For today’s feature (Post 260), Legal Evolution is pleased to welcome back guest contributor Randy Kiser, whom I’ve previously described as the “preeminent scholar of the U.S. legal profession” and the “world’s leading authority on legal decision making.” See Post 110 (reviewing Kiser’s scholarship and surprising career along with his most recent book, American Law


Pretty much everything was a counterintuitive curveball.


In April of 2006, more than 15 years ago, I wrote a memo to file that would go on to exert a disproportionately large impact on my thinking and career, albeit many of the lessons took years to come into focus and were far from what I expected.

The topic was Moneyball as applied to law firm associates—in essence, sketching out the data and methodology necessary to identify under and overvalued attributes of law firm associates, akin to the selection methods used by Oakland Athletics in the famous book by Michael Lewis.
Continue Reading Moneyball for law firm associates: a 15-year retrospective (257)


Diversity is indeed associated with higher law firm profits.  To accept this fact, the profession needs to understand why.


Figure 1 above reports expected changes in average partner compensation at different levels of racial diversity among attorneys in large law firms.  These results come from an “all else equal” model that accounts for differences in a multitude of other relevant factors, such as geography, leverage, and firm prestige.

The key takeaway? Within the large firm market, firms with higher shares of Asian, Black, Hispanic, and Multiracial attorneys (“diverse attorneys”) are paying their partners higher average levels of compensation—at about a $260K premium for the firms with the highest diverse representation.
Continue Reading Nothing not to like: diversity and law firm profitability (238)


For today’s feature post (205), Legal Evolution is pleased to welcome back guest contributor Randy Kiser, whom I’ve previously described as the “preeminent scholar of the U.S. legal profession” and the world’s leading authority on legal decision making. See Post 110 (reviewing Kiser’s scholarship and surprising career along with his most recent book,


Culture. Character. Practices. Systems.


When it comes to empirical research on lawyers, we’re all lightweights compared to Randall Kiser.  Over the last decade, Kiser has authored books on lawyer decision making in the context of litigation, Beyond Right and Wrong (2010), the mindset and work habits of trial lawyers who consistently outperform their peers, How Leading Lawyers Think (2011), and an empirically grounded analysis of the skills and behaviors needed to build a successful legal career, Soft Skills for the Effective Lawyer (2017).
Continue Reading American Law Firms in Transition: Trends, Threats, and Strategies (book review) (110)