Friday, October 18, 2013

The Blue Book of Happiness - Back to the Future

Last month, I climbed into my DeLorean and darkened the door of my alma mater for the first time since 1998, ready to "celebrate" the 25th anniversary of my release into the wild. I was actually eager and excited to see people I hadn't seen for more than a decade.

Fortunately, I had been prepared for low turnout by Carolyn Elefant's excellent post on her own 25th Reunion. Of the 130 or so graduating members of the class, around 15 showed up for the reunion. I'd say more than 50% of our class live and work on the Wasatch Front of Utah, yet the reunion committee was only successful in shaming 4 or 5 from the area to show up.

Thanks to the great work of Professor  James Backman I was able to learn how really entrepreneurial the my law class turned out to be. (NOTE to Law Schools: find one professor or support staffer to develop a series of online "yearbooks" for each class. Professor Backman's effort is irreplaceable.) According to Professor Backman's yearbook project, easily 30% of the Class of '88 had gone to work for start-ups, or created their own companies or firms -- right out of law school. Many of them are still at it; one has formed and sold two law firms and at least one company. Of the people who were in actual attendance, only 3 could boast a 25-year record in the same firm. The rest of us had started our own solo firms or gone into business with 2 or 3 other partners.

And there we stayed. I believe it's because Law As A Practice is inherently entrepreneurial. Young lawyers bring with them the tools to create a practice that will follow them wherever they go.

I feel bound to take up Ms. Elefant's banner: Why don't law schools prepare students for the inevitable?

Like it or not, the most successful lawyers -- those who still adore what they do 25 years on -- will be the entrepreneurs. Those that don't much care for the practice will go on and form businesses, and still be entrepreneurs. Isn't it a good idea for schools that depend on the bonhomie of their alumni to provide their students with entrepreneurial training during law school?

No comments:

Post a Comment