These 10 Factors Matter More Than Where You Went to Law School

  1. Your Previous (On the Job) Training
  2. How You Did in Law School
  3. Your Practice Area
  4. How Long You Stay in Your Legal Jobs and Stability
  5. The Amount of Business You Have
  6. Your Reputation
  7. Your Interest in Your Practice Area and Involvement in the Community
  8. Your Looks, Dress and Personality
  9. Your Racial and Social Background
  10. Your Commitment to Working in a Law Firm
Summary: There are far more important factors law firms look at if you want to practice law for a long period of time with a good firm than the law school you went to.

Think it matters which law school you go to? Think again

The law school you went to matters surprisingly little the longer you are out of law school. In fact, better law schools are often a detriment to attorneys practicing law for an extended length of time. Many attorneys who went to great law schools think that they will get special treatment due to having attended top law schools. They are quickly disabused of this notion after the cold, hard facts of practicing in the real world wear off. This is a competitive game and there are far more important things than top law school credentials at stake. In fact, if you think your law school matters—and act like it around people higher up who went to lesser law schools—they will quickly crush you with poor reviews, no assignments and so forth. Your law school will quickly become something that becomes your demise and not something that helps you.
 
A. Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes

Do not get me wrong, the law school you went to matters – but it does not matter forever. The law school is simply a way to distinguish you from the tens of thousands of people graduating from law school each year. After that, no one cares for the most part.


There are far more important factors law firms look at if you want to practice law for a long period of time with a good firm (actually, any firm!) than the law school you went to. I cannot tell you how little law school matters in the real world. There are numerous things that matter far more.

The point of this article is to give you some hard-hitting advice so that you can stay employed for an extended period of time in the largest and most prestigious law firm possible and get a job with the best law firms even if you did not go to a top law school.

Law schools are important when you are in law school applying for jobs, because this is really the only basis the hiring law firm has for comparison. The idea they have is that someone from Harvard is better than someone from another lower-ranked school such as the University of Kentucky. There is no other basis for comparison this early on in someone's legal career. As time passes, factors other than the law school you went to become far more important.