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The Profile of a Successful Attorney?

What’s truly the difference between an ‘elite’ school and a ‘third tier’ school? Who is smarter? A cum laude graduate of said third tier school or a Harvard Law graduate who barely made it?

Professors from UCLA and Brooklyn Law Schools have analyzed data from studies and concluding that yes, law school grades are more of an indication of a successful legal career than attending an ‘elite’ school.

Not surprisingly, the indicator of ‘success’ in a legal career was income. Which begs the question? What determines if a lawyer is successful? The part that is unclear to me is that there are many factors in the legal career itself that determine income. Corporate attorneys inherently make more money than say, a criminal defense attorney working for the government. They could be equally intelligent and legally savvy. How is that factored in higher-income=better-attorney formula? Or what if an attorney is really good at being a lawyer, but not very business savvy (if s/he is running a practice that is?)

Since I’m relatively new to the legal community (aside law school), I’m curious to hear from attorneys (or clients) the profile of what they consider to be a successful attorney.

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