2006 Archive

Major Research Study on Effective Lawyering Seeks Volunteers

Graduates of Boalt Hall and UC Hastings College of the Law are needed to participate in a pioneering study aimed at creating a new law school admissions test. Now in its sixth and final year of research, the project has the potential to improve law school admission practices, select better legal professionals and increase the racial diversity of law school student bodies, according to the co-investigators, Boalt Professor Marjorie Shultz ’76 and Sheldon Zedeck, a UC Berkeley professor of psychology.

This spring, Shultz and Zedeck are seeking hundreds of lawyer graduates from both institutions to take a two-hour online test. MCLE credit and a confidential report on career-relevant strengths and weaknesses will be benefits offered to volunteers. Most important of all, according to Shultz and Zedeck, volunteers will contribute to research that tries to predict professional skills and to broaden the definition of what constitutes merit for purposes of admission to law school.

The current LSAT, taken by some 135,000 prospective law school candidates each year, is designed to predict law school grades rather than effective lawyering, according to the researchers. In earlier phases of the research, more than 2,000 Boalt alumni, students and faculty identified 26 factors that are important to effectiveness in law or law-related jobs. The factors include elements like analysis and reasoning, negotiation skills, integrity/honesty, creativity, business development, stress management, and strategic planning. Shultz and Zedeck are now ready to assess whether the newly designed battery of tests actually correlate with on-the-job performance.

Volunteers will be asked to respond to various scenarios. Participants also will be asked to identify four supervisors and peers who know their work and can evaluate their performance on specific factors. All information will be confidential and anonymous.