Monday, November 25, 2013

Study finds legal employers value "soft skills" in new law grads

From the Wall Street Journal Law Blog:

The Ideal Law School Graduate? A ‘People Person’ Who Can Do Research

 

You can be a sharp writer and a nimble researcher who is skilled at analyzing cases.

 

But for law school graduates entering the workforce, it’s the softer skills, like work ethic, collegiality and a sense of individual responsibility, that really impress legal employers, according to a new study.

 

University of Dayton School of Law researchers conducted focus with legal employers to find out what they expect from new law school graduates.

 

Dayton law professor Susan Wawrose said researchers had thought that the attorneys would focus mostly on the need for basic practical skills, like writing, analysis and research. But comments on soft skills — defined as “personal qualities, habits, attitudes and social graces that make someone a good employee” — tended to dominate the responses.

 

“The most surprising outcome of our research was the primary importance employers placed on the ‘intra- and interpersonal (socio-emotional)’—soft skills—needed for workplace success,” writes Ms. Wawrose, who authored a report on the study appearing in the Ohio Northern University Law Review.

 

The researchers interviewed 19 attorneys in the Dayton area who are “actual or potential employers” of graduates from the law school. Most were employed at law firms of varying size. Several others worked as in-house counsel, as an assistant federal public defender, or for legal aid.

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