Most law school courses test only two things: a student’s ability to spot legal issues and then apply the relevant law. Granted, the “relevant law” in law school is usually fictional, i.e., an impractical mishmash of case law drawn from numerous states and collected in overpriced casebooks. But at least students are tested on spotting real legal issues and then applying a body of law. And what law schools are really good at is ranking students according to their ability to do this. In addition to a GPA, schools also give out class ranks. And when students apply for law firm jobs this information is placed front and center on the resume. Are you first, second, or third in your class? Are you in the top ten percent? How about the top quarter?
But the Wall Street Journal appears to be unaware of this. Someone over there thinks, or at least was told, that “law school graduates generally have near-identical transcripts” – the exact opposite of reality. And to overcome this perceived homogony, the article goes on to suggest that “quirky interests, such as 19th-century French poetry or a stint as a sports team mascot can differentiate candidates for law firms.”
Do I have to read the original work, or can it be translated?
I hope prospective and current law students don’t take this article seriously. No one at any law firm will care if you were stuffed into a costume during your five-year, binge-drinking stint at
Fayetteville (pictured above) or some other college town, or if you like reading French poetry or have any other “quirky interests.” (Unless those interests are too quirky, in which case the law firm may indeed want to know about them.) As indicated on the same page of the WSJ in a
different article, law firms are struggling to grow and, for many, profits are
shrinking. Worse yet, most law graduates don't land long-term, full-time legal jobs anyway. So The Dog’s advice to law students is to put
away your copy of Baudelaire and focus on your class rank instead.
In related employment news (again from the WSJ, not The Onion), a fifty-year-old marketing executive who “burned through more than $50 million in venture capital funding over three years” in her failed internet startup – it was “sold to a Chinese e-commerce player” for “a fraction of the money investors put in” – was hired and then promoted at Yahoo to “build a cool online brand with youth appeal.”
It’s a crazy world out there. (Hat tip: Terry W. Rose.)