Adam Leitman Bailey, a graduate of Syracuse University Law School and head of a real estate firm in Manhattan, says he his firm wants young attorneys who have grit, ambition, and the desire to succeed in the legal profession. For that reason that he has a very important rule: he does not hire applicants who graduate from Yale, Harvard, Columbia, or the University of Pennsylvania.
It is not that he does not admire the schools, nor does he deny that they attract the brightest and best minds. He just believes that graduates who attended schools with less prestige make the best applicants, writes Jacob Gershman of The Wall Street Journal.
In an article published by The Huffington Post titled “Why We Do Not Hire Law School Graduates from the Ivy League Schools”, Bailey explains that his ban includes other elite school from outside the Ivy League, like Stanford and New York University. He adds that students accepted into prestigious schools may have done well on the LSAT, but they have received their degrees without having to test their mettle.
What they are lacking most, according to Bailey’s piece, is incentive to work hard, to learn, to get the best grades, and to squeeze as much learning as possible out of the law school experience. While these students, he continues, may become US Supreme Court Justices or even the President of the United States, his firm needs street lawyers ready for battle.
A few senior attorneys in the firm who graduated from Ivy League schools, but they had been observed in the courtroom before they were hired. He reiterated, however, that he would never hire an Ivy League graduate.
Bailey does hire graduates from “the top classes of the second, third, and fourth tier law schools.” He believes that these graduates are hungrier to do well in the legal profession. He is also of the opinion that this type of grad is more hard-working and probably grew up in a middle or lower class environment, according to Chris Matthews of Fortune.
It is difficult to know whether Bailey became disdainful of Ivy League graduates first, or if Ivy League grads were contemptuous of Bailey first. Bailey did admit that top law school students from these schools were not interested in applying for a job at his firm.
In his opinion piece in The Huffington Post, Bailey says he would never hire the sons and daughters of his clients unless they could demonstrate the same merits as any stranger to the firm. He explains that every summer and each semester, the firm selects a number of students who “audition” by working for a semester at the firm. They only offer law school internships to those the firm believes could be considered for partnership.
Bailey says, “We can take young men and women of amazing grit, determination, and talent and mold them into the kind of street fighter who can bring home the best possible results.”