Top 10 Characteristics Of The Best Attorneys In The World

In my career, I have hired and worked with lots of attorneys who went to great law schools but never practiced with a large law firm. In almost all cases, their work product and the quality of the work they did were poor compared to what they would have learned in a larger firm. Even if the student was at the top of their class from a school like Harvard, for example, not having the experience of working with a large law firm meant that he never learned to do work in a certain way. Large, prestigious law firms teach a thorough approach to issues-learning details that require on-the-job training that are almost impossible for an attorney to pick up on his or her own.

When people meet someone from their alma mater, they generally ask what fraternity or sorority they were in. This is important because it serves to identify the person and can tell a lot about them and how they fit in. Just as you can glean information about a person depending on their sorority or fraternity experience, you can generally get a sense of what type of person someone is based on the law firm they are in.

Getting into a large law firm and staying there is no different than getting into a fraternity. I review thousands of attorneys’ resumes every week. Each year, I see people who went to schools like Yale, Chicago, Columbia and other great institutions and did just fine academically, but for whatever reason could not get a job with a large law firm. When I meet them, I quickly see why. They are generally so socially awkward they simply do not fit in. Some have strong ideas about themselves, their greatness, or distain for organizations/capitalism that make them completely incompatible with a large law firm. For example, they may make statements like “they’ll need to be challenged by whomever they get a job with or they will leave.”

Oftentimes, these people got summer associate jobs and did not get offers. Subsequent to not getting an offer, they could not get a job with a large law firm again. Working as a summer associate and being with other associates is sort of like being in a fraternity. Here, you are with a group of other kids who often go out at night.You are expected to cooperate with each other and play and get along. You are expected to show adults (the school) that you can work hard at your job. You are expected to fit in.

  • The test for this is the interviews and getting the job at school.
  • The second test is getting the summer job and then getting an offer from the employer.

You need to learn how to fit in with other groups of people.

When I review a resume, I generally can understand quite quickly the sort of person the attorney is without even meeting the person. Most law firms can as well.