Conventional wisdom has it that lawyers with work experience before law school have an advantage over their wet-behind-the-ears peers. Since they know the business world, they can better identify with clients. And since they’ve worked, they already bring a standard of professionalism to the job.

That may be so. But in the case of one firm, the conventional wisdom did not play out in its attrition statistics. When Philadelphia’s Mesirov Gelman Jaffe Cramer & Jamieson L.L.P. examined its attrition over 12 years, firm leaders found to their surprise that lawyers with business experience were less likely to survive firm life.

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