Job Searches, Small Law Firms

Gradenfreude: Kicking a Man When He’s Down (Law Firm Interview Edition)

As the days turn to weeks, and weeks turn to months, it becomes increasingly frustrating to fail to have solid results in my job search. It’s sad, but I’ve grown to appreciate the auto-response emails that some companies and firms have, which generally say, “Thanks for applying to our company. If you do not completely suck, we will contact you for an interview. If you do suck, you will not be contacted, but your résumé will be kept on file (in our digital trash bin) in the event that there is an opening in our janitor’s closet, mail room, or bathroom attendant stall.”

At least this means that my résumé was received and will likely be skimmed over by someone before it is thrown to the side and forgotten about. However, last week, I received a glimmer of hope. And at the time, I thought that there was hope that the title of this week’s column would be “Tristan Gets a Job.” But, as usual, no suck luck….

It all started when I applied for a position in a nearby city as a temporary to full-time attorney. The job ad was almost completely devoid of details apart from the duration and location of the job. So I figured, what the hell? I put together as good of a cover letter as possible without knowing exactly I was applying for, and sent the hiring partner an email. The response was unexpectedly quick — it came within the hour. That seemed a little bit odd to me, but I was too excited to really care because someone actually saw my résumé and didn’t immediately laugh, throw it away, roll it up to beat insolent associates, or any combination of the three.

So, I called the firm and talked to the woman who responded to my email. It seemed like she was about to say, “Okay, sounds great. We would like to offer you the job.” But instead, she asked if I could come in for an interview the following day. Since my day was completely clear, I accepted the interview, thinking that it seemed like mostly a formality. Once I got off the phone, I looked up the firm online, and did my research on what to say to the hiring partner during our meeting. I was a little concerned that they seemed so desperate to hire me, but whatever, an interview somewhere is better than no interview at all.

I made my trek to the interview the following day. It seemed to go well, especially since at the end I was asked to fill out the normal new hire paperwork. Since I’ve never filled out a W-4 or other job-specific paperwork for a firm without having an offer actually presented to me, I assumed that one would be coming. And the fellow I interviewed with only reaffirmed this sentiment as he assured me that I’d hear from him by the end of the day. Fast forward to today — it’s been almost a week since I interviewed, and I still haven’t heard a damn thing. Way to get my hopes up for nothing. Way to kick a man when he’s down.

While this is depressing, I’m choosing to look at the bright side of things. First, this is the first interview that I’ve had in quite some time. Second, I now know that law firms are capable of sending more than a f**k-off letter in response to my résumé. And finally, at least they didn’t completely waste my time. And even if they did, what did I really lose by going on a fruitless interview that never really had a conclusion?

I bet that my couch, television, and Xbox were lonely, but did just fine without me.

When not writing about life after law school for Above the Law, Tristan Taylor Thomas (not his real name) works at a retail job stocking shelves — which he admits is slightly better than being a shoeshiner. You can reach him by email at

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