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Law Prof & Lawyer Metrics Look to Stats to See What Qualities Successful Attorneys Share

Posted Nov 2, 2010 2:57 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Updated: A law professor known for his analysis of law firm hiring statistics has formed a new company, along with other like-minded experts, to take a more detailed look at the qualities shared by successful applicants, attorneys and partners.

Lawyer Metrics will also apply a "Moneyball" approach to help quantify what qualities partners seek in an associate, reports the Am Law Daily. (The article doesn't address whether the characteristics partners seek are, in fact, traits common to fledgling legal eagles rather than their lower-flying counterparts.)

However, law professor Bill Henderson of Indiana University tells the ABA Journal that his company will help law firms collect and analyze their own data to optimize their hiring, training, retention and promotion policies.

"We want to design and build systems to select and develop world-class lawyers and counselors," Henderson says, arguing that law firms will not only be more productive and competitive as a result but have happier attorneys who are working to their full potential in an environment of success.

"The legal profession's in turmoil, but we think we can help," he tells the ABA Journal. "We think this will definitely make things better."

Henderson and and his team could be the Alfred Kinsey of legal hiring and retention research, predicts Aric Press, editor-in-chief of ALM, in the Am Law Daily article.

Almost regardless of what they find, the survey on which they are working signals a likely information revolution impact on major law firms akin to the sexual revolution in American life chronicled by Kinsey and his team decades ago, according to Press.

But, "if we've learned anything from the last decade," he writes, "it's that we can't predict the consequences of new information beyond acknowledging its power to disrupt."

Updated at 4 p.m. to include comments from Henderson and link to Lawyer Metrics website and at 5:13 p.m. to include additional comment.

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