Beldar beat me to the punch in defense of a "real" lawyer being offered up for associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States and addresses the "holier-than-thou" attitude of so many law professors and their ilk in his post BeldarBlog: A rebuttal to Prof. Barnett's "Cronyism" op-ed re the Miers nomination.
I attended law school after spending a few years doing real work. Nothing was as appalling or as amusing as listening to some academic theorist pontificate on how the Supremes or some judge thereon got this issue or that issue right or wrong and how the dissent of Justice X was brilliant (as one of my very pragmatic classmates put it, "Since the majority opinion decided the matter, I assumed 'dissent' meant 'disregard'").
Most of the worst offenders would have run away had a real client appeared on their doorstep with real legal issues to be solved. However, they were pretty good at balancing legal angels on heads of pins.
Reminds me of the time one of my new bosses decided to take his Harvard legal training and Washington DC practice style to a Texas state court. He was a brilliant guy, but with no common sense. He demanded that federal cases be found to support the relevant Texas decisions he was given. We tried to warn him that most Texas state courts were not the least bit interested in applying federal law to state court matters, but...people who were there reported it was quite a show. There is a great deal to be said for practical experience.
For these reasons, I concur.