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IAALS and LSAC to Develop Updated Model of Lawyer Skills and Competencies

— March 28, 2024

Joint Research Initiative will support legal education and legal hiring practices.

(Denver, CO and Newtown, PA) – IAALS, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, and the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), announced a new joint projectFoundations 2.0—designed to provide a comprehensive updated view of the skills and competencies new lawyers need to succeed and serve clients well in the rapidly evolving legal profession.

The Foundations 2.0 project represents a major update of IAALS’ original Foundations for Practice project, which launched in 2014. The Foundations 2.0 project aims to survey thousands of practicing lawyers in every field of law and every geographic and demographic sector, to identify the key skills needed in today’s legal profession. Harnessing the extensive expertise of IAALS and LSAC, this collaboration will yield an advanced, evidence-based framework encapsulating these key success factors.

“The legal profession is in a period of dynamic evolution in the face of Artificial Intelligence, the dramatic post-COVID increase in remote and hybrid working, the continuing challenges with inclusion and equity in the legal profession, and other factors—and the needs of those who look to lawyers for help are also changing,” said Logan Cornett, IAALS director of research. “Foundations 2.0 will provide a fresh perspective on the essential requirements for success among new lawyers. This data will serve as a crucial guide for law schools to enhance their curriculums and legal employers to improve their hiring practices.”

“Our goal is to create cohesion between what law schools teach and how the legal profession hires, so that new lawyers are equipped for success in their first years working in the legal profession,” said Zack DeMeola, LSAC senior director of strategic initiatives. “With IAALS’ national reputation for collaborative, research-based innovation, and LSAC’s mission to support individuals throughout their legal education journey, from prelaw through practice, we look forward to providing a framework that helps align the legal profession with the diverse needs of the community it serves.”

College student at library; image by Dollar Gill, via
College student at library; image by Dollar Gill, via

Foundations 2.0 will establish an evidence-based cornerstone to unify educators, employers, and students around clear and consistent standards that will ensure students are as practice ready as possible upon graduation—and equipped to meet the ever-evolving needs of their clients. The project team will collect data through 2024, and publish a final report and framework in 2025.

To learn more about the Foundations 2.0 project as it evolves, visit

IAALS, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System at the University of Denver, is a national, independent research center dedicated to facilitating continuous improvement and advancing excellence in the American legal system. Our mission is to forge innovative and practical solutions to problems within the American legal system.

LSAC is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to advance law and justice by promoting access, equity, and fairness in law school admission and supporting the learning journey from prelaw through practice.

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