The commonplace overuse of “world class”

Many law departments bedeck their mission statement with the vainglorious phrase “world class.” I am all for noble aspirations and “a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” It’s the braggadocio of “world-class department,” the temerity that inflates a law department to invoke such an Olympian term (See my posts of April 8, 2005 with its incredulity about mission statements; and Dec.7, 2005 with a collection of links to posts on mission statements.).

For a law department to excel even in one management area is, by definition, exemplary. To puff oneself up to leadership on this globe on more than one practice is hubris.

Call me small-minded; remind me of BHAGs (big hairy audacious goals); agree with me that the descriptor “world class” has been in truth diluted to mean “pretty good.” I believe law departments should use language skillfully and accurately. In that aspiration, shoot for world class.

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