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Are Lawyers that Thick?

Vivia Chen

December 5, 2017



Another quick look at the news:

Yes, you need to have business if you want to trade up. This is why I'll never make it as a diplomat or career counselor. I have little patience with those who are hopelessly thick.

A lawyer asked columnist and "lawyer whisperer" Julie Brush at our sibling pub, The Recorder: "I’m a junior litigation partner at a mid-sized law firm. I have great credentials and trial experience, but no portable book of business. Will I be able to 'upgrade' to a big firm as a partner?"

tactfully answered that his options would be "limited." She said that if he had solid trial experience in a high demand niche area he might be able to move, though probably into a position with a less prestigious title. Having business, she emphasized, is key for making lateral moves in the major leagues.

I applaud Brush for answering the question so delicately. But I'm amazed that any lawyer would ask such a silly question in the first place. Are lawyers so out of it that they'd think that having "great credentials" and "experience" will land them a position (partner, no less!) with a big firm?  

Frankly, I would have been a lot more blunt with this litigator. So here's my tough-love message: You ain't going nowhere. If I were you, I'd double-up on the brown-nosing at your current firm.

The official list of 10 law schools to avoid like the plague. Of course, there are many, many more law schools that are not worth your time or money. But these schools have earned the distinction of being publicly disciplined by the American Bar Association for enrolling students who are unlikely to graduate and pass the bar. 

The schools are: Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia, Arizona Summit Law School in Phoenix, Ave Maria School of Law in Naples, Florida, Charlotte Law School (now closed), Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan, Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville, John Marshall Law School in Atlanta, Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Houston and Valparaiso University Law School in Valparaiso, Indiana.

According to Law.com, it's rare for law schools to be publicly sanctioned this way. You know that these schools must the worst of the worst, because some legal education experts, including Kyle McEntee of Law School Transparency, have argued that the ABA's own standards for law schools weren't that stringent in the first place. 

Perhaps this sounds harsh and elitist, but I don't believe these schools (and lots of others with poor job records for graduates) have any business in legal education. They are parasitic institutions that play to the pathetic vanities of people who think they can be lawyers. Sad.

Is The Mooch running out of things to do? Remember Anthony Scaramucci, who was White House Communications Director for about 30 seconds? He's now threatening to sue the Tufts Daily and Tufts Fletcher School of Diplomacy student, Camilo Caballero, for a series of op-eds in which Cavallero calls the Mooch "irresponsible," "unethical," someone who just wants "attention and nothing more," plus "a man who makes his Twitter accessible to friends interested in giving comfort to Holocaust deniers."

When asked why he'd bother with this suit, Scaramucci told Tufts Observer: "When you guys get a little older and you start running businesses . . .  and your reputation in this business is super valuable . . . you will fight aggressively defamatory public remarks that are made about you whether they are in a student newspaper or a much larger publication." (Scaramucci said he would drop the lawsuit threat if the student and the paper apologize.)

Sounds high and mighty. But wouldn't it be more graceful (and mature) to just let these swipes go? I mean, Mooch, are you serious about this lawsuit or are you just afraid that we've already forgotten you?

TED Talks are hot beds of sexual harassment. Considering how often it offers upbeat talks with feminist messages (e.g., speeches by Sheryl Sandburg, Monica Lewinsky and Gretchen Carlson), it's a bit unnerving to hear that TED conferences are crawling with creepy guys. 

As first reported by The Washington Post, male attendees groped female attendees at conferences. What's more, even TED's top lawyer was not spared the indignities. "Nishat Ruiter, TED’s general counsel, seems to have been both privy to information about the harassment and herself a subject of inappropriate behavior," reports Corporate Counsel.

First of all, who knew Ted Talks were run like rock concerts (alcohol and drugs are plentiful, according to internal emails unearthed by the Post)? And who would have thought that a bunch of "ideas" nerds (Bill Gates has been spotted) would be going for the sexual atmospherics? Really, what's this world coming to?

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I agree that Mooch has to let things go. One of the things I learned in law school is that not everybody will love you or what you do. This means one must have a thick skin; otherwise there is no point to being a lawyer because one will not always champion popular causes. Just my opinion.

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About The Careerist

The Careerist takes an inside look at how lawyers shape their careers and manage their lives. The blog aims to dissect developments in the profession, provide useful information and advice, and give lawyers a platform to voice their views. The goal is to provide a fresh, provocative take on the state of lawyering.

About Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen, The Careerist's chief blogger, has been covering the business and culture of law firms for a decade. A former corporate lawyer, Chen is fascinated by those who thrive (as well as those who don't) in the legal profession. Her take: Success in the law (and life) doesn't always travel a linear path. If you have topics you'd like to discuss or information to share, contact her: [email protected]

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