LexisNexis recently released the results of a survey commissioned to determine what skills and experience are most needed from new associates, and where their employers find them most lacking. Over 300 hiring partners and senior associates who supervise new attorneys were surveyed about both the relative importance of various skills, and to what extent they believed new attorneys to be lacking in those competencies.
In the area of litigation, the survey found associates lacking in advanced legal research skills required for complex legal issues. The attorneys surveyed placed advanced legal research skills alongside drafting pleadings and motions as the skills both “most needed” and “most lacking” in litigation practice.
For those in transactional practice, new associates are reportedly most lacking in basic understanding of fundamental financial and business concepts. The next most cited problem area for new associates in transactional areas was inability to conduct due diligence and draft simple contracts and agreements.
The surveyed attorneys recommended what many law schools have begun to implement to satisfy the ABA’s Revised Standards for Approval of Law Schools: increased advanced legal research integration, more experiential learning opportunities, and more writing and drafting exercises that reflect the competencies needed in day-to-day law practice. You can read the complete white paper here.