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July 14, 2014

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anon

I would always combine the adjective "meaningful" with the word "experience."

This qualification allows for some flexibility. Certainly, the experience of most new hires these days in practice has not be "meaningful."

We can see this in the need to ask. If one needs to ask whether the experience of a person with two years in BigLaw was "meaningful" one demonstrates ignorance. It would take too long to explain here: it's like trying to tell a stranger about rock and roll, if you can relate to that old line.

Herein, we see the problem. Most hiring committees are not even equipped to ask about the meaningfulness of the experience of a candidate because they have no reference points and, on the whole, don't care to know because of a disdain for the practitioners in general.

CHS

Anon, I expect that "Meaningful" would be a much debated/discussed term. Were you in BigLaw? If so, for how long? How long have you been on a faculty?

anon

CHS

Good questions!

Irrelevant to the merits of any issue and completely irrelevant to my last comment, if you read it.

But, good questions if one wants to personalize the debate and attack the speaker (which, unfortunately, seems to be the mo of many both in legal academia and out of it).

Hence, the anonymous nature of most comments here in the FL, including yours.

CHS

Wait a second. Personalize?

"We can see this in the need to ask. If one needs to ask whether the experience of a person with two years in BigLaw was "meaningful" one demonstrates ignorance. It would take too long to explain here: it's like trying to tell a stranger about rock and roll, if you can relate to that old line."

Was that you, anon?

And it is relevant.

CHS

In any event, I think I have the answer. I was mistaken in my original assumption. I should not have engaged. Over and out.

anon

CHS

"We can see this in the need to ask. If one needs to ask whether the experience of a person with two years in BigLaw was "meaningful" one demonstrates ignorance."

I'll stand by that.

I dont' recall CHS asking or stating whether two years experience in BigLaw would be considered "meaningful" so, the reference was to any one, not that to any particular anonymous commenter.

CHS asked repeatedly in this thread "how much" experience is "experience" and as stated above, my answer to that question was to "always combine the adjective 'meaningful' with the word 'experience.' This qualification allows for some flexibility. Certainly, the experience of most new hires these days in practice has not be "meaningful."

Because the average time in practice for new hires is now typically hovering at around two years in BigLaw (as I recall the stats cited here in the FL), it seemed fair to use that as a benchmark for discussion.

As for the "answers" to which CHS refers, that sounds sort of dodgy. Certainly not the answers mentioned above.

CHS: do you have answers to these questions: "Were you in BigLaw? If so, for how long? How long have you been on a faculty?"


Paul Gowder

Just a note: practice experience and phd/fellowship are not inconsistent. When I was on the market a few years ago I did it at the end of the phd and w/ 4 years of practice experience, which, not a ton, but more than many (and in public interest, which means actual responsibility from day 1, with clients and solo court appearances rather than doc review and writing endless memos).

How was that financially possible? See above, re public interest: leaving practice to do grad school barely hurt my finances at all.

What about public interest practice experience, anyway? Law schools have some reason to hire from big law whether 1 or 10 years of experience (knowledge of corporate law and deal making, possible contacts to get students jobs), but it seems to me that former public interest lawyers have some things to teach about things like, e.g., managing clients that few big law types will have.

Orin Kerr

Paul, fair point, although your experience is a bit unusual, I think. Also, if my memory is right, you graduated from law school at an unusually young age, which may have made that post-JD combo at least a little bit easier.

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