Ed. note: This is the latest installment in a series from Bruce MacEwen and Janet Stanton of Adam Smith Esq. and JDMatch. “Across the Desk” takes a thoughtful look at recruiting, career paths, professional development, human capital, and related issues. Some of these pieces have previously appeared, in slightly different form, on AdamSmithEsq.com.
I don’t know about you, but I find talent markets fascinating. They have several characteristics that make them quite distinctive from regular old goods and services markets:
Talent is extremely heterogeneous; it’s not as if there’s another Honda Accord where that one came from.
Talent is what economists call both “excludable” and “rivalrous,” meaning that if I hire you Suzie can’t hire you at the same time. (Knowledge is the classic non-rivalrous and non-excludable good; everyone can know the same thing at the same time without its impairing anyone else’s knowledge of that same thing, and without shutting off anyone else’s access to it.)
Talent is notoriously difficult to judge in advance, without actually experiencing it, that is to say, without actually hiring the individual and putting them to work in your organization. Some other markets approach this condition of “ignorance until purchased,” such as attending performing arts events or taking a vacation to a previously unknown locale, but the stakes tend to be much higher for all parties concerned in talent markets.
Once talent is hired, it’s stickier than most other purchases. You can walk out of the movie theater or reconfigure your travel plans, but once you hire someone, short of felonious or otherwise appalling behavior, you’re stuck with them for a decent interval.
All this leads to a number of devices and stratagems that attempt to mitigate uncertainty and delay serious resource commitments until some firsthand evaluation can be performed.
Apparently, this is the kind of image that is just too confusing for the children of New York.
I mentioned this yesterday, but I think it deserves further discussion. In a move that can only be characterized as bizarre, the New York State Department of Education has decided to ban words — lots of words — from standardized tests that cause children to feel bad, confused, or bring up “controversial” topics. Yep, the NY Regents was apparently just too controversial for some parents.
And we’re talking about some very common words here. Words like dinosaur. Dinosaur is deemed “controversial” because it brings up evolution, according to a report in the New York Post. Words like “birthday” are banned because Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t celebrate birthdays.
I didn’t know Jehovah’s Witnesses didn’t celebrate birthdays. Maybe instead of banning the word “birthday,” they should ask a question like: “Which of the following groups don’t celebrate birthdays?” That way, our children might learn something about other cultures instead of being protected from ever having their precious points of view challenged because of f***ing PC helicopter parenting idiots who are trying ruin America one stupid goddamn rule at a time. It’s not that I don’t care about the views of Jehovah’s Witnesses or Creationists or poor little children who don’t know what a Mercedes is (“Mercedes” is another banned word). It’s that banning words IN NO WAY ADDRESSES THE PROBLEM and is freaking stupid.
In a multicultural society, words are our friends….
Ann Althouse did it. So can you. (Photo by Richard Lawrence Cohen.)
We are getting very close to bar exam time. Some of you might be thinking that there’s not enough time left. Some of you might be resigned to the fact that you will fail the bar and all your friends will know about it and make jokes about you when you’re not in the room.
Well, if you do fail, jokes will be made at your expense. But there’s still more than enough time to pass. Above the Law received an email from a reader who passed the California bar exam on his first try. The reader took the time to document just how long he spent studying for the test. The total commitment? Under 90 hours.
And that’s for the California February bar, a test that has a passage rate just north of “utterly pathetic.”
So how did he do it? The reader shares his study plan with all of you who are coming into bar prep crunch time…
In our little world, the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) is a career-defining moment. A few points on the test can mean the difference between going to a law school that can get you a job, or going to a law school where you’ll be locked in gladiatorial combat with every other student in order to finish in the top 10%.
But does this test really tell us anything about a person’s logical reasoning ability? Does it tell us anything about one’s ability to be a lawyer? It’s been well-documented that the LSAT is a great indication of past performance, a solid indicator of law school performance, and a very poor judge of future legal success.
So what is the LSAT really testing anyway? We all know really smart people who didn’t do too well on the LSAT, and we all know incredibly dumb people who got a high score.
On the Huffington Post, Noah Baron argues that the LSAT is really testing one thing: whether or not you are wealthy enough to spend the time it takes to prepare for the exam…
The evolution of relationships between the genders continues. Currently, in law firms, there is an interesting conundrum; balancing the desire for a gender-blind workplace where “the best lawyer gets the work and advances” and the reality of navigating the complicated maze created by the fact that, in general, men and women do possess differences in their work styles. These variations impact who they work with, how they work, how they build professional connections and how organizations ultimately leverage, reward and recognize the talents of all.
Henry Ford sat on his workbench and sighed. A year earlier, he had personally built 13,000 Model Ts with his own hands. Fashioning lugnuts and tie rods by hand, Ford was loath to ask for help. Sure, there were things about the car that he didn’t quite understand. This explains the lack of reliable navigation systems in the Model T. But Ford persevered because he knew that unless he did everything, he could not reliably call these cars his own.
“Unless my own personal toil is responsible for it, it may as well be called a Hyundai,” Ford remarked at the time.
The preceding may sound unfamiliar because it is categorically untrue. And also monumentally stupid. Henry Ford didn’t build all those cars by hand. He had help and plenty of it. Almost exactly one hundred years ago, Henry Ford opened up the most technologically advanced assembly line the world had ever seen. Built on the premise that work can be chopped up into digestible pieces and completed by many men better than one, the line ushered in an age of unparalleled productivity.
Today, an attorney refers business because he can’t do everything the client asks of him.
There are three reasons why this is way dumber than a made-up Henry Ford story…
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: [email protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months, and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.