Interview #41 – The non-Job nepotism interview

Ever since recent events, I’ve reached out to some of my friends and prior work associates and effectively stated I’m looking because I got royally screwed over (major story to appear shortly). An attorney friend from my previous job called up and told me that opposing counsel had offered a name-drop guaranteed interview with a firm (drop her name and I would absolutely get an interview with the managing attorney). How can I say no to a nepotism interview? It takes the hard part out of applying!

Here’s where it got fun though, the firm with the guaranteed interview? It was the one from Interview Story #15… yes, I was going back to somewhere I had a fantastically bad interview story nearly five years later. But I mean, come one… how could I not — I’d finally get to see the firm and put a face to the name. Plus, it just makes a lovely bookend for the first story to come back years later and take another whack at it.

So I send off my resume and put the name drop in the email and I get back a pretty quick answer from the managing / named partner telling me to come in two days later on a Friday morning. I head over to a rather nice modern mid-rise which is as nice inside as it looked from the outside. I’m relatively quickly met by the named partner and we head back to his office. Walking through the firm actually gives me a bit of hope as it is done up much nicer than most firms of the same size, and it even has a dedicated break room which looked really nice (also very rare for a small / mid sized firm).

As I walk in he motioned for me to sit in one of the large chairs in front of his desk. They were weirdly shaped and upholstered in cow hide… (shades of Interview #27) I was better this time and didn’t hesitate to sit, although the same question lingered about whether his chair was going to shed on my suit.

(sidenote… I happened to find out where the weird as hell chairs came from in Interview 27… I was talking to another attorney and something came up in conversation about that DAs office and I joked and said I had interviewed at that looney bin, and described the chairs and table. They laughed and said they knew exactly where they got them. It turns out there is a catalog of prison made furniture and accessories, those clunky ugly things were basically made in the prison woodshop. Because it was a DAs office, they got even more special pricing as a state agency and could basically buy whatever they wanted. So yeah, Game of Thrones table set were prison furniture. The defining characteristic were the huge brass studs on the cowhide, I guess prison furniture has a particular style. Creepy and fitting I guess.)

Thankfully, the partner had not remembered my name from whatever he may have heard regarding whatever had gone on at his firm 5 years prior. On the other hand, I actually think he almost viewed me with suspicion because the person who referred me was a plaintiff’s counsel. Which was weird, because as I told him, I really didn’t know the referrer other than they were opposing counsel to my previous office on a few cases, none of which I was ever assigned.

The interview itself was slightly strange. The partner did a good 80% of the talking. He didn’t ask many questions and instead I felt I was getting an elevator pitch as to why they were a good firm. What made it even stranger was that the partner was not saying they were a good firm, quite the opposite. His opinion was that he wanted to be slightly better than the average, as if that was somehow a huge selling point. To make matters a bit stranger, 75-80% of their business came from one client. It appeared that when the guy I had interviewed with several times in Interview 15 left, they closed down his practice group completely, leaving only their one main client and a few one off cases here and there.

Their one client had one guy in the big corporation who had been referring them business for the last 15+ years. My read on that is the guy referring them business was close to retirement, and it is a toss up as to whether anyone taking over that position would keep using the same firms or not. This law firm was literally surviving on a single client which could disappear tomorrow. (but hey, They hadn’t disappeared for the last many years, who is to say it would happen anytime soon. Just that it could.)

The interview went for about 45 minutes, mostly the partner talking about himself and his weird elevator pitch to me. He also had not bothered looking at my resume at all prior to me walking in (bad sign) and kept making comments about remedial training (which I trivially don’t need based on the experience listed on my resume). The partner got up to walk me out but the conversation continued for several more minutes standing awkwardly in his office before we finally started to walk out.

He then walked me out of the office all the way to the elevator bank, again slightly odd, where he finished the interview / conversation and then quite literally walked into the bathroom after saying thanks for coming. I’m not saying, he walked down the hallway to the bathroom… no. The bathroom was directly to my right, and he just shook my hand and in the same fluid motion opened the bathroom door and disappeared.

I’m pretty sure he ended the interview because he had to use the bathroom… but dear lord why would he literally walk me to the bathroom and say bye as he went in. Just… weird.

I didn’t hear anything from him. I don’t think there was an actual job, the partner never talked about money or benefits, start date, or anything else to give an indication there was an actual job. It was more a stilted social interview given as an obligation to the person who had referred me over to him. The same person he felt strangely paranoid about.

I don’t understand what the situation there was, not sure I care. At least I got to finally see the actual law firm from Interview 15, worth it in my mind just for that.

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