Thursday, December 20, 2007

So you want to be a law and roll star . . .

Its easy and fun!!!!!

I started thinking about this because of a friend of mine who asked about law school. And for background, think of someone who has a $500,000 bidness, and makes 200k a year.

Just follow these easy steps!

1) First, graduate college with a high gpa. And not just any college, but one the top 20 would recognize. I say this facetiously, but you're entering a world of credential snobs, and I mean snobs. I interviewed with lawyers and firms who reeked of arrogance towards me. I would be there in interviews defending things like graduating in the top 20% of my class in a highly competitive environment and going on and getting high marks in my LLM (tax) coursework. Oddly, if you get into a top law school, I get the sense that if you graduate anywhere above say, oh, bottom third, you'll still get opportunities that fourth tier law school grads can only dream about.

2) Max the LSAT. Take a prep course. I was too poor at the time to do that. Poor aside(Funny lunch story: Sitting there and talking about my first time skiing and how my first trip down the mountain was basically me sliding from fall to fall. I'd ski 40 feet, crash. Rinse lather repeat. Says friend at table: Didn't you take a ski class? I was like "Princess! I didn't have ski class, I had cousin Dave!" If you ever get money and didn't have it, remember what it was like and then remember that's 80% of the good and decent folks in this country.)

If you want a real career in law, graduate from a top 20 school with decent grades. This gives you the most options. You can teach, you'll get great offers from top law firms, etc.

3) Don't be on a second career, or at least be under 30 when you get to the law firm. For some reason, the odds are against you. But if you think about partner track, it makes more sense. If you graduate from college at 22, then go to law school, you come out at 25. You work like a dog for 8-10 years, make partner, and viola, you're a partner at 32-35.

3) Be happy with detail work. As you progress, you do less and less of the scut work, but at the beginning, you have to know that you're not going to be dealing with the high fallutin' legal theories you became so enamored of in law school, but rather the nitty gritty of reading a contract and digging through cases (And while electronic searching has its merits, neither Lexis or Westlaw have managed to make something as easy as an "index" when it comes to searching through their online warehouses. Yo! Westlaw! Check out them Google dudes!! They run them some righteous search brother men!!

4) If you can't do that, graduate from a top tier state school. Grades will matter a lot here. I've heard tell of folks who could have gotten into Harvard but instead of crushing debt o rama, went to State U, graduated high in the class and then got some of the same offers the Yalies got. But if you do that, make sure your state school is something the big firms recognize.

Now, there are other ways to the top. For instance, a lot of top law firms started out as second or third tier law firms who through grit and perseverance and super duper hard work, became the go to guys when the going got tough and the cliches got going. I'm simply describing the most direct way.

And remember, after all this hard work, you'll be granted the opportunity to do more . . . .

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