Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What Skills and Values Do Practitioners Most Value?

In 2005, Stephen Gerst (Phoenix) and Gerald Hess (Gonzaga) conducted a survey of Arizona lawyers in a broad range of practices  to determine  which lawyering skills and values they most valued. Based on the responses of 175 lawyers, here are the results. Table 5 reports which professional skills the lawyers assessed as “essential or very important.”

 Table 5 Professional Skills

96% Legal analysis and reasoning

96% Written communication

94% Legal research (library and computer)

92% Drafting legal documents

92% listening

92% oralcommunication

90% Working cooperatively with others as part of a team

88% Factual investigation

88% organization and management of legal work

87% Interviewing and questioning

87% Problem solving

77% Recognizing and resolving ethical dilemmas

64% Pretrial discovery and advocacy

58% Counseling

57% Negotiation

44% Obtaining and keeping clients

39% Arbitration

38% Networking within the profession

35% Mediation

34% Trial advocacv

33% Strategic planning

11% Appellate advocacv

 Table 6 reports the percentage of respondents who assessed these professional values as "essential" or "very important."

 Table 6

Arizona Lawvers-Professional Values

99% Act honestly and with integrity

97% Show reliability and willingness to accept responsibility

97% Strive to provide competent, high quality legal work for each client

95% Treat clients, lawyers, judges, staff with respect

90% Show diligence and ethic of hard work

90% Demonstrate maturity, autonomy, and judgment

88% Demonstrate self-motivation and passion

88% Show self-confidence and earn others' confidence

82% Commitment to continued professional growth and development

82% Demonstrate tolerance, patience, and empathy

77% Commitment to critical self-reflection

75% Commitment to personal growth and development

75% Engage in healthy stress management

73% Strive to promote justice, fairness, and morality

71% Demonstrate creativity and innovation

70% Commitment to a balanced life

55% Strive to rid the profession of bias

36% Involvement in community activities and service

32% Commitment to pro bono work

32% Participate in activities designed to improve the profession

Do you agree?

 You can find the full study published in 43 Valparaiso University Law Review 513 (2009)


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