Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Yale or Fail II

A while back I told readers that they needed to go to an elite school. This point gets hammered in everywhere, every day.

Today's example is from the NY Times. Briefly, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division is hiring lawyers with civil rights backgrounds instead of conservative lawyers with different experience. The paper made it a point to note the new hires come from better higher-ranked schools.
The documents showed that the Obama-era hires were more likely to have had experience in civil rights, and they graduated from more selective law schools, than those hired over the final six years of the Bush administration. ...

Moreover, the Obama-era hires graduated from law schools that had an average ranking of 28, according to U.S. News & World Report. The Bush group had a lower average ranking, 42.
Granted, a favorite Bush recruiting stop was Regent, but the Times is putting its imprimatur on the notion that graduates of #28 are notably better lawyers than graduates of #42.

This is the sort of argument I'd expect to read over at TLS. Essentially, the paper is saying that given two lawyers with the same background, the one from the higher-ranked school has more credibility. Note that civil rights lawyers hired by definition are experienced; their school should matter less as their career developed.

For my part, I'm surprised that the Justice Department goes slumming outside T14, let alone #28.

Do yourself a favor and don't go to law school at all. If you do go, make sure it's to an elite school. Again, no one gives a shit about moot court or the top-ranked inTTTernational law program. The main thing that counts is the USNWR rank. The other thing, if you have a specialty in mind, is to gain street cred by working in that specialty, even if you have to volunteer.

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