By DebbieH 04 Mar 2019 7 min read

Essential skills for a legal associate

What skills will really shine on a legal associate’s CV?

Legal associates are qualified solicitors employed at a firm, normally working under the supervision of a partner or senior associate. Usually, you would be working on a fixed salary.

The life of an associate varies greatly, according to the type of firm you are with. You will of course, be expected to work hard and take responsibility of your own clients without constant supervision. Associates can become senior associates, then salaried partners and finally, full-equity partners. These steps may not be consistent in every firm.


A legal associate may be required to:

  • Draft and prepare pleadings, correspondence and other legal documents
  • Attend witness interviews and client meetings
  • Represent clients in tribunals and in Courts where required
  • Assist with trial preparations
  • Offer advice on the law, legal procedures and a wide range of associated issues
  • Researching documents and case history to ensure accuracy of advice and procedures

So what skills could really move you towards a successful career as a legal associate? Below, we explore the essential skills necessary for success in this job:


Commercial awareness

Recruiters site commercial awareness as one of the most important attributes a legal candidate can possess. This means possessing knowledge of current developments in local, national and world business, particularly any issues which could impact a law firm and its clients.



Excellent oral and written skills re vital – without them, you’ll struggle to carry out the duties of a legal associate effectively. You must be confident speaker, be able to explain complex information and be able to negotiate. You’ll also ideally have persuasive, clear and succinct language.


Attention to detail

A sharp eye for accuracy is crucial to the success of your career. A single word out of place can change the meaning of a clause or contract, while bad grammar and misspellings can give a client a bad impression. Employers will be looking at this in your CV.


Time management/Project management skills

You will have a challenging workload at this stage. In order to meet deadlines, you’ll need excellent organisation skills to juggle competing priorities. You must be able to divide and manage your time successfully.



Legal careers are competitive. You’ll need to show that you can work under pressure, and keep a cool head at all times. You’ll experience a number of frustrating scenarios in this type of role, so it’s important to be able to act when this happens.

Want more advice for your CV? Download our legal associate CV template below:




Need more advice? Download our helpful CV guide below: