Internship Internment

I have very mixed feelings about the internship I had. On the one hand, I loved what I was doing. It was interesting, and fun, and the people who worked there were almost without exception, great. There was one very big problem however, and that was what they did with you once you outlived your ‘free’ usefulness. You see, you aren’t actually allowed to work beyond the point that you got your JD (and definitely not once you pass the bar) without being paid and usually having malpractice coverage. (see previous post on why no one wants you).

It all started going downhill my last year of law school. I had interned at the same place for 2 years throughout law school. The first year I was there, I was told that I had a job there once I graduated if I wanted it. Some horrible person asked if I had gotten the job offer officially in writing, and I thought why would that be necessary? Anyway, while I was working there the summer before my 3rd year, 2 other interns there had just graduated and had been given the same offer of a job if they wanted it. So they stayed the summer for the job while studying for the bar, and passed the bar. And still no job was forthcoming. At this point both were licensed attorneys working for free without coverage. This went on for a total of 9 months. Nearly every week there was some minor statement about how paperwork was moving or had gotten hung up somewhere. They worked for free for 9 months waiting for the supposed job they had been offered. Eventually, the boss was able to push through hiring them. And it was right around then that I was graduating. And I got an extremely uncomfortable conversation about how they had blown their wad hiring the new attorneys and there wasn’t anything for me for the foreseeable future… so yeah the offer is rescinded. Sorry about that. Great use of my time trying to build an inroad there for 2 years.


So, the internship ended up being a bust in terms of a job. But I had other possibilities. I had thought the world was now open to me because I was getting my JD and would soon be licensed. So I setup a fellowship through my law school. On paper it looked great, prestigious and had the potential of landing me a job because they were woefully understaffed. On day one I am shown around by the head of the place, and then handed off to a woman who would be my supervisor. They waited till the head of the office was out of earshot and told me point blank “don’t even think of applying here because we won’t hire you or anyone else, so don’t get too comfortable” That was a direct quote… don’t get too comfortable. It was some ominous foreshadowing. During the tour of the office, she told me she had adopted 4 cats in the past month. This was followed by some tinfoil-hat / amusing conspiracy stories regarding local politics, including one where an intern released damaging information about their boss to an opponent and effectively sunk that person’s career. This was followed by a prolonged silence as the woman just stared at me after this story.

Anyway, I get put in a lovely office and given some files. It was at this point that I asked, “wait, what is it you want me to do, because no one has given me any instructions at all.” The supervisor appeared very put out by this and picked up 3 finished versions, tossed them on my desk and said “research, and make them look like that.” There was the grand total of my training. So it must be that simple. So I start with file 1. Research format it like one of the 3 wildly divergent examples I was thrown, and send it off to my supervisor with a message, “Here is a first draft copy. Can I meet with you briefly to discuss if I should be doing anything differently?” Nothing. Next day another email and nothing from the supervisor. Next day I stop them passing in the hallway and ask how the draft looked and they wave me off with a “fine fine”.

So I walk in on Friday after working there a week, and finally the supervisor calls me into the conference room to meet with me. Thinking I am going to hear very little more than what she has given me so far, I am completely unprepared for what happened next. She had a full blown bi-polar fit in the conference room. Throwing things at me, throwing them across the room. Screaming. Claiming I was out to get her. Crying. Claiming that I should have learned (a very particular skill) in my law school, mind you she was from an unranked 4th tier. This goes on for an hour an a half. During the ranting she mentioned that the previous intern (a recent 2nd year law student) had asked her too many questions and she was not going to be slowed down like that again; and that she had not used a single piece of work the prior intern had produced the whole 9 months he had been working there. First she started talking about how she stayed late the night before to read through the draft, then it became that she had come in early that day just to read it. Keeping track of what, when, and at times who she was talking about was becoming difficult. At first I was shocked, and then once I got over the initial panic, I leaned back and watched the show. It was hypnotic. Had the insanity not been directed at me it would have looked for all purposes like a schizophrenic on the street corner.

So her ranting reaches a tired lull, and she hands back my pristine draft (clearly labeled as a draft copy with the watermark DRAFT across every page) with no marks on it at all and she tells me she doesn’t want to see any draft copies of anything, only finished products. That I shouldn’t come out of my office, I should come in to work in the morning, close my door and leave it closed until I leave in the evening. That I was not to talk to anyone else because they all had their own work to do and I would just slow them down if I asked questions. Mind you… nothing was actually said in the meeting about the content of the work.

So I walk back to my office, close my door, and sit digesting what I just witnessed. It takes me a moment, but I pick up the phone and call my law school, to their credit before I even get to the worst part, the Career Service person says. “Holy shit. Quit. Get the hell out. Do it today if possible.” It wasn’t, mainly because the head of the office wasn’t back until mid next week. So i figure I will lay low, and talk to him when he comes in. By Tuesday the paranoid supervisor starts up again. The walls in the offices are paper-thin. I hear the attorney in the office to my left get a phone call “yeah.. Azrael is here. Yeah. uh huh. They were here yesterday too.” 5 minutes go by. Phone call to the office on my right. “Yeah, Azrael is here, do you want me to get them for you? Uh huh. ok then. bye” click. I’m sure that’s normal for someone to start calling everyone in the office just to check up on you.

So I finally get hold of the head attorney in his office. I start off with, “you know how you asked this morning in front of everyone how things were going for me and I said fine? I lied.” I told the whole story. He didn’t seem too surprised. His only reaction was to say, “huh, doesn’t seem like something she’d do, but she has been acting sorta weird lately.” The end result was that he didn’t want to put me with anyone else because he thought it would create internal strife in the office. And he was going to quietly take care of the crazy attorney. I had to write down everything that had been going on, and then I was effectively escorted from the office.

That was the end of my first fellowship. Oh.. and the crazy attorney woman? The reason it was going to be taken care of quietly was because we were dealing with cases that had massive impact on peoples lives, and it wouldn’t look good if the court found out one of the people making some of these decisions had been crazy while doing so. So I went on to find another fellowship.

Interview 6

My most recent foray was a disheartening trip to a small law firm. I knew I was in trouble when the office manager called me up to setup the interview and started off with “before we go any further so I don’t waste your time, the salary offered will be in the high 30’s.” Ouch. Well, let me count out the change in my sofa cushions… yup. Still owe $160K in law school debt, which means I could possibly pay that off the week after never on that salary. Anyway, I can always keep looking for a better job while padding the resume with a poorly paying job, right? It always looks better to be able to say you were an Associate at XXX Law Firm, even if for a short while.

So off I go to the interview. The firm specialized in Real Estate, and had a bunch of other side businesses operating under the same umbrella (title, litigation, etc). The office was nice. Nice enough that I walked through wondering why I was being shafted with an offer of a “high 30’s salary”. I guess because they felt they can.

The interview went well enough. Standard questions. The interviewer made the wonderful move when I came in to say let me refresh my memory of your resume, and then proceeded to read through it and my cover letter for the obvious first time during a nice silent 5 minute stretch. I asked a few questions about the place trying to obliquely figure out if the place was going bankrupt or whether they were just cheap bastards. I thought maybe some of the difference could be made up in benefits… hehehe… there were none to speak of. The interviewer actually stated something to the effect of ‘well… if you don’t already have insurance… there is something offered through the firm.” (translation: the offered plan is so bad no one here uses it so I can’t tell you anything about it.) This sentiment was repeated for the other non-benefits.

The office was also damn near empty of people. Several open offices which I was told used to and ‘would soon have’ a paralegal, and a law clerk… but didn’t now. And they were looking at replacing one of the attorneys who left; it was beginning to look like the only people actually working there were the interviewer / name on the door, and the secretary. In the end the interviewer seemed to reach an unspoken conclusion and I got the impression they were looking for someone with more experience in real estate than I had… for a salary in the ‘high’ 30’s…. I’m soo sure they will find that someone.

I don’t feel too bad that this one slipped away.

minor update: As with every job interview, I send out a thank you card for the interviewers. My rejection letter to this wonderful position showed up the other day… and in a perverse twist, the interviewer effectively mirrored back my thank you note in some parts verbatim, in their rejection. I’m actually not sure if the interviewer was just lazy… or whether this was a parting FU. Weird.

Bar Exams, the Batmobile

I went out to my car during the lunch break of the exam to eat and study for the upcoming subjects. Convention centers are invariably built on industrially-zoned cheap land which doesn’t have any food within walking distance; so stashing some food in your car for lunch is recommended. I was parked in the convention center’s massive underground parking garage which was strangely empty except for a scant handful of other cars, also there for the bar exam. And there, parked right behind my car, was the original batmobile. Not the crappy strange dildo shaped one from the 1990 Michael Keaton Batman, nor the APC of the Christopher Nolan Batman. No, this was the comic book style 1960 Adam West Batman convertible. And not a soul was around. I had a long moment of indecision where I stood frozen staring at the car. I mean, it was a convertible… I could just jump in, take a photo and jump out. No one would be the wiser. How long could it take.. 30 seconds? And shouldn’t someone be watching it? I did the quick 360 but there was no one, but now I noticed a bunch of other classic / special cars scattered farther back in the garage; it must have been parking for the centerpieces of a car show somewhere.

At the same time this thought process is running through my mind, a counter current was also speaking to me. How embarrassing would it be if you were arrested during the lunch break of the bar exam. I could see the law blogs now… “Hopeful attorney breaks batmobile during bar exam.” I made an executive decision. If it is still there after the exam, that photo will be mine.

Sadly, it was not. I still regret not taking that photo, even if it probably was the right choice.

Bar Exams, Cheating

I’ve mentioned previously that I’ve taken several bar exams, and am licensed in several states. So I figured I should post a few short stories regarding the bar exams since that is the omega moment of law school. Some of these stories happened at the same exam, but were worth posting separately.

I was sitting across from someone who cheated on the bar exam, and they got caught. In this particular state, everyone taking the bar exam was required to shlep over to the state capital and boost the local economy for a couple days by staying in hotels while taking the test. I don’t remember which day of the exam it was, but I do know it was one of the essay sections. Anyway, everyone (and we are talking well over 1000 people) are stuffed 2 to a small table in a convention center that shares more in common with an airplane hanger than a building meant for people; that includes the air conditioning. Since this was in July, it meant most people were wearing as little as possible and still sweating. There were some freaks who showed up in full suits to the exam… I just don’t get it. I suppose if you enjoy dehydrating over many hours while trying to do mental gymnastics then more power to you. For those unfamiliar with the rules of the exam, you are allowed to go to the restroom at any time, but given the time constraints, you would do better only going if it was a dire emergency. The tables were arranged so that you were diagonal from the other person at your table, which meant you were staring at the back of the person at the next table. I talked a bit before the start with the guy sitting at my table. While talking I told him that I had already passed a couple other bars and I was only taking this one because of what was effectively an expensive clerical error on my part, so I really didn’t care if I passed or not. (I did, he did too as it turned out). He was somewhat envious and said it almost seemed unfair since I was effectively playing with house money.

The bar exam in all jurisdictions have a multitude of test proctors whose responsibility it is to wander around the room looking for any sign of cheating, or of some computer malfunction or the like. To an outsider, it must have looked like a bookwriting gulag with the taskmasters wandering aimlessly up and down the rows of fumiously typing serfs. The proctors wander and if they get really bored sometimes stop and read what you are writing from a few feet behind you. Anyway, during one of the essay portions, I am banging away on my laptop when a proctor walks over and stops right in front of me. At some point shortly before, the girl sitting at the table in front of me had gotten up to go to the restroom. This didn’t really register at all, but then another proctor walks over and stops in front of me too. And another. A moment later there is a cluster of about 6 of them right in front of me talking in a whisper. By this point, everyone within a 5 table radius has stopped writing and are just watching to see what is going on. They seem to realize this, and make a quick decision. 2 of them grab the girl’s laptop and everything else on the table and they all walk away.

During the break, we plied the closest proctor for more information. It seems that the girl had gone to the restroom only a few minutes into the first essay section after they handed out the questions. This was slightly notable since we all had ample time to visit the restroom before it began, but who knows, it is within the realm of possible that it was innocent. The second essay section started, and she did the same thing. Got the questions and went to the restroom a minute later after reading them. There are proctors sitting outside the restrooms… and they noticed. The proctor followed her in a moment later and (in what almost borders on the creepy) looked through the crack in the stall. The girl had brought notecards that she was flipping through in the bathroom to find what she needed for the questions. A bit of a horrible way to waste $100K since she’ll probably never be allowed to take the exam again. Or minimally would be barred from re-applying for the next 5 years, which almost amounts to the same thing if you think about it, because what are you going to do for the next 5 years?

The interesting part of this was actually how some of this worked into the overall curve of the exam. It turns out after talking to the proctor, that if a person signs up for the exam, but doesn’t show, it is counted as a zero score but is included in the overall curve. So technically the odds are already in every test takers favor since there is always a small handful of people who never show up for some unknown reason, or decide to leave the test after day 1. However, if someone cheats and are thrown out, their score is completely stricken as if they had never even applied to take the exam. Good to know.

Interview 5

Digging back to an early interview, this one was probably the most puzzling. It was an interview for a DUI defense mill. I will pass along the only good advice I got from this interview though; if a law firm is looking to expand into another geographical area, you don’t do it all at once. You enter the region with one specialty and then begin adding more areas of practice. In this case, the firm did a significant amount of criminal defense and ‘general catch all law’. But if they were expanding into a new geographical region, they entered with DUI. They said it was the easiest demographic to target with a mix of TV, billboards, and heavy web advertizing (which they didn’t really handle very well.. no idea what was and was not on their websites and no clue as to most of the domains they owned).

Anyway, to give you the mind’s eye view, the interview was in a hotel conference room. And by conference room I mean big empty room with one small empty table and 3 chairs. And considering that the hotel seemed nice, I was surprised by how shitty the conference room was. (weird salmon color, very dirty, choking smell of mold). Anyway, I was talking with 2  partners about the position, mostly the conversation revolved around my internship experiences. But the whole while that they were talking to me, they both had the strangest smiles. It was like they had some inside joke going on and I had walked in on it. So for the whole interview I was trying to figure out what was so damned funny. The only thing I can think is that they found it hilarious that I actually showed up to interview with them.

I was pretty certain I didn’t have the job at the end of the interview. I still regret not asking one question of the interviewers. One of them had previously been a police officer; and was now a DUI defense attorney. Which means they were either doing it 110% for the money, or there was a much more interesting story about them leaving the force. Although prosecutors and defense attorneys usually play nice with each other, I didn’t know many police who would bother spitting on a criminal defense attorney if they were on fire.

Warning Signs Unheeded

In retrospect, there were warning signs that law school was a bad investment. They were sitting right out in the open and would seem to be obvious to anyone from the outside, but as with most students, we operated with blinders on and didn’t see the forest for the trees. By the time most of us were truly aware of the bad state we were in and understood the direness of the situation, we were well into our second year and by that time you’ve already invested 2/3 of the money. Might as well finish. In retrospect it seems like throwing good money after bad.

All through law school there were ‘networking events’ setup by the law school / career service office and sometimes by the student organizations. The supposed end to these events I had assumed were to get you a job, it seems that they were really window dressing to continue to delude people that you would be employed once you left law school.

Towards the end of my second year, I went to one particular networking events. I had been to others, but this one was related to the specialty I was most interested in and I was determined to find an summer position at one of these firms. It was arranged by the Student IP association in conjunction with our career service office. I have a decided interest in IP and had taken every IP class my law school had to offer while I was there, and considering my background I figured I would be just what these employers would be looking for in an intern / summer associate. So I put on a suit, polished the ole resume, printed it out on some spiffy paper and set out to go to the networking event.

Probably a little more than 12 firms were represented which ranged from smaller specialty boutiques to IP departments within a large law firm. They all had tables out with various informational pamphlets on them about their firm. Some were handing out cups and tote bags and key-chains. I made a circuit of the room speaking to every attorney there. Not one was hiring. Not one was looking for an intern. Not one would take a resume, because. they.. weren’t… hiring.

I left confused. It was titularly a networking event wherein interested students were going to meet with select attorneys from one narrow corner of law. It was far enough before the summer that filling internship positions was a distinct possibility. Instead what I saw was a bunch of firms advertizing to law students and talking about how wonderful it was to work in the field that they were definitely not hiring for, and oh, here have a tote bag with our logo on it. I’m not sure what the point of it was. The law school regularly setup Q&A sessions wherein they invited attorneys from the whole spectrum of the legal field to talk about what they did and career options within the legal field. But this was a networking event… not a free-food lunchtime Q&A session.

I’m still not sure what the IP attorneys got out of it. They wasted part of an evening to stand around and feel superior to the law students trying to do something with their profession. Maybe that is what they got out of it. I’m still not sure.


First-Year Law Firm Parties (cont.)

Party #3

I have to say, at least this party showed that there are other types of firms out there. Whereas the other holiday parties were at the beginning of December, this one was at the end of January. Not quite sure what holiday they were celebrating, but again… free food is free food. It was also a bit earlier in the day, whereas before it was an evening soiree, this was starting around 5.

I show up at the party and I’m ushered into a small conference room. Apparently I was earlier than most because there are only 2 other people in the room, one of whom seems to be foreign with a limited command of english. Although this effectively destroyed any hope of conversation as we all just stood uncomfortably around, there was a saving grace. The large table in the middle of the room was graced with what I can only described as a 3 foot high pile of art created out of fruit and chocolate. Who cares if no one else shows up, this alone was worth it. Slowly more students trickle in and then the conference room doors are opened, and praise jesus, more food. There were still not really any attorneys around strangely so all of us law students were happily mingling with quite a bit of pretty good free food. At one point the receptionist came out to apologize and said that the attorneys would be around shortly.

A couple attorneys started filtering in. I talked with several trying vainly again to network and get my foot in the door for an internship. I found out for the first time what an Of-Counsel position means in a law firm setting. I was talking with 2 attorneys and one mentioned she was Of-Counsel. This was met with my blank stare, and she asked if I knew what that meant. I answered no, and before she could say anything the other attorney half-jokingly said it means she doesn’t work for her money. This was met with an incredibly sour look from her and shortly the other douchey attorney wandered off. She explained that Of-Counsel are attorneys that are generally offered a partner position and choose not to buy into the partnership and instead continue receiving a salary. The implication by the other attorney was that Of Counsel had no money in the game and even though they were roughly equal in seniority to a partner, they would never be equal in the firm.

At about 5:30 there started to be a steady stream of people leaving the firm through the front door. One attorney walking down the hallway spied the food and instantly started loading up a plate. He then took his food looked around and suddenly realized everyone was wearing a nametag and sorta froze, he literally sidestepped over to me and leaned in conspiratorially and asked what the food and nametags were for. Here was a man after my own heart. I ended up talking with him for quite awhile.

It turned out the firm had circulated an email no one had bothered reading that they wanted people to stop in and talk with the law students. To facilitate this, they placed the party in the main hallway leading to the front door and timed it so that when everyone bolted for the door at 5:30 they would have to wander through. Pretty smart actually. The main thing I took away from this however was that although the other firm’s parties paid lip service to working decent hours, they were still there at 8 at night. Here, it almost looked like a firedrill at 5:30.

Unlike the other party, I have to say, here were normal people. It was honest, and they didn’t try to feed you a line of bullshit. You didn’t need to hear about the hours people worked because you saw it. This party was probably the best impression I had of law firms through all of law school. The short take away is the obvious, some are good… some are not. (although I do still use the umbrella from that first party to this day.. hey, it’s a nice umbrella!)

First-Year Law Firm Parties

I’m told that this is not standard fare for all law schools; but for decently respectable ones, you will find that around Christmas time the large firms in the area send out a general invitation to all first year law students to attend a special holiday party effectively thrown in their honor. Out of my class, there were only about a dozen of us there, which struck me as odd more people didn’t show up. Being the connoisseur of free food that I was, I of course made time. If the invitation is extended to you, I highly recommend going. In part, go for the food… free food always tastes the best, plus the firms usually like to put out a big spread. Secondly, you want to go to see the culture, it is a weird mix of every stereotype you ever heard about lawyers. I went to 3 holiday parties… this was them.

Party 1 & 2 – The first two were on the same night, in the same building, separated by 10 floors. So long as you had a name tag from one of those two firms, no one cared if you hopped from party to party. Which was good, because as near as I could tell one of the firms had selectively invited only the top echelon of the class, and I had certainly not been invited to that one. So I arrive at the party, it was in one of the firm’s huge conference rooms with all the furniture removed. In one corner there was a violin and cello duo playing (swanky!), and at the other end was the food. I wandered over to the food to find that it consisted of lots of beer and wine, and very little else. There were some ritz crackers and white cheese too, but it seemed a bit like an afterthought. Add to this that every law student there had to drive down to the firm to go to this party because of its location and you’ll see why this was just not horribly thought through. So I armed myself with a glass of wine and decided to mingle. That’s what everyone kept telling us to do… network.

There were groups of law students and groups of attorneys, and they weren’t mixing. So mostly the conversation was what law school are you from, how is it there? Eventually, one of the partners made some whispered chastisement to the other attorneys and as one, they quickly broke up and went to go talk to the law students. This is where the Stepford wives portion of the night started. The first attorney came over and started talking and when asked something about the firm went into what at first seemed a sincere statement about how much he liked it there, how everyone got to go home at a reasonable time because family life was very important to the firm, how it was a relatively laid back work environment etc etc.  He eventually wandered off to another group of law students and was replaced by a husband and wife pair, who in short order turned the conversation to how much they liked the firm, how they got to leave at a decent hour because family life was very important to the firm… These two were replaced by a third attorney, who started the conversation with how much he liked the firm… well… you can see where this is going. It was noted in one of these conversations by an astute law student (not me thank god) that there certainly were a fair number of attorneys still walking the firm’s hallways  at 8 in the evening considering the firm let people leave at a decent hour for family and all. It was so obvious that a memo of talking points had been passed around it was a joke by the end of the night. When a new law student walked over to your group you introduced yourself and said how much you liked the firm, and how you bet that it provided decent working hours for family life, and was probably a laid back environment.

So the conversation was a bust. But what about the networking? While talking to a small knot of 3 attorneys and a few students, at one point I happened to turn to wave to someone I knew. When I turned back, everyone had disappeared leaving one rather old man. He introduced himself as the senior managing partner at the firm, hoped I was enjoying the party and stayed to talk for probably exactly 30 seconds. He then walked over to the next group of people. If you have ever watched shark week on the discovery channel you will understand how he moved through the crowd. People parted in front of him leaving a constantly empty envelope of personal space near him. Whenever he entered a mixed group of attorneys and law students, every one of the firm’s attorneys disappeared so fast I almost think I heard a BAMF in the vacuum they left. After about 15 minutes making his way from one side of the room to the other, he left and was not seen again.

Other than the brief appearance of the senior partner, there was also the massively drunk partner who decided the open bar was the perfect moment to demonstrate everything those myriad required substance abuse programs in law school tell you are true. The legal profession has a significantly higher than average drinking problem. It started with just him getting very loud while talking, then he started swearing and saying a few other interesting things. The problem was that he was apparently a full partner, and once the senior partner left, no one could reign him in. So the extent of damage control was several attorneys tried to always ensnare him in conversation and steer him away form the law students. From what little he blearily told me, the law firm was not the best place to work. It was this opportune moment a friend of mine said “hey I hear the food upstairs is better, lets go there.” And off we went. As we left the receptionist gave us free umbrellas as a parting gift.

We took the elevator to the second firm, and sadly the food was mostly gone. I picked up another glass and wine and one of the attorneys mingling walked over and started talking to us about how much he liked the firm, and how the hours there were really quite good…..



For the uninitiated, headhunters are ‘recruiting firms’ which get a finders fee for successfully placing an applicant with an employer. Sometimes they have a contracts with companies so that there are exclusive listings, most often these firms just trawl the job boards and repost job listings with contact information and names removed and then effectively attempt to extort money from the company by showing them your scrubbed resume with no contact info and offering to make an introduction for a fee. You may notice most actual applications you fill out say “no recruiters” on it somewhere which should give you an idea as to how these companies are viewed by employers.

My advice to you is don’t bother applying to any posting from a search firm. In fact, some tell new attorneys specifically to piss off (BCG is such a class act they point new attorneys to well known scam sites like LawCrossing, Thanks guys!) Another class act I see often is DiCenzo, several attorneys I know have wonderful stories of being sworn at over the phone by them. Most people I know make the mistake of filling out applications for recruiters in the beginning, but you figure out pretty quick that they will absolutely never ever pan out. Ever. Not really the best business plan for longevity of a company since young attorneys of today will remember their experience applying and in the future when the time comes to hire anyone they will tell any recruiter who shows up to go take a flying fuck.

So why aren’t recruiters worth applying to? Pretty simple. The employees in search firm are not legally trained and operate under extremely rigid thinking. So the company looking to hire someone provides pie-in-the-sky requirements of what the ‘perfect’ employee would look like. Rather than using some intelligence when looking over applications, it becomes necessary to have an applicant meet or exceed everything on the list the recruiter is provided. The obvious problem arises when your resume says “extensive experience in chain of title, oil and gas lease, closings.” The recruiter looks over at “real estate experience” on their list… nope… no match. Rejected.

How about an actual example. A real listing I ran across was looking for “recent law school graduates with 3 years experience.” or  this one “This is an entry level position responsible for advising the company concerning simple to moderately complex legal issues related to business activities…. Requires 3+ years experience or equivalent combination of education and competency.” What the hell? This is translated as “I want to hire someone experienced but pay them as if they aren’t.” What this turns into in the hands of a recruiter is a job which will never be filled, at least not by the so called entry level applicant.

Interview #4

The first interview for a real legal job I had was probably the the most depressing. Not for why you might think though… I went in for an interview for a corporate counsel position. The interview went great. I spoke to the head of HR, who absolutely loved me and we talked much longer than the interview was intended to go on all sorts of topics. They then took me over to the lead counsel to have an interview, and that one went great as well. I walked out of there thinking I had it.

I never heard a word back from them. Not a “thanks but no thanks”. Not ‘we picked someone else’. Nothing. I was told they were only interviewing 3 people… it really wouldn’t have taken longer than 2 minutes to call everyone who didn’t get the job. I looked them back up a year later and it seems like they never hired anyone… but recently they are looking for a paralegal for the same legal specialty as I applied, which doesn’t make much sense because I am willing to work pretty cheap if only they would have gotten back to me.

Since that interview I have become very accustomed to the void that follows applications, sent resumes, and interviews.

Law School – A very expensive mistake….