Posts Tagged ‘conformity’

There is a large, and growing, mismatch between either (1) the number of law school graduates we are producing and the jobs available for them to fill or (2) the kind of law school graduates we are producing and the jobs available for them to fill. Or both. The numbers gap Over the last five years, ABA accredited schools have graduated at least 73,652 students (33.5 – 38.1% of graduates) who did not obtain jobs practicing law within nine months of graduation. In the most recent year, 2011, the percentage was 40.2% (best case) to 44.0% (worst case). (Source: Deborah Jones Merritt, “The Declining Job Market for Law School Graduates, 2001-2011“) According to figures recently released by the National Association of Legal Professionals, nine months after graduation, 83% of 2011 graduates from the 20 schools with the highest employment were working as lawyers; 31% of those from the bottom 20 were working as lawyers. The […]

Glitz and glamor One night during my first couple weeks at law school, my First Law Professor Ever — scion of an old-world order who still enjoys a nightly bourbon and cigar — invited my class of about 150 people, plus guests, to the offices of a prestigious New York City law firm for a little soiree overlooking the city. Somewhere between a sip of wine and a bite of cheese, FLPE stopped us all for a moment to welcome us to the profession. Sweeping his arms toward the sparkling night vista before us — the towering skyscrapers of the Financial District, the East River, the Brooklyn Bridge, the thousands of tiny pinpricks of light below — he finished off his little speech with a stentorian, “You’ve made it! The world is your oyster!” It was perhaps the setting — in a swanky law firm, with the city at our […]

In Spiritual Intelligence, The Ultimate Intelligence, Danah Zohar and Ian Marshall, write, “The young son of a Chilean biologist, Umberto Maturana, became unhappy at school because he felt his teachers were making it impossible for him to learn. They wanted to teach him what they knew, rather than drawing out what he needed to learn. As a result Maturana wrote “The Student’s Prayer,” of which this translation is an abridged version. It expresses the spiritually intelligent individual’s response to the conforming pressures of parents, teachers, bosses or the crowd.” A Student’s Prayer Umberto Maturana Don’t impose on me what you know, I want to explore the unknown And be the source of my own discoveries. Let the known be my liberation, not my slavery. The world of your truth can be my limitation; Your wisdom my negation. Don’t instruct me; let’s walk together. Let my richness begin where yours ends. Show me so […]

I keep reading and hearing that the things I want to do as a lawyer are impossible: Open my own practice straight out of law school. Offer affordable legal services to low- and middle-income clients while supporting my heavily debt-laden self financially. Raise a family while maintaining a thriving career. Any number of things, really. It is sometimes hard not to listen. Even if I shrug it off at a conscious level, deep down in my bones is a terror that keeps me up at night. It is all well and good to go through law school and job interviews talking about one’s interest in providing legal services to people who need them blablabla. But when you sit down to try to define concrete actionable steps toward that goal, you start to realize you have no idea what you are doing. But I—you—can’t listen. Don’t listen to the voices that say […]

In his book The Global Achievement Gap, educator Tony Wagner identifies the core competencies everyone should master by the end of high school: Critical thinking and problem solving (the ability to ask the right questions) Collaboration across networks and leading by influence Agility and adaptability Initiative and entrepreneurialism Accessing and analyzing information Effective written and oral communication Curiosity and imagination How to teach these competencies? Perhaps by following the mantra, “First do no harm.” In another book, Creating Innovators, Wagner identifies five ways in which current educational practices actively undermine the development of these competencies: By focusing on individual achievement (e.g., GPA), schools fail to promote collaboration skills. By rewarding specialization, which hinders innovation. Wagner says the director of talent at Google once told him, “If there’s one thing that educators need to understand, it’s that you can neither understand nor solve problems within the context and bright lines of subject content.” By penalizing mistakes, which makes students risk-averse. […]

A study of our academic elite In an Atlantic Monthly article from 2001, “The Organization Kid,” David Brooks writes about going to Princeton University to learn about “what the young people who are going to be running our country in a few decades are like.”What Brooks found with respect to the over-structured lives of the Princeton undergraduates he spoke to is very close to how I remember my undergraduate classmates at Harvard from 1999 to 2003: I asked several students to describe their daily schedules, and their replies sounded like a session of Future Workaholics of America: crew practice at dawn, classes in the morning, resident-adviser duty, lunch, study groups, classes in the afternoon, tutoring disadvantaged kids in Trenton, a cappella practice, dinner, study, science lab, prayer session, hit the StairMaster, study a few hours more. One young man told me that he had to schedule appointment times for chatting with his friends. No time […]