Lawyer Personality

Dave Hoffman

Dave Hoffman is the Murray Shusterman Professor of Transactional and Business Law at Temple Law School. He specializes in law and psychology, contracts, and quantitative analysis of civil procedure. He currently teaches contracts, civil procedure, corporations, and law and economics.

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3 Responses

  1. Vera says:

    This also fits my own impressions, from obsevation and interaction with hundreds of lawyers over the years.

    I became a bit puzzled in trying to fit it against other professions, though, until I (first) widened the sample beyond big business, and (second) broke each group into traditional and non-traditional. Then it worked perfectly (for me).

    Widening the sample means, for example, including medical professionals. Breaking it down might mean contrasting lone wolf practioners who break away from the big firm world against partners in it, or contrasting psychiatrists practicing therapy or researching against clinical psychologists focused on practical benefits.


  2. JoAnne Epps says:

    When you suggest that lawyers should be compared to other professionals as opposed to the public at large, who gets to define “professional”? How do you define it?

  3. Dave Hoffman says:


    Good question, and maybe a harder problem than my post suggested. My first intuittion would be to look for education comparables: find folks who have invested the same amount of capital in being trained, and you have a fair approximation of a good comparison group for a personality survey.

    What’s the goal here? To find people whose education and jobs are like lawyers, in some way, to see if it is this is a nature or nurture result. Easy proxies, like education, are overinclusive – it includes too many academics. So maybe you’d go with the old standby definitions of professionalism: the ability to self-regulate and exclude others from the guild; premium wages supported by a costly knowledge base; non-hourly salary. For the most part, then, it would look like the best comparison groups would be doctors and accountants.