T-shaped lawyers: Future skills and abilities in the legal profession

“T-shaped lawyer” term is a rather new term that refers to a new model of knowledge and skills that a modern lawyer is required to have. Today’s lawyers need to be equipped with some essential qualifications, knowledge and skills in order to be able to stand out and meet the growing demands of their clients.

These qualifications will be the key to the success of a future lawyer given the ever-changing era we are going through with technology increasingly affecting our lives and consequently the legal profession. Lawyers today are called upon to adapt and develop new skills. They should become T-shaped lawyers. Below we will refer in detail to this term, the skills it includes and what lies in the core of its meaning.

T-shaped lawyer: What is its definition?

The T-shaped lawyer bears the shape of the letter T in terms of their qualifications. The vertical bar of the letter concerns the strong legal expertise while the horizontal one a variety of knowledge in other fields such as technology, business, HR, politics etc.

T-shaped lawyers: Future skills and abilities in the legal profession

A T-shaped professional is one who has deep know-how in a field, along with various abilities, skills and knowledge from other fields, which helps them cooperate with experts from various fields to innovate for the organization they work for as a whole, and not just in the legal department.

According to a recent study by the University of Cambridge, T-shaped professions are those that people are active in business and capable of thinking in many roles and that can complement and enhance their professional lives. A T-shaped lawyer is therefore one who has deep expertise in their field, but at the same time combines a variety of skills and knowledge from other fields, thus facilitating his collaboration with experts from different industries and fields.

Why is it now necessary for modern lawyers to have more than just traditional qualifications?

The demand for extra knowledge comes because customers nowadays demand more. They need lawyers who can use technology to give them the most efficient and cost-effective service. They want someone who knows the world of business or the industry in which they operate, seeking legal help and representation. A T-shaped lawyer must also have strong interpersonal and project management skills as well as take on more responsibilities.

What knowledge, skills and abilities must a lawyer have to be classified as T-shaped?

So in addition to traditional skills and knowledge, today’s lawyers are required to possess some other skills. Excellent knowledge of the law is still the foundation of any good lawyer, but if they want to develop even more, they must have general knowledge in many fields. In this day and age, knowledge about businesses –and more specifically the field of business management– is extremely important, as it will allow offering of essential legal support to large corporations.

In addition, it is very important for a lawyer to be completely familiar with technology, having knowledge in this field so that they can properly advise their clients and of course the company to which they provide their services.

Integrity and judgment have always been essential skills, as well as work experience in different work environments and different countries, gaining the advantage of flexibility and adaptability.

Finally, a creative and innovative way of thinking is an extremely important qualification for a modern lawyer. Good cooperation and inspiring confidence in their colleagues is also an important quality. At the same time the development of business leadership and risk management skills are critical elements.


“T-shaped lawyer” term is symbolic and focuses on the shift that today’s lawyers need to make from strict legal practice to other, broader business activities, and from absolute specialization to the acquisition of a variety of generalized knowledge.

In fact, more and more studies are confirming the crucial importance for lawyers in developing not only legal skills and competencies. By becoming more creative, innovative and collaborative with their colleagues, they will add value to their resume and increase their marketability, thus taking on more interesting work.

In conclusion, the “T-shaped lawyer” term emphasizes the need to focus today’s training and development beyond traditional legal knowledge and skills.