​Are young lawyers lacking crucial communication skills?

Lawyers are concerned that the overuse of technology in law firms means that some young lawyers are not practiced at verbalising their ideas.

​Are young lawyers lacking crucial communication skills?
Lawyers are concerned that the overuse of technology in law firms means that some young lawyers are not practiced at verbalising their ideas.
 

Theodora Ahilas, principal and director at Maurice Blackburn, believes that because young lawyers are in the habit of typing and retyping their ideas, they are not learning and practicing the skills needed to explain themselves verbally.
 
“This generation of graduates and younger lawyers verbalise their ideas and thoughts by putting it on the screen – by typing.  They are fantastic in print, but when you question them on their documents, in some instances, they fall short of being able to articulate their position,” she said.
 
Kirk Warwick, senior associate at Norton Rose Fulbright, agrees. “As a lawyer, you’re going to be confronted with situations where you’ve got clients or opponents on the other side of the table, you’re running negotiations, you’re in court and the judge wants you to address a particular issue,” he said.
 
“I do think [emailing] is a skill that is being utilised to the detriment of being able to really corral thoughts and deliver your ideas verbally and think on the fly.”
 
Recent testing conducted by BigHand and Nuance Communications revealed that the younger generation of lawyers have strong written communication skills, but are less-effective when it comes to expressing themselves orally.
The Hon. Justice Michael Kirby, retired Justice of the High Court of Australia, believes that verbal communication skills are integral to the practice of any lawyer. 
“Younger people are losing the art of speaking to each other via the telephone.  They text.  Even when they are in the same place!  Even when they are in the same room!  It’s ridiculous!  Oral communication and the way in which we can put things over not only by words, but by gestures, by a look, by a raised eyebrow, by actions – this is the way we really communicate with each other and we see the whole message, the whole context, and that makes for better understanding,” he said.

Free newsletter

Subscribe to our FREE newsletter service and we’ll keep you up-to-date with the latest breaking news, cutting edge opinion, and expert analysis affecting both your business and the industry as whole.

Please enter your email address below and click on Sign Up for daily newsletters from Australasian Lawyer.

Recent articles & video

Pitcher Partners appoints one to principal, five to partnership

IBA condemns Hong Kong security law as ‘contrary to the norms of international law’

HSF managing partner embraces innovation and technology in a COVID-19 world

Carter Newell strengthens insurance team with new special counsel

US BigLaw firm cuts associates despite government loan

Deadline closing in for In-House Leaders 2020

Most Read Articles

Clayton Utz rings in new financial year with new deputy chief executive partners

$65m equity raising for ASX-listed tech company sees completion with K&L Gates’s help

Baker McKenzie appoints seven to practice and industry leaders in APAC

Mills Oakley welcomes three to partnership in major promotion round