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Law Firm Imposes Ban on Hiring Ivy League Graduates

July 15, 2015

By Jacob Gershman


Adam Leitman Bailey, a Manhattan attorney who runs a real estate firm, says he looks to hire law school graduates who have grit, ambition and a resolve to succeed in the legal profession.

For that reason, he says, his firm has instituted a rule: If your resume lists your law school as Yale, Harvard, Columbia, Cornell or University of Pennsylvania, you need not apply because you won’t get the job.

Mr. Bailey, a graduate of Syracuse University Law School, says he admires the nation’s top law schools and doesn’t deny they attract some of the brightest minds. But in an online piece published by The Huffington Post, he says the best applicants hail from schools lower down the totem pole of prestige.

The article is titled “Why We Do Not Hire Law School Graduates from the Ivy League Schools.” Mr. Bailey told Law Blog his ban applies to other elite schools outside the Ivy League, like Stanford and New York University.

Explaining the policy, he writes that students who are accepted into top-ranked schools may have aced the LSAT, but, very broadly generalizing, they’ve climbed their way to a law degree without testing their mettle.

[M]any of these law schools either fail to rank their students or do not even grade them at all. (1) Ergo, the students have no incentive to work hard and learn when they have guaranteed summer associate positions and guaranteed job offers. Their students typically have no incentive to get the best grades in their classes. They also have no incentive to squeeze as much learning as possible out of the law school experience. Most importantly, the real world simulation of dealing with the pressures of a case or deal may be removed when the students do not need to compete for a job in a difficult market…

[T]hese students may become a United States Supreme Court Justice or a future President of the United States so political theory and international law and classes on capital punishment may be extremely important to them. However, we need our street lawyers ready for battle and taking trial practice, corporations, tax, civil procedure and any real estate and litigation course offered.

In his piece he concedes that a few of the senior lawyers at Adam Leitman Bailey PC are indeed Ivy Leaguers, including the head of the firm’s real estate litigation practice group, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania Law School.

“By the time these Ivy League attorneys come to our firm, we have seen them in the courtroom and observed their talents,” Mr. Bailey told Law Blog by email.

Mr. Bailey, whose firm hires one to three law school graduates a year, also writes that the top students from the highest ranked schools “have no interest in applying for a job at our firm.”

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