To succeed in the legal profession, confidence is key.

Whether it’s arguing an application in court, explaining to your boss why you should adopt an unorthodox approach in dealing with a client or trying to secure a client – confidence is needed to achieve success in the legal profession.

After practicing law for a while, you will have attained a certain level of confidence. The experiences you have gained in the field and the mistakes and lessons you have picked up will build your confidence.

However, a young lawyer who is just starting out in the field or who has little years of experience may struggle to gain the certain level of confidence needed to deliver results.

In my few years of practice, I have had to innovate and think of ways to build my confidence. Along the years I have picked up these 3 vital lessons:

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Always be prepared

Over the years, I have come to realize that thorough preparation for any task or activity, has helped me in my few years of practice. Be it a client meeting, arguing an application in court, or going to trial and so on.

When you are thoroughly prepared to carry out a certain task, you will have the confidence to convey your point or secure a client regardless of how apprehensive you naturally are or unexpected twists that occur when carrying out the task.

For instance, if you are arguing an application in court, or pitching an idea to your boss or trying to secure a client in a novel filed that you have no real practical experience in, it is advised that you prepare extensively.

This will involve reading and practice your arguments, cases, studying in depth and any other relevant information.

Imagine you are having a conversation with your friend

I had a conversation with my boss with respect to building my confidence when addressing a Judge in court and one of the key points he told me that has stuck with me all these years is “to imagine you are having a conversation with your friend”.

I personally think this is an off-shoot of the first point discussed above.

If you’ve done your homework, it should not be difficult to convey your submissions or points. However, if the client or the Judge may be cantankerous or erratic, you would probably have some fear when addressing them.

One way to deal with this is to imagine that the person in question is your friend. Think of how you would explain the case or hold a regular argument with your friend.

This attitude will help relieve whatever fear or apprehension you have. You later realize that your points come across much more clearer and eloquently. Also, it will help you deal with whatever unexpected questions you are asked.

Believe in yourself

This is the most important point. If you are well prepared but don’t believe in yourself, it will show! The impression you will create is that you are actually not well prepared.

Take for example you are scheduled to argue an application for an injunction in court. You have studied your client’s case well and the relevant law on an injunction. If you aren’t confident and the Judge interrupts you questioning, “Why should the Court grant your Client this injunction”? Your thoughts will be jumbled up and you may end up confusing the judge.

The truth is you probably know the answer to this. You just need to apply the law to the facts explain how the law favors your client. However, if you do not believe in yourself, you may begin to overthink the question being asked. Then you’ll start talking too much till you go off point.

In summary, you have to believe in your self and your case. Even when you have a bad day or have received a bad review!  Naturally, when such events occur, your morale is down and you lose all motivation to continue working hard.

If you believe in yourself, you should not let this affect your productivity. Instead, you should use such negative comments to fuel your energy and motivate you to perform better.


Do you have career tips on how to build confidence in a given industry? Let us know here.

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