Patterico's Pontifications

4/17/2006

Diary of a Law Student

Filed under: Real Life — Patterico @ 6:02 am

I’m unpacking, and ran across a diary of my law firm interviews from law school. Here’s one excerpt from 1992:

Irving’s nose hairs almost reached his upper lip. He turned out to have edited Justice Scalia’s note when they were both on the [Harvard Law] Review. Apparently, Scalia’s note explained why Sunday Blue Laws were constitutional. Irving could not believe that such a young man could have been so reactionary. He admitted that he had great respect for Scalia’s intellect, but maintained, “I didn’t like him then and I don’t like him now. A boor.” Irving’s nosehairs glinted in the light from the chandelier.

And at another law firm:

I pissed off a litigation partner when he asked me why I wanted to be a litigator. I replied that a large part of it was that I enjoyed a good fight — I’m a little contentious. Turns out that this guy fancies himself to be the Great Compromiser.

I didn’t get either job.

P.S. Mrs. P. asks: “So was that your standard line when someone asked you why you wanted to be a litigator?!” The answer is: no, I don’t think it was. The problem was that I didn’t have standard answers for any interview questions. I just said whatever truthful thing popped into my head at the time.

It’s a miracle I ever got any job at all.

15 Responses to “Diary of a Law Student”

  1. Law firm interviews suck, especially the crappy on-campus screening ones.

    Can we just please drop the charades? I’ve never heard of a profession where interviews were so non-substantive.

    Angry Clam (fa7fff)

  2. “Turns out that this guy fancies himself to be the Great Compromiser.”

    That guy is actually short changing his clients… not working for maximum results. In a small town, if I were his competitor I would create a marketing campaign around this flaw.

    Patterico, you were too good for him.

    Vermont Neighbor (a9ae2c)

  3. Yeah, I can respect that.

    Mad Hatty (de5fcb)

  4. I see the LA Times published its recommendations for judges today. I guess you aren’t running, as they didn’t mention you. ;-)

    Kevin Murphy (805c5b)

  5. Can we just please drop the charades? I’ve never heard of a profession where interviews were so non-substantive.

    How else are they going to find out that you have a pulse?

    actus (ebc508)

  6. That’s something we have in common Patterico. Except it sounds like you have learned better and I haven’t. Just the other day I was talking to a person I’m working a contract for and who has the power to hire me full time. I explained to him that I’d like to eventually become a SQL Server DBA. Right after I said that, I started chastising myself because I know that expressing too much ambition can really hurt your chances of getting hired. So I can’t always play the game right even though I know how.

    Psyberian (dd13d6)

  7. If they asked real legal questions, you’d be certain never to have a job, actus- you’ve demonstrated quite the inability to grapple with the law and, more generally, logic.

    Angry Clam (a7c6b1)

  8. Sure glad I took the sailing route instead of the law talking route….

    Deacon Bleau (938eb2)

  9. If they asked real legal questions, you’d be certain never to have a job, actus- you’ve demonstrated quite the inability to grapple with the law and, more generally, logic.

    Well, I wasn’t talking about you, but the corporate world in general. But I’m going to take care of my job stuffs on my own.

    actus (ebc508)

  10. Given how poorly I interviewed, I was lucky to get a job.

    I also had the pleasure of doing an interview, the day after the Iranians took our people hostage in Tehran, with an otherwise respectable law firm that represented some of those critters’ interests. The partner kept saying things like “Well, you have to understand how our Western culture appears to them, blah blah blah…” It totally creeped me out.

    Attila (Pillage Idiot) (a40986)

  11. The partner kept saying things like “Well, you have to understand how our Western culture appears to them, blah blah blah…” It totally creeped me out.

    Chavez apparently has some very expensive lobbyists. I met an aide from a subcommittee they lobbied. Lots of flash, but most of it deflated by “what did he just call condi the other day?” I’m sure hte lobbyists don’t mind though.

    actus (6234ee)

  12. Patterico, you should publish the whole thing.

    I can understand litigators who see themselves mainly as dispute-resolution experts, but you know, the good cop usually understands the value of hiring some bad cops. If his firm wouldn’t hire anybody with a combative approach, I’d be surprised if they’re still in business. Personally, I often describe my job to interviewees in terms of enjoying a good argument.

    Crank (3fed2a)

  13. Litigators are also born performers. Persuade, prove… dazzle those in the jury box!

    Vermont Neighbor (a9ae2c)

  14. Maybe, Vermont Neighbor, #13. If you watched the O.J. Simspon trial you saw just about every litigation style there is. The prosecution: Pedestrian. Used to trying only ironclad cases (they plead out or nolle prosse the doubtful ones) with the judge doing half their job. [No offense, Patterico]. Cochran, what you said. Shapiro, dogged, diligent, 100% credible. F. Lee. Bailey, like Cochran in reality but like Shapiro in appearance. The DNA guy from New York (Barry Scheck), probably the best because his arguments are remembered more than he is. It’s hard to fool twelve people all at once.

    nk (32c481)

  15. Thanks for that, nk. Interesting.

    I would also include watching some of these guys just cross the reception area! Personality plus. Snips of conversation that just scream star power. No wonder so many attorneys have gone on to write sitcoms. Litigators are cool… if you’re on the same side of the table.

    Vermont Neighbor (a9ae2c)


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