Saturday, December 21, 2013

All You Need is Focus Focus Focus

Not networking, not prestige, not academic excellence, not the vicissitudes of the job market.  Laser-sharp focus:
"The single most determinate factor I noticed from all those I know from law school was not grades, class rank, or school attended," our source said in an email, "but rather whether they had a set goal, a motivation for going."
Indeed, it's easy to see that employers would be disinclined to hire someone lacking a clear and meaningful motivation.
On the other hand, if you're extremely eager to do a particular kind of legal work — say, being a prosecutor or a divorce attorney or an intellectual property lawyer — then law school might be worth it after all.
Just click your ruby slippers together and say "I WANT TO BE A TAX LAWYER."  That's it.

Or take a double dose of Adderall to accompany the debt-fueled morning coffee run.

This reminds me of my friend "Mike," a top 20% graduate who wanted nothing more than to be a public defender.  Mike took every criminal law and trial class offered and interned with the public defender's office three straight semesters with the promise of a job if they had room to hire him.  He now works as a part-time debt collections mill.

In all my astute defenses of legal education, I've been trying to figure out why Mike didn't get what he wanted.  Now I know.

Brotha's got ADHD and wasn't focused enough.  I've sent him a brochure.

It's all on you, grads, and your lack of focus.

And all those people who really want to be M&A lawyers or work for Greenpeace saving whales who wind up helping deadbeat dads try and keep their kids?


Would-be entertainment lawyers who wind up sneaking peaks at TMZ during doc review marathons?


Intellectual property litigators who wind up working in retail?

Focus.  Focus Focus hocus pocus.

This might be the simplest explanation for legal employment outcomes I've ever seen.  Occam's Razor, kids.  Occam's Razor.  Cuts like a knife.


  1. And, of course...


  2. Glad to know why I have yet to become an international human rights attorney. Thanks for this very valuable post. Now that I know, all I have to do is repeat one hundred times a day, "I want to be an international human rights attorney, I want to be an international human rights attorney..." and in no time at all, I'll be on my way.

    My problem so far has been I have only repeated it 50 times a day. Clearly not enough to demonstrate that I have purpose...

    1. "But I took all of the international law classes and interned with the UN Human Rights Whatever. Why is the Hague not returning my calls?"

    2. So, I guess when I took International Human Space Juvenile Animal Rights because I wanted a shlock class to balance out Income Tax Law, that was shocking "lack of focus," and ultimately that lack of focus is why I work in a factory now, and not the utter lack of available jobs in tax law, tax preparation, sh!tlaw, or civil service?

  3. The ones that get the jobs tend to be the least motivated—and the richest and best connected.

  4. Good points and excellent writing. Certain law professors could learn a lot from reading your work.

    And I wish a Merry Christmas to everyone who wants one.