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New York Firm Adopts New Hiring Policy: No Ivy League Grads

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By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on July 23, 2015 11:57 AM

It's not hard to find prestigious legal work when you've graduated from a top law school. While the rest of the world's law school grads may struggle to find employment in a slumping legal market, it seems like every Harvard alum is given an honorary Supreme Court clerkship. We're pretty sure a Yale diploma comes with an entry level professorship somewhere in the Midwest.

But not everyone is impressed with grads from top-ranked schools. Take Adam Leitman Bailey, who runs a New York real estate law firm. When it comes to finding new talent, Bailey has a unique hiring rule: dogs and Ivy League grads need not apply.

Apparently There's No Grit in New Haven

Whatever could inspire such unbridled anti-Ivy bias? According to Bailey, he's looking for "young men and women of amazing grit, determination, and talent" whom he can turn into legal "street fighters." Those aren't qualities he finds in the soft-skinned Ivy Leaguers.

Bailey takes issue with the lack of competitive spirit at America's most competitive (admissions-wise) law schools. Yale doesn't grade its law students, for example. Stanford and Boalt Hall simply give out gold stars instead of A's or B's. Harvard Law won't deign to rank its students. That, Bailey argues, creates a climate where students don't have to prove themselves and don't learn to fight for success.

Judging a Lawyer by Her Law Degree

Bailey's ban applies not just to Ivies, but all "traditional highest tier schools." We'll assume that covers all of the immovable Top 14. For those of us who've seen the benefits that come easily from (others') Ivy League diplomas, Bailey's ban makes us smile.

But it's also silly. After all, refusing to look at candidates because of where they went to school is no better than assuming applicants are brilliant because they graduated from the University of Pennsylvania or Duke. After all, lawyers are more than their law degree.

Don't cry too many crocodile tears for the Ivy Leaguers, though. Despite Bailey's blatant anti-blue blood discrimination, Harvard, Yale, and Stanford grads will probably end up doing fine.

Plus, as Bailey notes, "students from these law schools have no interest in applying for a job at our firm," which takes a bit of bite out of his ban.

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