The Benefits of Psychometric Services for the Legal Profession

by Jackson Chan in Articles

DatePosted on February 03, 2023 at 02:54 PM
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If you've ever driven a car, chances are you've tried to change lanes and suddenly spotted another car right behind you that you didn't previously see. You couldn't see it because the car was in your blind spot.

As humans, we also have “blind spots” in our personality. They are certain personality traits that are hidden from our conscious view, continually causing us harm and holding back our personal growth. Many people would suspect they are high or low on specific personality attributes, but no one knows until they assess it. Personality feedback helps individuals to understand themselves. Once we understood our own characteristic tendencies and their impact on our behaviours, we are able to guide ourselves on how to manage our weaknesses and further develop our potential strengthens.


More law firms in the UK and the US have now adopted the use of psychometric tests for selection and developmental purposes.

Psychometric assessments in Law firms

Since the 2000s, psychometrics assessments (which include personality tests and cognitive assessments, e.g. MBTI, 15FQ+ etc.) have been used intensively worldwide by business professionals because they are a universal and valid model in both personnel selection and talent development.

Personality tests are useful because they show individual strengths that enable professionals to determine where their talents are best served. When individuals have a greater knowledge of their personality, they can discover careers and places that match their personality.  While the corporate world has long spent money on social scientists and psychologists who incorporate behavioural science into hiring and talent management practices, I haven’t come across any law firm employing widespread psychological testing. Like diversity programming and other management techniques common in the corporate world, this is another management tool that the legal world had been slow to embrace.

Within the legal field, law firms could utilize these personality assessments by engaging with consultants certified in personality assessments tools to evaluate partners, associates and staff. The management team then can have a better understanding of the lawyers’ preferences and decide what job position, work environment and key responsibility the lawyers are suitable for by assessing where a lawyer falls on a spectrum for each personality trait. For example, most personality measures contain an Extroversion scale, which measures the tendency to be outgoing and approachable. When developing business, Extroversion serves a critical role in finding and building a rapport with clients. Highly extroverted lawyers may be less adept, however, at working long hours by themselves preparing documents or conducting research. Through understanding personality traits of the team, law firms can select lawyers with characteristics associated with success in their specific roles and thereby leading to increased job satisfaction and a longer and more productive tenure.

Besides the predictive power for job-person 'fit', psychometric assessments could also make a valuable contribution towards talent management and leadership development. Although it is usually not possible to “change” someone’s personality, however, it is possible to learn how to manage it. For example, through evaluating the personality traits of the top performing lawyers from four large US law firms, Jeff Foster, the Director of R&D at Hogan Assessment, found that the trait of Adjustment (i.e., the degree to which a person is steady in the face of pressure) is a key driver of performance in several critical areas for legal professionals. His research guided major law firms in the U.S. to develop and customize their development programs that target lawyers low on Adjustment to deal more effectively with deadlines and stressful situations.

Another example would be lawyers who have demonstrated a lower-than-average score on Interpersonal Sensitivity were found to be associated with the tendency as cold, critical, and argumentative when facing clients. By recognizing potential shortcomings associated with social sensitivity traits, a series of communication and soft skills training programs can be implemented for the targeted legal team to improve their client facing capability. These cases support the idea that psychometric assessments can provide valuable information to incorporate into the best possible talent management and development decisions.

An in-person debriefing session can ensure personal value is extracted from the psychometric assessment and empowers individuals with in-depth self-knowledge.

Careers Advisory

The reasons why certain work environment and career roles appear more attractive than others indicate our values, personality and goals heavily influence our career path. This is extremely important for legal professionals as we clearly understand that lawyers are not simply motivated by large salaries and big bonuses. We can really see that, throughout in-house legal teams, and private practice, the working environment, the people you work with and the identity of the firm being the essential ingredients for a long and satisfying career. With the support of our psychometric tools, lawyers can genuinely achieve career roles that are aligned with their personality and values, and this increases the intrinsic motivation and success in their career.

Professional Development

Professional development is a life-long commitment and involves the understanding of your own potential. Having a knowledge of your personality traits and increasing your self-awareness can help to reveal your potential strengths and hidden shortcoming areas. This helps you to determine the types of professional and personal development that you need. For example, someone who scores low on extraversion yet is seen as having management potential would benefit from communication and soft skills training to boost their performance when facing clients.

How to develop your professional career with a personality assessment at SALT?

At SALT, we offer psychometric tools and follow-up development programs to help lawyers who are seeking career advancement and further self-development.

Step 1: Engage with our consultants to take a personality assessment and identify your high/low scores on personality traits

Step 2: Align the personality scores with potential career paths to ensure that you are working in the right firm and heading in the right direction. If you are unsure, then contact our consultants to seek career guidance.

Step 3: If you are aligned with the right career, then consider how you can best demonstrate your strengths and manage your challenged areas through our development and training programs.

For more information, please contact

About the Author

Jackson Chan

Jackson is research consultant in the Star Anise Group. He graduated with a master's degree in Organisational Psychology at the University of Sussex, England, with an additional year studying Clinical Psychology at International Christian University, Tokyo. Jackson is also a qualified psychometric test user accredited by the British Psychology Society and EFPA. His background in I.O. Psychology allows him to provide SALT with in-depth analysis and knowledge on enhancing workplace productivity, assessing employee well-being, and evaluating leadership styles.

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