Work 2 – Attrition Rate

The attrition rate at this firm was bad. Like seriously bad. I had an inkling that things were probably not great, but I had no idea until I started working there just how bad it really was.

On day one, I ended up sitting in on a paralegal training session, because they weren’t sure what to do with me and decided I should know what my assigned paralegal could do for me (? — Did I mention I had a paralegal? I do. They are supposed to do stuff for me, but mostly I feel guilty asking them to so I try not to). During the training the lead trainer said “If you see an attorney and don’t know their name, don’t worry about learning it, they probably won’t be here long enough for you to bother.” They realized I was sitting in the back, and just sort of shrugged and said, ‘sorry… but it’s sorta true.’

I started to find out what they meant once I started talking with the other associates. We were all living in empty temporary apartments which we could move out of on a moments notice. As in, no furniture beyond a bed, empty. (yes, me too). This firm was headquartered in a tiny regional city that everyone had to move to in order to work there. Everyone was treading water waiting to get the hell out of dodge at the first sight of a better job.

This was shown in the more visible mark of the turnover… the empty offices. There were a lot of them. In fact, most of the offices for the associates had absolutely zero personal touches in them. A mirror of our disposable apartments in the office setting.  You would hear about it too, as you walked over to someone’s office… oh hey is Bob in today? — No. Bob isn’t in today or anyday anymore. He quit. And the office would have been scavenged like some sort of Mad Max  scene as any office item of vague utility would have been taken to be re-purposed elsewhere, usually leaving motions and files strewn about on the desk. (which I often wondered… weren’t those important and potentially time sensitive?) But no matter. Not my problem apparently.

Probably the most visible mark of the turnover was the stationary. The letterhead for the firm listed the attorneys attached to it in tiny print. Apparently early on they had tried having it professionally printed, but learned quickly it became outdated faster than they could print it. Instead everything was dynamically generated when you printed off the computer. I was instructed to always print a new stationary page because (a direct quote) “the letterhead changed some days on an hour by hour basis.” As in, people quit so often, that the dynamic letterhead was very likely different before lunch, as opposed to after lunch. I kept tabs on my relative place in the firm as I watched my name creep higher and higher on the letterhead. Which was disturbing because I haven’t even been there that long, but I am now about a third up the letterhead. Think on that.

The senior litigator I was attached to had 2 associates, me and another person. The other one ended up being transferred away (a very different and interesting story I will eventually get to) leaving only me. The other associate later told me that he learned he had lasted the longest of any associate attached to that senior litigator I was now working with. A grand total of 8 months.

I could see why. After only two months there I was already starting to apply to jobs again. I was fulfilling the churn at the firm.

Work – Day 1

So I got a job.

Finally.

It wasn’t the one I wanted. And I definitely don’t think it is a great one, but it pays me money and it has some added incentives as well. I should amend that, really it only had one added incentive. Health insurance. Which as the unemployed are well aware, is pretty horrible if you aren’t getting employer based coverage. Anyway.

I was told they hired 3 of us at once. That’s usually not a good sign. This firm constantly has ads running to hire new people from the bottom to the top, and they are hiring multiples at each go? I already was feeling rumblings that the attrition rate was going to be cutthroat. The sad thing is I was ‘trained’ with one of the other two hired with me (more on the training later.) His story was 100% identical to my own. His school had been decent, then dropped. He moved and got stuck finding nothing but shit work. Got this job and picked up what little shit he owned and while I was talking with him that morning, he was living out of an extended stay hotel. I at least had the foresight to get down here a few days early and get an apartment (which remains empty save for a desk and bed to this day, as it turns out, this is the standard living situation for associates here… a vacant apartment and they commute on weekends back to where they tell everyone else they really live). We commiserated about the shit situation that neither of us really wanted to be in, but this firm  was hiring.. .and no one else seemed to be.

My first day I got a good taste of what was to come. I was kept past midnight at the office, working on what turned out to be a small part of a side project which wasn’t even really used. (super!)

The Partner I was assigned to seemed like a nice guy. But one of those people you get the feeling has nothing else to really do with themselves, so they are at the office 24X7 to stave off suicide and make money for that day that never comes.

I did get my very own office. It is was not a bad size either. I was sure I was going to be jammed into a cubicle. Instead I got a nice office with a window — which as it happened looked out over an industrial refinery of some sort. One with a big flare smokestack which randomly burst into flames during the day… I’m sure there is some obvious symbolism I could draw here, but I will restrain myself.

When I was assigned to it, the office was empty except for the desk and a pile of file boxes of some long forgotten case (and client) which remain unmoved to this day. There was also the vague remnants of the previous occupant, empty food wrappers, and a small hoarded stash of office supplies. Within a very short time IT walked in and setup a computer, phone, etc etc. and then immediately put me to work. The speed was impressive. Time is money I guess.

I was also handed an Ipad. I asked, “what’s this for?” The IT person shrugged and told me everyone in my position gets one, but they didn’t really know what for. (This will be a common theme.) I put the Ipad in my desk drawer and promptly forgot about it for the next month and a half.

The frat guy lawyer wandered by and poked his head into my office, and said “it’s your first day? Uh oh..” then proceeded to yell loudly down the hallway “Start the countdown.” the implication was that no one stayed there very long. Great way to start things off. Also, rather prophetic, or not. As you will see, they watch people in my position come and go with great regularity.

Around 10:30 at night there was an error with the computer system. The partner who was still there, and keeping me there like an oversized anchor looked at me and said “call up Bob in tech support” (at 10:30?) He seemed quite insistent about calling tech support, So I called Bob. Who was less than pleased and said… “well put in a ticket; not much I can do from my bed at the moment.” The partner seemed honestly confused someone wouldn’t immediately jump to help at that hour… when we were the only 2 in the building. Go figure.

I left a bit after midnight rather annoyed. The project was remedial busywork, I had a sneaking suspicion it was merely being used to see how far they could push the new recruits. Just because. Another common theme. The only caveat was that the Partner I was assigned to bordered on the OCD level of editing. They would edit, then re-edit, then edit their edits… basically no matter how many times you fixed something with their edits, they always found something more wrong, often with what they themselves had just written.

But at the end of the day, I am being paid. As a real associate. At first, it seemed like it might be a good place. That naive thought was quickly stomped, strangled, and summarily murdered in a back alley. More later…

I really don’t care anymore…

Initially, as mentioned in the previous (not so recent) posts, I have a lot of content waiting in the wings. I was holding back on it because it is all about the place I am currently working.

As you might expect, it’s not usually a good thing to post negative information about your current job if you wish to keep it. Which brings me to this… I really don’t.

I don’t care anymore. I daydream about being fired. I can’t quite bring myself to quit. I am being paid decently, but the toll it is taking on me mentally is a price I hadn’t bargained for. So, without further delay, I am unleashing the floodgates and starting to put up the posts about my continued travels through the underworld of the legal profession.

Interview #35 – The Red Carpet

So this partially explains my hiatus. And at the same time, continues on  with more interview stories.

So I became gainfully employed earlier this year, shortly before the posts stopped. In point of fact, I was hired on here as a full associate. I said yes because… well… the job title was “Associate” and I figured if nothing else, I could stick it out for a little bit and then lateral to something more palatable. Plus they were paying real money! Not a fabulous salary to be sure, but it was a damn sight better than the majority of jobs I have been running across of late. I also have this horrible addiction to food and living indoors, which for once, I am able to cover fully on my own! (woo for being an adult!)

Well, sticking it out has gotten very difficult. I will be posting a bunch of stories about the weird as hell (and ultimately ethically bankrupt) stories garnered from working at a huge Personal Injury firm. After working there only a little while, I realized I needed to get the hell out, and fast. I talked to several attorney friends of mine, and before I even got to some of the good stories, I was told by every one that I was ethically obliged to quit the job due to Professional Responsibility reasons. These stories are going to appear once I am safely away from this place. But until then…

__________________________________________

Only a few months in I am now worried for my license if I don’t get out. So, I started up the application process once again. It wasn’t nearly so difficult, mostly because all my jobhunting bookmarks were still fresh enough and I never actually unsubscribed from Indeed.com’s job alerts I had setup forever ago.

For the first time ever, I got a hit off of a LinkedIn job posting for a small to mid size law firm. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a call back from a LinkedIn application, so this was a novelty at the minimum. Maybe having the ‘Associate’ title actually did grant me a little bit of cache as I was hoping.

I showed up at the office in a small mid-rise building in one of the nicer areas of town. Mind you, it wasn’t in the expensive area… it was more like it was a few blocks down the street from the expensive area. Enough so that rent was lower, but you could still claim your office was in the right neighborhood to clients.

I walked into one of the larger, and nicer lobbies for a smallish law firm that I have seen. Besides the significant use of glass walls, the first thing you had to notice was the wall-to-wall plush red carpet. It was just solid, bright red and slightly squishy when you walked on it. I thought it was a little bit of an odd choice for a waiting room, but didn’t think much more about it. The receptionist brought me into the back offices and I immediately noticed the red carpet continued on throughout the whole of the office. All I could figure was there must have been some super sale on it, because who would put this in their whole office?

I get put into a small, oddly shaped library room / closet with (red carpet) a little table. The managing partner came in as the interviewer, which I suppose is the benefit of a somewhat smaller firm. The firm is a general practice and for the first time ever, they thought my resume and background, with all its weird specialties, was a perfect fit. They loved that I had done a whole bunch of different types of law, and they were very interested in several points on my resume which not one single other firm has ever asked about. I am hopeful about this one.

I was also told that I was only one of a couple applicants they interviewed, out of a stack about 3 inches thick. So apparently I am gaining mad skillz at resume creation, maybe.

We got down to talking about how much notice I’d need for my current job and things which sounded very hopeful. I had the same unfortunate moment of most likely low-balling my requested salary, especially as we continued talking, the managing partner dropped the bomb that the firm had its own private jet. This was a new one… even with some of the big firms I’ve been to, none had seemingly had their own private jet. Truthfully, that was my big take away from the interview. I am sure there were nuances in our other discussions as well, but “private jet” loomed large in my mind walking out the door after the interview.

The interview was thankfully normal, and the managing partner was quite nice, plus the billable requirement was seemingly attainable unlike many other firms. I am hopeful. They’re supposed to bring back a few for a second interview. I’m hoping I have to take a sick day to head over to a second interview because I really like the feel of this firm… minus the squishy red carpet.


minor addendum:

So even though the firm was talking with me about how soon I could start working for them, they never bothered to get back to me. After 2 weeks, I dropped an email to the interviewer / partner. They told me they had gotten really busy and hadn’t made any decisions as of yet, so not to worry as he was going to get back to me very shortly. That was literally the last I heard from them. I followed up with a thank you card via USPS about another week to two later. Basically said thanks, I would love to work there if they were still looking etc. etc. Nothing came back. Not even a rejection. I mean at least send out a short note to the very very few people you had come in for an interview. Shit… be human about it.

I love email

(I am not usually so hostile, in fact I usually really enjoy getting email from readers and I even send out replies… this one is an exception, what makes it even better is apparently they didn’t look to see if they were already mentioned here.)

Name Harrison Barnes

Email XXXX@bcgsearch.com

Subject Guest Columist Message

Hi-I love your site! Nice work! I would love to have you write for one of our properties (LawCrossing, JD Journal) if you are interested.       –Harrison

 

I can't tell you how many times BCG has told me to go fuck off. At least once, in as many words.

Please let me return the favor.

In the future you should consider that if you keep making enemies at the rate you seem to (based on innumerable conversations I've had with other attorneys at my career level) you shouldn't be surprised when your business disappears as we begin to move into more stable positions in companies and at firms.

Please find the advice you can take supra.

-- Azrael

I’m not dead yet…

So, I have a bunch of content waiting in the wings for the likely very few people who may read this blog. But I am waiting to post it… for reasons. And they are good reasons, but you’ll have to trust me on that. I am endeavoring to be able to post everything as soon as possible.

So many of us…

As an avid fan of Dan Savage, I happened to be listening to this and felt the need to repost it here, as it is … well… shit; It may as well be my story with a couple notable variances. It seems Law School destroying people’s lives is a common theme. Take a listen.

Excerpt from Savage Love Podcast; Episode 479; 12/29/2015 — http://www.savagelovecast.com/   (Dan Savage is a relatively raunchy ‘Dear Abby’ who is spot on a good 90% of the time… the other 10% I end up yelling at the radio in my car while listening; but 90% is still a damn good average)

Reminds me a lot of the “Humans of New York” attorney… (link 1 / link 2)

Networking of the Damned – 2015 Holiday Edition

I feel there has been a relative dearth of holiday parties this year. I’m usually more than happy to make a few treks out for the obligatory halfway-holiday themed networking events that spring up around Christmas. Either I am falling off the better mailing lists that send them out, or there are decidedly fewer happening. Disappointing either way.

Recently I ended up getting the invitation to the local Young Lawyers Association holiday party. Sadly this one required I pay out for the privilege of going, but it wasn’t a significant amount; so I committed the heresy of paying to go to the networking party. As I’ve mentioned before, it is against my religion to pay for CLEs and networking functions (and parking); but as the old maxim says, you have to spend money to make dubious networking contacts with others in similar dire straights which never pan out into any… wait, that might not be how the maxim goes. Regardless…

This party had the added bonus on the invitation saying it was “black tie optional”. Yes… because image is everything; and grabbing up a bunch of very new and relatively broke attorneys and stuffing them into tuxedos and gowns will completely fix the obvious problems of the legal industry. I actually considered wearing a tuxedo. I have one– for no discernible reason other than it was on sale and I like standing in front of my bathroom mirror acting like James Bond. But I just couldn’t bring myself to wear it to what promised to be an array of broke attorneys and law students. My caution was rewarded when I arrived and saw that all of maybe 5 out of a few hundred arrayed were wearing tuxedos, and they seemed to be ill at ease with their decision (and they may have been the hosts too, not sure).

The event was outside. In December. To be fair, I am in a latitude where it doesn’t snow, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get cold. I’m guessing they got a deal on the venue since no one really wants to hold events outside at this time of year, for good cause. It was cold and really windy, and to make matters more fun, there were several fountains in the general vicinity so the wind constantly sprayed a goodly number of people with a fine cold mist. They had several of the outdoor propane heaters, but the afore mentioned wind kept blowing them out every few minutes. It didn’t really matter as you never really felt the heat due to the wind anyway even when they were lit. There were open bars (I mean come on… its a legal function; do you really expect lawyers not to drink?) Various foodstuffs were in the standard silver serving dishes; nothing was labeled and although I could figure out what most of the food dishes were, even after eating some of the remaining mystery food, I was still unable to decide what it was other then ‘squishy’. To complete the picture there was a big ice sculpture (because… why not?) and a rock band playing, and in the standard poorly considered execution of so many of these events, the band was located right in the middle of everyone so you had to yell at the person right next to you at the networking event to be heard. Great idea.

I showed up and grabbed some food quickly to beat any lines and also so I could actually network with people without trying to eat while doing so. Very shortly into the event I ended up talking with what turned out to be the only decent networking contact I found the whole night, and they weren’t even a lawyer; they worked in one of the ancillary valuation type of fields. They offered to pass along my resume with a good word to several of the firms their company worked with as well as fielding the possibility of collaborating with me on something; it’s unlikely to go anywhere but it at least made me feel like my money wasn’t completely wasted. I ended up talking with them for quite awhile and eventually more people from the firm drifted over and everyone was laughing and swapping stories about hilarious times they were drunk driving (I wish I was making that up), but seemingly fitting for a legal event as we stood no more than 10 feet away from one of the 4 fully stocked and completely open bars.

Eventually we both felt we should work the room a bit so we parted and drifted to other tables. I met up with one of the few lawyers I knew at the party and as with all networking events, if you hold down a table, others will drift in to talk and drink.

One attorney joined us, who introduced himself and handed out a business card and then proceeded to stand silently at table for the next 45 minutes without joining the conversation or talking to anyone. Just hovering slightly creepily and listening in on the rest of the table talk. I’m not that great at networking, but I mean… damn. I’m not that bad. Just to complete the mental image before you assume we were at a large table where you might be able to disappear into the background… we weren’t. It was a standing table that was probably 2 feet diameter, just large enough for four or five people to stand at and put your drink down. And Mr. Awkward was standing right at the table staring silently, pretty much until the party ended.

(A short addendum relating to silent weird guy: We also all handed him our cards, because… networking. Everyone included their email obviously so we can be contacted on the off chance someone wanted to buy us  offer a job. Instead, I now get the rantings of an insane person in my inbox (in various colors no less; professional!) about how the courts did this or that to him or his clients, and how they were completely wrong and illegal to do so, and how judge X is an insane asshole… usually spanning multiple pages. Google started flagging it as spam without me telling it to do so. The schizophrenic rantings are called his law firm’s newsletter, so says the title. It was amusing, but also scary that he went through law school, sailed through character and fitness, and passed the bar, yet no one noticed he was nuts.)

Another relatively new attorney with a surprisingly similar story to my own wandered over, and they seemed far too excited at the prospect of being a broke solo. I talked quite a bit with them and even setup lunch for a later point. I’m unsure whether we were commiserating about being in a crappy situation or swapping tips on how to survive in said crappy situation. Either way, nice guy.

A newly minted family law attorney joined us who was basically working as the assistant to a seasoned family law solo. They claimed they / their firm specialized in ‘high net worth divorces’. Yeah… right. A tiny solo catches ‘high net worth’ anything? I’m guessing the firm actually specializes in ‘wishful thinking’. It’s one thing to bend the truth to clients… its a whole different matter to try to pass off a lie like that to other attorneys. Better to be honest and say you ‘aspire to X… but deal with a lot of this in the meantime’. And on a completely professional note and without going into detail, when I brought up something which is a very well known standard in the industry (at least among better family law attorneys) they disagreed with the concept emphatically. Which absolutely killed any respect I may have had towards them. I have worked in family law, and as disagreeable as the divorce axiom I brought up, no divorce attorney worth their salt would have taken an opposing position.

The evening wore on. The flyer advertised the party as ending at 10 PM. And oh my, did it end EXACTLY at 10 PM.  The bars stopped serving 15 minutes before and started to clean up, which at these types of functions usually make most lawyers leave (no more booze? I’m [going to drive] outta here!) and the party wind down naturally. But instead, at the exact stroke of 10, they shut off the lights (no shit). And someone walked over and told everyone “you have to leave… now”. I guess they rented the venue literally only until 10 and to say we were ushered out is putting far too pleasant a point on it.

I’m unsure what my final impression is of the event. I suppose as with most, it was a slightly surreal experience of a bunch of mostly broke people dressing up and pretending otherwise.

Maybe that’s not so surreal now that I think about it.

Interview #34 – Magnum PI

When I started law school, I swore I would never work in Personal Injury. When I graduated law school, I planned on working in Intellectual Property litigation and patent work and never even considered the possibility that I would work in Personal Injury. As the years have worn on, I broadened my scope and began applying to everything and anything  in various sub-specialties in an attempt to become gainfully employed, but still I completely avoided Personal Injury like the plague– it was the one field I never sent an application in for. As you may guess, my most recent interview was for a very large personal injury firm.

My chronic addiction to food has worn down my extreme distaste for PI work, and as it seems to be one of the few legal fields which is actually consistently hiring in this economy I swallowed my pride and my morals and applied to a Plaintiff side PI firm. Not just any PI… no, I sent off to one of the big ones. No late night infomercials advertising the ‘hammer of justice’ who will ‘fight for you’. I suppose a high mark in their favor is that they are a particular, somewhat higher quality PI firm who doesn’t resort to such tactics.

I got a phone interview very quickly from my application and I talked with the recruiter for about an hour. The most interesting tidbit dropped by the recruiter was that if I move up the ranks in the firm I would ‘probably not have to worry about money’ and then gave me some very interesting potential dollar figures. They rather quickly setup an in person interview at the main office. I trekked down to the physical office which was not horribly local to me for a face to face to see what it was that I had been avoiding for the last couple years.

My first thought on arriving at the office was “I thought it would look nicer.” My impression from researching them was the firm makes …. a lot… of money. But the physical office space was, to be nice, cheap. Small waiting room, cheap flooring, chipped paint, sparse / non-existent furnishings… it just didn’t exude money the same way as other offices I have had the opportunity to pass through.

After a few minutes in a tiny waiting room with all of 3 chairs in it, a paralegal comes by and says she’s taking me back to a conference room. We head back and bypass several decent sized conference rooms, with the standard large table and 10+ chairs around them, and instead I’m led to what may well have originally been a large closet. But the closet has a table and 5 chairs around it, so I guess technically it is a conference room for itty-bitty conferences. It was so small that if someone were sitting in one of the afore mentioned 5 chairs, you could not technically walk behind them unless they got up out of the chair, pushed the chair in, and allowed you to pass. What was it with this firm and tiny rooms? It merely lent to the idea of ‘cheap’ even though I still had the impression (hope?) the firm was doing very well for itself.

So after a few minutes, what turns out to be a junior partner, walks in and starts the interview. It was intended to be a sequential interview of increasingly more senior attorneys. The concept of speed dating comes to mind. After a few minutes, one was supposed to bow out, and another come in. The junior partner and I got along famously. The only glaring warning bell that went off was when they asked ‘why I was applying there considering I was very overqualified for the position’, while they sort of waved my resume at me like an accusing paper flag. It’s hard to know whether it was an honest question, but I think it probably was; where the firm is located likely made my credentials stand out glaringly against others from the same locale. Other than that, it was a very friendly interview bordering on just being a fun conversation. They seemed quite happy with me and ducked out to tag in the next attorney.

The second attorney comes in, and starts asking more difficult questions. Quite a few of which I’d heard before… ‘what were you doing between college and law school.’  ‘What is with this or that specialty and why do you have it.’ ‘Tell me about your research / litigation experience with X or Y’,  Etc. etc… Had I not heard most of these questions before, I might have been more ill at ease answering them, but since I have had a great deal of time to consider answers to them in light of the post-mortem provided at least in part on this blog… well, I had some pretty good answers.

About 5 minutes in however, another attorney wanders in and sits down and says something along the lines of ‘oh you started without me’. So apparently it wasn’t quite like speed dating because you usually don’t try to flirt with several people at the same time, at the same table; Unless of course you are on some horrible FOX reality TV show. The problem was, they both continued as if they were alone conducting separate interviews. They each had divergent lines of questioning, and they stuck to their own scripts. So one would ask a question, I would start answering and within a few moments the other would break in to try to get you to answer their (generally) unrelated question. The main problem was, the new attorney was asking decidedly negatively themed questions.

This went unabated for about 10 minutes when the door opened again. This time an interesting change in tenor happened. The only way I can describe it is when Norm from Cheers walks into the bar, as the other two shout out his name and start joking around. And the image wasn’t far off… rather than wearing a suit this partner was in jeans and a Bermuda shirt. They wander in and setup at the head of the tiny table. (which of course involved everyone standing up and shuffling a bit so they could actually get to the head of the tiny table). I immediately assume ‘rainmaker’ as everyone was a bit deferential and one of the attorneys actually fistbumped him over a dumb joke he made. It turned out, this guy wasn’t even on the roster of attorneys I was supposed to be interviewing. They were passing by and just decided to pop in for amusement value I guess.

This became an exercise in a bit of the ridiculous as the previous two part unrelated questioning became a 3 part rapid fire non-sequitur. The only difference now was that the rainmaker was also throwing in some off color / bawdy jokes instead of questions or referencing owning high end luxury cars. So I had one attorney who was joking around and asking nothing of import, one who was asking substantive questions, and one who was asking probing and relatively hostile questions. None of which were arranged in any sort of order, so I would finish answering one and the other attorney would start up “getting back to my question…” (which I think we had left 5 minutes previously and I now had little recollection of what you asked after the unrelated conversation inserted between…) Maybe this was some sort of deposition tactic to throw you off guard; maybe it was just several large egos jostling in the same room. Either was legitimately possible. It felt like a ‘good cop, bad cop’ routine with an added ‘Frat-boy cop’ thrown in.

The most irritating concept reared its horrible head from the hostile attorney. They pointed out that I had mentioned in a previous answer that I had interviewed for a job in a different legal sub-specialty… not PI, and followed this up pointing to my diverse array of specialties. And he said that it seemed I was just interviewing everywhere to get a job. There was a beat of silence in the room before I said, yes that’s right. And I explained it was less about the specific specialty and more about the rigor of the work and novelty of cases. I gave a good accounting of this reasoning, and as you might expect, the other two liked my answer and Mr. Negative really did not. His opinion seemed to be that he didn’t want to hire me if I needed a job; he only wanted to hire me if I already had a job and didn’t need a different one. This type of backwards thinking permeates the legal field and it is infuriating.

‘We only want you if you don’t need us.’

Shortly after battling off the hostile attorney the rainmaker decides it’s time to make an exit and takes the hostile attorney with him as he leaves claiming he needed them for something. So I finish out with the original attorney, and they then say there is one final attorney to speak with. He leaves to find this last attorney and disappears for a good 10 minutes before reappearing and telling me the last attorney couldn’t be found and apparently went home for the day so I won’t be talking with them.

I am walked out of the firm and the implication was I would be contacted very soon. I guess I have to decide pretty quickly if I actually want to work in PI. The salary range they gave was pretty damn attractive, especially when compared to other places I’ve interviewed and knowing the salaries of friends who got into firms… I guess the money is spent on the attorneys and not the office. Not a bad system I guess. We’ll see how it pans out.

I never wanted to do this, but at this point, I will.

 

 

Interview #33 – Nap Time

So I scored an interview at a government agency. The downside was that it was about 3 hours away from where I am now…  Hey I’m happy to relocate if they want me.

I got a phone call setting up the interview and as the secretary was trying to get off the phone I reminded her she didn’t tell me where the interview was… as in the address or office… or anything. So she seemed bemused at forgetting and relays the address to me and says ‘head up to the 3rd floor once you are there and they will direct you where you need to go.”

Seemed simple enough. Well, first off, I show up and it turns out the secretary actually gave me the wrong address… but it wasn’t a big issue because there were enough signs along the road to direct me to the right place, not the best first impression though. I wander in and am confronted by the security desk who wants to know who I am meeting. I say I wasn’t given a specific name.. merely an interview with the legal department on the 3rd floor. This doesn’t seem to go over well but after a minute he begrudgingly hands me a visitors badge and lets me pass muttering that I really should know who I am supposed to see (well thanks for the helpful info!). I head up to the 3rd floor and the elevator opens into.. well basically a maze of cubicles. I look around and wander over to what I assume is a secretary since their cubicle is more open than others and ask who I am supposed to see for the interview. They give me a name X and send me to another secretary on the opposite side.

I talk to the second secretary and tell her “I am here to see X for the job interview.” The secretary turns to look at me, and quite literally looks me up and down, and says ‘I don’t think so… what are you supposed to be here to interview for?’ I respond the attorney position…

Ah, she says. ‘X is interviewing for legal secretaries, and you,’ (with a wave of her hand) ‘don’t look like a secretary.’ I suppose that’s a point in my favor.. I guess. So I finally get routed to the correct people and I am ushered into a conference room with 2 other attorneys in it.

One attorney introduced himself and told me the other one was there to basically transcribe my answers. The second attorney introduced himself and thereafter never spoke a word during the interview. The first attorney started off by asking a few quick standard questions before asking more pointed and specific ones. This is where it got fun… the attorney asking the questions… I guess was tired (or something) so he would ask a question, wait a beat or two for me to start talking, and then he’d just close his eyes and seemingly doze off.

I’d continue talking to the half asleep attorney and directing the answer moreso at the silent one writing everything down, and once I’d reached an end point and silence would fall on the room, the first one would re-animate and ask the next question, only to once again start to doze once he was done.

I really don’t know what the point of the interview was considering the complete lack of interaction and impersonality of it. I could have just written answers to the questions and emailed them considering the level of conversation that went on. (later, a friend of mine helpfully suggested maybe the interviewer was mentally imagining my answers… about litigation.)

At the end, the interviewer woke up enough to walk me back to the elevator and confirm my fear that I would be working in one of the cubicles if I were hired. (shit). Then as it happened, they knew the city from where I had driven up from and mentioned he hoped I had a good drive back. So, maybe bonus points for driving a really long time to have a shitty interview? Dunno.

Got back into my car and drove the 3 hours back annoyed at how unprofessional the interview had been conducted. Par for the course I suppose. There are so few normal, decent people in this profession it is astounding.

Law School – A very expensive mistake….