May 21, 2021

Written By Robert Greene

What skills does an O Shaped Lawyer have?

May 21, 2021

Written By Robert Greene

The O Shaped Lawyer is a well-rounded lawyer that practices the law in a human-centric and emotionally-intelligent way. In this article, we will look at the skills required to become an O Shaped Lawyer.

O Shaped Lawyer Skills

The founders of the O Shaped Lawyer Programme conducted interviews with General Counsels (GCs) at 18 FTSE 350 companies. These included BT, Royal Mail, Lloyds Bank, and Sky.

Through these interviews, they identified three overarching categories of skills that GCs are expecting from their lawyers: be adaptable, build relationships, and create value through legal initiatives.

These skill sets are further subdivided into 12 O Shaped Attributes, which O Shaped Lawyers possess.

Be adaptable

An O Shaped Lawyer embraces flexibility rather than rigidity. Whilst lawyers are traditionally taught to pursue specialisms, an O Shaped Lawyer will be open to change and learning new things.

There are four key skills that make up being adaptable: courage, resilience, feedback, and continuous learning.

Courage is the ability to be proactive when faced with fear or uncertainty, rather than be passive or reactive.

Resilience means having an ability to bounce back after a setback, rather than dwelling on disappointment.

Feedback is the ability to actively seek out information to identify areas for self-improvement and provide feedback to others to help them improve.

Continuous learning involves regular learning and implementing new skills, techniques, and information into your day-to-day work and interactions.

Build relationships

An O Shaped Lawyer is a human-centric lawyer, someone who builds long-term relationships with a range of stakeholders. The O Shaped Lawyer mantra is: “People first; then lawyers.” The O Shaped Lawyer is emotionally intelligent and puts people first, not the law.

The four key skills that make up building relationships are: emotional intelligence, trust and influence, communication, and collaboration.

Emotional intelligence or EQ is the skill of understanding and managing your own emotions and those of the people around you. The cornerstones of EQ are self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

Trust and influence is the ability to communicate and behave in a way that encourages other people to modify their actions or mindsets.

Communication involves delivering the right message through the appropriate channels to effectively convey information to a given audience.

Collaboration means working effectively with a wide range of stakeholders, from colleagues through to clients, to achieve shared goals and objectives.

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Create value through legal initiatives

Clients are not just looking for the best legal analysis, they are also looking for excellent commercial advice.

The role of the O Shaped Lawyer is not just about the law, it’s about the business. An O Shaped Lawyer identifies opportunities for their clients and finds the best legal solution.

The key skills required to create value through legal initiatives are: problem-solving, identifying opportunity, synthesis, and simplifying complexity.

Problem-solving is the ability to find the optimal legal solution to a given commercial opportunity or challenge.

Identifying opportunity involves going beyond problem-solving. It involves actively seeking out new opportunities for a client’s business in the face of legal challenges.

Synthesis is the skill of forming sound judgement having gathered and evaluated a wide range of information.

Simplifying complexity means ditching the legal jargon and sharing the most critical elements of a complex situation into an easy-to-understand form.



O Shaped Lawyer