For those who consider themselves competitive, there's nothing like a great competition.
Competition starts very early in life for many people — maybe it's in a dance competition or Little League, during a summer reading contest or playing Uno with the neighbors. That competitive spirit grows and soon it leads to sports, school rankings, academic competitions or the lead in the school play. Once school ends and the job force welcomes us, then the competition becomes heightened because it involves our livelihood and, of course, money.
What I like about competition the most is the skills that it teaches us. I like how we learn confidence and to believe in our abilities. I'm always in awe of how a basketball player can pull up for that big shot just as the game clock expires. (You want to see a real thrill? Check out the Indiana University-Kentucky men's basketball game from last season and see what I'm talking about.) I also like how competitiveness takes hard work. A small fraction of the population can be on top without really working at it, but most of us must work our butts off to succeed. Watching the Olympics showed us that. Many athletes gave up a large portion of their early lives, even living away from their parents, to practice a sport with the hope of winning a gold medal one day.
I like how it takes drive to be competitive. Not everyone possesses that drive. You can push and push people to succeed or meet new goals, but if they do not possess that drive, they won't in the end reach new levels. Drive is not something that can be taught. I firmly believe that people are born with this ability to push themselves — it's a gift, and sometimes a burden.
I talk about the art of competition in light of our cover story about law students who compete in mock trial competitions. From what I'm told, law school seems very tough. But these students add onto that toughness by trying out and competing on these teams. They learn important skills that they can carry over into their professional lives as lawyers.
I didn't like reading how some larger firms do not appreciate the work and skills these students learned on those teams. I understand that some of the higher-ranked schools do not offer these opportunities, but I think law firms should appreciate the schools that do and consider the job candidates who participate because they may bring that drive and competitiveness to the workplace.
This month marks our annual Law School Issue, which includes statistics, photos and stories about law students and law schools. Several school administrators wrote columns for the publication.
Our hiring survey, which details who at the larger firms handles hiring and recruiting, starts on page 24 of the print edition of the magazine.
We printed two other law school charts — one about enrollment statistics and another about alumni boards — on page 28 and 48 of the print edition, respectively.
This month, reporter Roy Strom launches his patent series with a discussion about how the court system changes as patents grow and rules evolve. The rest of the series will appear in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin beginning this month.
Many firms take creative approaches to training their new associates so they can better handle the firm's clients. I think this idea will catch on at more law firms, but read about who already took these steps.
This month's Inspiring Innovators profile will really tug at your heart. It's about how attorney David Cutter and his wife, Julie, helped build an Evanston playground that all children could play in, regardless of the physical or mental disability they face. They built the playground and named it after their son, Noah, who died in 2005 in his sleep. Noah faced physical and mental disabilities so they understood the importance of this playground where children just like him can also play.
Just a reminder that I am currently accepting nominations for this year's "Person of the Year Award." The deadline is Oct. 1.
Lawyers must be nominated by other lawyers and the nomination should come in the form of one-page letter explaining why the person is exceptional.
Corboy & Demetrio forgot to mention in our August issue that Thomas Demetrio volunteers on the following boards: Lawyers Lend-A-Hand to Youth Program, advisory board; Center for Disability and Elder Law, board of directors; Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago, board of directors; Big Shoulders — Archdiocese of Chicago, board of directors.