Mireille Butler, Embrace Your Softer Side, Wash. St. B. News (July/August 2022) at 21
Embrace Your Softer Side
We lawyers pride ourselves on our analytical skills, our logical thought process, our ability to understand and argue “both sides.” Yet those critical skills we apply dispassionately to a variety of legal issues fail us when it comes to perceiving, using, understanding, and managing emotions. Indeed, as a profession, we score on the lower side of emotional intelligence.
Although we are trained in law school to develop our critical skills, applying those skills to handling our emotions and those of our colleagues and clients can be difficult for us. Yet effective communication, attention to detail, working within time constraints, and overall professionalism—all deemed “soft skills”—are essential to the practice of law. Our training and our legal culture are likely the reason for our below-average emotional intelligence score. We are trained to spot issues, anticipate problems, and focus on facts rather than emotions. This training does not serve us well when we need to look beyond issues and facts.