What Yale Law School Teaches About How to Approach Your Legal Career That No Other Law School Does
Get advice from law students, prelaw students, and others at Top Law Schools

What is rent-seeking behavior? 
Rent-seeking behavior is when someone seeks to gain or extract the most money for a service with the least stress and accountability. 

What are some advantages of avoiding the rules of the traditional market economy?

By avoiding the rules of the traditional market economy, individuals can receive rent from deep pockets but with little accountability and have more freedom to pursue projects and careers that they are passionate about. 

What is the downside to exposing oneself to the market economy?
Exposing oneself to the market economy can be stressful, intense, and time-consuming. It can keep a person away from their family and put them in competition with others. 

Who are some examples of individuals who have successfully avoided the rules of the traditional market economy?
Examples of those who have successfully avoided the rules of the traditional market economy include Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and other successful politicians. 

What is the best lesson one can gain from attending Yale Law School? 
The best lesson one can gain from attending Yale Law School is to recognize that there is often more benefit in escaping the economy than in being part of it. It is possible to create opportunities for oneself outside of the traditional market and gain greater freedom and success.

Each day I receive resumes from attorneys who went to Yale Law School, and, with some exceptions, the resumes are all quite strange to me. Many of these attorneys start in large law firms and then seem to go adrift after a few years of practice. They take legal jobs in government, in academia, with policy think tanks, and so forth—and then bounce around from one of these types of jobs to another. Many of these attorneys never go to work inside law firms and then contact me years after graduating from law school, flirting with the idea of trying it out.
A. Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes

The positions are often competitive to get and offer relative security, but they do not pay particularly well, are not very demanding in terms of the work they require, and the “economic value” that these jobs offer to society is often negligible compared to working inside of a law firm. Since the attorneys are not accountable to “real clients,” they do not have the pressure of billable hours. The “clients” are governments, policy think tanks, rich law schools, and others with money to spend without requiring much accountability. The attorneys can be “safe” taking jobs that allow them to charge “rent” to employers who, within reason, will not require anywhere near the level of accountability and hard work that a law firm would require.

These Yale attorneys get so far off the law firm path they are unlikely ever to be able to go back (and many do not want to).
I have pondered this for the longest time and, quite honestly, when I compare the resumes of the people I see from Yale Law School to those of graduates of Harvard, Stanford, and other top law schools, I have always thought the people from Yale Law School look “lost” and as if they do not know what they are doing. I have seriously contemplated that there must be something seriously wrong with the school because the resumes, one after another, give the appearance of “aimlessness.” When these attorneys call me looking for work inside of law firms after this type of career path—which generally has conferred limited meaningful experience from a law firm perspective—they often “expect” to join law firms as partners.