Gaming is real life

In response to my last post, the following comment was forwarded to me:

Q:  Isn’t gaming what they teach in law school, essentially? Probing for weaknesses and exploiting them ruthlessly when found? It seems that with the adversarial legal system, gaming is built right into the DNA of the experience. I agree they are being poor ethical exemplars by gaming the rankings but I’m not sure it’s entirely inconsistent with the legal system.

The issue here, however, as I saw it, is that the "system" was lop-sided. If it’s adversarial, there must be a balance. And the applicant to the law school was not informed of the parameters that allowed the Dean of the school to adjust the perception of the school.

Another example of this is in economics … again from the legal community:  Law firms are not publicly traded and don’t give out their financial information. Yet, there is a publication that is able to rank law firms by revenue, profits per partner, and other factors.  This has become almost like a stock exchange. Lawyers may move around, either to a law firm or away from a law firm, by virtue of these numbers.  Thus, the "top" law firms have become interested in presenting the best face to the lawyer public. How do they do this? One way is by adjusting the revenue and profits per partner figures.

How do they do this? Obviously, by increasing revenues and increasing profits. These are numerators. They can also adjust the figures by tinkering with the denominator.  The fewer partners, the higher will be the "per partner" result. How do you get fewer partners? Ah, that’s the rub … Current trend is to slow down the process of making associates partners … and by "de-equitizing" partners who don’t "perform" to the new standard. De-equitizing is a fancy word for "firing" a partner … or taking the partner’s equity position away and keeping him/her as "Of Counsel" or an "Income Partner" only …  This is another way to "game" the system.

Isn’t this what publicly traded companies do as well? Everyone, not just lawyers, are involved in gaming the system.


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