: The Blawgraphy
Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

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Malcolm Gladwell Looks at What Makes a Successful Lawyer

As I noted here in Malcolm Gladwell on the Value of the Adversity in Personal Success and of the Outsider in Institutional Growth, Gladwell’s new book deals in part with the Uses of Adversity (preview in New Yorker). One of the examples that doesn’t make the New Yorker article, but gets a chapter of the book includes the curious biographical similarities of some of New York’s most successful lawyers:

For example, one of the chapters looks at the fact that a surprising number of the most powerful and successful corporate lawyers in New York City have almost the exact same biography: they are Jewish men, born in the Bronx or Brooklyn in the mid-1930′s to immigrant parents who worked in the garment industry. Now, you can call that a coincidence. Or you can ask—as I do—what is about being Jewish and being part of the generation born in the Depression and having parents who worked in the garment business that might have something to do with turning someone into a really, really successful lawyer? And the answer is that you can learn a huge amount about why someone reaches the top of that profession by asking those questions.

Gladwell describes the rest of the book here. This one is floating to the top of my non-law-school reading pile.

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