The Highlands Company Blog

The Highlands Ability Battery and the Lawyers’ Report

hab lawyers report

HAB lawyer reportAfter years of collecting and analyzing data from the Highlands Ability Battery (HAB), we concluded that lawyers are sufficiently different from other professionals, and from the general public. That’s why we created the HAB report for lawyers.

Through the years, we created a student report, an adult report, and a leadership report, each designed to speak to a different audience, but none seemed to describe adequately the natural attributes and talents of lawyers.

The HAB Lawyers’ Report speaks to all the stakeholders within the legal profession, including law students, law school administrators, law firm partner-managers, individual practitioners, and lawyers at various levels of the business and public worlds. In the report, we relate our data specifically to the functions performed by lawyers in their work – those common to all lawyers and those which set the individual lawyer apart.

We do not intend the Lawyers’ Report to stand alone. It is integral to interpretation and guidance by Highlands Certified Consultants.

How the Lawyers Report Applies to Different Career Stages

Law students

Students need affirmation that the path to a JD is the right path. Law schools would be well advised to encourage use of the HAB among students in the second year of law school to help direct them to practice areas and settings they would find most satisfying. Experience shows that many law students are frustrated and unhappy when they confront the realities of practice following law school.

Entry-level lawyers

This is precisely the time for law firms to maximize their investments in new lawyers. If they know the personalities and abilities of these new lawyers, the firms will be better equipped to assign work, enhance productivity, improve relations with clients, and increase income.

Lateral lawyers

Not a day passes without the movement of one lawyer, or a group of lawyers, from one firm to another. The HAB can help to ensure a smooth transition into the new firm by offering data to assess their work styles and their abilities.

Associates and junior partners

Most law firms take ten to twelve years to determine whether a young lawyer has the qualities and abilities to justify elevation to partnership. The process by which this decision is made should include an assessment of the lawyer’s natural abilities and work style. The Highlands Ability Battery serves as an excellent part of this process.

What Does the HAB Reveal About Lawyers?

natural ability report lawyersThe HAB measures performance through timed work samples that replicate functions lawyers often perform. The work samples tell us:

Is the lawyer a Generalist or a Specialist?

Many lawyers test as Specialists. As a result, they tend to focus on their own projects and develop their own areas of knowledge.

They are drawn to practice areas that allow them to do a deep dive into a subject matter while generalists are happiest when they can work on a wider variety of deals and cases.

Is the lawyer an Introvert or an Extrovert?

Like the general public, lawyers are evenly divided between the two. Some lawyers test as Ambiverts, an attribute that includes elements of both Extroversion and Introversion.  Like Generalists and Specialists, the type of practice they are drawn too is influenced by their preference for introversion or extraversion.

How does a lawyer typically regard time as an element of planning and maturation?

More than most professions, lawyers must be fluid in their ability to move between long-term, strategic planning and a short-timeframe orientation to execute plans.  Understanding their natural comfort level will enable lawyers to build complimentary skills related to time in order to be successful in practice.

How does a lawyer go about solving the problems he has to deal with?

Lawyers approach problems either diagnostically or analytically. A lawyer who thinks diagnostically has the ability to see relationships among seemingly unrelated facts or objects. Often, she is able to see the right solution quickly. On the other hand, a lawyer who approached his problems analytically has the ability and the need to put facts and objects in their logical order before reaching a solution. Some lawyers diagnose first but wait for logical analysis before they announce a decision.

How adept is a lawyer at contributing new ideas?

The problems facing lawyers can often be solved by resorting to precedent. Sometimes, however, the problem is new and requires a new approach. A lawyer who is quick at creating and contributing new ideas will lead the way, but she may need to be restrained by other lawyers who have the ability to measure the quality of an idea are needed to ensure the successful implementation of the idea

How does a lawyer approach the theoretical and the tangible?

Most lawyers think in abstractions. They do not have the ability of an architect, engineer, or surgeon to see and manipulate objects floating in space. These lawyers excel in those specialized areas which require expression in thought or language. Lawyers who can see and focus on tangible objects will be happy in practice areas like patent law, real estate law, or project finance.

How does a lawyer learn?

What is the hierarchy among his learning channels? We know that students learn by reading or listening. We need to know which one of these abilities is dominant in the individual. Our schools are organized to promote both, but we need to recognize that they may differ from one individual to another. We also need to understand and test three other abilities that contribute to the learning process – Design Memory, Rhythm Memory, and Number Memory. The Highlands Lawyers’ Report contains a chart showing the ranking of the learning channels for each lawyer.

How well does a lawyer score in the other abilities we test on the HAB?

We test the ability to discern changes in the visual environment (observation). Lawyers typically score in the high range of this work sample. We also test Pitch Discrimination and Visual Speed and Accuracy. Lawyers test in the same ranges as the general public in these work samples.

How well do lawyers use the English language?

This is where lawyers shine. Though knowledge of Vocabulary is developed through practice and diligence and does not qualify as a natural ability, woe unto the lawyer who is not in the high range of this work sample. The major functions of lawyers are to write and speak. They need to perform both functions with clarity and precision.


Click here to sample the Highlands Lawyer Report. Or if you are ready to connect with a consultant, visit our HCC directory.