Foundations for Practice: Hiring the Whole Lawyer: Experience Matters
Click here to read the report online.
This report analyzes data from the Foundations for Practice survey regarding hiring practices and answers this question: How can employers hire new lawyers who have the foundations they desire?
The Foundations for Practice survey was designed to clarify the legal skills, professional competencies, and characteristics that make lawyers successful. More than 24,000 lawyers in all 50 states from a range of backgrounds and practice settings answered. Their answers are illuminating and pose opportunities and challenges to the schools that educate lawyers and the employers that ultimately hire them.
In our survey, we asked respondents how they would hire if they wanted to identify candidates who had the foundations they deemed necessary (instead of asking how they currently hire). Based on the responses, we learned that experience matters. While many employers still rely on criteria like class rank, law school, and law review, our respondents indicated that if they wanted to hire people with the broad array of foundations they identified as important, they would rely on criteria rooted in experience, including legal employment, recommendations from practitioners or judges, legal externships, participation in a law school clinic, or other experiential education.
In our lead report, we recommended that law schools and the profession work together to ensure that new lawyers have the foundations they need to practice. Our findings here give them a place to start.