Measuring legal expertise with KUJI Ratings
The stages through which professional expertise develops is something we’ve known about for a long time. The craft guilds of medieval Europe ranked craftsmen according to their abilities as novices, apprentices, journeymen, experts and masters.
For some vocations it was (and still is) relatively easy to measure expertise. We can, for instance, identify an expert bricklayer, chef or artist by the quality of their finished products.
The professions are more difficult because results and expertise are not always correlated. A lost case doesn’t necessarily mean your lawyers were no good, and a win won’t necessarily mean they’re the best. There are just too many variables.
The KUJI® Breakthrough
So how do we accurately measure the expertise of lawyers?
The key is understanding that expert lawyers are expert thinkers …
In the case of lawyers who are true experts in their specialties, the ground-breaking research of Meisterline’s Founder and CEO, Dr Peter Macmillan, has shown how these lawyers consistently solve complex legal problems with degrees of efficiency and accuracy not found in their less capable colleagues.
These critical cognitive skills – and more – are captured by the KUJI® acronym:
Knowledge – The technical domain knowledge of the relevant area of law.
Understanding – Being able to comprehend the scope of the problem with an informed and empathetic appreciation of how it affects the client.
Judgment – The ability to assess a non-routine situation, give well-considered advice, and effectively self-monitor intuitive insights.
Intuition – An immediate response, tempered by judgment, based on a high-quality solution without second-guessing or undue deliberative doubt.
The last two Judgment and Intuition measures – the so-called “wisdom” components of expertise – are consistently linked to lawyers’ higher levels of proficiency as legal specialists.
KUJI Ratings range from 0.1 to 9.9. They quantify a lawyer’s level of expertise in a specific area of law. Each number represents a specific point along a continuum of cognitive development.
KUJI Bands describe in qualitative terms the key developmental milestones based on a lawyer’s KUJI Rating. There are six KUJI Bands corresponding to the traditional stages of expertise development, namely, Novice, Developing, Competent, Proficient, Expert and Master.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How can I find out more about the research behind KUJI Ratings?
The best place to start is the KUJI Handbook. This will give you a comprehensive overview of KUJI® Ratings and how they can be applied. If you want to go deeper, then you’ll need the seminal book written by our Founder and CEO, Dr Peter Macmillan, titled Unlocking the Secrets of Legal Genius: Measuring Specialist Legal Expertise Through Think Aloud Verbal Protocol Analysis.
- Can you tell me how KUJI Ratings are calculated?
We can do so in broad terms, as we have in the KUJI Handbook. However, the proprietary nature of our methodologies means we can’t provide all the details of how we calculate KUJI® Ratings.
- What does "KUJI" mean?
It’s an acronym of Knowledge, Understanding, Judgment and Intuition.
- How often do lawyers need to assessed and their ratings reviewed?
KUJI® Ratings need to be reassessed on an annual basis to ensure reliability. This is because expertise levels change over time – usually increasing – making annual assessments a necessity.