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Who are the "Cream of the Crop"?

By Edward Honnold

Q: Where do the top people at top firms come from and what schools did they attend?

A: The highest-achieving lawyers in private practice come from many different law schools. Though initially it is an advantage to graduate from a highly-rated law school, it is not essential to do so. Many "top" lawyers at "top" firms graduated from less highly rated schools, but they excelled in the skills of practicing law and of marketing their skills to clients. If you are skilled in these areas, you may succeed well. Law practice is highly competitive, and success tends to be merit-based and also somewhat "political."

You may also wish to think seriously about what it means to you to envy or admire "top" performers. Are you possibly seeking to fill self-esteem needs by aspiring to the "top," and if so, are you confident this is the best way to do so? I counsel many "top" lawyers who are miserably unhappy in their work (and life). What path do you imagine will make you most deeply happy in life? When you take inventory of your life someday, will you be assessing whether or not you made it to the "top"? I wish you the best in your reflections on these questions, and in your professional career planning.

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