The Four Top Traits of Successful Attorney, According to Samuel Dewey

Sam Dewey
3 min readApr 21, 2022


Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash

If you want to be a successful attorney, there are certain skills that you need to possess. As attorney Samuel Dewey explains, these sets of skills are essential for people who want to work in the demanding, fast-paced legal industry.

Being an attorney is not easy. It’s not a job that is fit for everyone. While entering the field of law can be very rewarding, using a law degree as a passionate attorney can be extremely challenging, too.

Here are the top four traits that every successful attorney should have.

1. Passion

The job of an attorney is an extremely demanding one. There are long hours, and it can be very stressful. The job requires your undivided attention, and you often have to juggle many different things at once.

In challenging times, your passion for the job is what can help keep you motivated. It’s what can help keep you pushing forward when all you might want to do is sit back and relax.

It’s extremely important to have a passion for the law and for helping people if you want to be a successful attorney.

2. Compassion

The companion trait to passion is compassion. While the two words sound the same, they mean completely different things.

Passion deals with your motivation to succeed in the job itself. Compassion deals with your connection to, and care for, the clients you serve.

The most successful lawyers are those who aren’t just motivated by winning and doing more. The ones who truly succeed in the field do what they do because they care very much about their clients and what happens to them.

Successful attorneys know that each client isn’t just another case. They are humans who are going through a challenging time in their life. This is true no matter what type of law you are practicing — civil, criminal, or estate planning.

If you don’t have compassion for your clients, it’ll be hard to reach your full potential.

3. Critical Thinking

Years of formal schooling and on-the-job education will serve all attorneys well. But an in-depth understanding of the law will only get an attorney so far.

To be truly successful, attorneys must be able to think critically — and, oftentimes, on the fly. While the law itself doesn’t change very often, the cases youll handle will all be unique in some way.

Successful attorneys not only have that in-depth knowledge, but they’re also able to think critically and creatively about how the law applies to each case before them. Critical thinking is also essential during courtroom proceedings, when you won’t have much time to prepare a counter to the other side’s arguments.

4. Communication Skills

Communication skills are essential for any attorney. There isn’t one aspect of an attorney’s job that doesn’t involve communication.

As Sam Dewey explains, attorneys communicate with clients. They communicate with staff members. They communicate with outside third parties. And they communicate with other attorneys, judges, and jurors in the courtroom.

Each aspect of an attorney’s job depends on effective communication. An attorney who is an especially strong communicator will likely find their job much easier and much more successful.

About Sam Dewey

Sam Dewey is a successful lawyer and former Senior Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee and Chief Investigator and Counsel to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging. Mr. Dewey specializes in: (1) white-collar investigations, compliance, and litigation; (2) regulatory compliance and litigation; and (3) complex public policy matters. Within these fields, Mr. Dewey is considered an expert in Congressional investigations and attendant matters. Mr. Dewey has a B.A. in Political Science, a J.D. from Harvard, and is admitted to practice law in Washington, D.C., and Maryland.



Sam Dewey

Sam Dewey is the former Senior Counsel to the US House of Representatives Financial Services Committee and a legal expert.