An article in the New York Times reports on the work of two professors from UC Berkeley who have developed a test that they say is better than the LSAT in predicting law school success. They interviewed and surveyed lawyers, judges, law professors, and hundred of graduates of Boalt Hall.
The survey produced a list of 26 characteristics, or “effectiveness factors,” like the ability to write, manage stress, listen, research the law and solve problems. The professors then collected examples from the Berkeley alumni of specific behavior by lawyers that were considered more or less effective.
Using the examples, Professor Shultz and Professor Zedeck developed a test that could be administered to law school applicants to measure their raw lawyerly talent.
Instead of focusing on analytic ability, the new test includes questions about how to respond to hypothetical situations. For example, it might describe a company with a policy requiring immediate firing of any employee who lied on an application, then ask what a test taker would do upon discovering that a top-performing employee had omitted something on an application.
Professors Shultz and Zedeck plan to expand their research to include law school graduates nationwide.