Job Searches, Small Law Firms, Television

Size Matters: Bachelor Ben Teaches Small Firms How to Pick a New Hire

Like many other Bachelor fans, I devoted approximately 14 hours last night to finding out who Bachelor Ben chose as his future wife. After much soul-searching and a pensive walk through Switzerland, Ben picked Courtney, the model who everyone hated. Indeed, if the boos and glares directed at Courtney during “After The Final Rose” are any indication, America (and maybe Ben) has decided Courtney is a bad fit. Not to mention, all the other Bachelor losers were very open about their hatred for Courtney.

Ben’s path to “true love” is a lesson not just for pathetic women (see, Lindzi, the orange contestant, who missed all the obvious hints that he was not interested and still blabbered on and on about how she found true love before he ditched her), but also for small-firm hiring partners. Here are the top five takeaways….

(1) Do your due diligence:

Courtney dropped hints throughout the season that she was a potentially bad mate. For instance, during one episode she said of another contestant: “I almost just want to rip her head off and verbally assault her. Or shave her eyebrows off in the middle of the night.” Ben later explained that he had serious regrets about Courtney after learning of her poor behavior. Yet, Ben could have learned about her issues earlier if he had done some due diligence, like talking to more of her friends, listening to the other women who had lived with her and asking Courtney more probing questions. Let this be a lesson to you, small firms. When interviewing a potential Courtney, do your research! It is important to talk to people who know the applicant and can vouch for his/her work, attitude and social skills.

(2) Don’t get hung up on titles:

Courtney is a model who is frequently naked. Is it any surprise that Ben chose her? No, he got wrapped up in the superficial aspects of his future mate. Some small firms make this same mistake. Indeed, many small-firms focus on the superficial aspects of their applicants: the prestige of their law school and prior law firms. Yet, these facts may not be as important as selecting an applicant who, unlike Courtney, does not have a borderline personality disorder.

(3) Don’t go on the Bachelor:

Who finds true love on a reality show? Judging by the overwhelming number of failed romances produced by the Bachelor and Bachelorette, no one does. It is impossible to truly evaluate a potential mate with cameras rolling. This is a valuable lesson for small-firms: reconsider the in-office interview. To really find out what someone is like, it is important to be in the most natural environment. Experiment with one-on-one and group interviews and consider lunch and dinner interviews.

(4) Cut Bait:

When Ben learned that Courtney was a b***h, he ditched her (at least for a while). While it may seem heartless, sometimes it is important to end a bad relationship. This is true with small-firm bad apples. Indeed, if despite your best efforts you select a bad fit, take a lesson from Ben: cut bait.

While it may seem implausible that weirdo-Ben-with-the-bowl-cut can teach small firms how to select new attorneys, it is true. And, if you don’t want to pick a Courtney, you best listen to him!

When not writing about small law firms for Above the Law, Valerie Katz (not her real name) works at a small firm in Chicago. You can reach her by email at and follow her on Twitter at @ValerieLKatz.

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