Law School Pyramid of Success: If Coach Wooden Had Been a Lawyer

Law School Pyramid of Success: If Coach Wooden Had Been a Lawyer ….

Posted on 01-06-2017 by

Ten NCAA Championships in 12 years (including seven in a row) … these are the success numbers of basketball coaching great, John Wooden.

Want to know Wooden’s game plan for winning?

It was his Pyramid of Success, which contains 15 building blocks, beginning with “Competitive Greatness” at the top. Wooden defined “Competitive Greatness” as:

Competitive Greatness is having a real love for the hard battle knowing it offers the opportunity to be at your best when your best is required.

Wooden’s Pyramid isn’t the only coaching guide to success. Legendary football coach Bill Snyder lists 16 Goals for Success for his K-State football teams. These goals include, among other things:

  • Commitment … to common goals and to being successful
  • Self-Discipline … do it right, don’t accept less
  • Eliminate Mistakes … don’t beat yourself
  • No Self-Limitations … expect more of yourself

And if you’re really ambitious, there’s the satirical Ron Swanson Pyramid of Greatness (NBC’s Parks and Rec). It stands tall – very tall – with 45 building blocks.

A few of the funny ones:

  • Skim milk. Avoid it.
  • Handshakes. Firm, dry, solid. 3 seconds.
  • Stillness: Don’t waste energy moving unless necessary.
  • Poise: Sting like a bee. Do not float like a butterfly. That’s ridiculous.
  • Greatness Itself: The best revenge.

All kidding aside, Wooden and Snyder won (and won big) by following their success principles. If you’re a law student, you can win too by following the Law School Pyramid of Success.

The Law School Pyramid of Success

So here it is (I know … it’s not what you expected):

Two building blocks … just two.

I could’ve added building blocks for grades or law journal or blogging or school pedigree, but time and time again, research and writing prove themselves mission critical for lawyers and law students.

Why writing? Because writing is the means for most legal arguments and procedures. It’s the lawyer’s life blood. Hence, the reason why lawyers, like piranha, frenzy around great writing tips.

Why research? Because over 80% of hiring partners stress the critical skills of legal research and advanced legal research. With young associates spending between 40% and 60% of their time on legal research, the skill is paramount for career success.

Writing  + Research + Principles = Success

Don’t devalue Wooden’s or Snyder’s success principles. Add them to your success tools. They’re valuable (and powerful) when adhered to. But neither Wooden nor Snyder attended law school or practiced law.

If they had, their success principles would’ve increased … by two.