Bill Belichick

Promising answers to questions nobody is asking, the Buzzfeed-style personality quiz is the most virulent force in social media. Which Ryan Gosling Character Is Your Soulmate? What Type Of Chicken Tender Is Right For You? Are You Turning Into Your Mom? The silly online personality quizzes are sort of the idiot stepchildren of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, that test designed to distill human personality into abstract terms. (For some background on Myers-Briggs, see here.)

The MBTI and its progeny have long been used by government agencies and educational institutions, but it truly has a foothold in corporate America. The MBTI supposedly helps employers to identify potentially successful employees and job candidates to identify their strengths. From the employer’s perspective, these tools offer a chance to identify potential successful hires based on something more objective than hiring managers’ hunches and first impressions.

A recent New York Times Magazine piece detailed an ongoing movement to “revolutionize the human capital resource allocation market” through Moneyball-style, Big Data empiricism. Apparently, employers are becoming more cautious and deliberate in their interviewing processes (the average length of the interviewing period had doubled over the past five years), while at the same time employing work-force-analytics software that can make the process cheaper and more efficient. All in all, around 80% of the Fortune 500 companies practice data-driven assessment in their hiring processes.

Which brings us to the legal industry, an outlier in this “revolutionary,” data-driven recruitment landscape…

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Son, my turn. I’ve been sitting here for ten minutes now lookin’ over this… rap sheet of yours. I just can’t believe it. June ’93, Assault. September ’93, Assault. Grand theft auto, February ’94. Where apparently you defended yourself and had the case thrown out by citing Free Property Rights of Horse and Carriage from 1798. January ’95, impersonating an officer. Mayhem. Theft. Resisting. All overturned. I’m also aware that you’ve been through several foster homes. The state removed you from three because of serious physical abuse. You know, another judge might care, but you hit a cop. You’re going in. Motion to dismiss is denied. Fifty thousand dollar bail.

But you hit a cop. In perhaps the most riveting courtroom scene ever committed to celluloid, the judge with the push broom mustache threatens to derail Will Hunting’s promising career as a midget boxer with those five words. Luckily — and, I don’t think I have to remind any of you — Professor Gerald Lambeau (yes, the Gerald Lambeau) sees promise in the young bobby boxer and gets him out of jail.

Another Boston-area legend saw similar promise in a troubled youth who hit a cop. The legend’s name is Bill Belichick and the troubled youth’s name is Alfonzo Dennard. Just this week, Dennard was found guilty of hitting a cop. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that he has any idea how to solve advanced Fourier Systems.

Instead of continuing this strained Good Will Hunting analogy, let’s talk sports….

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