How, exactly, does having a middling college GPA and LSAT score indicate a strong work ethic?
Resume points are nice, but they don't always reveal whether the person behind the resume actually has any real competence or intelligence. And I don't really see the connection between entrepreneurship and lawyering; lots of lawyers don't even work in private practice. I know Americans place an inordinate amount of weight on being a "self-starter" or "go-getter" or any other corporate buzzword that stands for profit-generation, but those skills don't necessarily have anything to do with legal practice.
That's a strawman. I never said having a middling college GPA and LSAT indicate strong work ethic. I said an applicant being employed consistently since high school (especially considering that high school jobs are increasingly rare now) demonstrates a better work ethic than simply revolving life around standardized tests. I said that applicants who have shown loyalty to prior low wage menial jobs (by working there a long time), are probably people who can handle work life pretty well.
There are far too many K-JDs who know of nothing other than school, and it shows when they transition into professional life. They're used to sitting in a desk, getting lectured at by a teacher, going home and reading by themselves, studying, and taking tests. What they're not always so good at is:
1) Checking their egos at the door;
2) Not being lazy;
3) Taking orders; and,
4) Basic social skills;
The list goes on. When I see people that have never had a gap in their employment since high school (and have managed to show loyalty to low wage menial jobs), I know that person knows how to commit to something and knows how to handle work life.
As much as it sucks while it's happening, there are certain benefits you get as an 18-20 year old having some middle aged woman scream at you for something wildly outside the realm of your pay grade, asking to see your manager, that you just can't learn in school (or professional employment, really). I had this wonderful experience pre-law school, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.
If you have five years experience at the same company being on your feet for 8-12 hour shifts, getting yelled at idiots constantly, handling all the drama that comes with low wage employment, you're not going to be the newly hired K-JD employee talking about "work/life balance" constantly all the time at work.
Last summer, one of my law clerks was K-JD, never had a real job (I didn't hire him), but had decent grades at a good school. This kid was literally talking TO ME about work/life balance all the time, explaining that he really wanted a job where he made good money and didn't have to work that much. He was constantly complaining TO ME about having to work (albeit "jokingly"). At lunch he told me the exact figure of how much his trust fund was worth (albeit jokingly) after I offered to pay his bill. He was one of the most spoiled and entitled people I've ever met (I still gave him a good letter of recommendation, though).
I still want to believe that had I done the hiring, and picked the kid who was working at McDonalds at 16, we probably would have had a way better clerk. If you can handle the horrors of low wage service industry employment/military/manual labor -- a cushy office job isn't something you're going to complaining about all that much. I've yet to encounter even the worst "screamer" partner that rivals some of the horrible supervisors and managers I had to deal with in the service industry.