Emotionally Intelligent Lawyers: Why It Matters More Than Intelligence

November 13, 2018

Studies show that lawyers score high in intelligence but below average in emotional intelligence (EI). Indeed, that plays a part in the public’s low opinion of them says Ronda Muir, author of the recently published book Beyond Smart: Lawyering with Emotional Intelligence. According to Muir understanding, using and raising EI is fundamental in the context of practicing law. This is especially relevant as she believes probably no other profession relies so heavily on cognitive intelligence as law. It’s not just about how to use intellect and technical training but crucially about employing EI to understand and service employee and client needs.

Emotions play a much greater role in decision-making and success than is commonly acknowledged. Whereas intelligence can be measured by IQ tests and qualification EI is defined by empathy and social competence in interpersonal relationships. Emotions play a very important role in many aspects of legal practice. For instance, in dispute resolution and litigation, where economic and political issues are at stake, emotions are often not understood or effectively addressed, making the process even more challenging.


According to Muir, whose book is published by the American Bar Association’s, Section of Dispute Resolution, emotional intelligence has four components: emotional perception, emotional empathy, emotional understanding and emotional regulation. She says that the emotionally intelligent have “an accurate awareness” of emotions in themselves and others. They can tap into how those emotions feel and are able to understand and manage emotions so as to produce the desired results. Crucially, she argues that emotionally intelligent lawyers become better negotiators, litigators, and judges.




* The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. KMT Law accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact KMT Law. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of KMT Law.