A senior legal headhunter friend, who could easily be described as a Renaissance Man, recently confided that one of the lesser-known challenges of placing lawyers today is that it is no longer sufficient just to be technically brilliant. Employers want candidates to have emotional intelligence and be able to communicate with clients and colleagues – with less of the ego.
Commentators have long banged on about law being a ‘people business’ but truth be told, it hasn’t been until recently – not really. ‘The grey lawyer in the corner,’ as one Magic Circle managing partner hilariously put it, could once have had a long and happy career pencil pushing and never speaking to another soul for 25 years. The same is true of journalists. Being a people person was never really a prerequisite of becoming one, as long as you could bash out a decent story to deadline and not get the paper sued. And I am unfortunately old enough to recall the days when it was de rigueur in the newsroom to scream in the face of a hapless hack over some minor transgression.