What We Do

We specialize in work psychological, quantitative survey research of lawyers, typically in a given collaboration partner’s population (such as members of a bar association, law firm etc.). Data is computed, analyzed and reported back to the collaboration partner.


A lawyer’s success depends largely on the effectiveness of his or her practice. However, a great workload, difficult tasks, and time pressure leads to stress, burnout, depression, divorce, and substance abuse – which is inversely correlated with performance.


As the American Bar Association’s National Task Force On Lawyer Well-Being states in their brand new report:

To be a good lawyer, one has to be a healthy lawyer. Sadly, our profession is falling short when it comes to well-being. The two studies referenced above reveal that too many lawyers and law students experience chronic stress and high rates of depression and substance use. These findings are incompatible with a sustainable legal profession, and they raise troubling implications for many lawyers’ basic competence. This research suggests that the current state of lawyers’ health cannot support a profession dedicated to client service and dependent on the public trust. – The Path to Lawyer Well-Being Report, August 14 2017

Contrary to what some might believe, research shows that lawyers’ well-being and performance are not inversely correlated but rather intimately connected. Furthermore, several studies show that some of the most critical skills that affect an individual’s success in the legal profession are the so-called “soft” skills, or non-legal skills. These include the ability to communicate clearly, to organize one’s work habits, to collaborate with colleagues, to handle stress, to network effectively, and to negotiate successfully. Even though these auxiliary skills have been clearly validated as powerful predictors for success among lawyers, a more comprehensive list of transferable skills, and the means to measure them, has not yet been developed.

Figure 1. Identified predictors for efficacy in 2017 among lawyers in Sweden (n=1812).
Figure 1. Identified predictors for efficacy in 2017 among lawyers in Sweden (n=1812).

Purpose of this Research

By accurately identifying which factors predict efficacy and well-being, bar associations, employers, law schools, CLE/CPD providers, and lawyers themselves can better position themselves to substantially improve working conditions and outcomes.


Protection of participants’ integrity is the backbone of serious research, but perhaps even more so when studying lawyers. Researchers working with the study are subject to professional confidentiality, as regulated by Swedish law.

Copyright and Ownership of Data

The bar is free to use report, executive summary, and powerpoint presentation as deemed fit. All material should be marked “Passages may be quoted as long as the original source is cited.” Raw data and any newly developed survey items and scales are the property of Occupational Psychologist and Director of the Lawyer Performance Project, Jens Näsström.

Research Goals

  1. Creating a greater understanding of the particular strengths and challenges of the population of lawyers in this particular bar compared to populations of lawyers in other bars. This includes profiling subgroups, including by type of practice, gender, etc.
  2. Compiling reference and baseline data to support future research on lawyers
  3. Empirically generating a list of skills and qualities that predict effectiveness and well-being
  4. Identifying and developing metrics that accurately measure skills and qualities (3)


While the Lawyer Performance Project is indeed a non-profit enterprise, we usually ask for a minor contribution towards our overhead expenses.


Daicoff, S. (2009). Collaborative law: A new tool for the lawyers’ toolkit. University of Florida Journal of Law & Public Policy, 20, 113-145.
Daicoff, S. (2012). Expanding the lawyer’s toolkit of skills and competences: Synthesizing leadership, professionalism, emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, and comprehensive law. Santa Clara Law Review, 52, 795-874.
Haskins, P. (2013). Essential qualities of the professional lawyer. Chicago, IL: American Bar Association.
Henderson, W. (2012). Law firm strategies for human capital: Past, present, future. In A. Sarat (Ed.), Studies in Law, Politics, and Society. Bloomington, IN: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Holmquist, K., Shultz, M., Zedeck, S., & Oppenheimer, D. (2014). Journal of Legal Education, 63 (4), 565-584.
Margolis, K. & Seibel, R. (). Teaching lawyer effectiveness across the curriculum.
Shultz, M. & Zedeck, S. (2008). Final research report: Identification, development, and validation of predictors for successful lawyering. Retrieved from https://works.bepress.com/marjorie_shultz/14/

Mission Statement

The Lawyer Performance Project is dedicated to producing groundbreaking research that will generate a practically applicable understanding and framework of the factors that help lawyers to flourish both personally and professionally.