Few studies have examined lawyer leaders. However, previous research has indicated that effective leaders tend to score high in emotional intelligence. This study investigated the emotional intelligence of general counsels and their beliefs about leadership of millennial lawyers. Emotional intelligence was assessed using the Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i; Bar-On & Handley, 2003). Participants' total mean EQ-i score was nearly identical to that of a normative sample (Bar-On, 2004a) but the current sample scored significantly higher in positive impression, assertiveness, independence, and stress tolerance. In the current sample, males scored significantly higher than females in independence, empathy, adaptability, reality-testing, and flexibility. On average, respondents believed (but not strongly) that millennial lawyers learn differently than lawyers of previous generations and that emotional intelligence and a less managerial approach can enhance leadership of millennial lawyers. Nevertheless, a high percentage reported that their companies had not made specific plans to accommodate the learning differences of millennial lawyers. There was a significant negative correlation between respondents' belief that training in emotional intelligence would help them lead more effectively and both age and number of years practicing law. There was also a significant negative correlation between endorsement of the Socratic method of teaching law students and number of years practicing law (but not the respondent's age). Leadership coaching/training and number of direct reports both showed significant positive correlations with company plans to accommodate the learning differences of the millennial generation.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Emotional intelligence; Leadership; Lawyers

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Caesar, Vance