Broken Models are Made not Born

The Bridge report, funded by a plurality of the biggest London HQed law firms, has produced an excellent report on class, race, and gender in law firms. Data driven excellence, presented with a keen eye on its busy audiences.

This quote sums it up for me:

“I can’t stand more debate. Let’s get something done.”

It comes from a managing partner. It challenges the frankly absurd, 1990s models of what makes a good lawyer, who to recruit, and promote, and how to work those people (for worked they are). The continued privileging of men and public school credentials. The rather risible idea that a 24 year old’s connections should be what drives a Mega firms view of what is important as they hunt out future stars. This model is so broken.

A word to those firms. Stars are made not born. You don’t spot them, you build them. You choose who and how to build them. Your models for doing so are broken. Choose better. Build better. Get something good done. The first ones to do it will be better, bolder, happier, more successful law firms.

3 thoughts on “Broken Models are Made not Born

  1. What a piece by Mr Moorhead. I agree totally with his position. When leaving school I was discouraged from seeking to begin a career in the law because of my birthplace…Liverpool. As I got older got married and had children I began studying law part time of an evening, whilst being a primary Carer for my kids. I ended up as Head of a law department for a civil rights firm. I now chair hearings for patients seeking their discharge from hospital by virtue of the MHA, and I also “assist “ LIPs in family court. I frequently argue for the honour of presenting a case to a DJ or Magistrates and I am refused more than allowed. However I do find the more senior members of the judiciary, the more accommodating.
    My experience of 25yrs plus informs me that a law degree does nothing to enhance the quality of a lawyer, but encourages unnecessary competition and I’ll advised values on you graduates. I am now 59 yrs old and feel the practice of values based law comes with more basic skills, understanding of processes and procedures with the support of the senior practitioners

  2. Richard–

    Last Summer, two talented colleagues and I put on Passport to Practice, a three-week upskilling bootcamp for law students and recent grads stranded by the pandemic’s impact on summer jobs. https://www.passporttopractice.org.

    Scroll to the top of page 2 under the Pilot Results tab and you will see what we achieved with respect to diversity (US figures only). In some part, I believe, it is because we placed value on making our faculty diverse: nearly half women, nearly half persons of color. It isn’t difficult at all, just needs to be done!

    It was so successful we are running it again beginning October 15. Of the applications that have come in during the first 72 hours, fully a quarter are from Africa! A young woman from Zimbabwe took it the first time, loved it…and is apparently much followed on social media!

    Cheers!

    Peter

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