Is it in poor taste to argue against leaning too hard on credentials when you post something on LinkedIn, a platform where people showcase their credentials for all to see? I don’t think so.
If you want a lawyer who will do a good job drafting a will, handling your divorce or making sure you’re signing a good employment contract, how important is it that she went to a top-five law school?
You want someone who, on recommendation from someone you trust, will get the job done and won’t be a jerk to deal with. A law school transcript from 25 years ago won’t tell you how that lawyer deals with clients, keeps up with recent changes in the law, reads a family law judge or the opposing lawyer to know how far to push things in a negotiation. Those, and hundreds more qualities, are acquired through experience building on good intuition.
I’m convinced that it’s nearly impossible to teach intuitive thinking. You’ve got it or you haven’t. It’s necessary for a lot of jobs, including being an investigator, but not sufficient. Good investigators know things, so that they can say to themselves, “That doesn’t seem right to me.”
Bernard Madoff with a tiny audit firm in a suburban shopping mall? Doesn’t seem right.
A guy telling his girlfriend about his high-end investment bank that has no website and only a LinkedIn page with a typo on the first line? Smells bad. True story: It was.
A law school professor of mine used to remark that there’s a reason there are no child-prodigy lawyers, and the same would go for top-notch investigators who are still in middle school. The number of permutations on a piano keyboard or a chessboard is miniscule compared to the number of permutations there are in life.
Analyzing those permutations takes practice but also a knowledge base we’re not born with.
Look at the wonderful surreal painting above by Morris Hirschfield (1872-1946). He was until 65 years old a tailor and then a designer of shoes. On retirement he began painting compelling figures like this one (it’s called “Girl in a Mirror,” but this can’t be a mirror).
Hirschfield was ridiculed by many in his day as an untrained bumpkin, but his lifelong experience of dealing with the human figure, his sense of color and balance plus his imagination produced marvelous works now owned by some of the world’s richest museums.
So by all means, look at where someone went to school if you want to. It’s a good conversation starter and you may know people in common. But schooling is a terrible way to decide whether or not they’re any good at what they do.