You're right, I should've made that clear.
What I mean by a "good lawyer" is basically a good associate at a law firm (Biglaw/ corporate).
Know how to play the office politics game, kiss the right ass, and kiss it often. Find out who the heavy hitters are in your dept., work for them, make sure they like you. That's how you become a good associate at a law firm.
As a young associate, you're basically fungible. Your work isn't going to distinguish you in any meaningful way, at least not in your first couple of years. So to make your star shine brighter than all the others, make sure the right people have their telescopes focused on your star, and at the right time.
fumagalli wrote:Do you think there are particular skills that one should try to hone during law school (or your whole life) so that one can, well, be "good" at what he/she is doing? What are those skills and how do you train yourself? (in your opinion).
Aside from what I said above (e.g. office politics), attention to detail and organization. Those are essential skills to have as a lawyer -- regardless of whether you are young, old, corporate, litigation, or whatever. There's really no way to train yourself, you either have it or you don't. Those that do, succeed. Those that don't, find a profession that don't require those skills.
fumagalli wrote:OP, said that there are associates that "get it" right off the bat and those that don't. OP also says that he can instantly know whether a first associate "gets it" or not. What do you think are the distinguishing qualities that those associates have?(in Biglaw doing corporate) Do you think one can build those qualities by practice?
This is impossible to answer. To butcher the quote from from Justice Stewart, "you just know it when you see it."