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Author Topic: law school grades  (Read 15659 times)

Thane Messinger

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #80 on: October 11, 2010, 08:28:17 PM »
* * *

Could we devise a better system?  Absolutely.  But the employers have little motivation to do so.  The current system works well enough from their perspective.  Yes, lots of good candidates are overlooked, but that isn't the employers' problem so long as they get their fill of good candidates. 

Most of the posts in this thread suggesting alternate systems appear to be motivated by a desire to reward the worthy candidate who doesn't get identified in today's system.  That's certainly a laudable goal, but it is not the purpose of the hiring system.  The hiring system exists to meet the need of employers, not to meet the needs of candidates.

"Fair" is not an applicable concept.


I can imagine the mental responses to Morten's post (and especially the last sentence).  While I share the underlying observation of the many earlier posts--the system as it exists now IS crude, and often unfair--the system does work from the perspective of employers.  Morten's words are thus very much on point.  Even if you happen not to have an opinion in this debate, it's worth re-reading his thoughts on why employers screen as they do.

The good news: if you can get that first step, to a large degree the process starts fresh.  You can impress interviewers with interpersonal facility, and overcoming obstacles can count.  They clearly won't override the above, but once you're actually face-to-face with future (potential) colleagues, other factors emerge.

Unfortunately, here too we often take the wrong lessons into the interview room.  We're often boisterous when we should be more circumspect, or we're tentative when we should be ore assertive, or, most delicate of all, we're incapacitated by nervousness when we should be more at ease in our own skin.  Take a look at the Insider's Guide to Getting a Big Firm Job.  In short, with each new step partners need to know that you'll do the work, extremely well and conscientiously, and that you won't be a pain in the ... or, worse, an embarrassment to them or to the firm.  In one sense, this is a fairly simple challenge.  In another, especially in a market such as this, this is harder than getting the actual scores to put you in the room.

Thane.

kenpostudent

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #81 on: October 13, 2010, 11:02:56 AM »
Could we devise a better system?  Absolutely.  But the employers have little motivation to do so.  The current system works well enough from their perspective.  Yes, lots of good candidates are overlooked, but that isn't the employers' problem so long as they get their fill of good candidates. 

Most of the posts in this thread suggesting alternate systems appear to be motivated by a desire to reward the worthy candidate who doesn't get identified in today's system.  That's certainly a laudable goal, but it is not the purpose of the hiring system.  The hiring system exists to meet the need of employers, not to meet the needs of candidates.

"Fair" is not an applicable concept.

The fact that condoms come in different sizes proves that life is just not fair. I agree that the system should be employer-centric. However, my contentions are less about fairness and more about a more intellectually-honest and accurate system. It's a cop out to say that a better system could be had, but alas, we just have no incentive to make one. That statement is a truism, but it also reflects an apathy that; if carried to its logical extreme and overlaid upon other decisions, would stifle societal growth. Every decision has costs and opportunity costs. We both agree that the current hiring system meets the needs of most legal employers. I argue that the costs of developing a more accurate and honest system (at least for smaller firms) would not outweigh the benefits derived. I speculate that such a system could be adapted and used by larger firms, but we are both in agreement that this will NEVER happen because there is no incentive to do so.

Morten Lund

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #82 on: October 15, 2010, 09:45:17 PM »

The fact that condoms come in different sizes proves that life is just not fair.

Made me laugh.


Quote
It's a cop out to say that a better system could be had, but alas, we just have no incentive to make one.

Not a cop-out. The employers who fail to improve the hiring system - it isn't that they don't have "incentive" to make a better system, it is that (from their perspective) the system is perfectly fine.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it.  No apathy there at all, just prioritization.  They have approximately a million things to do that are more important than "design a hiring protocol that is more fair to applicants."

Quote
I argue that the costs of developing a more accurate and honest system (at least for smaller firms) would not outweigh the benefits derived. I speculate that such a system could be adapted and used by larger firms, but we are both in agreement that this will NEVER happen because there is no incentive to do so.

I was with you up until the very last part.  There is plenty of incentive to design a better system, just not with the employers.  If you feel strongly about this last paragraph, then I believe you have just identified an excellent business opportunity for a bold entrepreneur.  Design a better mousetrap hiring system, sell the system to law firms, and then phase 3: profit.  Law firms may not be willing to spend the time and effort to do this type of thing themselves, but law firms love paying consultants who can save them money.  A pitch along the lines of "if you implement my program it will save you $200,000/year forever in wasted recruiting efforts, and it can be your for the low low price of only $100,000" would likely be quite successful.

Thane Messinger

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #83 on: October 15, 2010, 10:40:46 PM »
The paradox is that all firms would be better off with a system akin to medical residencies, and so too would the vast majority of graduates--but the key to this is not firms individually, but the bar as a whole.* 

So, when you're appointed to the ABA's board of governors, this will be your second task, yes?


*  For anyone interested, the "Cravath System," upon which our current model is built, was designed to feed the best firms with the best fresh meat.  And to the Devil goes the hindmost.



The fact that condoms come in different sizes proves that life is just not fair.

Made me laugh.


Quote
It's a cop out to say that a better system could be had, but alas, we just have no incentive to make one.

Not a cop-out. The employers who fail to improve the hiring system - it isn't that they don't have "incentive" to make a better system, it is that (from their perspective) the system is perfectly fine.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it.  No apathy there at all, just prioritization.  They have approximately a million things to do that are more important than "design a hiring protocol that is more fair to applicants."

Quote
I argue that the costs of developing a more accurate and honest system (at least for smaller firms) would not outweigh the benefits derived. I speculate that such a system could be adapted and used by larger firms, but we are both in agreement that this will NEVER happen because there is no incentive to do so.

I was with you up until the very last part.  There is plenty of incentive to design a better system, just not with the employers.  If you feel strongly about this last paragraph, then I believe you have just identified an excellent business opportunity for a bold entrepreneur.  Design a better mousetrap hiring system, sell the system to law firms, and then phase 3: profit.  Law firms may not be willing to spend the time and effort to do this type of thing themselves, but law firms love paying consultants who can save them money.  A pitch along the lines of "if you implement my program it will save you $200,000/year forever in wasted recruiting efforts, and it can be your for the low low price of only $100,000" would likely be quite successful.

louiebstef

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #84 on: October 16, 2010, 03:23:34 PM »
Thane (and Morten),

Maybe the old genteel "apprenticeship" could actually work in the modern world.

Leaving aside the resistance to change, etc.  Do you think that some system like that could be workable, from your perspectives as experienced attorneys?
"Why be a lawyer? I'm already an ass.  Might as well go professional!"

Thane Messinger

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #85 on: October 16, 2010, 04:35:41 PM »
Thane (and Morten),

Maybe the old genteel "apprenticeship" could actually work in the modern world.

Leaving aside the resistance to change, etc.  Do you think that some system like that could be workable, from your perspectives as experienced attorneys?


The problem, to follow Morten's comments, is that not only does the system work (from the perspective of the top firms), but it works rather well.  It's expensive, true, but that expense adds to their relative advantage.  And it's not just that they're getting the best talent--which is only roughly true--but that these graduates are, by and large, the only ones getting the in-depth training and back-up needed to make for strong legal skills.

This reminds me of a capstone project I had in business school, where the expected response to the issue of the awful Nestle business practices of the 1970s was for them to be nice.  It was problematic, at best, to expect businesses to disobey their selfish interests.  The issue was deeply problematic, with numerous concerns and implications, but the answer in the end was systemic; nothing less would work

EarlCat

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #86 on: February 02, 2011, 02:57:25 PM »
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