Summary: Many attorneys believe that the quality of their law school, or law firm, will determine the course of their legal career.

The more driven an attorney is and the less likely they are to settle for wherever they are at in their career and life, the better they will do.

Many attorneys believe that the quality of their law school, or law firm, will determine the course of their legal career. I regularly place partners in their 70s, and many of the partners I have placed are now in their 80s and still practicing, with large books of business, at major law firms. Fifty years ago many of these attorneys started out as solo practitioners. If your entire career is determined by the quality of the law school you attended or the firm you started your career in, this would mean that what happens for the next 50 years of your career after you get out of law school would not matter.

Nonsense.

What determines whether you succeed as an attorney has nothing to do with any of this. Regardless of where you went to law school or the quality of the law firm you are currently at, you can work in a major law firm if this is important to you. Anyone can. I will tell you how in this article, but it is important to keep in mind that this is not something that is easy to do.
 
A. Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes

Why do attorneys from the best law schools, and the best law firms tend to do better than others? At the outset, let’s be clear about a few facts regarding what happens to attorneys who do not attend the best law schools:
 
  • You are less likely to become an important politician, judge, or academic.
  • You are less likely to be famous for doing anything.
  • You are less likely to ever work in a major law firm.
  • You are less likely to make a lot of money.
  • You are more likely to work in a smaller law firm, for a smaller company, or at a less important government job.