Lawyering Effectiveness Factors

Boalt Professor Marjorie Schultz and Sheldon Zedeck, Professor of Psychology, have identified 26 factors that contribute to lawyering effectiveness.  To create the list, they conducted individual interviews and multiple rounds of focus groups with Boalt lawyers, judges, faculty and students.  The researchers also spoke with clients about what was important to them when choosing a lawyer.  “We’re not looking at typical measures of success such as money earned or verdicts won,” Zedeck says.  “If you look at the 26 factors, you’ll see that the focus is on behaviors that make for effective lawyering in a variety of contexts”.

PDO has identified three major groupings within this list of factors.  As you may already be aware, the action of self-evaluation and the identification of your strengths and weaknesses is one of the most important things you can do prior to an interview or as you prepare to write an effective cover letter.  Each factor falls into one of three categories:  professional, analytical and individual. To read more about the study, visit:

Professional Analytical Individual
Problem Solving-effectively identifies problems and derives appropriate solutions. Ability to use logic and reasoning to approach problems and to formulate conclusions and advice. Creativity/innovation: thinks “outside the box”, develops innovative approaches and solutions.
Speaking: Orally communicates issues in an articulate manner consistent with issue and audience being addressed. Fact Finding: Able to identify facts and issues in case. Practical Judgment: Determines effective and realistic approaches to problems.
Influencing & Advocating: Persuades others of position and wins support. Researching the Law: Utilizes appropriate sources and strategies to identify issues and derive solutions. Able to develop relationships with clients that address the client’s needs.
Negotiation Skills: Resolves disputes to the satisfaction of all concerned. Writing: Writes clearly, efficiently and persuasively. Organizing and Managing (own) work: Generates well-organized methods and work products.
Strategic Planning: Plans and strategizes to address present and future issues and goals. Listening: Accurately perceives what is being said both directly and subtly. Community Involvement and Service: Contributes legal skills to the community.
Organizing and Managing Others: Organizes and manages others work to accomplish goals. Questioning and Interviewing: Obtains needed information from others to pursue issue/case. Integrity & Honesty: Has core beliefs and values; acts with integrity and honesty.
Evaluation, Development, and Mentoring: Manages trains and instructs others to realize their full potential.   Stress Management: Effectively manages pressure or stress.
Developing Relationships within the Legal Profession: Establish quality relationships with others to work towards goals.   Passion & Engagement: Demonstrates interest in law for its own merits.
Networking and Business Development: Develops productive business relationships and helps meet the unit’s financial goals.   Diligence: Committed to and responsible in achieving goals and completing tasks.
    Self-Development: Attends to and initiates self development.
    Able to see the World Through the Eyes of Others: Understands positions, views, objectives, and goals of others.