Thursday, July 28, 2011

God, for a Man that Solicits Insurance

Authors and actors and artists and such
Never know nothing, and never know much.
Sculptors and singers and those of their kidney
Tell their affairs from Seattle to Sydney.
Playwrights and poets and such horses' necks
Start off from anywhere, end up at sex.
Diarists, critics, and similar roe
Never say nothing, and never say no.
People Who Do Things exceed my endurance;
God, for a man that solicits insurance!
I see the anointed chairman-to-be at the megalawfirm of O'Melveny & Myers is a graduate of Fordham--Fordham, frevvins sakes, the strivers' and strugglers' school, so not one of those Yalies or Harvards on whom the stars are supposed to fall.

I have absolutely no dog in this fight and I must say he has an impressive looking resume but there must be Ivy admissions officers gnashing their teeth and saying, "how could we have missed this guy?"    Soreheads will say: oh, it's because he is a white guy, and all the Ivies want are affirmative action hires.  I think it is more complicated than that. My suspicion is that the new man's problem in the admissions sweepstakes was that he just wasn't interesting.  I see from his O'Melveny spread that he came from Wisconsin (okay so far)that that he had an undergraduate business degree (uh oh) and worse that he specifies a concentration in "risk and insurance"* Just as a guess, I'd say there isn't anything more likely to turn off an Ivy admissions committee than a professed interest in "insurance."  Talk about your service as a sled dog at the South Pole with Scott; your career as an Olympic hot-air balloonist--talk about almost anything except your enthusiasm for--and at the age of 21, yet--for (snarf, zzzz).

"Interesting," then, may be what the law school wants, but just as another guess, I'd say it may not be what the client wants.  I suspect the client is rather more interested in the person who can become a total bore--who can drill so deeply into the client's  problem that he thinks and (worse) talks about nothing else, 24/7.   I don't know about the rest of you but I'm not all that delighted when the pilot asks me what novel I'm reading, or when the cardiologist wants to tell me about his string quartet.  Sounds like Fordham knew exactly what it was doing, and it paid off.
*Note an interesting sort of double game here: "risk and insurance" remains on his web page today, now, a generation on.  Surely not an oversight, yes? 

1 comment:

history student said...

The secret is that he comes from O'Sullivan, Graev and Karabel -- which was a firm of strivers that would have been welcoming to Fordham grads, and which OMM has been widely second-guessed for absorbing. My guess is that the former O'Sullivan partners constitute a firm-within-a-firm that wields unusual power in things like managing partner decisions because they speak with one voice.