Tuesday, June 12, 2007


I admit it: not being the World's Greatest Law Student frequently worries me. I fret that this means I won't be the World's Greatest Lawyer, and will therefore not have a job, &c., &c. (I never claimed this was a rational fear.)

However, as the Great and Wise Nomad Mom--who would be an outstanding President but who'll never take the job--is wont to say, "if Ted Kennedy can make it through, so can you." Just now, I've come across another weapon for her arsenal for whenever I end up taking the bar and if, God forbid, I ever end up in a courtroom due to some truly evil stroke of misfortune:

But the hype was at times nearly overwhelming. To take just one example, it was often said that Mrs. Clinton had been judged one of the top lawyers in America. But both books point out that she failed the District of Columbia bar exam when she took it fresh out of Yale Law School. (Bernstein’s recounting of her years at Yale give the impression that she trained as much to be a social worker as a lawyer.) Of the 817 people who took the exam with Mrs. Clinton, Bernstein tells us, 551 — that’s 67 percent — passed, “most from law schools less prestigious than Yale.” The fact that Mrs. Clinton failed is not a scoop — after keeping it a secret for many years, she revealed it in a little-noticed
passage of her memoir, Living History — but it will receive new attention now. (She was also, by the way, unimpressive in the courtroom, and Bernstein reports that her worried Rose Law Firm partners “began steering her practice toward nonjury work.”)

Phew! I feel better already. Don't worry, though--I've no plans to run for Senate, President, or First Lady of anything, or even to try a hand at cattle futures. In all fairness* to HRC, though, hindsight appears to offer a cautionary lesson on hype for aspiring political power brokers: very few of those aspirants will in practice be consistently brilliant strategists or truly great politicians.

*However, having one's White House portrait painted with one's hand on one's book is, well, tacky. On that point, I am unshakeable.

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