Interview #17 update: All Things to All People

I can never leave well enough alone, so I contacted the managing partner a week later to see where the misstep within the interview actually was (asking in a much more political manner). As a bit of a masochist, I can’t help but replay each of my interviews in my head  ad nauseam trying to figure out what I did wrong and where I can improve. At a certain point, you just have to write them and ask “what did I do wrong?”

Now I definitely feel there was some name-game issues with the Named Attorney. I almost wish that had been the whole reason, because that I can understand. No… the reason for my rejection was a new one. And I had to re-read what the managing partner sent me a few times to actually understand, because it looked like he was reiterating the reason he was told, and was trying to make it mesh with the interview we had prior.

The problem was that I had applied generically sending a cold resume to the firm for an as yet unlisted job which had no set criteria. And each attorney who interviewed me apparently walked into the room assuming I would be working in their practice group and apparently no one got together and determined what I would actually be doing if I were hired. Attorney 1 really liked my diverse set of skills and thought it was my strongest asset. He worked in a civil litigation practice group focused on motions practice. He also wanted to use me for my IP related background and potentially create an added niche within the firm to draw more business from existing clients.

Attorney 2 thought my diverse interests in the law were more a liability and therefore I lacked focus. He told me they wouldn’t be using me for any IP work and that he was interested in using me for his trial litigation section which would involve frequent travel.

Attorney 3 was overworked and just wanted someone that could help shoulder the burden of some of the appeals as he was the only appellate attorney in the firm. He wanted me to work primarily on research and writing and answering the various back and forth prior to arguments.

So, without copying and pasting the email… the extrapolation from what I was sent, amounted to saying that I should have presented myself very differently to each attorney. Seemingly, so much so that if they actually had gotten together and talked, it would have seemed like they had each interviewed a different candidate. And I was supposed to determine how to create my schizophrenic personalities for each based solely on their short bio-synopsis on the firm website. (as it was, I dropped so much info from each of their bios I thought I sounded like a creepy stalker memorizing facts about them.)

So, the reason I didn’t make it by this interview was because I was supposed to work in attorney 1’s civil practice group, while traveling and doing full time trial work with attorney 2, while writing appeals for attorney 3. And no one bothered to stop and talk to each other to decide what they were actually looking for when interviewing me. Strangely enough, had we all been in the same room at once, it would have been obvious. But they were all one on one interviews, so I was the only one who ended up with a full picture. Awesome. That’s some great coordination. Real stellar work. How the hell do they even manage to conduct inter-firm business if this is how they handle something as simple as an interview.

I’ve had experience litigating trials, doing motions practice, and doing appellate work… but somehow I was supposed to be able to claim to have focused in all of them, and have done nothing else. The joke of it all is that this firm had originally done Med Mal, and then after Tort Reform, changed to a completely unrelated specialty. So I guess the moral is, it’s good to be diverse when it suits us, and bad at all other times, unless we say otherwise. Or as the title says, I was supposed to be All things to All people.


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