How the

Adam Smith’s 1776 book An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations coined the term the “invisible hand.” The invisible hand describes how the market regulates itself when participants act in their self-interest. As groups and individuals try to maximize their own self-interests, they end up benefitting society by efficiently allocating resources and creating equilibrium between supply and demand. The best regulator of the economy is thus not intervention, but a free market driven by self-interest.
A. Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes

In my legal recruiting career, I have watched market forces at work in law firm employment decisions and the result is that hiring (and firing) decisions have become increasingly merit-based, especially in major markets. By necessity, in order to remain competitive, firms must make employment decisions based on self-interest, i.e., based on an attorney’s contribution to a firm and its clients. This phenomenon has resulted in law firms becoming more diverse, as attorneys rise or fail to rise to the top based on their suitability to the profession as opposed to irrelevant factors such as race, gender or class. Talented attorneys of all racial, sexual and class backgrounds are now part of the profession and judged on what they provide the market instead of superficial qualities.
Regardless of what someone does to his or her resume—or says in an interview—most of the important “market” qualities offered by a given attorney are clear to the people who make hiring decisions. I can take one look at an attorney’s resume and know with exactitude the sorts of firms that will interview and hire that attorney.