Daniel W. Drezner

The tyranny of lawyers

My latest National Interest Online essay offers some further thoughts on why lawyers and not public policy grads are getting the good foreign policy jobs (one reason not offered in the essay — “lawyers” is more elegant to write than “public policy grads”).  It expands on the signaling argument I made here.  My partly-tongue-in-cheek suggestion ...

My latest National Interest Online essay offers some further thoughts on why lawyers and not public policy grads are getting the good foreign policy jobs (one reason not offered in the essay — “lawyers” is more elegant to write than “public policy grads”).  It expands on the signaling argument I made here.  My partly-tongue-in-cheek suggestion for how to correct this situation comes at the end: 

So there are logical reasons why lawyers might be getting the top foreign-policy posts. Are these substantively good reasons, however? As a professor with an interest in seeing his graduates thrive in the public sector, I think attending a public-policy school should send an even stronger signal. It should say that the person in question is well-trained and has the other traits necessary for a leadership position. Perhaps the next step should be to make the first year of a public-policy degree more like the first year of law school. After all, why should one-Ls have all the fun?

[Cue Satanic cackle here!!–ed.]

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