2022.04.27 - 10 Factors That Matter to Big Law Firms More Than Your Law School
[00:00:00] Okay, so I'm going to get started. So this is a topic today is a very interesting topic to me because I think that a lot of people assume that the law school they went to is really one of the most important things in their job search and something that law firms will pay a lot of attention to.
And that really matters a lot. And and to some extent the law school you went to is important in certainly it does show a lot. It shows that you were able to get into that law school. It shows to your, if you work went to a really good law school, it shows you probably test very well.
It also shows that which means you're smart and it also shows you may have the better of the law school. Typically you may have gone through a very good college and worked very hard to unwell there. And so there's a presumption that you will continue. I work very hard as an attorney and and outperform your peers.
So there's a lot of things that matter about law schools, but ultimately when you get out into the business market it doesn't really matter that [00:01:00] much. And it becomes less and less important. And in fact it's so unimportant that I had an incident yesterday where I was talking to someone that's in-house counsel for our company and happened to go to not a top law school, but a good law school.
And, but I literally didn't even know where the person went to law school and I hired them, but it wasn't something that I really thought about. I hired them for other factors and and then realized, when I looked at their resume, I was very impressed that they gone to this good law school or, or how well they'd done in this law school.
That was, not a top 50 law school or maybe top 25, I don't know, but it wasn't, sending out like a top five law school. So that would show you that someone that talks about law schools for a living isn't really even aware of the person's law school and I hire attorneys for a living and and help law firms do it.
And so that, that kind of gives you an indication of how important the law school matters compared to other factors. I This particular person's background, they had a one job since graduating law school. They've been at the same place for 15 years, had gone [00:02:00] through they've done very well in college and law school, but, th they may not have gone to the top law school.
So it's not always the most important thing. And I'll talk a lot about that today. Another thing that I think that, you need to understand about law schools is that I'm sure that you've know people personally, that went to. Ivy league colleges or, really good schools or maybe went to very good private high schools or very good colleges or and then even very good law schools that aren't doing that well on their career.
And so the school you went to typically matters and has some bearing on different things. But it's obviously not the most important thing people become successful in life and in their careers because of things that men don't always have to do with schools. The school is shows you can get into the school.
It doesn't mean that you can succeed as a lawyer. That's ludicrous. You may have candidate, you may have characteristics that are different based on the school. Have different characteristics and things about you that are really good [00:03:00] that a school isn't necessarily controlling for.
I'm going to talk about today, like how the law school, you went to may open a few doors or right after you graduate and. But, that there's some very important other things that are going to determine the course of your career. They're going to be things like your work ethic, your practice area, meaning you know, what you do, and your specialty, how your personality your reputation and belong to your out of school.
The less matters because people are seeing other things in your background, meaning what you do and what you've done and how you've taken advantage of opportunities or not, and how long you stay in places you work and all these different things. And and in a lot of cases, the law school, you went to can be a detriment.
So it's hard to believe, but the law school, even if you went to a good law school, it can actually hurt you. And it can hurt you in the long run and it can also help you. But and I'll talk about how it can hurt you a little bit later, but it can hurt you based on if you went to a really good law school, it makes it hard many times for you to [00:04:00] get into the firms where people think you might think you're bad, or it creates a sense of entitlement that makes you very unappealing.
When you get inside of different employers, especially for not large employers, it makes people more competitive with you that may not have gone to those law schools. And so it can and then they're looking to knock you down a wrong. I have no reason to be knocked down. So there's all sorts of things that a law school could do that ended up hurting you that you need to be aware of.
And and if you did go to a good law school now the real benefit I would say, and this is this is a major benefit is, w you wonder why people compete so much to go to the best schools, like why is going to a good school important or why is working at a big firm important for that matter?
Why is going to a good college important? Why are these things important? And the reason they're important is actually for you specifically for a couple of reasons, but the first is that it shows that you can you were able to get into a place like that. And and that's very good.
[00:05:00] And it shows that you were able to it depending on how well you did there and able to do well against other very competitive people. But the big thing that happens when you go to a good school is that you're surrounded with people that have very high expectations for themselves. And those expectations and way of thinking about things will rub off on you.
So if you go to Yale law school, you may think that working in a big firm, it's not the be all and end all, and that, it took a thing to work at a big firm, but you would rather work at the state department and become a career a politician or a, or you would rather become a law professor or clerk on the Supreme court, and then go work in public interest.
I You'll pick up different ways of thinking about the world and things that will lead to maybe a better career, because you'll be comparing yourself to people that are doing those sorts of things. And if you go to a local school. No, the best thing that may be for you is to work at a big firm in your city.
You're more likely to be hear about different things. And I'll tell you one quick example. That's funny is when I [00:06:00] was in when I was in seventh grade, I went to a a public school in a suburb of Detroit and and at the public school when I started, I went and visited a lot of kids over the summers that I, when I moved to another area, went to a different school.
These kids were talking about how, mailman made, you could make $25 an hour doing this. You'd make a lot of money as a firefighter, or if you worked in a factory, you'd make this much. And so that was their goals and that's what they were all talking about and what they aspire to because of the group they were in.
And I was at happened to go to a school where I don't want them to be lawyers and doctors, and it become large and doctors and things like that just as I did, but and, got MBAs and all that. But so the people you around will often determine what happens to you, which I think is very interesting and that's what the schools do because they set goals.
And thanks for that. And and even I went to university of Chicago and for college and literally one of the smartest guys, I knew it was like two or three years, a couple years ahead of me. Got into I [00:07:00] don't know you got into Stanford and like good law schools.
Like he got into Chicago for law school and he got into Harvard and he chose university of Virginia. And I was like, why in the world with this guy? And cause I, but he had all these convincing reasons, like for it that it was a nice atmosphere or you'd be around nice people like you would, it was cheaper at the time.
It was like, like half the price of other schools. I dunno, you'd have less dads. You had all these really compelling reasons for why I go to school there. And he happened to be my girlfriend at the time ex boyfriend. So I was like, all right, I'm going to show. And he ended up going there. So I'm like, all right, I'm going to show her that I go there too.
So that became a goal, but I was surrounded by people that thought like that. Whereas if I hadn't and then when I was in law school, I was there was the girl that I really liked that went to work that I was also very competitive with, that went to work at a law firm called three Ballantine, which was a good firm at that time.
And and then when I had an opportunity to work there I also after I started working at another firm, went there. So the people you're around well will often [00:08:00] determine what happens to you because you will set goals based on what what they want to do. And and and that, that can be.
Very powerful when you're motivated by your peer. So that's one of the good things about law schools. But other than that today I'm going to talk about the things that aren't the most important thing. A lot of times people think they deserve a special treatment after having attended one of them.
I run across people all the time that are so confused. Why aren't I getting jobs? Why aren't, why isn't this happening to me? Why aren't I getting paid more? Because I went to this great law school. And when you get out into the real world, what happens is you're basically judged by your ability to provide value to employers and not necessarily on the fact that you were able to go to a good law school.
And and these sorts of things that the value you provide and how good you look to employers is much more important than the neath of the, necessarily at the law school you went to your, anybody can, you can go to a good law school and not be a good attorney, which is very possible.
If you act like you [00:09:00] went to be, you went to a good law school and you think it's important and you act like that to people higher up than you are different positions. They will crush you. They will be they will show you that you're not better than them. They will figure out ways to criticize you.
No matter what you can give you poor reviews, they'll give you bad assignments. They will do all sorts of things. And and then your law school will actually be something that leads to you, not doing well instead of something that helps you. Very important to understand by your law school.
And again, the law school you went to matters, but it's not going to matter forever. It's just a way to distinguish you were when you got out of school. So think about it this way, when you're in, when you're in law school you're one of 25 to 30,000 people, whatever the current number is people that are in law school at the time.
And coming out of law school chairs of 30,000 people are coming out of law school each year. There's only so many ways the top law firms can compare you to other graduates and law school. And then your grades at that law school are [00:10:00] really yet. So if you go to a top five law school, you're obviously going to look better on paper than if you went to a new law school, ranked 10 to 15, and people are going to think higher view.
But after that it's not going to be as relevant at all. And there's a lot more important factors that people are going to look at. And and so I'm going to talk about those today. And I just, again, I can't tell you how much the law school you went to matters in the real world. I. If somebody went to Yale law school or Stanford or something, or Chicago, I'm certainly going to be like, wow, and look at it.
And, but but for the most part, employers are going to be interested and a lot of other factors behind besides that. And and that, the important thing about understanding these factors is that if you did go to a good law school you're going to understand how employers view you and why it, you had the law school, you went to it doesn't matter as much as you may think it does and why you need to concentrate your efforts on other things.
And then if you didn't go to a good law school you're going to understand why you need to emphasize these other things in your career. And that's what we're going to [00:11:00] cover as well. And then again, the busking went to shows how smart you are. It shows that you can take the lsit and do well.
I should probably have good grades in college and other things. And again, these are important. Being a good student is an important part of being a good attorney. Being smart will determine the results your clients get. And we'll determine in many cases whether or not you do consumer-facing work or which doesn't often require as much smarts, or if you do a very high level work on behalf of, companies finding complex antitrust allegations and so forth.
Again the job of an attorney matters when you get into law school another thing I would say, and this is actually a funny point. I shouldn't bring it up. When I was in when I was in law school there were I heard about, and people that used to take the El Safford people.
Meaning, they, you, if you wanted to get an 180 in your old stats, there were people that would do that for you. Now, I don't know if that was happening when I was in school, but but we had we had, people talking to other people that [00:12:00] had known people that had gotten into law school years previously with other people taking the outset.
The point is that you can go to a lot of cases. You used to be able to go to schools where, and when I took y'all sat, I think I actually got fingerprinted and had to show my ID. So it certainly wasn't a my time, but when, but the point is that used to be able to basically go to any school.
And if you did really well at mail SATs and had high grades, you could major in lots of things and get into a good law school. So I've had people working for me that went to literally top five and 10 law schools. That majored in just things advertising or, things like that at a very bad colleges.
And so you can get into a good law school many times based on your hats, good grades. And so it does show something, but not a ton. You can even go to one guy that worked for me, it was funny. He went to a community college for two years. Then he went to. Berkeley and took the easiest classes.
He could finally possibly take when he transferred for a year. And so he had a 4.0, when you got into Harvard law school. Now he did very well on the offsets. He was a [00:13:00] very smart guy and he learned a lot from me. He went to a firm and stayed there and now he's a partner. But you really didn't have any extracurricular activities.
All you need is a few things you can go to a good law school, if you Michigan, Columbia, NYU, and many other schools, if you can do well on mail Saturday and used to be, there were people that would have other people take daily tasks. So I think it's very funny, but it certainly hasn't happened in decades.
So my experience though, the most important the smartest attorneys are generally very smart, they're good at figuring out complex problems that win cases and get deals done. And and th L sat test your ability to puzzles and fact patterns and things. These are all very important parts of being an attorney.
And they make a big difference. And and so if you have the smarts to get into a good law school you know how to do puzzles and figure out fact patterns, how to read a lot of things and get to the truth. And so they all, set's important. And the reason I'm talking about L set so much, just because it's something that I don't want to discount going to a good law school.
It's something that if you can do very [00:14:00] well and they all sat and you get good grades in college and so forth. And then it does have some bearing on the type of attorney you can be meaning in the ER in that point in time. But you know that you have the skills. But the thing is that going to a good law school really is not the most important thing.
And I just want people to understand that the other thing to understand too, is that, some people. When they're young. Especially in there. And when they're in college, they may be going to fraternity parties every day or I don't know, not every day, but going out all the time, like I knew a lot of people, they may be not on a sports team, but on the lead team.
I Who knows, and so people are often different people when they get out of law school, even if they didn't go to a good law school, just because of some bad choices they made when they were literally 1920. And then and then 10 years later after you get out of law school, you could be a completely different type of person in terms of your intelligence and all sorts of things.
So even if you didn't do well in the offsets, even if you didn't get into a good law school, none of that's to mean that your abilities as an attorney are [00:15:00] written in stone, but there are, there is truth to it that all these things do matter. So the first thing that employers look at when they're hiring you which in my opinion is really the most important thing is your previous on the job training.
So that's much more important than law school. The reason it is because depending on the type of law firm you go to that law firm, may I do a excellent job training its attorneys, and I'm having very high expectations for you. And the longer you're there, the more that firm's going to REL it, the more people in the market are going to realize that you are probably rising to that level and doing well, especially if you're being advanced there.
If you're able to get a job w out of law school with a major law firm most law firms really, if you go to a third tier law school, and you could a job with a major law firm the next firm that looks at you probably isn't going to be that concerned about You know your law school, they're just not, especially if it's a top law firm there, just because the fact that you went to that law school means something, but what really is going to make a difference [00:16:00] is the type of people that you're around in that law firm. So just keep in mind that what I said earlier, when I talked about how I chose a law school and how I chose a firm to work at the people you're around will set the goals for you.
And they'll set your they'll set your expectations in terms of the type of the type of work that's required from you and the, how thorough you're supposed to be. And and all that sort of thing. And I have a kind of a funny story, which I don't it well, I'll tell it.
And it's when I was practicing law, I was there was a attorney in my From named John Vandy camp, who's no longer alive, but he was the attorney general of the state of California fornia, which is what's a very big deal. And he was a very well-known attorney. And and then he came to work at this firm.
I was at do we bound time? And it didn't have a lot of clients, but he did have some you mean he did have clients, he would give to the firm, but he had a friend that owned an insurance firm in Massachusetts. And if somebody came out here, and got in a car accident then they would have a case and he [00:17:00] would give these cases to associates to get trial experience and things, even though that's not the kind of work they did it doing mountain time.
And so I would I had some cases with him and I had this one case where you went into a an arbitration and I was with, against the, all of these attorneys that had previously done that did nothing but auto accidents that were suing my client. And and when they were all clubby and just did things the way they wanted to if you follow the law, like in order to introduce documents and evidence and things you had to you had to file them beforehand and then you had to, I don't have the verification or something.
They had to do all these processes. And so I was up against two or three people that were suing my client and not a single one of them had filed this. And so I got into this arbitration and and I just move for them not to be able to introduce the documents. They couldn't believe it, no one had ever done this with them.
And and and then I had these. B as counterclaims that I brought against some. And when I say BS, they were legitimate counterclaims, but they were, specious. They were, [00:18:00] things like I dunno, but it was from an auto accident and I asked for five or $600,000. And and and so all my documents were admitted and because they didn't have any documents, the only thing the arbitrary could do was award my client $600,000 damages.
This was like a mandatory arbitration. So what that means is. All the other side had to do. And there were three sets of attorneys was filed a motion to vacate the arbitrators award, which means just not accept it within 10 days of the judgment to which I got, which are 10 days of the arbitrators ruling.
And so I got this 10 days went by and they forgot to file it all three sides, which was just absolutely incredible. So I filed the motion to confirm the arbitrator's award and and and the court granted it actually, no, the actual I filed the motion to confirm the arbitrator's award.
And the other side couldn't believe it. Cause again, these are a clubby thing and no one was following the rules. And and then the other [00:19:00] side they, the all these insurance attorneys got together and their defense was that one of them had asked her secretary to prepare and file a motion on her behalf and sign her name vacated the award, but the secretary forgot.
And then they submitted a declaration from the secretary that the secretary forgot, which I couldn't believe. So then I of course came back. And so this is unauthorized practice of law and all that stuff. But the point is, what's very funny about this whole thing is like there's certain attorneys like that are very good and follow at different types of firms and a good firms.
And before that, I worked at Quinn Emanuel. Do things and there's attorneys that don't necessarily do things in a very uncareful way when these attorneys, for filing emotions that were misspellings and page breaks that were inappropriate and things. And so the point is that you learn depending on the firm, you go to different types of habits and ways of practicing law.
Now, this was obviously the lowest form of practice these people were involved in, [00:20:00] but if you work in a major firm for three or four years, or even a good midsize or very good boutique firm, you're going to pick up those skills. And that's going to say something about your legal abilities. I certainly probably wouldn't have learned all this had I just been a solo practitioner working in a small firm where that stuff wasn't expected or the type of firm that I was up against me.
So auto accident case. And that's the things you learn when you're in a firm. So when you have these names on your resume and people know something about your firm, that's what it says about you. It says a lot more than your law school because someone that works at Latham Milwaukeeans or Skadden or from like that.
It's going to be much more defined based on that then the firm they worked at it's much more important. And and certainly a major law firm working there it's important and being trained by someone who's well known is also very important. So if you work directly for someone with very good boss applications who also has a major from training, that's also a very good thing.
So there are solo practitioners that might've been partners at a major law firm in the [00:21:00] past. And they might have been a Kirkland or something, I don't know, but and now they're solo practitioners and and if you work for them for several years, even if you didn't go to a good law school, people are going to assume that you understand and picked up their habits as well.
And so that's very important and and being well-trained. And so the training you get is very important and every clerkship with a federal judge is considered the training. If that federal judges is well-regarded and others, different levels of federal judges, there's ones that, people, most of them are considered very good.
Getting a federal district court clerkship is good because those judges are typically from pretty rigorous legal backgrounds. They're not all, of course a magistrate is not as good because they, it's not a lifetime appointment and there's a, it's an application process and it's just a different type of clerkship, but it's still a good thing.
And and then of course, an appellate clerkship, those tend to be federal judges with a little more intellectual [00:22:00] firepower, not always, but sometimes and then of course, Supreme court and so forth. Is also a good form of training. Working with individuals that are training you where you're expected to rise up to their their experience level and so forth, this is very good working in the patent trademark office is also very good for a lot of patent attorneys or but not always depending on the type of work you do or the prosecutor's office and the us attorney's office, it's also highly valued because they typically have very high qualifications for the attorneys that work there.
So the important thing to understand is that the type of people that you work with and your experience with those people, it matters a lot more than necessarily the the people that you may be. Th the law school you with too, because that training and ways of thinking about legal matters and so forth, and especially in your practice area is much more important than how well you were able to test in law school, because now people can go into firms and be pushed out because they have a bad attitude because they're not [00:23:00] doing good at doing work because they don't work hard enough because they're sloppy because they who knows they have weird attendance policies.
And and so that can matter as well. The other thing that's very important is how well you did in law school. If you do well in law school, and you're at the top of your class the prestige of where you went starts to matter very little after you've been out a while, but and people like it when people, even from smaller law schools or, less strategic spot schools were at the very top of their class, but they were like, you don't have to be a valedictorian, but if you're like one of the top 10 students, or there's something impressive like that, people like that, cause it shows.
We're able to work very hard and you, your legal reasoning ability and test taking was at the top of the people you were working with. And and most law schools, if you did okay. Within reason they don't care as much about where you went to law school as and as is a lot of other is a might normally.
But they do care. I've seen people that went to very good law schools, like university Chicago that did very poorly there and couldn't get hired. So it's[00:24:00] it's you certainly have to perform in law school. And I think your performance in law school shows your drive, your commitment, your and a lot of other things that that may not necessarily be as important and that are very important that people take seriously.
So it's just something to think about. The other thing is your practice area. So your practice area is very important in the practice area that you're in will determine in many cases how marketable you are. I speak with attorneys all the time from top law schools and and sample here is someone from caravan that was went to a top law school and they're practicing corporate law for three years, but not interested in being a corporate attorney anymore.
You said that being a corporate attorney was like being a glorified clerk, which is a line that I've always remembered, I think is interesting, but he said it's not interesting. It's much busy work and completely on enjoyable for that person. It was. So he wanted to switch to litigation, but this isn't, that sort of drive is not going to go over well.
Because why would a large law firm hire someone in a practice here they're not currently doing? People do not. Our law [00:25:00] firms are not going to be it's interesting. It's interested in someone that wants to switch practice areas as they are in someone that's currently doing the practice area.
I If you were a law firm and you had just say you were you had an environmental opening for an environmental attorney and and you got a hundred applicants from people, just very interested in this job. And one of them was a corporate attorney. Why would you hire the person that's not even doing that practice here?
I just, I don't get it, but people do this all the time. Now that's not to say the law firm might not be interested if it was, but if you were moving down in terms of prestige level, are you taking a lot of independent? I don't know, but there's it's very hard. So a lot of times in your practice area law firms do not want to experiment with you if it looks like you you have you don't have a lot of commitment to your practice here.
So I'd like to see commitment to your practice here. And then there's also a lot of practice here is where you need to have business. And so when you get senior as a litigator, it's very important to have business. And there's not much you can do to stay employed and a lot of large law firms if you don't have business if you, when you continue to [00:26:00] litigate her, but you can, I there, if you find the right firm with a lot of large institutional clients and litigation but this particular attorney I was talking about and from could get a job, literally, probably hundreds a hundred.
When I say hundreds, hundreds of law firms in New York city, if they really want, if he wanted to doing corporate, but not in litigation, ' cause they're litigators everywhere. I like to say that they're essentially coming out of the walls. And the reason I say that I like that saying is because every neighborhood I've ever lived in there's always been and I've lived in a lot.
I think I've had, I don't know how many houses but a lot, like probably eight or nine, I don't know what the number is, but there's always been litigators somewhere, a few doors down from me or on my streaming, they're just everywhere. So there and this includes even where I grew up, there's just there, they're all over the place.
It's just it's actually pretty funny. They're just so many litigators. Then they're on every street. If you're walking down the street and most major cities and there's 30 or 40 people, they also pretty, one of them is a [00:27:00] litigator. So the practice area you're ran matters.
There's not a lot of corporate attorneys compared to play. There's not a lot of there's not a lot of attorneys and a lot of practice areas. So some practice areas, patent law, there's not a lot of patent attorneys. So if you're in patent law, that's much more important than where you went to law school, most patent attorneys, by the way, do not go to good law schools because when they're applying to law school, they're engineers and they're already making a lot of money.
So they go to night school and do things like that. And then they and those typically aren't the best law schools, or if they don't go to night school, they they typically don't go to the best law schools because they're engineers. They don't have the best grades comparing them. If you go to, some college and you major in I don't know, anthropology and sit around writing about.
Different hats or whatever. That's one article. I remember riding her an anthropology class, a different colored hats that people were in different cultures. It's you're, it's much easier to get A's than it is if you're taking classes and physics or whatever.
So that the point is that patent law there's not a lot of patent attorneys. You have to [00:28:00] major in a science discipline in order to even take the patent bar. And and there's very few people that do those, there's even fewer that you hard sciences, which are physics, computer science, electrical engineering and then there's there's soft, there's biology and stuff's a lot more common, but so there's not a lot of patent turns.
I don't know it's a very low percentage of attorneys, less than 5% that are even eligible to take the patent bar. And they're not a boast, very few that do it's a completely separate exam. Then there's a risk setting, executive compensation. There's not a lot of attorneys in this practice area.
So even senior attorneys without a business can get business there. And and if you have solid experience in that, you can get jobs fairly easily. It's not that hard. I always I placed people with 20 years of experience for 30 years and the business. So it's just, it's important.
Same thing in patent law now, corporate same thing corporate attorneys Place people from Australia in the us, but I've never been to the U S but they, they get jobs that police people and from working in [00:29:00] Chicago, in Hong Kong, it just are people working in. San Francisco and London.
It's just when you're corporate you can get a lot of jobs. And and so that's a very, when the markets cut and I place people in three person law firms in suburban New Jersey and 1000 person law firms in Palo Alto. I It's just, you can move around a lot if you're a corporate attorney when the market's active and and when it gets very hot you can do very well.
And that to turn that's much more important to law schools from where you went to to law firms where you went to law school and and I'm in corporates hot, it does well when it's slow nothing can happen. So one of the ways to think about law schools that I think is interesting when you compare corporate litigation's.
As, because there's so many litigators out there and again, they're coming out of the walls. There's, they're everywhere. They're probably almost, if you take a street of middle-class or upper-middle-class people at anywhere in America and just probably one on there, there's just, there's some, so many of them.[00:30:00]
And the point is that because there's so many litigators and in order to get a job, a lot of times you need to distinguish yourself somehow. So that may be being a niche of litigation, which is, will help you, or having very good law schools. And that's one of the biggest things. So to get a job at a big firm, the big firms, a lot of times, they're going to want to see things like order a coy and clerkships and big firms and all this stuff, because there's a, because there's just so many litigators, they need some way to distinguish you.
Just like when you come into law school, they want to see there's so many new law school graduates. They want to see all this stuff, but comparatively with corporate, there's just not a lot of corporate attorneys. So you ha you can, you have a much better chance of getting a position as a corporate attorney without a top law school than you would have.
So litigated without that real estate is another one. When the market's good, it can be very good. When it's strong the law firms, again, care very little about schools they really will not they don't even talk about it. It's not, now if you didn't go to a good law school and you're not doing good, [00:31:00] important real estate work, now they may be interested.
They may bring that up. But at the most part, they're not paying a lot of attention to it. Same thing with healthcare. They're not going to pay a lot of attention to your law school and and when this market's active, but firms, aren't going to have a lot of questions about your law school. Same thing with immigration most immigration attorneys Didn't go to good law schools.
And that it's like that because when you're working in consumer facing businesses, so consumer facing businesses are things like personal injury or immigration or consumer bankruptcy or representing people with construction disputes about their house, lemon law attorneys. So all of these sorts of things the average consumer that comes into a a law firm that they may have seen advertise on the side of a bus is not going to be concerned about where you went to law school.
The funny thing is this is actually very funny. And in Los Angeles the largest personal injury firms like there's one call. I'm trying to think of the name. There's a bunch of them, but there's one called yeah. What is it [00:32:00] called? I dunno, but the largest two or three of the largest personal injury firms are the people that work there are actually from Skadden.
Like they bought the name and they were junior attorneys at Skadden and then they do it. But, and then he went to Harvard for law school. It was very funny, but the point is that if you are in a consumer facing practice area, most consumers, someone that is Who's arm is soda off by a Hacksaw or something, or an automatic saw.
And assuming the sock company is not walking in and asking where you went to law school, they don't care as much. So criminal laws, the same thing it, they don't law firms do not really care about it. And same thing. We're trusting the state, your average trust in the state's client. Isn't walking in to have their will done and concerned about where you went to law school.
These are things that are a big deal for law firms that are doing, working for know huge institutional clients that have that have where you're, where they want to see that. One thing I would just say about practice area as well, just as a final point is if you're working [00:33:00] in a practice area where you're doing work for large corporations and things of that sort, those large corporations are likely to have in-house counsel in an order to pass the beauty test of those firms.
It's always a good idea to have a a really good law firm on your, a really good law school on your resume, just because it makes you look a little bit more desirable and fancier to the in-house counsel, but it doesn't always matter.
So this is the next one, about how long you can stay employed. You stay employed in your legal jobs and your stability is one of my favorites that law firms and smart law firms care about this and law firms that, that aren't as smart, may not care about it as much.
But I think this, in my opinion is Honestly, one of the, if not the most important thing that matters more than where you went to law school and I'll tell you why just real briefly w when someone has been stable with a law firm, especially a good one for a long period of time, that says a [00:34:00] lot, it says a lot about the person, and it says about how their work is received.
So if someone is moving around between law firms many times to move it around, because they're not getting along with people in their firm, they're moving around because their work isn't good and people aren't giving them work, they're moving around because they don't know what they want.
So they may think, oh, I want to work at this type of firm. They may actually be just unhappy practicing law. They may be unfit for working as an attorney or working as an attorney for other people. They may not enjoy what they're doing. They may have substance abuse problems that where they get, and they get pushed out because the law firm realizes that they have these issues or, and there are, they leave when they're discovered they may not be able to not really doing good work compared to other attorneys.
And then they pick up on that. They may Just be people that are just unhappy. Some are, can't settle down. There are people that will move [00:35:00] between relationships. They'll just continually find a new person and then a new person, or there are people that are never friends with the same people for a long period of time.
They may make a good friend and then, make another good friend, get rid of that friend. And so they're just, these are characteristics that not people have. And and there's nothing wrong with that. But from a law firm standpoint if you have issues with your stability and you get itchy feet or things all the time, then the same thing's going to happen with the next firm.
So the point is a law firm sees that they are not making a good business decision by investing in you. And by keeping you around compared to someone that's like good to stay in place. There's other people like, like we're like I run a a legal placement firm and and people want things to be steady.
They want to think, okay, like this is how it works with with with a law firm candidate that I'm working to get a law firm job, but it's always changing. There's always going to be new ways of doing things. And some people do not want to change. And so then [00:36:00] people that don't want to change will leave when the environment doesn't match what they want.
It's funny that I've seen. I always see, like at these major law firms and attorneys come talk to me and sometimes these law firms have been around over a hundred years. People will say, oh, I'm leaving because morale's really low. Or I'm leaving because I don't like these changes these personnel. I saw one guy come and I was at this meeting with with another recruiter and and he was complaining because Winston Strawn was no longer paying for parking in the same parking garage and made people.
Moved to a different parking garage and he needed to find a new job. That's not a good investment. If you're an attorney, if you're a law firm for someone that's leaving their firm because of a parking garage, imagine how many little things you could do to upset them. There are people that will go to a firm and stay at that firm and be there through thick and thin no matter what.
And and they will only leave. Conditions become so intolerable that there's no way that they could possibly find a Newfoundland. Th [00:37:00] there's no way they can possibly remain there because maybe the law firms breaking the law. I Who knows. And but the point is that's the way attorneys, good attorneys the people that want to be high if law firms want to keep people around that are likely to stick with a law firm through thick and thin we'll commit to the job, commit to the clients B, be there and be committed and be able to weather the ups and downs and get along with different types of people.
And not be let go when things when there's problems. So if you have stability in a law firm, that, and the reason I'm just want you to understand what is important. It says to future employers that when you do need a job, that you are likely to be billing the hours you should be, you're likely to be getting the work you sh you're like at the beginning work, you're likely to be getting along with other people.
You're likely to be someone that they can trust with their clients, because you're going to commit and stay there. That you're the kind of person that is socially and your, whatever, your psychological makeup is a good fit for the [00:38:00] firm and for the people and getting along that you don't have ego issues that upset you and make you leave, that you don't have issues that interfere with your job, that you're wanting to do the things that the policy of the firm needs and things.
And this is not what people want to hear, especially Americans. This is a very independent culture. But if you do those things and people see that in your resume, when you are looking for a job, they're going to know you're really good. And and I've in my, it's interesting to me, like every recruiter I've hired hundreds, I don't know, but thousands of people, but recruit legal recruiters that have hired.
It's very interesting. The ones that have hired in the past, if somebody worked, had worked at the previous job eight years before they came to work at our company, like a recruiter and a lawyer they will typically stay with our company eight or nine years. I had another person that I hired. My first two hires were a woman that had worked at our first firm, eight years and or her last job, eight years.
And the next job, the second hire was someone that worked at a job 14 years. The one that worked there eight years stayed at our [00:39:00] company like maybe 10 years. The one that had worked 14 years stayed maybe 16 years. People repeat these patterns. And in the interim, there was probably a hundred other people hired that had worked like one or two years at affirm.
And those people all stayed one or two years. And so that's, if you are people have patterns and they follow those patterns and they almost have built in time clocks. They find fault with a company at the law firm they're working with. And and it's just the way it works. And so if you're a law firm, you're much better off and just think about yourself, what you would want.
You're better off hiring people that are likely to stay. And some people will go into any organization and get along well with people and people will like them and we'll do a good job and other people won't and they'll have the opposite experience. If you consistently are the sort of person that goes into a position at states or a long time law firms like that, and it means you're likely to stay in your next job a long time and law firms know what they're doing.
We'll value that much more than your law school because the stability is valuable for the other practice, things like your [00:40:00] practice here and training are in place. And and those. That are able to go into a job and stay there. That's much more important than a law school. Who would you hot?
If you're a growing firm or you're afar, I who do you want dealing with your clients? Do you want someone dealing with their clients? That's going to be there a year and then six months into their job is going to suddenly get unhappy and see things they don't like, and then not commit and look, start billing fewer hours and not provide the clients the right service.
Or do you want someone that, after a year it's going to be all in after two years and beyond, and that's really how much more important than the fact of where you went to law school. That's a character issue it's and people get unlucky. I'm not not coming to your defense if you've left a lot of firms and certainly those explanations and and you can join places where there's problems and where all the partners in your practice group leave and stuff, but it's important for more senior attorneys when you get five or six more years out of law school if you start getting business your law school becomes almost irrelevant.
It's to the point that it [00:41:00] becomes people are just looking at the numbers, think about it. If you're a law firm and someone comes to you and they say I went to Duke law school. And I graduated from there 10 years ago and I'm a corporate attorney, but I don't have any business.
And then if another person comes through and they say I went to university of Missouri law school. I've got tenure as a corporate experience and I've got a million dollars in business. If you're a law firm and and that million dollars in business is going to matter a lot more than the law school, because they can pay you a percentage of that business and you're throwing off profit, whereas the 10th year attorney without any business they're going to have to give you work.
And while your law school looks nice, like they can put that badge on there, on the bios and stuff. It's not really the most important thing. So the business is hugely important. The more senior you get it, it's there's so many people out there that went to great law schools and that's all they talked about.
But when you get business, you're showing that you understand the business [00:42:00] side of practicing law, that you understand what's important to law firms that you are able to basically be in the independent and not relying on others. And and that becomes a very important, much more important than the law school you went to.
The next thing is your reputation. Your reputation in the market is important. The longer you've been practicing law the more the better off you're going to, you're more, your reputation matters. I work with attorneys all the time in major markets. Like it doesn't matter the market, it could be New York or Los Angeles or Chicago or Miami, and people know of the reputation of those attorneys.
So if you have. A very good reputation and the law firm feels good about your reputation and your practice here. And they know of you from the from the market. They're going to really, they're going to be interested in hiring you. I worked at a firm once. I've worked at the first one I worked at was Quinn Emanuel and and I remember a guys whose office I was next to was he went to Loyola law [00:43:00] school.
And at the time Quinn was only hiring people from, top 10 law schools. And I went to Virginia and was like the first person I ever hired from there. And everyone else's had gone to like Harvard and Stanford and Yale and all this stuff at the time. There was this much smaller law firm. But this guy was hired out of Loyola law school because he'd been in a trial and had a good reputation in the market and neutrality as a partner.
And the partner was like, we got to bring this guy on board because he's that good? So the point is that the longer you're practicing in a market and the better your reputation and or attorney to know about you. The less likely your law school is gonna matter. And this guy, again, went to Loyola in Los Angeles.
It was a good law school, but it certainly was not one of these top five law schools that, that law firm that all are hiring from at the moment at the time. And and I get calls all the time. Like when I working with candidates, sometimes the law firm will just call up and they'll say, we'd love this person and we will look, we'd love to meet with them and they'll meet with them.
And it's pretty much when they call like that, you already know they're going to hire them. [00:44:00] They'll say we're already familiar with them. We're so excited to get them. And so this happens all the time. So if you have a good reputation in the market, don't for a moment underestimate how important that is because the, it doesn't really matter what law school you went to.
I. I had one woman hired in Washington, DC, not too long ago, she was in a big practice here, like a very niche practice. I don't remember if it was a risk or executive compensation was something like that. And and basically she was submitted to the firm and and then the firm does call up and said, yeah, we'd like her, we'd love to make her an offer.
And I was like, we hadn't even met with her. And they made her an offer and it was a big, big job. I think she was making 350 or 400,000 a year. So Bob's firms will, if you have a good reputation, I already know who you are. They're happy to talk to you, but they're really very interested in hiring you make times.
And this is what happened with this firm. And it doesn't matter what law school you went to the law school you went to when you have a good reputation can really make a big difference. And yeah, this is a trial. Maybe that's [00:45:00] slowly a little person in this example. So it's very important.
The longer you've been out of. Bosco and people understand know your reputation and respect you. And you're nice to people Indian in a professional way. Then people will like you and you'll let me know and you'll get hired out regardless of your law school. Your interest in your practice here and involved in your community.
The reason I bring this up is because lots of people are not that interested in what they do. Lots of people are not out there and active in the community. There are attorneys out there and you may be one of them that will get very involved in their local bar association. Some of them will teach classes.
Others will go out and speak at seminars and they'll write articles and sometimes law review articles or other types of articles, or and give all these presentations and do all these things. And so if you do enough of this you become well-known among other attorneys, and this helps you your community involvement will make in your not people's knowledge of you.
And I guess that's reflection and reputation as well, but it, it [00:46:00] matters. It's if you're say you're a trademark attorney and Madison, Wisconsin, and and you've written all these articles about trademark law and given all these presentations and done all this stuff, and you have this incredibly deep interests, maybe authored a text in a chapter in a textbook about trademark law.
People are going to take a look at your practice in your bondman. And they're going to say, wow, this person seemed very interested in this compared to other attorneys in Madison, and you'll have a very good chance of getting hired. And it's much more important than your law school the, your expertise and commitment to your practice here.
And it starts mattering a lot more the longer you're out. And there's a lot of people that are just going through the motions. They go to work, they do their job, that's it. And there's other people that go to work and and they're very interested in what they do and they're passionate about it.
And they work on it hard and that helps them the longer they're out. And and who would you want if you were hiring an attorney, would you want one who's out there and very active in their practice here? Why not just think about it? Your involvement in your community, your involvement in your practice [00:47:00] area and bar associations, and so far shows your commitment to practicing line has shows that you're likely to stick around and and that you're likely to you're someone that's going to look good to their clients and probably attract clients.
And there's just a lot to it. So that's much more important than having someone that went to a top five law school, and that's all they have in the resume or someone who has all this stuff. It looks very good. Really separates you from the pack and makes you look much better. So if I was, if I had an opening for a.
For someone doing environmental litigation, I would be much elicit what other practice? Environmental it's fine. I would be very interested in someone that just says they're an environmental litigator and went to a top law school or S than someone who didn't necessarily go to a top law school, but is involved in all the environmental committees.
And maybe they've been environmental stuff in a government and they've written lots of important papers or, textbooks and stuff. I'll be much more interested in them. The world's full of people that don't know what they want to do. And anything that shows [00:48:00] your commitment matters. This one your look, stress and personality is a sort of thing that would get me that gets me in trouble for talking about because people think it's horrible to say that this is a true, so if you that somehow you can be a slob and not shave or let yourself go and not shower and stuff and be expected to compete and dress horrible, clothes that are ripped and things, and expect that you can compete with people that are the opposite of that.
And I'm sorry, but that's not true. And I'm an observer of this and not the cause. What I will tell you is I see this daily. If I see someone who went to a fourth tier law school and there's practicing at a very good law firm and didn't have great grades there I. That the person probably looks like a movie star.
I'm not saying that in a sexist way. Cause it could be a man or a woman. But I know that or the person's going to have an amazing personality or they're connected somehow, but your ability to present well matters. [00:49:00] Again, I it matters if you have your own practice, it matters if you work for a law firm and matters.
If you have a good personality, there are people that have incredibly good personalities, 10 times better than I have that go out and are able to. Talk to potential clients in a way that just, boggles the mind. It's they're so good at it. And there's people that are able to do all these different types of things.
And it's just that these are skills. Your ability to have a good personality is a skill. If you want to I don't know what to do. But if you want to be really fit and these things are dressed really well and put on and be a very sharp dresser. These things are going to help you.
Does it help? Is it the case that it's more important than law school is probably not, but but it's important. And I, again, saying that people hire people just because they're well dressed or good looking or they haven't got personalities, but it matters. And and having keeping yourself up and in shape and stuff matters.
So I have I've seen people like, I tell this example a lot [00:50:00] and I don't know how important it is, but I've, when I've hired entry-level attorneys to work in our company before because there may be and so I'll call up a law school and I might call up like, you, you sell a or USC and sometimes I'll call them in.
And, my call them in like October when the people have already taken the bar. So they'll send me resumes of people that are currently unemployed and a lot of them out, of course, I'll look through that. And these are people that didn't get jobs as first years out of law school. And so I'll look at these resumes and and I'll call people in it almost all cases like these people just don't present.
It's like they, if you shake their hand, it's like shaking a, a wet sponge or or they may, th may maybe men that are, their shirts are bulging out because they're not the right size. And and it's just things that are wrong. So the point is that these are things that people hire on and it, and they hire on them based on how well you present, they hire on your personality.
These [00:51:00] people will also often interview very poorly. And so all these things you need to work on I believe that that if you don't have there's ways to work on all this stuff. And I think it's important. I told this example in a webinar a couple of weeks ago that Warren buffet on his desk or right above his head on his desk apparently keeps us certificate of a Dale Carnegie course he took, which is a course about how to have a good personality, which basically says things like use people's first name.
When you talk to them, ask them about themselves and vacation. It's about how to get along with people. I think it's a very important course. And that's a personality course. Other people will have certain workout regimen. So they'll brag about other people will be very, I knew one guy that said his life changed.
This is just, again, when he got a what is it called a stylist, which is someone to dress him and style. And he cited all the statistics about how the way you look and dress [00:52:00] will affect how seriously you're taking and how much money you make. And again I, and I'm calling, I shouldn't be talking because look at how I'm dressed for this webinar.
But the point is that these things people take them seriously. And and they do matters. There's studies done that men that are over six feet tall or six feet, one, or more, more likely to have a much higher income than ones that don't is that true? Probably. So all this stuff matters. And I just I think if you have a good personality, you're much more likely to do better.
And and if you all these things matter. And I don't like to say it and especially in this climate well, but it can matter. And again, it's not to say that all this stuff's important, but I think people really it can make a difference let me just see here.
So this is a woman what happened here? So I had a woman, 15 years out of law school in a relatively dull practice. I get several job offers in south recently. I didn't know what she looked like. I was more concerned about the quality of a resume and experience, which again is what I concentrate on. [00:53:00] Naturally, which I guess I shouldn't maybe, or let's see, but it's located, but ring off and not talk about my husband, family interviews.
She asked me if she started getting interviews each of which I was not expecting her school. Wasn't great. She was an average from no business and our practice area with busy, but not having that. They expect you to get so many interviews. And I asked her why she says the thing is, I think I'm getting on this interview is based on how I look.
I don't want to spoil it. Okay. Okay. And at the time, I guess I had two men qualifications, but better than her and more appropriate experience levels and not getting members of the same firms. Okay. Yeah, so you could be, attractive and have bad personality or vice versa knocking interviews.
And and people brought people in the wrong way. So personality matters. So if you're going to work for someone, I just connect with them, get them to like you. So this is an uncomfortable topic here. I don't know, comfortable press looking firms more like how are you? Okay. Yeah. So just, I guess my point is that work on your personality this is talks about carrying your weight, which I don't know how appropriate it is for me to bring this up, but I guess that there are people [00:54:00] that do are in good fitness or maybe do better in interviews and maybe there's some kind of.
I don't know, who knows why? Young versus old is another one that's definitely true. Younger people are much more likely to get hired than younger. And then the older people sharp, just people are much, much more likely to get hired than frumpy equal. And then there's an article I've written about that tall people and sho