LAWYERING SKILLS AS PERCEIVED BY ATTORNEYS AND LAW SCHOOL PROFESSORS
KLEIN, GERALD MARTIN
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This study compared the perceptions of practicing attorneys (PAs) and law school professors (LSPs) as to the importance of interpersonal skills and the feasibility and appropriateness of teaching them. Included were the relationships between perceived importance of interpersonal skills and selected independent variables.;Mailed questionnaires were sent to a random sample of practicing attorneys from Westchester County, New York, and to faculty members from the ten New York metropolitan area law schools. Subjects were asked to rate on a scale of 1-6 (in order of importance to practice) twenty-one lawyering skills, among which were six interpersonal skills: negotiating, instilling others' confidence in you; effective oral expression; getting along with other lawyers; interviewing; understanding the viewpoint of others to deal more effectively with them.;Statistically significant findings: (1) PAs rated instilling others confidence in you more important than LSP's. (2) PAs rated effective oral expression more important than LSPs. (3) PAs rated getting along with other lawyers more important than LSPs. (4) PAs having higher prestige specialties rated interviewing less important than PAs of medium or low prestige specialties. (5) PAs in firm practices rated effective oral expression higher than PAs in solo practice. (6) PAs in solo practice rated interviewing higher than all other PAs firms. (7) PAs in small firms rated interviewing higher than PAs in large firms. (8) PAs in medium firms rated interviewing higher than PAs in large firms. (9) PAs over 40 years rated interviewing higher than PAs practicing 4-7 years. (10) PAs having substantial trial practice rated oral expression higher than PAs with some trial practice. (11) PAs having substantial trial practice rated interviewing higher than PAs having no trial practice. (12) PAs who believe negotiating can be taught believe it should be taught. (13) PAs who believe that effective oral expression can be taught believe that it should be taught. (14) PAs who believe that interviewing can be taught believe it should be taught. (15) LSPs who believe that getting along with other lawyers cannot be taught believe it should not be taught.;Trends were noted concerning differences in perceptions dependent upon years in practice, feasibility and appropriateness of teaching interpersonal skills.;Suggested further studies were recommended.
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