Assess International Lawyers' Emotional Intelligence Skills

As I prepare to leave for the annual International Bar Association Convention in Madrid, I have been thinking about how (most) law firms still do not fully assess lawyers before hiring them. Most law firms simply rely on candidates’ law school grades, a series of short interviews and/or a clerkship, and for laterals, reputation and legal work experience.  

But what if, as part of the hiring decision,  law firms objectively and thoroughly assessed their potential hires for their “fit” within the law firm–and their “fit” at client relations?  What if law firms assessed candidates’ personality, communication style, cross-cultural skills, emotional intelligence, and the like? Many legal writers have blogged about the importance of emotional intelligence to lawyers’ success, including  Janet Rausch, (summarizing remarks by Dr. Laura Beltsen), and Ronda Muir. Knowing whether a potential client will likely be a rainmaker–or a rainmaking dud–may “make or break”  the hiring decision.

My speech this Wednesday at the International Bar Association conference will touch on the same:  the importance of assessing the skills (emotional intelligence, communication, and the like) of potential hires–and, ideally, of all of a firms’ lawyers.  For those of you who won’t be in Madrid this week, there are a lot good assessment tools that you can use to  evaluate a lawyer’s individual communication style, strengths and weaknesses, personality type and the like include: Birkman™ (; Brain Dominance (; Cultural Orientations Indicator (;  DiSC™ (;  Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientations-Behavior (; Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (; Meyers Briggs Type Indicator™ (; and Strengthsfinder™ ( NOTE particularly for international lawyers: test results may need to be evaluated/adjusted to take into account the test-taker’s culture of origin, cultural norms and influences.


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