When I first qualified as a solicitor in 2011, I was somewhat daunted by the legal profession and my new career.
In particular I was intimidated by the courts, the procedures and practices, litigation, papers, rules, laws, regulations, symbols associated with the law, tradition, and so on.
Twelve years later I am beginning to see that underneath all the proprieties involved in legal proceedings, underneath the majesty of the law, one of the most valuable skills you can have is what I would describe as ‘dealer’ skills.
‘Dealer’ skills, in my book, are the skills that a good trader or car or horse dealer will have in abundance and take for granted. But which I have now discovered are not skills enjoyed by the entire population.
In fact, these skills that I took for granted are quite rare. But they are truly invaluable.
These skills include the ability to weigh up accurately the positions of the parties in litigation and understand intuitively when you can push further or run down the clock or do the deal now.
They include the ability to ‘read the room’ and get a sense of what the parties are likely to be thinking, saying, and the real bottom line. And when you can use time as a weapon, and who wields that particular weapon at any given point in time.
These skills I saw up close and personal for many years in car dealing, retailing, buying and selling property. Now I have the wisdom to recognise their true value.
Did Paddy Cosgrave, of Web Summit fame, have them? The ability to read the room, I mean?
Make up your own mind on this one.