Your Honour, I present to you the 5 lessons I learnt from legal dramas
I know, I know. A law student watching legal dramas, how innovative. BUT endless nights watching Harvey Specter outwit his way through a sure-fail case, or Elle Woods defy expectations has taught me a thing or two about things you can practise (and also what you largely shouldn’t) when seeking your desired career. See? Educational.
In all seriousness, watching these hyper-dramatised legal stories has shed light on a few traits that prove helpful in the workforce, especially during your climb towards your aspired career. So, if there are no further objections, here are the top 5 lessons I learnt form legal dramas.
1. “What, like it’s hard?” – Elle Woods 2001
Ah, yes. The great four words spoken by Reece Witherspoon in her portrayal of one of the greatest female legal characters of all time. And to make it even better, it was in one of the greatest cinematic masterpieces of all time, Legally Blonde. What I genuinely learnt from this scene is that persistence and resilience is key – whether it’s applying to your dream course or job, or even mustering the courage to talk to a group of people in a social situation, there is value in consistency. It may be hard at first, but importance doesn’t lie in whether you fall down, it’s how you get back up again and use the lessons you learnt that matters. Snaps for personal growth!
2. Be nice to people, please
Anybody who has watched the sophisticated and unrealistically immaculate series Suits will have seen the classic portrayal of an intense, each-for-their-own workplace that has little value for culture and relationships. But let’s be honest here, workplace relationships and collaboration are the key to success. Collating multiple perspectives, ideas and approaches from diverse peers allows for quality output that it likely more effective than that of one person. Take Dr Jason Bull for example (yes, we’re back to the legal dramas now). He may be an expert on evidence and advocacy during work, but it is only through positive relationships with his fellow attorneys in witness examination and psychological experts that he can actually pick the right witnesses and present a winning case. Mutual respect and collaboration is essential in the mental wellbeing of employees, a positive workplace culture, and quality output.
3. Time management is key
As a self-confessed procrastinator, time-management can be a bit of a doozey while I’m trying to solve the case before Dr Jason Bull. But as in any great legal problem, prioritisation of tasks and the efficient use of time is the key to getting tasks done. Whether it’s studying, or completing tasks that you’ve been handed at work, making a solid schedule with realistic (I repeat, realistic) goals is key to avoiding burnout and achieving targets. Time-management is not just a personal skill, but an essential workplace trait that will make you a valued employee that calmly delegates and completes relevant tasks within an appropriate time frame. Just look at Elle Woods, she managed to study for law school while juggling a vibrant personal life, am I right?
4. Self-awareness is difficult, but worth it
If I am to be honest with you, none of this advice is relevant or applicable if we don’t try to understand ourselves and accept our personal traits. Knowing what your skills, potential areas for improvement, and key abilities are can stand out not only in a courtroom, but to an employer when trying to ace your interview or meaningfully contribute to the workplace. At the core of this is confidence. I mean, have you seen Harvey Spectre or Jessica Pearson command a court room? Serious stuff right there folks. Now, there might be external factors that you can’t control, but if you believe in your internal abilities and harness them, you can take great steps in your careers and provide a unique approach to the workplace.
5. There is always more to a person, or career, than you think
Yes, these legal dramas are largely fictional, but they teach you to look at industries differently and break down traditional perceptions of the workplace. After spending multiple nights watch Harvey Specter reveal his vulnerabilities or Elle Woods prove her incredible wit, you learn the value of recognising your assumptions or negligence in the workplace. Giving people a chance to present themselves and finding value in multiple perspectives can make for a rich workplace experience. Give things a chance, but remain witty about what is going on around you! It is this adaptability and wide view that will make you a more accepting and valuable employee.
So, there you have it! All those nights telling myself that I could totally be the next Elle Woods may have taught me a thing or two about useful personal and professional qualities. But at the end of the day (or case) it’s about being open-minded, finding what works for you, and having the perseverance to keep reaching for the stars!
I rest my case.
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