26 Lawyering Effectiveness Factors

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The following is an excerpt from the Career Development Handbook.

While your LSAT score and undergraduate GPA may be used by admissions offices to predict how successful you will be as a law student, there are no tests to predict how successful you will be as a practicing lawyer. Your ability to succeed in the legal profession does not solely rest upon academic achievement. It is built upon a combination of factors and skills including your ability to prioritize and plan, your analytical ability, and your ability to connect and communicate with others in a variety of media. None of these are measured accurately by existing law school testing methods.

Noting the lack of a tool to predict the success of law students as practicing attorneys, Marjorie M. Shultz, professor emerita at University of California Berkeley Law, and Sheldon Zedeck, professor emeritus of psychology at University of California Berkeley, exhaustively researched the topic. Their groundbreaking research identified a list of 26 factors and eight umbrella categories to predict the ability of a law student to succeed as a practicing attorney. Schultz and Zedeck believe you are more than your GPA and test scores. So do we.

Please review the list below and rate the level of experience you have with each of the factors. Use your results as guide to the skills and experiences you should endeavor to acquire during your time in law school. The informed and purposeful selection of classes, pursuit of professional experiences, and extra-curricular activities will help you develop the skills necessary to thrive in your chosen career path.

Intellectual & Cognitive Factors Experience Level
(1-low; 3=high)
Analysis and Reasoning
Uses analytical skills, logic, and reasoning to approach problems and to formulate conclusions and advice
1 2 3
Creativity/Innovation
Thinks “outside the box,” develops innovative approaches and solutions
1 2 3
Problem Solving
Effectively identifies problems and derives appropriate solutions
1 2 3
Practical Judgment
Determines effective and realistic approaches to problems
1 2 3
Research & Information Gathering Experience Level
(1-low; 3=high)
Researching the Law
Utilizes appropriate sources and strategies to identify issues and derive solutions
1 2 3
Fact Finding
Able to identify relevant facts and issues in case
1 2 3
Questioning and Interviewing
Obtains needed information from others to pursue issue/case
1 2 3
Communications Experience Level
(1-low; 3=high)
Influencing and Advocating
Persuades others of position and wins support
1 2 3
Writing
Writes clearly, efficiently and persuasively
1 2 3
Speaking
Orally communicates issues in an articulate manner consistent with issue and audience being addressed
1 2 3
Practical Judgment
Accurately perceives what is being said both directly and subtly
1 2 3
Planning & Organizing Experience Level
(1-low; 3=high)
Strategic Planning
Plans and strategizes to address present and future issues and goals
1 2 3
Organizing and Managing One’s Own Work
Generates well-organized methods and work products
1 2 3
Organizing and Managing Others (Staff/Colleagues)
Organizes and manages others’ work to accomplish goals
1 2 3
Conflict Resolution Experience Level
(1-low; 3=high)
Negotiation Skills
Resolves disputes to the satisfaction of all concerned
1 2 3
Able to See the World Through the Eyes of Others
Understands positions, views, objectives, and goals of others
1 2 3
Client & Business Relations - Entrepreneurship Experience Level
(1-low; 3=high)
Networking and Business Development
Develops productive business relationships and helps meet the unit’s financial goals
1 2 3
Providing Advice & Counsel & Building Relationships with Clients
Able to develop relationships with clients that address client’s needs
1 2 3
Working with Others Experience Level
(1-low; 3=high)
Developing Relationships within the Legal Profession
Establish quality relationships with others to work toward goals
1 2 3
Evaluation, Development, and Mentoring
Manages, trains and instructs others to realize their full potential
1 2 3
Character Experience Level
(1-low; 3=high)
Passion and Engagement
Demonstrates interest in law for its own merits
1 2 3
Diligence
Committed to and responsible in achieving goals and completing tasks
1 2 3
Integrity/Honesty
Has core values and beliefs; acts with integrity and honesty
1 2 3
Stress Management
Effectively manages pressure or stress
1 2 3
Community Involvement and Service
Contributes legal skills to the community
1 2 3
Self-Development
Attends to and initiates self-development
1 2 3
List of 26 Effectiveness Factors with 8 Umbrella Categories
Marjorie M. Shultz and Sheldon Zedeck,
Predicting Lawyer Effectiveness: Broadening the Basis for Law School
Admissions Decisions, LAW & SOCIAL INQUIRY, JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN BAR FOUNDATION, Vol.36, Issue 3, 620, 661 (2011)
UNC School of Law | Van Hecke-Wettach Hall | 160 Ridge Road, CB #3380 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380 | 919.962.5106 | Accessibility


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