Law Firm Management

Different Types of Smart

At my high school, athletics were valued above academics. I am pretty sure that we had the only ‘Reach for the Top’ team (an academic competition) which had a student who failed a grade one year and returned to the team the next year. Needless to say, our team did not win.

On the other hand, our school had three football teams, all of which won their respective divisions just about every year.

As you can imagine, in our high school, being on the Student Council was for nerds.  I, of course, was elected as a class representative in my very first year. I was not creative enough to get on the Executive, though. I seem to recall the President winning with the slogan, “A chicken in every pot, and pot in every chicken.”

The Executive of our Student Council was what nowadays their critics would call “woke.”  At the very first meeting, they put forward a motion to achieve a higher level of democracy by doing away with the elected representatives and allowing any student to attend a council meeting and vote. They were very convincing, so I and the other lemmings voted in favour of the resolution, which passed by a landslide.

I told my father about this and he replied that rule number one of organizations is that you never vote yourself out of power.

As it turned out, although every football game attracted hundreds of students, interest in student government waned in comparison. We were lucky to have a handful of students attend our meetings.

Fast forward a few months, and the captains of the three football teams got in their heads that the teams needed new uniforms and equipment. They assembled all of the team members, the cheerleading squad, and all of their friends. We had our best attended Student Council meeting of the year at which the decision was made to spend the entire year’s budget on the football teams.  Not surprisingly, we never did see the members of the football team at another council meeting after that.

It turns out that Dad was right. Again.

If I had to wager, I would bet that the average grades of the members of the Student Council Executive far exceeded the average grades of the players on the football team. There are, however, different types of smart, and we lawyers would be well advised not to forget that.

But forget that, we do. When we interview lawyers, we ask what law school they went to, what their LSAT score was and what marks they earned. Of course, what really matters are other things, such as whether they can apply concepts to solve problems, evaluate risk, strategize their way out of a paper bag, manage projects, work as a team, delegate, and supervise others.

Strangely enough, I think that some of the people on our football teams would have made great lawyers. I know that some of the nerds didn’t.

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