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Taco Bell’s newest, top-secret innovation - a taco with cheese in the shell, called the “quesalupa”. The quesalupa might be lunch before torts or a torturous stomach ache. It’s a cheesy gut check, but it’s also something else. For law students, it’s a career lesson on expertise.
After the quesalupa’s big reveal, the question of innovation came up: Was the quesalupa anything new? Was Taco Bell’s innovation a “taco con”? The following expertise was offered in the Washington Post:
“Personally I think it’s a quesadilla. I didn’t see how it’s much different,” said Russell Walker, a professor at Northwestern’s Kellogg business school, who studies innovation.
For their expertise, the Post cited several other professors. But of note, the Post also cited two taco book authors. In a nutshell (or a taco shell), the Post interviewed both business and taco experts.
Business experts ... that’s no surprise. But taco experts? Who knew?
It’s a career lesson for law students who want to (and need to) develop an expertise:
An expertise can be anything ... even tacos.
Admittedly, this sounds a little trite. Telling law students to develop an expertise is like telling them to network: it’s been said to death. Plus, developing an expertise (similar to networking) requires dedication. It’s doable on paper but exhaustive in real life.
But again: there are taco experts!
And if there are taco experts and they’re publishing books and they’re being interviewed alongside professors, then one’s choice of expertise seems infinite. If tacos, then any damn thing! That’s the liberating part: yes, an expertise requires your commitment, but before you commit, you, as a law student/lawyer, can dig deep and choose any expertise that’s intriguing, innovative or revolutionary.
In choosing an expertise, the lawlerly mind typically thinks “practice area,” which, of course, is one way to become an expert. But “tacos” aren’t a practice area, and still, we’ve got taco experts. The same can be said for legal tech, social media, blogging, writing, etc. … not practices areas, but areas where you can develop an expertise.
My other advice: ignore the rest of this article.
It might taint your thinking; might box in your expertise.
But if you must …
… here are some general areas you might mine for an expertise (adapted from Knock 'Em Dead: The Ultimate Job Search Guide (2015):
· Critical thinking
The aforementioned lend themselves to transferable expertise. While maybe not as concrete, you might also build an expertise into your professional values, things like:
And if none of these, then just author a treatise on taco law.