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Why Some Attorneys Have a Difficult Time Succeeding in Law Firms
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Harrison Barnes offers an explanation as to why some attorneys simply cannot succeed in a big law firm.

Summary: Harrison Barnes offers an explanation as to why some attorneys simply cannot succeed in a big law firm.

In a new article for BCG Attorney Search, “Why Upper and Lower Class Attorneys Rarely Succeed in Law Firms: How Race and Class Often Hinder Law Firm Success,” Harrison Barnes explores a crisis that impacts law firms all over the nation: class-based discrimination.


Barnes explains that, in his mind, the lower class and upper classes are more like each other than either is like the middle class. Neither class tends to work much, and both classes may dabble with illegal drugs. The middle class tries to fit in, whereas the other classes may not care about fitting in. Barnes then explains that being a lawyer is “about the most middle class job you can have” which requires middle class values: hard work, predictability, education, consistency, and working for the rich.

Check out Barnes’ article called, “What’s the Point?”

Barnes notes that two presidents, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, came from lower classes, but never practiced law. In fact, Barnes predicts that both would have failed at practicing, and perhaps the Bush presidents would have, too, because neither the lower class nor the upper class typically have the work ethic to be successful attorneys.

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According to Barnes, his experience has taught him three things. Black people from lower class backgrounds almost always fail in big law firms, upper class people from any racial background almost always fail as well, and middle class people fail because of their attitude toward work—just not as often.

Quitting a job before finding another could permanently damage your career.

Success depends on one’s attitude toward work, Barnes explains. When individuals throw in the towel and say “This isn’t worth it,” whether it is in law school or in big law, Barnes comments that the person really does not want to put in the work.

Barnes also comments that minorities’ acceptance into law school, when it is based more on the color of their skin than the quality of their grades, also hurts them in the legal field. Without good legal skills, these individuals will never advance in a big law firm, and will become quickly discouraged.

Many attorneys quit for the wrong reasons.

Similarly, many upper class individuals think that they can buy their way to success. This attitude also dooms them to an unhappy life as an attorney, where hard work is simply part of the job.

Again, it all comes down to hard work. For more detail as to how one can be a successful attorney, regardless of background, check out the article at BCG Attorney Search.

Source: BCG Attorney Search

Photo credit: The Guardian


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