlements.