[00:00:00] today's presentation is about teb factors that matter, a lot more than where you went to law school. And I think, one of the things is a lot of attorneys really do believe that, the law school that they went to and even law students is, among the most important things.
[00:00:15] And to some extent it is important. And, and I'm going to tell you. the reasons law schools are important, but in other, reasons it's actually not that important at all. And, and so I'm going to walk through all that today. And, and then when I'm done, I will, take questions and, pretty much as many questions as anyone has, we'll get through and, and that's that, so let's get started.
[00:00:36] So the first thing is, the law school you went to really is much more, when you're in school, then at any other time, when you get out of law school, all sorts of things happen. the, that determines what, how much your law school matters and, but when you're in school, really, the only.
[00:00:54] Excuse me. The only things that, the law firms have to compare you against, or [00:01:00] employers have to compare you against their other students who you're competing with for the same jobs. And so that's one reason that school is considered so important at that time. But after you've been out of school for awhile, it's really, it assumes a much.
[00:01:12] less, much less important and the things that kind of become more important as time goes on, tend to be like your practice area, the employer that you're working with, where you've been trained, the amount of business you have, the reputation you've built for yourself and some other things, And actually the longer you've been, not in the law school.
[00:01:29]once you've been out, more than five years, it really, it does fade into the background. there are going to be some firms that are always going to be concerned about it, but for the most part, the substantial majority of firms, meaning, over 70% of them are going to be, even large firms are going to be more concerned with these other things than they are.
[00:01:46]of the quality of law school you went to. And one of the big mistakes, by the way, that a lot of people make, they went to good law schools is they assume that, success and so forth, it's really going to be, guaranteed by the quality of school they went to and [00:02:00] all the quality of school you went to really shows.
[00:02:02] And I'll talk about this in a minute. Is here. You know that your past motivation grades and after here for practicing law, it doesn't show, what you did with, the skills and so forth that you have. a lot of times, people that went to good law schools too.
[00:02:17]they believe that a law firms should be very happy to have someone from that school and they think they should be, that having this great school in their background makes them special and so forth. And in most law firms will very quickly, disabuse people of that, regardless of the quality of the law firm, once you've been out for awhile and, because.
[00:02:36]if you act you're special because of your law school, you'll tend to get poor reviews, no assignments, no work and so forth. And, honestly, while law firms care about your school, to some extent, and to a great extent when you're in, when you're looking for your first jobs, it really does assume a major, much less important later on.
[00:02:54] And, and the big thing to understand is, it's just a way for law firms to distinguish here when you're coming out of [00:03:00] school. if there's roughly 30,000 people, coming out of law school a year, there's only going to be, 550 people of those people are going to be from Harvard law school.
[00:03:10]175 from university of Chicago, 175 from Yale law school and so forth. And, three 50 from university of Virginia and, Michigan and Columbia and, so there's, there's a small percentage of people that are going to the top law schools of the annual graduates and, and how well you did it.
[00:03:27] And those schools. we'll determine who gets the most competitive jobs when you get out. But that's really the extent of it. And, in the real world, when I talked to attorneys, a lot of my practice or the majority of my practice these days, I work with a lot of associates, but I also work with, many partners.
[00:03:45] And I honestly, when I talking to partners that's really the last thing in the world. I'm concerned about us, whether they went to school, it's something, that just doesn't matter. it's, it, to some extent it has some importance, but. really the law firms at this stage, when you've been [00:04:00] out of school, eight, eight or 10 years, it's not something, that's important.
[00:04:03] So regardless of where you went to school, you should be thinking, about the things that you can do to look like a good attorney, because a lot of times, people that may not have gotten into a good law school because of their LSATs or. poor performance and grades that maybe they majored in a very difficult science when they were in school.
[00:04:19]that people that didn't go to good law schools initially, have incredible careers. And, and they take the rejection that they may have gotten from not going to a good law school or maybe they got a scholarship somewhere. and they turn that into something, really awesome.
[00:04:32]really, but the things I'm gonna teach you about today are really the things that matter the most. In terms of, how law firms will think about you once you've been out for awhile. Okay. I want to give you in this webinar, some really good advice, and, the advice, will help you.
[00:04:48]if you going to a big firm out of school that will help you stay in a big firm. if you're currently in a big firm, it will help you stay there. if you're at a small firm, it will help you get into a big firm and it will really give you the tools that will [00:05:00] show you, what you need to do in order to be successful, practicing law.
[00:05:04] And, this is actually going to be very good advice for whoever, regardless of what stage in your career you are. Because I think a lot of people, just. don't understand this stuff. And, because of that, they, their careers, don't go anywhere near, or they don't have anywhere near the level of success.
[00:05:22] They should practice in law. And, and this should help. but as I said earlier, when you're coming out of law school, law schools do not have, or law firms do not have any basis to. compared to other people that they're potentially hiring, except for the law school you went to.
[00:05:37]I obviously, people are gonna think that Harvard is a better law school than university of Kentucky, because, Harvard is very difficult to get into, and there may only be one or two people from Kentucky to go there each year. Whereas there's a whole class of people from Kentucky at university of Kentucky.
[00:05:54]they just have no other basis, for that. And then, very well nationally known firms, want to hire, [00:06:00] people from the best law schools because that's important to their clients. but as time goes by, other things are going to be way more important than whether or not you have a good law school on your resume.
[00:06:10]So here's a couple of things that you always need to remember, about what the law school you went to shows and. I almost hate to put this in here because it could be de-motivated and if you didn't go to a good law school, but, I want you to understand, the thinking process of large law firms and other people.
[00:06:28]so you can, so you have the ability to, to, to, to understand where they're coming from. And I don't like saying this stuff because it's difficult to. for a lot of people to, absorb and it's not nice, but it's just what it is. So I'm going to tell you this, and then this is what you're up against, depending on the law school you went to.
[00:06:47] So the first thing is if you went to a top law school, it's almost always going to show that you did very well on the L sat and had good grades. Wherever you went to college. So the college you went to is also important. I'll talk about that in a [00:07:00] second, but your L sat score, is very important.
[00:07:03] And so are your grades, grade show? long-term, motivation. They showed having the ability to, understand and concepts and do impressed teachers and, to continue to do work that's required to Excel compared to your peers. all of these things sorts of things that you would want your lawyer to have the ability to do against other lawyers.
[00:07:24]the LSATs. also test, your ability to reason and to think, and to reach conclusions and to use logic. I believe a lot of the stuff that you are tested on me, Elsa is teachable. and, once you've been practicing law, but, it does show a kind of your initial, discipline. And, the thing is to understand is I see people all the time that went to schools, Florida state or.
[00:07:49]went to, community colleges and then transferred to other schools and so forth and did very well on the L sat and got into great law schools and, and got great grades. really [00:08:00] what it comes down to for most law schools, not all of them, but for most top law schools that comes down to your grade point average, and your L sat score and.
[00:08:08] And they want to take that information and they will create a number and, they will, weigh certain things more heavily than others. Some schools will write grades more heavily than the LSAT, but for the most part, they use those two things to admit you. So the people that have done the best on those two, typically get into the best schools, some very competitive schools, which should be.
[00:08:28]Chicago, Gale, Stanford, and a few others, they'll look very closely at your college and sometimes even, give you points if you went to a really good high school. it's still they'll look at all sorts of things, but for the most part, when they have very high achieving people applying with high numbers, but for the most part, the college you went to, isn't that important?
[00:08:48]I've seen. lots of people go to community colleges for a few years, get a 4.0 and then transfer to a big state school and get great grades, ACL sat and go to Harvard law school. you can, [00:09:00] Harvard has a lot of spots and sodas, Michigan and sodas, a lot of other big schools. So you can get into a lot of very good law schools, almost regardless of where you went to college, and, without an extracurricular activities and all sorts of things, with a good.
[00:09:14]with good grades. Good luck. I'll see that score. But. The thing is, your L set is very important and, and it's not a test that everyone does well on, obviously, but, that's one thing that the law schools, tend to emphasize the reason I think the L set's important is because of what I've seen from the highest scores on that test.
[00:09:33] When I practiced law against them, they tend to, really have the ability to figure out problems very quickly. they come up with solutions to problems quickly without a lot of fluff. they understand things and they're very direct in their thinking. there's just a lot of advantages to having a mind that works that way.
[00:09:48] I believe that people, that practice law for a long time could learn all this type of thinking. But at the same time, your ability to do well on that test does say something about your, your aptitude for practicing law and [00:10:00] even how well, you may do. I've worked with, in my company, I've hired several attorneys that have scored, Almost, the very top, one seventies and that sort of thing.
[00:10:09] And they're much better at figuring out issues and not getting distracted and focused on what the things are. And it's just, it's an important test. So the idea is that if you do roll on that task and you do well. and you go to a good law school that you're probably going to have some pretty good, legal abilities for the potential that, and, attorneys are paid to sit at desks, the paid to read and figure things out.
[00:10:32]they're paid to figure out what the truth of things are, and what's not the truth to prevent people from. Pushing one over on them. And that's what attorneys do all day long. they play games with opposing counsel. They play games with contracts, they play games, they're always trying to convince someone and hide the truth and, get, and make their clients win by getting a point across a certain way.
[00:10:51] So all those stuff. it's just very important. It's important to, have those abilities and to develop them. And that's one of the things that go into a law school, [00:11:00] a good law school shows. it doesn't mean that the law school is teaching anything differently than another law school. the quality of people you spend your time with at the law school will have something to do with it.
[00:11:11] But, what it does show though is where you're able to gain a minute and two we'll show, typically your aptitude for practicing law and how hard you're working. so the LSATs important, probably more so than your grades. and the odds are just that if you got into a top law school, the odds are pretty good that you have a great aptitude for practicing law and you'll be able to work, Very hard there as well.
[00:11:31] And also when you go to a good law school, you're surrounded by professors that tend to be very good, that, can get ideas across in a better and a better way, many times that you're surrounded by, people on the cutting edge of different, issues in terms of what they think you're surrounded by, students that are, very motivated and, their thinking and their motivation, their goals that they set for themselves will run off, will rub off on you.
[00:11:57] And so all these things are, very positive and [00:12:00] you'll tend to become similar to the types of attorneys that are going to those big firms. Now, I want to say at the outset that none of this really matters. it's not. To say that going to a good law schools, what's going to make you a good attorney.
[00:12:12]but it does say that, going to a good law school, it does show you have a lot of aptitude to be a good attorney. And the more you spend your time around the best people, and you're taught by the best people that can help as well. and yeah. one of the things I would say though, is that just because you went to a good law school and no sense of the imagination means that you're going to be, have a great career, and in fact, having a good career and then practicing law is more about.
[00:12:39] social things in the work you do, and the practice here you choose and the decisions you make, then it is about your law school, your law schools, honestly, it's fairly meaningless, after several years. as I said earlier, and many attorneys go to good law schools and just bomb out very quickly, because they don't follow the rules and so forth.
[00:12:57] And I'm going to talk to you about that. Today. [00:13:00] so here are 10 more factors, are 10 factors that are more important there where you went to law school. And these are things that you really need to keep in mind, throughout your career. or regardless of whether are you were in your career because.
[00:13:12] The dumbest thing you can do is have a, something, a chip on your shoulder about the quality of law school you went to and just keep that around your whole career. All it shows is how hard you work when you were younger and how hard you did on the test, or it may show you didn't want to go to a school.
[00:13:28]where you didn't have a lot of debt. I have a, an in-law, and he, was, went to, I think he went to Florida state, he went to Florida state and got great grades and took the LSATs and did very well. And then, got some, scholarships and was going to stay in Florida and go to school there.
[00:13:44] And, but I said, if you got, and he was getting scholarships to all these different places and he was going to do that and I talked to him and I said, you should go to, NYU, which is another school he got into. So he went there now he's been scattered for several years. going to a good school, [00:14:00] can make a big difference.
[00:14:01] I doubt he would be at SCAD and if he'd taken a scholarship, but at the same time, there's a lot of factors, that matter work. More were, you went to law school. So the first thing that's very important is your previous, on the job training or your current, on the job training.
[00:14:16] And what that means is that the quality affirm that you are working at, or have worked out in the past. So working with very good people, typically means that those people are going to be training you and good people are trained in you. Then that means that. that you're typically learning how to practice law in a certain style with a certain level of detail and, and, and certain levels of insights and a certain quality of work and so forth that, you may not get another firm.
[00:14:42] So a lot of times people will, come out of schools that aren't that great. And they will go to work for. exceptional attorneys and those attorneys will train them and work with them very closely. And they'll become very good attorneys because of that. And, or they'll get into a really good firm eventually.
[00:14:58] So the better the [00:15:00] attorneys you're working with, the better, the more likely you are to be able to move up to better firms and, the better, the better attorney you're going to be. So I really firmly believe that, The quality of attorneys that you work with is much more important than where you went to law school.
[00:15:16] You should always try to work with, the best attorneys you can when you get out of school. Are, when you're trying to move up, in different firms, if you're trying to move to a better firm, there's people become more defined over time, by the quality of firm that they work with then where they went to law school.
[00:15:34] So if you come out of a bad law school and then eventually you, I ended up at Latham and Watkins or something. That's going to define you in a much more positive light than, where you went to law school. Because not everybody that goes to. A really good law school. You can get a job at Laith in Milwaukee or Skadden or something like that.
[00:15:52] So you're the quality of, from that you ultimately get into is much more important. And many people start out in small firms, many [00:16:00] people start out and, two or three person law firms, and then. Over time by doing many of the things I'm going to talk to you about today, end up in really good firms.
[00:16:07] So the firm you're at and the quality of firm, even if it's a small firm where you're working for a very well-known attorney in your practice area is much more important than your law school, because that says more about the quality of attorney you're going to be. Then it says there can be an AARP.
[00:16:22] Then it says about, where you went to law school, where you went to law school. It's just a function of, what you did when you were 18 to 20. 21, 22 years old, where you go to work, where you work and where you end up is a much different calculation. And, and some people take longer to bloom than others.
[00:16:39]but being trained by people that are well-known, or affirm with certain qualities is very important. there are certain firms in New York, for example, that, will only hire laterally from a couple of different types of firms and there's firms and, and. in different cities that will only fire, from, other big firms.
[00:16:57] And it's like that in many, in many [00:17:00] markets. but even a solo practitioner, if you work for a very well-known and good solo practitioner, lots of law firms will, be interested potentially in hiring you. it just depends on the person you start with and the kind of experience you get with them.
[00:17:14] And that's. Nothing is really more important ultimately in your career. then, then the training you get by people outside. you don't really learn to practice law at all in a law firm, in, in law school, all you learn in law school is you learn, some methods of, how to, the basics about what you need to know to be an attorney.
[00:17:31] And, and then the material kind of has time to sink in and you can learn about different. Yeah. Areas of the law and kind of broaden your mind, most people believe that law school could probably be two years, but, it just depends, even, beyond working in a law firm, you can also work and, other areas like, work for a federal judge or a well-known state judge, and that can be good training.
[00:17:53]you can work in the. patent trademark office and get very good training. And that's not thought of highly by law [00:18:00] firms, so you can work in a prosecutor's office. So there's many practice settings outside of law firms that are, that can be a better thought of very highly and that, that you can get in the law firm.
[00:18:12]So the other thing that's important. Yeah. And just to follow up on this, cause I want to make sure that I'm really making this point to everyone. Is your, where you're working, where the quality of from your, at, the reputation that from the reputation of that employer is always going to be more important than where you went to law school.
[00:18:31]that's, there's just nothing more important than it. yeah. being able to get into a top law firm and stay there, is very important. And, you can start out at a very small firm and over time, you can move to a better firm, so you don't always need to get the best law firm out of, get into the best law firm out of law school.
[00:18:47] But, if you do, being in the best quality law firm, is very important. Okay. The next thing that's important, extremely important is how you do in law school. if you did very well in law school, the prestige of the law firm [00:19:00] or the law school, you went to, continues to matter less and less, many times, if you graduate, at the very top of your class, even from a fourth year law school, that's still enough to get you into many law firms and, it's very important, to do well, in most law schools, if they're not in the top law schools and it's just important because the law firms want to see something that distinguishes you from, the average attorney, that.
[00:19:24]when w worked on one of those law firms, that's just very important, so you need to make sure, that you're, they do the best, if he did well in law school, within reason firms, aren't going to care as much about where you went to law school, I've seen people do very well and. even schools that are, barely accredited in California, that aren't that good and get jobs in top law firms, and the best law firms. but they did very well there. if you do go to a low rank law school, doing well there, makes a big difference.
[00:19:55] The other thing that's important is your practice here yet. your practice area, is extremely [00:20:00] important. And what happens is when attorneys get out of school, they typically will, going in one direction and they'll choose a practice area.
[00:20:08]and, after a period of time, there's not many people, doing, that particular practice area. the fewer people that are doing that practice area, is, very important and the fewer people. That fewer experts there are on your practice area, the better you'll do.
[00:20:23]it's very common, for example, for patent attorneys to go to, schools that aren't very good for law school. and that happens for a lot of reasons. one is because, science people typically don't talk a lot about where to go to law school. So many times I'll just go to the one that gives them the best deal or, or many times they don't go to the best school because science classes tend to have big curves and it's harder to get great grades in science.
[00:20:45] And other times they, may not do well in law school because there's not, there's all sorts of things. So science people tend to start out and, people to become patent attorneys and small firms and not get jobs in large law firms because large law firms are [00:21:00] very difficult to get into, but they almost always, if they want to can work in big law firms later because.
[00:21:06]there's not a lot of people like them and it's like that for all sorts of practice areas. It's like that for, Arista it's like that for healthcare. It's like that for, many, many practice areas. And I could, discuss them all day, but there are certain types of practice areas where, you can, we're being, marketable, can.
[00:21:22] It is very, easy to do. one thing I will say, is that, and I was making this point here earlier, but, it's not that important, the attorneys, if you want to switch practice areas like law firms only want people typically, if you're trying to move to a better firm that are in your practice area, so you can't really switch practice areas that easily, I've seen attorneys from.
[00:21:43]Courbet's considered probably, in terms of New York firms, one of the best, top five probably. And, and, we'll definitely top five. And, in someone that's in corporate there couldn't, go to any other firm in New York can do, litigation or at least any other big firm.
[00:21:57] And. you need to stick with your practice [00:22:00] area and you need to be in a marketable practice area. And for practice areas marketable, you can do very well. the more niche, your practice area, the fewer people that do it, the more likely you are to be able to move to a large law firm.
[00:22:10] And, there's all sorts of practice areas that are very niche. And part of my job is, in my businesses is finding people that. You know where there's not a lot of them and right now, it sounds crazy, but right now, one of the practice areas has really in demand is family law, people that are, doing that type of work.
[00:22:28] And another times it could be, insurance coverage or, and now I'm in certain areas of the country. It's litigators with trial experience that are senior. you just never know, but your practice area, it makes a huge difference. And. in as something, that matters a great deal.
[00:22:42] And, and then, there's other practice areas where, it's very difficult for the most part, to ever transition unless you have a big book of business. So like litigation is one of them, it's very difficult for, litigators that are senior. to move, firms, unless they have a lot of business, it just depends.
[00:22:59][00:23:00] corporate tends to be a practice here where people can often move when they're senior, but it just. your practice area, is very important and, litigation is a practice area that, where I like to say that there's litigators and a lot of areas just coming out of the walls.
[00:23:13]cause most people, you're taught in law school how to be a litigator, most litigators, most law firms are overwhelmed have litigators because there's so much, so many of them. And, but the practice area really, matters a lot more than, the.
[00:23:30]the law school in the long run, because there's just certain attorneys that there's not a lot of them. right now, a very in demand practice areas, data privacy. it may not be a practice here that's in demand in the future, but it is right now. So your practice here and can just make a huge difference.
[00:23:44] And it's difficult for attorneys to choose the right practice area. when I was coming out of school, so many people wanted to do environmental, but then that practice here just died. And the practice area rent, is very important. so here's some, practice areas.
[00:23:58] I just want you to see that, that are, [00:24:00] that we're firms don't care that much about where you went to law school, anything related to patent law. I've seen attorneys go to fourth tier law schools and, working major firms, doing patent law for the most part, they care more about your undergraduate and graduate degrees and experience and Pat law than they do your law school.
[00:24:16]Arista and executive compensation is another one. there's I've seen lots of senior attorneys even without business get jobs in this practice area. it's fairly easy, to move and that practice area, especially for more junior with executive compensation, in particular, when corporate's very active, it can become, very easy for attorneys to move.
[00:24:37] And when it's not a computer, I'm very difficult. many corporate attorneys with small law firms can move. there's not a lot of, People, that, you know, not a lot of, how they qualify corporate attorneys out there in different markets. if you have the kind of experience law firms really like corporate attorneys, because they also can bring in business, to other practice areas in the firms.
[00:24:56] And they like that. another one is real estate. that can be [00:25:00] a very good practice here to be in, when the market's active, Law schools or law firms care less about your, more about your experience there than they tend to care about your law school? healthcare, has been after the past several years.
[00:25:13]same thing, LA you're, your law school doesn't matter as much. Immigration is another one. mostly immigration attorneys. It's not a practice area that traditionally attracts people from the best law schools. And, because the jobs don't pay very much, but, your practice, your, your experience, doesn't, your law school doesn't matter very much there.
[00:25:33]trust in the States is another one. where it's just so specialized. There's not a lot of people that do it. and just some other ones that I listed here, but our, family laws and other one, like I brought up. insurance defense and, there's several other practice areas, personal injury, that it doesn't really matter.
[00:25:48] But if you want to work in a big law firm, immigration, trust in the States, corporate, Arissa and patent law are all things that, where your law school doesn't really matter. it's not, people, just the firms and, [00:26:00] people just don't care about it that much.
[00:26:02]the other thing that matters a lot to firms, when they're hiring laterally, Is how long you stay in your legal jobs and your stability there. law firms, what they really want is they want people who are likely to stay employed and remain there for a long period of time. It's a lot of work hiring, it takes, and it's a lot of work training people and inviting them into, sorry, introducing them to clients.
[00:26:24] And, it's just all this stuff. That's a lot of work and there's some people that will come into legal organizations and get along very well with everyone there. And, they're always happy and productive while others will join law firms and have the opposite experience. And I always give this example, but.
[00:26:40] When I first started, BCG, I hired one person that had been in her previous employer, 17 years, and the other person had been there, had a previous employer, I don't know, eight years. And the person had been there 17 years, stayed 17 years at our firm before retiring. And the person that had been had her previous employer eight years stayed here and on an eight [00:27:00] to 10 years or something.
[00:27:01] So a lot of times people will go into organizations and. They'll have kind of a time limit when they self-destruct and, and leave. And other people will go into organizations and. They'll just make things work. over a 17 year period, when a company is starting and growing and going through growing pains and more growing pains, and, it takes a lot of resilience for one person to remain that long.
[00:27:23] And, and that's what this person did. And that's pretty awesome. other people can't do that. Other people believe all the time, so there's just certain people that will stick around. And if a law firm beliefs, that you're a stable person that will stick around, this means you're likely to stay and your next job as well.
[00:27:38]law firms are much more willing to take a chance on you if they believe that you've been well-trained and you have, various abilities and so forth, then. if the opposite is true and, law firms want you to stay in a position. And if they see you have a lot of employment, stability, that's many cases just as important to them as where you went to law school, it depends on the firm of course, but, and for many firms it's [00:28:00] extremely important and just something.
[00:28:01]that they take very serious, and, just seen stability, seeing that you're not gonna move for trivial reasons and, cause think about it. If you had to hire someone, say to work in your house and take care of your kids, I'm just giving an example, would you want someone that you know, is going to leave suddenly for no reason?
[00:28:19] And then you're gonna have to hire another person and go through the whole thing of interviewing all these people. And, or would you want to hire someone that you thought was going to work out and stay. And, get through different problems and so forth. And that's the kind of people that most law firms want as well.
[00:28:33] the other thing that. law firms take very seriously. And, arguably, this could be the number one thing, in terms of, what's more, most important to law firms is the amount of business you have. if you ha when you get five or six years out of law school and know what you're doing, and if you have enough business and you're at a high enough billing rate, your law school becomes.
[00:28:55] Completely unimportant, law firms function and they only run right. if [00:29:00] attorneys have business. So they can't, a law firm simply cannot function without, attorneys in it that have a lot of business. So if you join a firm and that firm, doesn't, and you have a lot of business, that firm is going to want you around there.
[00:29:13] And, and essentially the way to think of a law firm is a law firm is a business unit that, it's a support system for. Partners with business, it will hire associates for them. It gives them a brand. It gives some office space secretaries, a word processing, computers, it website, like it does all these things for the partners in exchange.
[00:29:35] They take a lot of money. So law firms need to support all that. And in order to support all that, they need to have, attorneys that have a lot of business and, nothing is really more important to your long-term career. Then having business, it matters more than your law school. It matters more than anything.
[00:29:51] And you need to disabuse yourself very quickly if you haven't already, whether or not you're a law student or you're an attorney of how important, that the [00:30:00] businesses compared to anything else. Once you have business here, you can, you're the one calling the shots law firms will come after you in court.
[00:30:06] You, and you can move to the largest law firms. that you never even dreamed possible. and the most prestigious law firms, if you have enough business and big enough clients, and, I'm not trying to reinforce business. I know I've done that. I think I did it last week about how important it is, but, nothing's more important than the amount of business you have.
[00:30:25]once you get more than a few years out of, school and, that should be a priority for you learning how to get business and getting business. but that's just, I don't know what else to say, except that, I've seen attorneys get jobs with M law, 100 law firms, had, lots and lots had, I've worked at 20 firms.
[00:30:42]it's just law firms need business for them to survive. And, certain law firms have different reputations than others and are more tolerable of weaknesses, but they. really look the way at some extraordinary behavior. if you have enough business, then, some things in your background that may not be good if you have [00:31:00] enough business, in order to, bring you on, if you have a lot of business because law firms need business.
[00:31:04] Now, I'm not saying that, law firms will, do illegal things, but, there's, they'll, certainly look the other way of your law school. They'll look. If you've worked in too many firms. if you've worked in, five firms in 15 years, or, I don't know, that's probably not that bad, five firms in 10 years or something know, they'll look the other way about a lot of different things.
[00:31:24] If you have a lot of business because law firms, rely on business to keep themselves, outfit. Okay. The other thing that's important is your reputation. many people have very good reputations on their practice area and are known, you may be, depending on how much you impress attorneys and other firms, and and you gain a reputation for.
[00:31:44]having very good, credentials and experience in your practice area. then, then where you went to law school is going to matter less and less. there are certain attorneys that are considered the expert in and, whatever, different types of litigation or different types of healthcare, [00:32:00] different types of paths, and, having a really good reputation in that practice area.
[00:32:03] And then. Being well-known as a leader in your practice, Sarah, to attorneys at other firms and in the legal community is huge. there's certain attorneys that can get jobs even without business based on having such a good reputation. I've had, many cases where I've had, a candidate that, I may have called the firm about, and the firm already knows who they am, who the person is.
[00:32:24] And they, the person has such a great reputation that, they want to, they already, they practically want to hire them without even interviewing them. And honestly, there's attorneys that have that a good enough reputation that people would hire them at that interview. And, and it doesn't matter where you go to law school.
[00:32:39] If you have a really good reputation, if you, if your reputation is excellent and, other attorneys are aware of your reputation and, that can help you. And, you may ask like, how do you, how does your reputation proceed you? some things can happen, for example, if you didn't go to a great law school and you were up in a trial, I once knew an attorney that came out of a bad law school and didn't do [00:33:00] particularly well there.
[00:33:00] And he was hired by a major law firm that he opposed, right after a trial. cause he was so impressed with his performance and other people, are active speakers or they're active in doing a certain type of case. So they write articles about law review articles and so forth about a certain topical area or they may be, well-known scholars in constitutional law or something, but there's just all sorts of things.
[00:33:24] If you have a really good reputation of that law firms. we'll be interested and, it becomes very important. people have a reputation and the reputation, it's based on things like being fair, maybe based on, being, competent and maybe based on, having good values, it can be based on all sorts of things and, and the best attorneys.
[00:33:43]if you have a very good reputation, they will respect that. And, and you will get hired because of it. And, and people will ignore how your law school, because of it. another thing that's very important is your, interest in your practice, Sarah and community involvement, that, is exceptionally important.
[00:33:58]your interest in your practice area. [00:34:00] it is, if some people get out there and they will teach classes, there'll be speaking at seminars, they may write papers. they may, be leaders in various bar association, areas. And, if you do enough of that, you may start to become, relatively well known among other attorneys, and this is going to help you.
[00:34:16] And, and then people will not define you based on your law school or define you based on this people really in terms of attorney, it's People generally are only defining attorneys, based on their law school when they don't have anything else to define them by. if people can define you by all these other things and that's how they will define you.
[00:34:33] And so that's how you want it to be defined. You want to be defined by, your activities by your business, by your reputation and not by your law school. Again, the law school, something is based many times on decisions you may have made. in your early twenties. And so it's not really, that important, to, make a deal out of it.
[00:34:54] It's just, your other things that you do later in your career, Are going to be important. the best rest, the best [00:35:00] attorneys. Typically, if you looked at their LinkedIn profiles, you looked at their speeches. and other things, there's a lot of stuff. and things that they list on their law firm websites, there's a lot of things that show, commitment.
[00:35:11] And, I know some law firms that won't interview, lateral partners and so forth, unless they have a minimum number. Of, connections and, they can tell how much business they have from their profiles. And, so you're involved in the community and interest in what you're doing, are hugely important.
[00:35:27] And, all this stuff shows your, the level of commitment you have to practicing law. And, it also shows that you're unlikely to go any place else, stick with it. law firms want to have people that Dick you're plugged in to their machinery, which is the law firm and, have them, do a really good job.
[00:35:45] And this is really going to separate you from people that are flakes. a lot of people, one of the things you'll, if you're young, you'll see it. If you're older, I'm sure you'll recognize this. And you might even be part of this crowd, but it's never too late to change.
[00:35:58] There's a lot of people are, they're just [00:36:00] kinda, floating around. they're not, they're not committing to anything they're, they're not interested in, they don't know what they want to do. They're, they're just experimenting with practice areas and firms and practice settings and all these different things.
[00:36:12] And so you need to be someone. That, looks committed and, that is in it for the long haul and it's unlikely to leave. And those are the kinds of people where, the law school you went to, doesn't matter as much. the world is full of people that don't really know what they want to do.
[00:36:28] And anything that shows that stuff, is really, not that important. it's going to hurt you. Okay. Okay. So another thing that's important is, how you, your personality. your looks, your dress and so forth and just how you come across. And, I've talked to attorneys all day and there's some attorneys when I get them on the phone and I'm talking to them that I know will do well in interviews.
[00:36:49] And I know just because of the way they connect with her, the people that are talking to, and when they're talking to me, and, I can tell a lot about, how a person will present themselves many times. [00:37:00] right when I get them on the phone and, and so how you present yourself is important.
[00:37:04]you should, look to present yourself in a very positive way. And, you, you want to look, and, as good as possible, to your interviewers and you want to sound good and you want to, present well and you want to be focused and you want to work on your personality.
[00:37:18] And I understand, that. this kind of stuff can be offensive to some people, but, you're when you're getting hired by a firm, they're hiring you because they need work done, but they're also firing you because they want people that are representing them in the marketplace and they want, so that means they want to have people that have a certain type of personality.
[00:37:37] It also means that they're, that you're, kind of part of their, their team. And, and so they want to be around people that they believe can be. the front, not their friends, but, similar, I think, people that, relate to them and that they can be comfortable with and, and that sort of thing.
[00:37:51] So all that is very important. just having a good appearance is important. I see a lot of people in firms, that, that really [00:38:00] keep themselves up well. And I think that helps them. If you look healthy and so forth, people that, take good care of themselves tend to get more jobs than.
[00:38:07]those that don't, people want to have, people that kind of look robust and, excited and, and a good personality and that reflect well, on the firm. And, and that doesn't mean, you have to get made up for all your interviews, but, in firms, but it just means that you have to, you want to come across as, trust and, professional and, really reflective of the way the law firm wants to see themselves as a brand.
[00:38:29] And, I had one woman that was 15 years out of law school on a rally, not a very good practice area, that I, you know, and she got several offers and, I had no idea what she looked like, with more concerned with the quality of her resume and experience, and, and she.
[00:38:44]asked about, not talking about her, being married so further interviews and, and, and, and I really didn't understand, w what was going on with that. the point is, w the things is. people do get sometimes get interviews based on how they look.
[00:38:58]and I think it can help, [00:39:00] whether it's men or women. And it's just something to be aware of. It's not, something to get mad at me about. I'm just the messenger here. and the other thing is the personality. you're looking at the whole package, so it's how you dress.
[00:39:10] It's your personality, it's your appearance and all that. And, so you need to work on all of those things. You need to like your interviewers. so people that are come across as extremely likable and really liked their interviewers, tend to get many more jobs than those that don't. so all those things are important and that matters more, I think, You know then where he went to law school and more of the sudden looks by the way, I think the personality matters a very likable personality, is huge.
[00:39:35]you want, the people to like you and, and if they like you, it really does make a big difference. And, so even, someone that's attractive, that has a bad personality, it's like that to have a hard time. Okay. So these are all things, You know that I observed, this kind of makes them uncomfortable talking about this, but I'm just trying to, let you know that it's important.
[00:39:56]the different types of people, are more likely to get hired or [00:40:00] young people are more likely to get hired than older people that are thin and tall, for example, less like that, it gets more likely to get higher than short. as these are all things that people know I'm, you're not supposed to talk about it.
[00:40:11]but, it's just, socially withdrawn, are less likely to get higher than more social people. it's just personality and all this stuff matters a great deal. So all these things you can work on, you know, and none of it really matters that much. if you fix it, you need to, if you're associated with drawing you in and trying to be more outgoing in interviews, you need to try.
[00:40:30] If you're not a good dresser, you need to try to be a good dresser. If you're. don't cut your hair. You probably try to cut your hair. all these sorts of things make a difference. I see people, from Harvard. Yeah. and other great schools have a hard time getting jobs.
[00:40:43] And, many of them just are too nerdy. they can't connect with people and, you just need to be outgoing and likable and not everybody's outgoing. it's not to say that's the norm for attorneys, you just, you want to, if people are going to be paying you money and you're going to be working with them and they're going to be giving you a paycheck every couple of [00:41:00] weeks and so forth, they, They want to be, likable.
[00:41:03]and I remember just, this is a quick kind of thing here, but when I was practicing law, in a large New York firm, I was at a dinner with a, or a lunch with an associate, and he was telling the other associates about dress and how important the ties they wore and so forth. And back in that day, I think all these guys wanted to wear the air maze ties.
[00:41:21]they were expensive. And, he said that. the, one of the most important things is when an attorney walks into a room and is billing a client and outrageous amount of money per hour, that they want the attorney, needs to be the most impressive looking and sounding person in the room and meaning the debate about stress and need to have most place and personality.
[00:41:41] And it's what the clients want to see. And it's what the firms want to see. And so all that is very important and. the better off you, you do those things the better off you're going to be. and it is true. to some extent, you really want to, look the part and that can make a difference.
[00:41:56] And attorneys had looked apart, make everybody look up [00:42:00] to them and that can be helpful. Okay. Another thing is important, your social background, and this can matter more than your law school. there's, law firms composed of nothing but Catholic, Catholic men and women, or, M and a law firm that's that is more likely to hire a Catholic men than an Orthodox Jewish man.
[00:42:18]there's, there's law firms that are composed of only black women. I've seen, they're more likely to hire people than from the background and, there's just all these people, there's all these groups around the country and many of them are tribal and they're tribal because they're more comfortable around people that are like them.
[00:42:35] And, and it's just kinda what it is. I'm not going to comment on it or whether or not I approve of it or not, but. I'm telling you this was an observer. if you are from a certain type of group, and didn't go to a great law school, you probably have a much better chance of getting hired by groups that are similar to you than, Other, other groups, so it's just something to keep in mind.
[00:42:55]I, one of the things I found was very interesting, as I was dealing with, a woman that had taken a [00:43:00] job in a small and a relatively small Southern town, and everybody in the firm had gone to high school together, at the same high school and they all knew each other and they were all friends and, and she was in a, I don't know, so corporate practice area that they needed someone like her from, but she said she literally had no friends in the firm and no one would deal with her.
[00:43:17] It was just a very small close society. And, and she didn't like that. And, and I don't think law firms intentionally discriminate. I think, they hire the people that they're most comfortable with. I think that many times, they get, referrals and so forth, from attorneys that are with our, if they recognize people from similar backgrounds, they're more likely to hire them.
[00:43:36]and people that are from an area are more likely to get hired there than others. people at many times we went to local law schools are more likely to get hired, from people that are not from local law schools, in many areas, people from. well-known families are well-known families locally that are very well respected, maybe more likely to get hired than people from average fan.
[00:43:55] So all this stuff, can make a big difference, depending on, where you're trying to [00:44:00] work. And, and, these are just, some things that I've noticed, I don't know, how, what to say about it, but I've noticed that former college athletes are much more likely and higher than non-athletes, white females, less like it higher than Indian females.
[00:44:12]Asian males, more likely to in the white males. these things are, unfortunate things that I've noticed. and, and I could quantify probably if I wanted to and. this is just what happens in many places. It doesn't mean this is true all the time, but your social background, can, it can make a difference to some extent, and it can overcome, things like your law school and, so whatever the position you're looking for is, you should try to some extent, work with, and work in places where, you know, where that we're, where, you know, where that gives you an advantage, not a disadvantage.
[00:44:45] Okay. So the next thing that's important is your commitment to, and this is the final thing to work in a law firm. And, if you take time off and you go on house or you do something else, that's typically not a good thing. if you have always worked in a law firm, and, law firms are going to assume that you're going to want to [00:45:00] be there over the long run.
[00:45:01] And, that's going to. help you along, help you a great deal. And, and the longer you're in a law firm and the more you've been in a law firm, and that's the only thing you've done, the more that's going to help you. the big conclusion here, I think that I want to just emphasize is your legal career really is a race.
[00:45:16]your objective is to join the race, regardless of where you got into the race and what law school you went to. there's many more important factors than where you went to law school. And just remember, many people graduated from law school when they're 24, 25. your career in a law firm could be for over 60 years after that.
[00:45:33] So why. should you be limiting yourself based on, when the self-imposed restrictions based on where you went to law school? I talked to attorneys, all day and went to Yale and all these great schools and they expect firms to open up to them. But honestly they, they will at first, but, after they've seen the decisions you've made, meaning your work ethic, your commitment and so forth, they're much more likely, to, want people that.
[00:45:57]have different, objectives. they want [00:46:00] people that are going to stick with the law firms and, so you just have to understand that it's ridiculous for, for you to believe if you went to a good law school that. those qualifications are gonna, keep you in a law firm.
[00:46:12]it's just not what happens. So the decisions you make, so I'm gonna take a quick break. And then when I come back, I will take as many questions as everyone has. Thank you.
[00:46:20]All right, so let's get started. yeah, as many questions as anyone has, I'm happy, to get through the mall and, let's see. and we'll get started here. let me just see here. And, I'll go to the most recent ones first. cause it's here. Okay. The first question is, hi Harrison. I just read your article, the dark side of going in house.
[00:46:40] I was just curious, how often do you see in-house attorneys get, let go when they were just the bearer of bad news, Ivy gave their opinion, the company would be liable if something were not the cause of the problem. Yes, I see that quite a bit. I, it's something that, is fairly common. I think that, and it's unfortunate, I think that a lot of [00:47:00] companies, in house companies, not, I don't know if a lot is the right thing to say, but I've seen it happen several times if you, are there and you're pointing out, things that are negative in the company that could get them into trouble.
[00:47:11]they may want to do those things and they may want to do them because the executives are trying to. make money for this, get the stock price up. They're trying to, I, there could be all sorts of reasons for it. if you, are seen as someone that's an impediment to law firm, growing, or the law firm, having, the, not the law firms start a company growing, or the company getting things that does, instead of figuring out the solution to what happens.
[00:47:37]or figuring out a workaround than many people will, end up letting you go. I know someone that went to a company and he was there a very short time and he figured out that the company was doing something illegal. They wanted him to sign off on, I don't know, some. Some results or something of their profits for the, STC.
[00:47:57] And, and it wasn't true. And he didn't, and then they [00:48:00] found out original, let him go. it's very difficult being house. It can be a real political game. And, I think your question is, very good and it does, happen, quite a bit, how the people get in trouble. the law, the company doesn't want them to do something.
[00:48:13] It just depends on the company, many times, and especially with. smaller companies, if you look at all the people that go to prison and so forth all the time, the numbers are huge. And, inside of companies, and those are just the people that are getting caught, doing things.
[00:48:25] And a lot of people are doing things where they're not getting caught. you just have to remember that if you're. If you're in a company, many times they're going to want the general counselor or the person that's in charge of the legal department to, to assign it, to help them, with negative things or to help them approve negative things.
[00:48:41] And honestly, if you do that, you'll always be the fall person. It can destroy your career. So you do need to be careful. I remember dealing not too long ago with, Some attorneys, motors and general motors had this issue where, they had, some problems with their seatbelts or something.
[00:48:56] And, and they said that the legal department had signed off on it and [00:49:00] the seatbelts and ended up hurting people or killing them. And, and someone I knew there was a legal department that had absolutely nothing to do with it, was supposedly one of the people that signed off on it and, and kinda got blackballed for the rest of his career.
[00:49:11] So it's just, you have to be very careful. about, any time a company, I may ask you to do something like that. And cause you can get in trouble and most of the time you probably won't. and most of the time meetings, a substantial percentage of the time, but if you do get fired for something like that, you also typically have a whistleblower complaint and I've noticed whistleblower complaints can be.
[00:49:32]pretty, whistleblower, collections can be very large. I just read about a hundred million dollar one last week. So it just depends on you, but, let's see. see, I've been lucky enough to run my own firm in a small town America for 23 years. I do helping people, but I need to change anything that you can suggest, to help me, yeah, I don't, one of the things you can always do is change your practice area.
[00:49:54]if you like doing that, I think, the practice area you're in, can, make a big difference. yeah, but [00:50:00] I don't know. if you need to change, the other thing would be going to work inside of companies, near where you work or near your town. that could also be helpful.
[00:50:07]that's something, you could also look at, very closely, and, see if there's something, that you could do, with that, and, yeah, so I would recommend, if you want to do that or go to work for the government, 23, two years, isn't that long.
[00:50:19]it sounds like you graduated and the mid nineties, so you still have another 20 plus years of your career. there's lots of things you can do. I'm always hesitant though. When someone tells me they want to leave a small, like a, their own practice, because it's very difficult to establish a practice.
[00:50:34] So it's something that I would think about. Okay. So let's see the next question. I'm a two out at a lower ranked law school, although I'm not at the very top of my class, I wrote onto my school's flagship law review. Are these factors enough to satisfy your second role? one performed in law school?
[00:50:52] Yeah. So being a law reviews. Good. you should throw yourself into that. That teaches a lot of. how to be a very good writer and pay attention in a new shy [00:51:00] and, keep her language tight and to check citations. All those are very good skills for an attorney to have, being a lower ranked law school, again is not something that should ever stop you.
[00:51:11]the most important factor is going to be the amount of business you have in your commitment. but yeah, I think, being on, Law review is definitely helpful. And then, to the extent you can get very good jobs in the summer. so it looks like you're two hours. So you can work with a very good attorney or you can get a clerkship of federal clerkship or judicial clerkship is always helpful because you can learn directly from a judge, and get really good training.
[00:51:33] That could be helpful too. okay. Let's see. I read an article you wrote on law cross. Recently, title is a bad to be part of it. Part of her join, affirm with high turn