Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, has a concept he calls Talent Stacking. From his blog:
The idea of a talent stack is that you can combine ordinary skills until you have enough of the right kind to be extraordinary. You don’t have to be the best in the world at any one thing. All you need to succeed is to be good at a number of skills that fit well together.
Scott’s simplified rule of thumb — every skill you acquire will double your odds of success. Obviously, there is no way to quantify into such a formula, but it is a useful way to view it.
Here’s how Scott describes his success: He’s not in the top 5% of comedians, artists, or writers. But he’s funny enough, can draw and write well enough, and has enough business experience so that when he combined that talent stack, he became one of the most successful cartoonists in history.
If you haven’t checked out his book, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life, you should. Lots of good stuff in there. Also, Scott maintains a blog where he discusses persuasion. Tons of useful and provocative ideas on persuasion that all lawyers can employ.
What skills or talents can you stack to achieve success as a lawyer?
Certainly, having a deep expertise in a legal area is a start. On top of that, you could add deep (non-legal) industry or technical knowledge.
One skill everyone should strive to improve on is public speaking. Combine that with just about any other skill or expertise and you will rise to the top. Apparently, Warren Buffett says it’s the most important skill anyone can learn for their career.
Other skills to think about exploring as a lawyer – technology, marketing, coding, copywriting, persuasion, improv.