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Elite Law Schools: Why Hasn't Everyone at Cravath Taken the Deferral Deal?

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  • Elite Law Schools: Why Hasn't Everyone at Cravath Taken the Deferral Deal?


    It's unclear how many incoming Cravath associates accepted the firm's offer to defer for a year in exchange for $80,000. But according to this piece in Tuesday's WSJ opinion pages, writer-turned-law-student-turned-Boies-Schiller-associate Elizabeth Wurtzel (pictured) posits that the mere fact that not all of the incoming Cravath associates were lining up to take the deal says something "disturbing."

    Writes Wurtzel:
    If even one person said no to $80,000 for bubkes, I'd question the sanity and intelligence of that sole holdout. Cravath recruits the best and the brightest kids from the most highly ranked law schools-and given $80,000 and a dream, all many of them could do was report to work on Monday.

    And what, pray tell, might explain this oddity? Wurtzel hints at two possibilities: that all is not well at Cravath and, alternatively, that all is not well with the students themselves. On the latter, Wurtzel writes:
    Recently, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said: "I worry that we are devoting too many of our very best minds to this enterprise." Excuse me? These top-notch law grads, brilliant and bright as the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree when all the lights are turned on, may actually be idiots who lack imagination underneath it all. Maybe they just don't have enough vision to know what to do with $80,000 worth of free time.

    Or perhaps, muses Wurtzel, there is a third possibility: that options this good - $80,000 for bubkas - is wasted on "youth so stuck."

    The article wraps:
    That's not what I would do now, in my 40s, but maybe I would have made the same mistake when I was 20-something. As a wise man once said: I was so much older then; I'm younger than that now.

    LBers, any thoughts? Our hunch is that the youngsters' collective decision to show up for work (and pull down double what the deferral would have paid, by the way) says boatloads about the types of folks who go to elite law schools and scramble to land offers at places like Cravath. They're ambitious and hungry and have been "trained" to do something. Now it's time to go do it.

    At the same time, they're creatures who have thrived in institutions and with lives supported by structure. You jump through hoops, that's how you live. A year outside an institution; a year with absolutely no established structure or hoops to jump through might jibe with their rather fragile and still-developing notions of self-worth.

    Armchair psychology, to be sure. But we think we're onto something. Anyone agree? Disagree?
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