” and “What is the best personality for a lawyer?” — we know how to deal with these questions.
But there is no such answer when it comes to what makes a great legal mind. It’s not about whether or not you can argue well, or whether your writing style is engagingly eloquent; it isn’t even about which side of the bar you prefer: civil or criminal. What should matter most in making an attorney excellent at his craft are two things: 1) breadth of knowledge and practical experience, and 2) intense focus on that knowledge.
An attorney who has mastered every aspect of the law and who has worked in every area — from immigration to taxation — will have learned more than one might expect from any one person over time, while also having experienced the reality that knowing everything doesn’t make you good at anything anymore than being able to borrow money makes you rich. The inverse holds true as well: An attorney who knows nothing but tax law may be very good at tax law, but if he hasn’t been immersed in other areas he will lack depth in general principles related to all forms of litigation (and probably become boring during cross-examination). On top of learning everything, a lawyer must understand each subject deeply enough so he understands how they relate together without needing outside information outside reference material for guidance. He must then apply his knowledge effectively by anticipating problems before they occur rather than waiting until after disaster