Friday, April 22, 2011
An interesting assessment of lawyers' competence appears in a recent Stanford Law Review article titled What Judges Think of the Quality of Legal Representation. Judge Richard Posner and University of Toronto law professor Albert Yoon surveyed both state and federal judges for their opinions about lawyers' competence. On a 5-point scale, the scores for overall legal representation were between 3 (fair) and 4 (good) for each group of judges.
Some of the data are especially relevant for legal writing professors. To remedy lawyers' generally mediocre performance, the judges' top suggestion by a wide margin was that law schools should include "more course work on pratice-oriented skills." The survey also revealed, again by a wide margin, that judges are more influenced by written argument than by oral argument.