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West LegalEdcenter and NALP Foundation Release Study of Law Firm Professional Development

Date: November 17, 2011
Press Contact: Jeff McCoy, 651.687.4091, jeffrey.mccoy@thomsonreuters.com

West LegalEdcenter and NALP Foundation Release Study of Law Firm Professional Development
Study Offers Benchmarking Data on Professional Development Resources and Priorities, Associate Perspectives

Eagan, Minn., November 17, 2011 – The majority of law firms in the United States and Canada expect to increase their reliance on electronic forms of lawyer development in the next 24 months, although associates in those firms say they prefer mentoring and on-the-job training to hone their skills. Details regarding this important disconnect, along with other key findings about the landscape of professional development inside law firms, are available in a first-of-its-kind research report published by the NALP Foundation in partnership with West LegalEdcenter, a Thomson Reuters business.

The report, “Leading Law Firm Professional Development: A Comprehensive Study of Professional Development Staffing, Resources and Program Delivery Modes,” examines the perspectives of more than 200 law firm administrators responsible for professional development functions and nearly 1,500 associates from firms ranging in size from less than 10 lawyers to more than 1,000 lawyers. The data for this study was collected in late 2010 and early 2011 from online questionnaires.

“Unprecedented economic disruption, new trends in professional development delivery systems, increased client expectations for valuable and efficient work product, and expectations from a new generation of lawyers are all prompting firms to review and redefine their professional development efforts,” said Tammy Patterson, CEO and president of the NALP Foundation for Law Career Research and Education. “It’s our goal that this benchmark study serves as a foundation for programming that provides the most value to associates as well as the firms and clients that they serve.”

Among the study’s key findings:

  • Law firms anticipate a 50 percent increase in the use of online/web-based programs, as well as significant increases (33 percent) in the use of mobile devices to deliver programming, as well as a 40 percent increase in the use of online interactive e-learning programs over the next 24 months.
  • Professional development administrators suggest that mentoring and/or shadowing programs would be less of a priority for firms during the next 24 months.
  • Nearly all associates surveyed (95 percent) ranked work-related on-the-job training and informal/formal mentoring as the most important professional development activities.
  • Firms rated client relations and business development training as the highest future priority.
  • Associates felt firms needed to do a better job delivering training on law practice management topics with 38 percent rating their firms’ internal programs as “below expectations,” while 48 percent stated that law practice management programs were not offered at their office location.

“Law firms of all sizes are tasked with providing cost effective training and development that is aligned with required competencies and delivered in a mode that users prefer,” said Lee Ann Enquist, vice president, Professional Development, Thomson Reuters. “This comprehensive, unbiased study arms professional development leaders with the data necessary to align investment, program effectiveness and user preferences.”

Those who purchase the 128-page “Leading Law Firm Professional Development: A Comprehensive Study of Professional Development Staffing, Resources and Program Delivery Modes” will also receive a promotional code to participate in one of the four webcasts to be broadcast in early 2012 and based upon the research. The report is available for purchase at www.nalpfoundation.org.

About the NALP Foundation

The NALP Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, focuses its resources on conducting benchmark research and subsequently, delivering high quality educational programming and writing based on research findings and analysis. The organization has taken the lead on projects of importance to the profession, including initiating the first longitudinal study of lawyer careers (After the JD), The NALP Foundation has also studied other areas of importance such as associate retention, work-life balance, professional development and diversity within the http://profession.www.nalpfoundation.org.

About Thomson Reuters

Thomson Reuters is the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. We combine industry expertise with innovative technology to deliver critical information to leading decision makers in the financial, legal, tax and accounting, healthcare and science and media markets, powered by the world's most trusted news organization. With headquarters in New York and major operations in London and Eagan, Minnesota, Thomson Reuters employs more than 55,000 people and operates in over 100 countries. Thomson Reuters shares are listed on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges. For more information, go to www.thomsonreuters.com.


Tammy Patterson

NALP Foundation for Law Career Research and Education

+214 828 6000



Jeff McCoy

Thomson Reuters

+651 687 4091


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