Shaunna Mireau on Canadian Legal Research

Tips on Canadian legal research from the Library at Field LLP.
Postings are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the firm.

October 07, 2011

Desirable personality traits in the legal industry

One of my favourite "To Read" sites is 3 Geeks and a Law Blog. Today they share
Elephant Post: What Is The Most Important Trait To Have In Your Profession?. I would highly recommend you read this whole post which has contributions by a wide variety of legal folk who chose to comment on one of a list of 24 personality traits that Greg Lambert and his blog colleagues identified from the book Character Strengths and Virtues by Christopher Peterson and Martin E. P. Seligman.

The list of traits included:

Zest: approaching life with excitement and energy; feeling alive and activated
Grit: finishing what one starts; completing something despite obstacles; a combination of persistence and resilience.
Self-control: regulating what one feels and does; being self-disciplined
Social intelligence: being aware of motives and feelings of other people and oneself
Gratitude: being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen
Love: valuing close relationships with others; being close to people
Hope: expecting the best in the future and working to achieve it
Humor: liking to laugh and tease; bringing smiles to other people; seeing a light side
Creativity: coming up with new and productive ways to think about and do things
Curiosity: taking an interest in experience for its own sake; finding things fascinating
Open-mindedness: examining things from all sides and not jumping to conclusions
Love of learning: mastering new skills and topics on one’s own or in school
Wisdom: being able to provide good advice to others
Bravery: not running from threat, challenge, or pain; speaking up for what’s right
Integrity: speaking the truth and presenting oneself sincerely and genuinely
Kindness: doing favors and good deeds for others; helping them; taking care of them
Citizenship: working well as a member of a group or team; being loyal to the group
Fairness: treating all people the same; giving everyone a fair chance
Leadership: encouraging a group of which one is a valued member to accomplish
Forgiveness: forgiving those who’ve done wrong; accepting people’s shortcomings
Modesty: letting one’s victories speak for themselves; not seeking the spotlights
Prudence/Discretion: being careful about one’s choices; not taking undue risks
Appreciation of beauty: noticing and appreciating all kinds of beauty and excellence
Spirituality: having beliefs about the higher purpose and meaning of the universe

Not surprising to me, librarians who contributed identified curiosity (x3 if you include Greg), social intelligence, citizenship, hope, and grit.

I was surprised that open-mindedness made the list from a (clearly superior and clever) Helpdesk Supervisor.

One of the personality traits that isn't on the list is Self awareness. In my opinion, knowing your strengths and weaknesses and the things that motivate you or drive you to procrastinate is a crucial part of being good at your profession. If you are unaware of what is driving you, it is difficult to know what kind of road to choose. Perhaps self awareness is less a personality trait and more a learned or naturally acquired skill.

I look forward to next week's Elephant Post offering of the least desirable personality traits in 'your' profession. Check it out next Friday, or be brave and contribute.

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