Swap ‘less prestigious’ for the word poorer and that’s the surprising idea behind some new research from the States. I won’t explain it in detail, you can read about it here alongside some comments and download the paper. Suffice to say, I’ve seen the paper and it is very interesting. For me it calls into question the notion of ‘prestige’ in law schools, which is constructed partly by reputation, partly by the qualities (social and intellectual) of its recruits and partly by the recruitment decisions of employers who rely on that construction in making their choice of candidates. The result is inhibited social mobility and a profession based on less on meritocracy than it should be. Interestingly, the US paper suggests that, up to a point, US law firms have begun to see through this and recruit better performers from less prestigious law schools where they do well at those schools. Interestingly, this selection based on law school performance, rather than identity of law school, is reflected in performance within the firm. The better a student did at their law school (whether it is is prestigious or not) the better they do in terms of earnings. Law School grades are a better predictor of success than law school prestige. With diversity climbing up the agenda of the Government, the Professions and the Legal Services Board the research provides much food for thought.