Harvard Law School students tend to be an ambitious bunch. So it is no surprise to see that so many members of Congress graduated from this law school. Though we all groan whenever the umpteenth classmate at HLS speaks of wanting to run for political office, there is something extraordinary about being at a place where students who speak of such things will likely go on and do them. What is it about Harvard Law School that draws together such a talented bunch of people and enables them to succeed so magnificently?
The name certainly doesn’t hurt. Many students choose HLS over other schools because there is no other school that has quite the same aura as Harvard. Yale Law School may edge Harvard out in the rankings, but ask any non-legal person what they consider to be the “best” school and the answer will inevitably be Harvard. Yale sounds great-Harvard is mythic. Being able to return home to states where Harvard students aren’t a dime a dozen helps graduates to use their degrees as a signal of achievement that opens many doors.
The networking among students and faculty also helps. It’s not just your neighbor down the hall whose going to be senator some day-your best friend is probably going to be a wealthy law partner and your section mate will run the Department of Justice one day. Being able to form strong connections with each other, HLS students enter the professional world with a strong network in place that only grows stronger as former students get deeper into their careers. The expansion of LIPP over the pass couple of years will ensure an even broader network of alumni to tap into from various fields.
Sure, sometimes HLS can be a drag and classes can seem mind-numbingly dull. But there’s a reason we all came here-to attend the finest legal academy in the world with some great classmates. Feel free to groan the next time someone talks of running for office-but remember, ambition is what drove them-and you-to HLS and it is what will drive all of us to be the very best in our careers. Sigh inwardly and then get them to promise you a nice staff position when they do get elected. Never hurts to cover your bases, right?
So the next time you feel bad about NYU having a better international law program, or wonder what it would be like to never have snow at Stanford, or regret not having gone to Yale, just remember why you came here. After all, you don’t see Yalies making up 10% of the United States Senate, do you?