Friday, October 27, 2006

How Recruiters Rank B-Schools and Their Students: Is Law Different?

Nancy Rapoport's post over at Money Law on the Business Week ranking of business school reminded me that back at the end of September I started to write the post that follows, and left it sitting back in the dusty cybervaults of TypePad.

Here, unabridged and unedited from about a month ago is additional fuel for Nancy's fire:

The Wall Street Journal (Sept. 20) ran its annual special report on business schools as ranked by  corporate recruiters.  The most interesting thing about it was not the result, but what attributes in students the recruiters said they most valued. According to the WSJ, the following percentages of corporate recruiters considered these attributes important in evaluating business schools and their graduates.

89.0%: Communication and interpersonal skills
86.9: Ability to work well within a team
86.2: Personal ethics and integrity
84.3: Analytical and problem-solving skills
82.9: Work ethic
74.5: Fit with the corporate culture
74.0: Success with past hires
72.5: Leadership potential
67.1: Strategic thinking
64.9: Likelihood of recruiting "stars"

Here are the questions that keep coming back to me:

1. How would law firm, corporate, and government agency recruiters rank the important attributes for law schools and their J.D. graduates (as opposed to M.B.A.s)?

2. Do business schools and their faculties address these attributes as part of teaching and research?

* * *
I know I had more questions, but I can't remember them anymore.

[Jeff Lipshaw]

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Tracked on Nov 12, 2006 1:28:27 PM


Jeff, you make an excellent point: recruiters interviewing at B-schools seem to be looking for characteristics that measure success in business. That's sensible. Recruiters interviewing at law schools seem to focus on attributes that may or may not relate to success as a lawyer. They use grades and school rank as a proxy for analytical ability and (maybe) communication ability, and they screen out (in the on-campus interview day) people who may well be more successful as lawyers because they have more of the MacCrate skills. Then the law firms are surprised, 2-4 years later, that many of the people they hired have decided to go elsewhere. If law firms were as careful in identifying what characteristics made their own lawyers successful, they might (1) look for those characteristics in law students and (2) ask law schools to consider spending some time discussing those characteristics. (I can dream, can't I?)

Posted by: Nancy Rapoport | Oct 28, 2006 4:24:41 AM

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