Ed. note: Have a question for next week? Send it in to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear Above The Law,
I am currently clerking and the term ends Sept. ’09, and I’ve applied to a bunch of firms for an associate job, but none have responded to my resume.
I routinely field calls from whiny associates and partners from firms that have declined to interview me. During these calls, the attorneys are looking for some leniency from me (and ultimately the judge), usually because of some oversight their firm made in the filings, etc.
Am I really expected to bend over backwards to help out attorneys from a firm that wants nothing to do with me? Would respectfully and carefully hinting at the fact that I would enjoy an associate position with the firm have any positive impact, at all, at my current job (lack of) situation?
Circle of Life
Dear Circle of Life,
Listen to me very carefully. Take your law school diploma off the wall. Proceed to the bathroom. Place it in the toilet. Stand on top of the toilet, take a gun and then shoot your degree.
If you are seriously asking whether granting judicial favors, however small, in return for a job, is acceptable behavior, maybe it is time to burn down the country and start over. I had hoped that we had made some progress since the time when Richard the Lionheart slaughtered the nobles of Gascony and then imposed crushing taxes on the survivors to obtain their fealty. I read about that episode while sitting by the pool in a West Palm Beach retirement community and I remember thinking, “Those medieval people had it bad!” But maybe the framers of the Constitution have it worse, because a mere two hundred something years after the ratification of their glorious document, some pipsqueak clerk took a sh*t on it.
If you “respectfully and carefully” hint at the fact that you’d like a job at the firm that’s calling the judge for a favor, the only “positive impact” you will have is that you will never have to worry about getting a legal job again after your disbarment proceedings.
Elie alerts the bar association authorities, after the jump.
Welcome to the real world, Circle of Life. I’m glad you’ve chosen to leave the garden of jurisprudential Eden and join the rest of us.
Of course you should subtly hint that “pay-to-play” isn’t just a trick for Illinois Senators. Look, they want something from you. You are well within your Hobbesian rights to remind them that you have needs.
I don’t know what kind of rose-colored world Marin lives in where she is willing to dole out all manner of favors while expecting nothing in return. It sounds fun. But as they say in Chicago: “the system works, the system called: reciprocity.”
You need that job. You go get that job. By any means necessary:
I could never better stead thee than now. Put money in thy purse; follow thou the wars; defeat thy favor with an usurp’d beard. I say put money in thy purse. It cannot be long that Desdemona should continue her love to the Moor–put money in thy purse–nor he his to her.
Let’s play out Elie’s scenario. A partner calls you to move a conference with the judge and you politely suggest to him that you can be flexible if he can be flexible with his pointer finger and click on the resume attachment you just sent him. And let’s say the firm grants you an interview and at the Hiring Committee meeting, some partner wonders aloud why they’re wasting time reviewing your candidacy when they just canned a hundred associates last week. Do you really envision someone saying, “That’s – AHEM – the clerk who, er, “assisted” us when we were seeking to move a conference,” following which the committee would murmur with approval, stamp “Accept” on your file and congratulate themselves on hiring the next Marc Dreier? If you do, then I’ve got a watch to sell you.