Plumeri said graduates must have commitment, purpose and vision in order to have success. He encouraged graduates to commit fully to whatever they wanted to do, using the analogy that Vikings burned their ships when they landed at a place they wanted to conquer.All those NYLS alums who are having problems in the job market 2, 3, 4, 20 years post-graduation should look no further than this wisdom. Obviously, they haven't committed fully with purpose or vision. Burn your boats, unemployed lawyers. Burn your boats.
Need help finding your vision? Go play in traffic.
He further explained that "playing in traffic" is all about going out there and exploring your vision, making blunders and taking risks.Maybe, Ironic Isaac asks, law school is a blunder and risk akin to playing in traffic.
But still, if you're struggling in life, you just need to go out and mix it up a bit in the world. Because, as Mr. Plumeri says, "Something's gonna happen eventually." It's like a law: a series of blunders cannot continue indefinitely.
Let's look at Mr. Plumeri's life and see how this played out for him.
MY first job out of the College of William and Mary was teaching history and coaching at Neshaminy High School in Langhorne, Pa.So far so good! Small-town teacher in Pennsylvania dances in the street and joins the reserves during the Vietnam War and then dances in the street and decides to enroll in a top-quality law school. Can you see the vision and purpose at work?
In 1968 [two years after graduating from college], I spent six months in the Army Reserves at Fort Jackson, S.C. When I got out, I decided to go to law school.
And then, he brilliantly played in the street again:
I needed a part-time job, so I went looking around Wall Street. When I got to 55 Broad Street, I saw Carter Berlind Potoma & Weill in the lobby directory. I didn't know a law firm from a butterfly, but I thought that if it had three names or more, it must be a law firm.As it turned out, he liked Sandy Weill and investment banking, dropped out of NYLS, and started a lucrative career, winding up in charge of Citigroup North America despite having only a history and education degree.
The receptionist sent me to see Sandy Weill, one of the founding partners, and I made a great presentation. He said, ''What makes you think you'll learn the law here?'' I said, ''Well, this is a law firm.'' He said, ''No, this is a brokerage.''
He must have liked me because he decided to hire me.
His vision and purpose in going to an investment bank asking to be a law clerk as a 24-year old law student is the type of vision, drive, commitment, and purpose the current crop of lawyers lacks.
If only 2015's NYLS students had the moxie to go "play in the street" and fumble their way into a meeting with a Wall Street CEO, more of them might realize the full value of their legal education. Multiple career changes prior to age 25 doesn't signify a lack of purpose, commitment, and vision for Mr. Plumeri; oh no, it only signified that he needed to go out and play in the street some more.
NYLS grads may be wise to do the same. The busier the thoroughfare the better; more traffic just means more inspiration and opportunity. You may think when you lay paralyzed on the curb, exsanguinating from bloody limbs and exposed internal organs the way cash flows out your ass to pay debt, your traumatized mind unable to process the carnage, it's all quickly ending.
But really, you're just going through blunders and risks, slowly failing your way to success.
P.S. - Those quick to note that he benefited by dropping out of law school should note first that without NYLS he never meets Sandy Weill and second that it is quite likely that he would have made even more money practicing law with his NYLS degree.