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August 27, 2008

"Should associates pay their law firms in the first 2 to 3 years?"

New "Value Movement"? On Sunday night at dinner, an out-of-town friend since college, and member of a large U.S. law firm, raised the above question. "Jack's" verbatim query was a bit, but not much, different. After being startled for a moment, I wrote it down:

"If associates get all the benefits of training at my law firm in the first three years, and can't really add much value anyway, why don't they pay us?"

I admit to planting this seed of heresy in Jack's head years ago, when we had talked often, and passionately, about the understandable difficulty (perhaps impossibility) of making even the most talented law school graduates productive, client-oriented and economic inside of two years. Yes, we were both grumpy about the competitive and increasingly high salaries being paid to new law grads, by his firm and mine. And so I had first brought it all up back in 2003.

But back then we had also talked about the unlikelihood that the typical new associate at a large or higher-end firm--even those with part time jobs or summer clerkships under his or her belt--had enough work and life experience to decide to chose a law firm career without actually doing it, and thinking about it, for a while. Private practice at any law firm is not law school; it's far more demanding, and arguably demeaning. It's not for everyone.


Only doing it along side experienced, hopefully sane, lawyers in the trenches of real practice tell the new lawyer and the firm much about the truth.

So starting five years ago, Jack and talked I on the phone a lot, with verve and imagination, about a new "value movement". In the movement we half-joked about, law school graduates would be paid chiefly in the experience gained at a firm. Not money. Or, alternatively, gulp, the associate lawyer would pay the law firm.

But over time, we stopped joking. So here are the bare bones of the value movement:

A. No or nominal money. Initially, say, in the first 2 or 3 years, under "VM", an associate would be paid in the form of experience of being immersed in learning how to be a lawyer as he or she worked with more senior lawyers. A "trainee" would: (1) be paid either very minimal or at most paralegal-level salaries--don't laugh, a good paralegal is often markedly more valuable and cost-efficient than a "brilliant" first-year associate--and perhaps some other benefits; or (2) actually pay the law firm a nominal stipend--a "tuition", in effect, to cover some costs (and risks) of "training"--in a flexible apprenticeship arrangement which could be revisited.

B. Associates bear some risk. At a minimum, making the associate bear the risk of the investment in his or her training might have the effect of deterring some new grads who were just biding time, or perhaps clearly not going to stick around after debts were paid off, from going to the law firm in the first place. It might force some new lawyers to chose. (Further, the specter of such a system might even deter undergraduate college students from applying to law in the first place; students who know what lies ahead of them following law school may be less likely to chose law school as a "default" post-graduate alternative.)

C. Flexibility. Of course, the apprenticeship details would vary with the needs of the firm and the perceived abilities, energies and commitment of the trainee. The training term could be as short as 1 year and as long as 3 years. Obviously, if a law firm were somehow more certain a new associate was at least earnest enough about practicing law to stick with the experience for a long enough time to become a productive lawyer, the firm could pay the new hire anything it liked.

D. Firms get a more reliable look-see; new associates get experience. The idea is merely to ensure that both the law firm and the new graduate "get something" of value--in the firm's case, at least a stronger expectation of receiving value--in the first few years. Young lawyers may need time to test the waters; however, in the meantime, law firms should at least not have to "guess" as much about who is serious about law practice and who is not. Further, summers and part-time clerkships don't tell candidates or the law firms enough. Insufficient "data" for both.

E. Evaluation; parting of ways; negotiation. At the end of the training term, either (1) end the relationship, or (2) start talking about real money, real commitments and real professional futures, and commute the relationship to a permanent position. In short, use the training period to make decisions that make sense for both the lawyer and the firm, and avoid wasting the time and resources of either.

Draconian? Preposterous? Anti-"something"?


But associates, Jack and I would both argue, gain far more than their firms--and by a long shot, even if hard to measure--in the first 2 or 3 years. This is especially true at firms with demanding or high pressure "blue-chip" practices. There, brand new associates are paid very well to contribute very little, especially in larger firms or higher-end boutiques, in an expensive, somewhat nervous and very uncertain "talent-retention" exercise and sweepstakes. "The talent" we invest in, however, doesn't know anything; it can't really do anything for 2 to 3 years.

Law firms continue to invest big in associates with no guarantee that the associate will remain for very long. After very few years, he or she may choose to leave the firm after paying off school debts, decide against life in the medieval partner-associate structure and work environment, choose to work in another firm, the government or teaching, and/or leave the profession completely. That's fine. And that's human. But in any case, firms in the first few years "net", in most cases, Zilch. However, at a good firm, the associate generally retains a substantial, often incalculable, benefit of experience and know-how if he or she leaves, and can use that benefit at a new firm, other law job or even other career. No one "forgets" their first few years of practice at a solid law firm. At the very least, one grows up.

Final score: Associate Lawyers 100; Law Firms 0, or Less-Than-Zero.

So why should my boutique firm and Jack's big white shoe firm pay new lawyers to be "in school"--especially if many of them can be expected to drop out? And drop out "enriched"?

Finally, while the ability to think like a lawyer learned in 3 years of law school is a critical prerequisite to lawyering, the real education is forged in the first few years of practice. In the scheme of things, that training comprises by far the biggest part of becoming and remaining an effective problem-solver for clients. No one achieves great lawyerdom in law schools as we operate them in the U.S. or Europe. No one ever has. Our current rags-to-riches/school-to-firm regime assumes that some thing, process or force "completes" a lawyer in law school. But no one really believes that. It is not happening. In my view, the "value fantasy" about new grads with top grades is equally as harmful to those lawyers personally (and perhaps emotionally) as it is to their employers economically. And it is harmful to clients--the innocent bystanders--in ways too numerous and disturbing to list here.

Law firm compensation systems--especially in the U.S.--presuppose a value in new law grads that simply does not exist, even in the barest shadow form, and perhaps never existed. No, I don't have all the answers. But can't we come up with something different, sane--and in the true interest of both private firms and new lawyers? And clients?


Posted by JD Hull at August 27, 2008 11:59 PM


Factor in outsourcing and new associate wages look like taking a battering.

There were a few firms in Glasgow who used to make trainees pay them for the privilege of a training contract.

Not sure more debt is a good idea.

Why have associates at all? Why not have an army of paralegals from day 1 and make up the best to lawyer through some sort of vocational scheme.

Like the ILEX in the UK.

Posted by: D McCulley at August 28, 2008 06:09 AM

Your proposal sounds an awful lot like the internship/residency model for medical training. In law, it sounds like clients would no longer be charged for the cost of associates succeeding (or not succeeding) in moving up the learning curve. However, would the need for additional supervision eat the cost savings to firms and clients by adopting a system of unpaid (or nominally compensated) apprentices?

Posted by: Edward Wiest at August 28, 2008 09:36 AM

First, one assumes the associate is actually getting trained? There's been much discussion about the actual lack of training as you indicate in your own post...after 3 - 5 years they are no more marketable than they were before.

But that aside, how about an ROTC - type of program. They actually do boot camp training w/salary at the astronomical rate and if the associate leaves before a certain period where the law firm can recoup on their investment, the new lawyer is deemed to have broken the contract and have to pay damages. Wow...sounds like a lot of fun.

(I'm being very facetious here.)

It is an at-will employment like any other business who hires. The risk is on the employer. They are the ones who created the astronomical figures for the supposed best talent.

The risk is reduced if they know how to run their operation by providing training and cutting their losses if the training doesn't take.

Posted by: Susan Cartier Liebel at August 28, 2008 10:20 AM

You have a point, to a point, and to a certain extent, that's the model we use at my law firm. For example, summer associates. We tell them we will pay them crap, but in return for that, we will make sure they really get to participate in what law firms do and that they will really learn a lot about practicing law. We also tell them that we are a small firm that rarely hires fresh graduates, but that if they do a good job for us, we will do our utmost to help them get work the following year. This has worked incredibly well for us over the years and for the summer associates (most of whom were 1Ls when with us) as well, most of whom went on to AmLaw 100 type firms and with whom we still maintain a great relationship.

Posted by: Dan Harris at August 28, 2008 12:55 PM

Hull just wants to find a new profit center in associate training. He knows that 90% will be duds, and figures if he can get them to carry his bag and make a decent pot of coffee, he's way ahead of the game.

Posted by: shg at August 28, 2008 02:11 PM

Dan, back in April I posted along similar lines about a "seven-year law degree" (http://law21.ca/2008/04/10/the-seven-year-law-degree/) -- three years of school, one year of accreditation, and three years of "interning" before a new lawyer gets a full license to practise. I think we agree that turning new grads out into the legal world to fend for themselves, with few skills to deliver competent client service, does everyone a disservice, and that we need to take a more mature view of exactly how hard it is to become a lawyer.

That said, I think the idea of having new grads pay law firms to train them is, in today's terms, a complete non-starter. Unless every legal employer in the country agreed to do this -- and I think anti-combine officials would take notice of that -- an employer who tried charging new lawyers for training would never have a new lawyer to train. Not even the best law firm out there, with the best training any new lawyer could ever ask for, is going to get any applicants -- other than the independently wealthy who graduated from law school debt-free and are willing to work for, literally, less than nothing in order to better themselves and help provide value to firms and clients. In my experience, the independently wealthy in particular don't tend in that direction.

I'm not willing to concede that new lawyers are automatically nothing more than a drag on their employers' profitability. Whether they're paid more than their work is worth is an open question, but it's hardly the new lawyer's fault that he or she is offered what the market gives them. The real problem is that large firms, which set the salary standards, neither care about training their lawyers nor particularly need them trained -- they need billable hours churned out. When (not if) that changes, and new lawyers' salaries start returning to a value that more closely approximates their value, your concerns will be partly alleviated. (Their salaries will always exceed their value because of supply and demand, and we shouldn't expect any different -- if salaries matched real value, teachers would make millions and pro athletes would be earning five-figure incomes).

And of course new lawyers benefit from the experience they get -- but how is that different from any other industry anywhere? When did we start begrudging our employees their ability and opportunity to learn from our example and experience? You don't charge people for that -- you factor it into what you pay them, sure, but the degree to which you successfully train a new lawyer in the law is a competitive advantage in hiring, not a club to be used to knock people down. And, I would argue, it also goes to the Bar's tradition of professionalism. I agree we need a much better system than what we have now, but with respect, I don't think this is it.

Posted by: Jordan Furlong at August 28, 2008 02:47 PM

FWIW, medical interns--if they were lucky--got free room and board and not much more. Now they get a living wage (enough to satisfy their lenders). Even under Dan's plan, some money will pass to the trainees (as occurs with his 1L summer associates).

Posted by: Edward Wiest at August 28, 2008 09:21 PM

1. No benefit? BS

$300/hour * 2000 hours = $600,000

$600,000 - $165,000 (salary) - $50,000 (bonus) = $385,000

Let's say they pay another $100,000 in administrative support costs, employment taxes and benefits. That still a $285K net benefit. Plus, the fact that they have people to grunt work means they can spend more time developing business.

2. Training?

What training would we be paying for? How to do document review? How to do case law research? Or maybe we are being trained to live without a social life?

3. Higher costs for clients

If you lower starting salaries, there will be fewer people entering the field every year. That means there will be fewer experienced lawyers that add "value," and the cost of legal services will sky-rocket.

Posted by: Work Me at August 29, 2008 05:31 AM

I guess, by going out on my own, because I could not find someone to hire me at 30k (I don't need benefits; I just need someone to pay my payroll taxes!) I am already following this model. Hah! How about a little less superficial elitism by firms of all sizes? I didn't go to a top law school, but I did go to an Ivy League undergraduate institution, did work full-time while in law school, and have had papers published in peer-reviewed social science journals. I taught myself statistics and I conducted advanced statistical analysises at my job out of college. I have the dedication, work ethic, and intelligence to learn quickly, learn well, and do a good job. But because I don't have prestigious credentials, experience, or don't have the "right" look, I'm un-hireable. I'm also freakin' bilingual!

Frankly, this profession is insanely inefficient and ludicrous. It is the gatekeepers like yourself who make it so. Have a good time finding slaves.

Posted by: tab at August 29, 2008 08:47 AM

Tabitha--Thanks for the comment, and maybe you're right. You sound pretty interesting. What are you wearing?

Posted by: Dan Hull at August 29, 2008 02:29 PM

touché Mr. Hull. See you on the interwebs. :)

Posted by: tab at August 29, 2008 05:25 PM

"an employer who tried charging new lawyers for training would never have a new lawyer to train"

It seems to me that this would suit Dan just fine; he has essentially said as much in the past. He does not like young people, or young lawyers, and would rather not work with them.

Posted by: Tybalt at August 29, 2008 07:19 PM

Tybalt--Well, it's not that simple. Will try to explain. I like--and admit I do expect--quality, energy and ambition in lawyers of all ages. Practicing law, especially at first, is hard. And acquiring value as a lawyer is very hard-won; lots of lawyers (maybe even most) never get there. Lawyering is not for everyone and, in my firm's view, too many recent grads (say, last 10 years) should never haven chosen it as a career. It's 100% a client thing. Good clients and their GCs deserve firms with younger or newer lawyers who are (1) engaged, (2) happy and (3) deadly serious about lawyering.

New lawyers really have changed in certain ways in the last 10 years. And I am not exactly sure what has happened or why. But it hasn't been a good set of changes for corporate clients. Traditionally, we gave younger people client contact (including GCs) and big responsibilities very early--but we are not sure we can do that any more. That is no longer working. We first see it in summer clerks, all of whom are very good students. But "something" more important than grades and law review are missing. It's drive and stepping up, mainly.

I'll be in the UK this coming week (leaving in a few hours) with lawyers from a couple of the bigger firms there. I am interested in what they have to say about it. I am not the only one thinking about the issue, and it is certainly not about disliking young people. It's only about our clients (95% of which are repeat ones), delivering real value to them every day, and making them be and feel safe. Really is. Hey, thanks for your comment.

Posted by: Dan Hull at August 29, 2008 10:01 PM

"It's drive and stepping up, mainly."

I think you're overlooking some fundamental structural problems in law practice that affect the situation more than any sort of generational changes in young lawyers. What kind of "drive" and "stepping up" do you need to review a thousand documents? You can hardly blame a young associated for being less than enthused when all she sees day in and day out is the document review softward.

And most importantly, there's only so much "drive" can do when you're $150,000 in debt and feel like you *must* stay in your job that requires you to sacrifice your life by billing 2000-2200 hours/year in order to dig yourself out of that debt hole. It becomes indentured servitude. I, for one, don't blame young associates for not being "engaged" and "happy." It's far too much to ask them.

I have to say, if your young associates are all unhappy, unengaged, and not "deadly serious" about their jobs, then I think you should start looking at the constant in this equation -- you and your firm and your management policies -- rather than taking a facile, kids-these-days attitute.

Posted by: saleem at August 31, 2008 10:29 AM

I think this is only a poor attempt to jump off the "salary-carousel" in times of recession and fewer transactions.

Like "work me" already said, you're still making a lot of money, otherwise all big firms with a leverage of - at least 5:1 - would file for bankruptcy in no time... Poor, poor big firms...

As far as Germany is concerned, if the firms decided to pay less or even nothing, they would not get a single associate, because everyone would start his own business, without the sweat-shop-conditions and boot-camp-atmosphere, and with the good feeling of being self-employed.

So, come on...
Maybe you can do it to desperate Kids who have no self esteem. But then you are right, they will never become good lawyers.

Posted by: Associate Germany at September 2, 2008 02:59 AM

If young lawyers are so worthless, why don't you just hire mid-levels?

Posted by: blabla at September 2, 2008 05:05 PM

Did you see this story on MSNBC about the married couple (JD/MBA and MD) who have $500,000 in student loan debt? And $4,000 monthly bill from Sallie Mae?


To Dan Hull I say: if you want to suck blood out of your victims, make sure they actually have some blood left.

Posted by: guest at September 2, 2008 05:14 PM

Laughable, at least as to BigLaw.

Even a first year at a big firm is very profitable, as correctly observed by Work Me above. The "associates aren't profitable until mid-level" nonsense is a farcical myth perpetuated by partners making $1M a year but who think their slice of the pie still isn't quite big enough.

Moreover, as observed by Susan and others above, the "training" received by many big firm associates is wretched to nonexistent - certainly not worth giving up your life and an income for.

Two thumbs way down.

Posted by: JimAtLaw at September 2, 2008 06:20 PM

Are you kidding me? Surely you realize that the whole "associates are unprofitable" rap is just brainwashing by partners. See the math done above. If your associates aren't profitable, that's your problem, not theirs.

You are proposing a system of apprenticeship, after the three years of law school. Does that really make sense to you? Why would anyone possibly agree to that? Go ahead and try this at your firm - see if you are able to hire anyone ever again.

Posted by: brett at September 2, 2008 10:11 PM

You say you lose money on associates. Fine. Be a lawyer and prove your case.

How much do you bill your associates out at? What's your average realization rate? What's your average collection rate? What is the exact overhead associated with each associate?

Don't fudge the numbers, either, by saying that there are hundreds-of-thousands of dollars in "recruitment costs" per lawyer. Also, don't throw in the cost of the marketing department. And if you add in facilities managers (which you should), divide them by the number of total people; since it's not like the AC only runs in the young-lawyers' offices.

Let's see those numbers.

Posted by: Mike at September 2, 2008 10:16 PM

This idea is absurd. As someone already mentioned, the idea that young associates get "trained" is patently feckless. Moreover, partners at major law firms that do large securities class actions defense, internal investigations, and other bullshit cases like that get to justify charging their clients $300 an hour for monkey-work.
If you think that that does not (a) enrich the partners and (b) rape the clients, then you are lying to yourself.

Posted by: Crawler at September 3, 2008 05:43 AM

This is utter nonsense.

Your sweeping generalizations about that productivity of junior associates betrays not only your own arrogance but the reflects very poorly on the quality of work being produced by your firm.

Posted by: This must be a joke. at September 3, 2008 05:49 AM

Pay associates paralegal wages for their first two years and then elevate them.

1. Clients don't want to pay for the 'training' of greenfield lawyers.

2. It is ludicrous that a 24 year old who may have never held a job in their life walks into a position making $160,000. Experience counts people.

Following the above would reduce costs, increase profitability, please clients and hold down rate increases and hopefully manage lawyer ego issues a little bit (one can hope).

Posted by: Oscar at September 3, 2008 09:24 AM

This post reflects the misunderstanding of basic forces at work in the legal market. As a law student (2L) at a top-tier school, I know the pressures that are driving this market.

The level of performance that is required to get a great LSAT score and GPA just to get into a top-tier law school, then get top grades at that school means that the SUPPLY of us "unprofitable for the first few years" associates is LOW. Sure, there are plenty of people graduating, but not enough from top schools with top grades to drive down the HIGH market DEMAND. The bi-modal salary distribution for entry level law jobs demonstrates this perfectly.

Of course the salaries are more than what you think they're worth, but they continue adjust to basic market forces. Would I have gone through what I have gone through in order to work for free or even pay - no. Especially taking into account the high cost of living in places that pay the most, like NY, Chicago, or LA, $160,000 for someone working those kind of hours with 3 years graduate/professional school is not out of line with the rest of the economy.

Frankly Mr. Hull, you just don't get it - big firms need new associates all the time. If new associates were so unproductive, why do they get merit bonuses and bonuses for working more hours? It is in the firms' interest to give these bonuses because new associates make the firm a lot of money by doing the crap work that partners won't.

What might have merit is creating a second type of career track. Give some new lawyers the promise that they will be in more significant roles as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year associates (and thus will have much better experience than their counterparts) but pay them less. To me as a law student, this would be a very attractive proposition.

Unfortunately for the firm, this creates three major problems.
1) It would only incentivize more flight from the firm, perpetuating the brain drain, because in 3 years you'd have a 3rd year associate with the same knowledge as a 5th year associate (who is making more money) and the 3rd year would leave for greener pastures.
2) It still leaves all that document review to be done by someone else, who will, of course, demand the market rate for market services - too bad.
3) It kills what should be the proper growth pattern of your firm, which is promotion from within. By driving away all your young associates, you'll need more laterals, which inevitably also demand market rate.

Seeing a pattern? There is this thing called a market. Your ignorance of economics, and arrogance concerning the non-monetary benefits that you supposedly transfer to young associates is disgusting. For lawyers who want great experience and are willing to sacrifice money there are things like public defender, pro bono firms, and JAG corp. It is flat out idiotic to think that the best law students from the best schools would ever consider working for free or even paying a large firm for the "experience" of what young associates go through. You drastically overstate what that "experience" is worth while completely undervaluing the young associate's contribution to the firm.

If you have 1st and 2nd year associates who "can't do anything" that is your problem for not making them productive through training and appropriate assignments. I hope I never work for a partner like you.

Posted by: Teek at September 3, 2008 12:40 PM

Big Law buddy of mine has been reading emails for 2 years. Awesome training.

I have more litigation experience than his 7th year buddy at the same firm.

The clients are the ones who are getting ripped off. They get charged $300+ per hour for armies of associates reading through email at home.

Posted by: Bingo at September 3, 2008 01:29 PM

The comments on here echo the ones made to me by a lot of friends. "the firm bills us at $300 an hour, so they make like $600,000 a year on me alone." This statement amuses me to no end. First of all the chances of all of your hours actually being billed to a client and paid for are slim to none - most partners write off huge chunks of hours from young incompetent attorneys like you. Second of all, do you really think for one minute that you could go out and charge $300 an hour for your services? Do you think someone is willing to give you $300 an hour because you got an A in con law, or because you were captain of your moot court team? Sorry, they don't - you are a loss to the firm because they have to expend resources in order to get someone to pay you. Because your work is not worth $300 an hour, and because it costs an obscene amount of money to provide you with a nice summer position, and lunch, and an office - with a secretary.

Rant over - and yes - I am actually a 1st year associate or will be in a few days.

Posted by: Impressed with 1st year associates at September 3, 2008 01:40 PM

The problem is that if you do not adequately pay your associates, they will be unable to live lifestyles that will put them in touch with the right clients or project the right image for you firm.

When someone meets an attoreny from your firm and they are living a so-so lifestyle, or, because of student loans, they are living a poor lifestyle, what does it say about your firm? Their image of unsuccess says that your firm is hungry and desparate.

Getting clients is all about image. If your lawyers are poor, odds are, they are also not worth hiring. Part of being a good litigator is about having the matching ego, to get that ego, they need to be differentiated from society and have the (groundless) sense of confidence that uniqueness confers. The pay is part of a branding move to separate your lawyers from other lawyers -- you do not have whiplash commercials, you do not have ambulance chasers, etc, etc. You have high-paid, top-talent -- conveying the image of rising stars rather than a pack of hungry hyena’s is much more effective.

After all, if you can't do well for yourself, why could you do well for your clients?

And, to Oscar -- the flipside is, if someone has held one job for a long period of time, it means they are not competant enough to be doing something else. Years of experience is a lousy way to judge ability -- hell, if you've been in a job without promotion for more than two years it shows that you are cold product.

Posted by: SustainedObjections at September 3, 2008 01:41 PM

In Italy after 5 years of university (just teorical) we have 2 years of unpaid trainerships.At the end af all an exam to be a lawyer (avvocato in italian).
Restart from zero.

Associates unpaid?
Isn't this a prove of america's decline ?
Welcome to our world

Posted by: Paolo the italian at September 4, 2008 03:11 AM


it is similar in Germany, we have 4-6 years of law school, then two years of apprenticeship and are paid about 800€ a month for these two years.

Hence, if they would pay us nothing, we would be 30 and wouldn't have made a single dime... Ridiculous.

If you have very good grades, it shows you are very effective and only need a few weeks or months to be productive.

Best regards

Posted by: Associate Germany at September 5, 2008 01:21 AM

So, what you're basically suggesting is "Just watch me and you'll learn something, and you should pay me for that."

Training understands an official program in which the material learned is clearly defined. Law schools charge for the training they provide for their students, because in three years they prepare them for the bar exam and double or triple their value on the job market. They also don't exploit them as workers.

If a student gets official training at a law firm and is NOT required to work for the firm (the law firm has no use of the associate whatsoever), the firm may charge for its training services. However, to use someone to work for you and charge them under the explanation that he or she will "learn something" is not a valid business deal.

Posted by: Irene at September 26, 2008 02:46 PM

Irene--What we are saying:

1. Go to law school for 3 to 4 semesters. (Change the system.) Law school gives you 15% of what we need, and grades do provide a glimpse into the real talent for the 15% part. But you need to go to work. Top students from top schools are just spazz cases unless they "want it" and eventually "get it".

2. Don't waste law firms' time by going into a profession you are not suited for or just don't have the stomach to learn. We're tired of half-assed people. We don't owe you a "finding yourself period". Quit stealing from us and our clients.

3. Main Event: Learn by doing/paying: "Be a partner" from Day One, step up with all you have. But what you are doing at first is worth $35 an hour TOPS to us and it may be even a drain (-$35 an hour) on us. Your value-added may or may not increase--but you need to earn it. And academic smarts? It's about 15% of what we really need. It does not drive whether you will ever "get it".

4. If you really want it, you'll pay for it.

Posted by: Holden Oliver at September 26, 2008 04:40 PM

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