Tips of thinking like a (good) lawyer
Do you wish that you could think like a lawyer? It doesn’t matter how educated you are or how high your IQ is; anyone can learn to think like a lawyer. There is a way of thinking that lawyers apply to cases which anyone can learn themselves. With some practice, you can perfect the art of thinking like a lawyer too.
If you want to alter your way of thinking so that you think like a good lawyer, check out the 6 steps below.
1. Be able to see both sides of the argument
Some people think it is insincere to be able to see both sides of the argument, but it doesn’t mean that lawyers don’t have a side. It simply means they understand that both sides may have valid points. Seeing both sides of the argument will increase your tolerance and allow you to solve problems quickly.
2. Approach the problem from every angle
Seeing the argument from both sides is the first step, but great lawyers go even further. Seeing all possible angles of the argument will allow you to predict any issues that may arise before they do.
For instance, if you see a woman injure herself in a restaurant because of a puddle without a sign next to it, you will be able to see things from her viewpoint. A good lawyer will then see the situation through the viewpoint of the restaurant, the other staff working, the manager, the cleaner, the other customers and even the owner of the building. This allows the lawyer to see the whole picture.
3. Don’t become emotionally invested
The phrase ‘blinded by emotion’ is very accurate; when you are emotionally involved your feelings can be irrational or biased. This can stop you from seeing important facts, and you may place too much importance on little details. To think like a good lawyer you must have no personal interest so that you can focus solely on the facts. This will help you to see what is important or relevant (and what isn’t) so that you can draw an unbiased conclusion.
4. Avoid making assumptions
All good lawyers avoid making assumptions. Much like emotions, assumptions can stop you from seeing the whole picture. Realize that something is only a fact if there is evidence. If you assume something, focus on finding some evidence so that the assumption can become a fact. This will help you to create an airtight argument that is difficult to pick apart.
5. Use syllogisms
A syllogism is a type of deductive reasoning that is often used by lawyers. There are three parts to a syllogism; a general statement, a particular statement and then a conclusion that draws the first two together.
For instance, for a general statement you could say ‘it is unhygienic to serve food on unclean plates, and it shows negligence.’ This statement is universally applicable, and it would be very difficult to argue against. The particular statement is more specific. For instance you could say ‘the food in this restaurant is served on unclean plates. The conclusion ties the other two points together to create an airtight argument, such as ‘This restaurant is unhygienic and shows negligence.’
6. Ask “Why?”
We have all spent time around a child who is continuously asking ‘why?’ This may be a little annoying at the time, but a good lawyer thinks the same way. Every law exists for a reason and the policy behind each law covers the reason why the law exists. Knowing the policy can help you to apply different situations to certain laws, helping you to build a solid argument and reach a logical conclusion.