Can you degrade your opportunity to do something when you never had a shot at doing it in the first place?
So many people have said to me "Why don't you just go work in a law firm as an associate?" Most of these people were NOT attorneys. They believe that every single law school graduate can immediately get a job as an associate in any law firm in America despite grades, law school, and so forth. They believe the legal job market is much like every other job market where the most personable & biggest dumb butt kisser type can get hired. Those people are dead wrong; I have known this for many years.
This guy, Harrison Barnes, has written numerous articles on how to get hired in BigLaw firms & reaffirmed for me why I would never want one of these jobs. Why not just give me a shotgun along with a job offer so I can blow my brains out? I would sooner or later & it beats me having to spend my hard earned money on guns and ammo to off myself.
Want proof of what I speak? See this article.
Some direct quotes from this article:
1. Most large law firms do not like people who try to stick out. In their experience, these people can be problems:
* they will leave if they do not get lots of praise,
* may turn on the firm and undermine morale,
* are likely to seek unnecessary attention from clients (and may even try and steal them), and
* are most likely to leave if something better comes along.
Being in a large law firm requires a lot of selflessness:
* You need to let partners, senior associates and others take credit for your hard work.
* You need to put in time before large rewards come.
* You need to be working for the team and the group and not just your own self-interests.
* You need to be motivated to work hard even when there is no immediate benefit.
* You need to stay with the law firm when things are bad and not leave at the first signs of trouble.
Wow, if you met me the first things you'd notice are my long red hair & how thin I am. My mere existence is "sticking out." Am I to dye my naturally red hair & put on a fat suit?
Also, you're talking about getting zero appreciation for a damn thing. Sounds like a fool's game to put in 110% & let some lazy fuck take the credit for YOUR work. At least owning your own business, you are the one who rises or falls on your own efforts. You also will have more internal motivation if it's yours; even when I was in college, I saw no reason to bother if I wasn't going to progress anywhere. I worked my ass off in my sorority chapter & in my classes b/c those were MINE. My sorority was a group effort WE did that WE got credit for.
It would be like letting dumb kids copy my homework to get the school's ranking in the state higher. Had I been asked to do that, I'd have said "Hell, no! Make those fuckers learn something & those teachers earn their salaries teaching them vs. punishing me for my intelligence & expecting me, not earning a dime, to do their homework."
Basic life lesson any business owner with a brain knows: no one is going to care about your business the way you do without proper motivation in the form of money or equity. If you don't provide either, it's just a matter of when someone gets burned out & tells you where to shove your job.
2. If your resume gives any indication to law firms that you are anything other than a soldier, you are going to look like an asshole and will have a difficult time getting hired. It is not about you. It is never about you. It is about the employer.
Perhaps I'm just an unrepentant asshole. I say "Screw you. I'm better looking, smarter, more personable & have survived more than you ever will. Bet you couldn't handle MY circumstances or deal with them as well as I have with the meager resources I had at my disposal."
I get attitude toward pricks who want to try & deny me my bona fides ("props" if you will). If you've gone through what I am or are living it now, you should never let anyone disrespect you or dare to judge, harass, belittle or treat you like a mere flea. The people doing that stuff wouldn't last 2 seconds in a real crisis & I'd bet a million dollars on that.
This might also explain why the old law firm model is crumbling.
3. Most attorneys have information on their resumes that is polarizing or just plain stupid to have on there. It's often not a bad job market. It's a bad legal resume!
I'm just thinking off the top of my head here; however, here are some personal details I have seen on resumes over the past week or so (all of which are bad):
Avid hunter and outdoorsman. Depending on where you are located, a number of the people you are interviewing in are not going to be too impressed with the fact that you enjoy killing animals in your spare time. This is not a good idea. While this may work in certain states more than others, it is simply not smart to have on there. If you piss off just one interviewer, this will harm you.
Member of the First Baptist Church. Nothing wrong with being part of a church. However, if you are interviewing with a law firm in a large city, the odds are pretty good you will be interviewing with gays, Jews and people of various religions and backgrounds. Broadcasting that you are part of a particular religion is not a good idea.
Member of the gay law students association. There is nothing wrong with being gay (and proud of it!) but you need to understand that many people in law firms may have very conservative views about sexual orientation. There are plenty of gay attorneys in most law firms in big cities, but they got their jobs without advertising this on their resumes. There are people in every law firm that have prejudices against gays. Why would you put this on your resume?
Member of the Black Law Students Association. Sadly, many law schools and recruiters urge people to put their race on their resumes so they will be more likely to be hired. Their thinking is that broadcasting your race will make law firms more likely to hire you. What if the firm has recently been sued for racial discrimination? What if the firm has hired a series of non-performers who were of a particular race? Your objective is to get a job. My experience has shown: If I send out two equally qualified attorneys who are black (same practice area, caliber of law schools and law firms), and one has a bunch of stuff about their race on their resume and the other does not, the person without the racial information is more likely to get interviewed and hired. Discrimination? Maybe. Or, it could just be that the law firm does not like the person playing the "race card" to try and get a leg up on the competition. Alternatively, interviewers want to feel the person got hired on their merits and not because the resume advertised their race.
Member of the Muslim Law Students Association. Same logic as above. Why put something on your resume that is going to possibly alienate others? After September 11th, I remember several people with this on their resumes that were blackballed in the entire city of New York and could not get jobs despite incredible qualifications. Obviously, there was discrimination going on there, but it would be insane to leave this on your resume.
Member of the Jewish Law Students Association. Anything that can alienate others should be removed from your resume.
Missionary for two years (LDS) in Brazil. Do Mormons approve of gays? Weren't blacks barred until the 1970s from holding the Mormon priesthood? You get the idea. Why risk alienating others?
Married mother of three. "Married? You are gorgeous but not that qualified. I'm moving on. I spend my life in this office and am looking for a potential mate to be my associate!" Never a good idea to put this on your resume. Don't kill the messenger here (this is just how many attorneys think). "Three kids? Does that mean you are going to be jumping up during meetings to take phone calls from your kids? Does that mean that that you are going to miss work when they get sick? What if you cannot find childcare?"
Creative email address. While I have taken a bit of liberty here, I've seen some emails like this in the recent past: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com. I'm not kidding. These are more common than you think. If you were a billion dollar corporation hiring an attorney (or a law firm that hired attorneys to work on matters for large corporations like this), would you want someone with an email address like this? Leave this stuff off of your resume. No one wants to see it. Make sure your personal email address is professional.
Your work email address. This is very common. "Really? You want us to communicate with you at your work email address?" What this says is pretty simple:
a. My current employer is paying me
b. I'm looking for a job at work
c. I must not respect my employer very much
d. I must not be very loyal
e. I must not care what my employer thinks of me
f. I do not care if my employer learns I am looking for a job on their time
g. Maybe I was fired and my employer knows I am looking which is why I don't care (hey, I'm bad at my job anyway!)
h. I will do the same to you if you hire me!
i. I'm an idiot!
Don't use your work email address.
An email address like Harvard.edu, Stanford.edu, UChicago.edu, Princeton.edu, Yale.edu."You went to a prestigious college or law school! Good for you! What have you done since then? Do you think you need to advertise what a great school you went to? I went to Ohio State you arrogant asshole!" Get a Gmail or similar personal email address. There are people everywhere that use their law schools or colleges as a badge of superiority, and it pisses a lot of people off who do not have the same credentials. Many people in large law firms grew up poor and worked very hard to get into prestigious state schools that their parents could afford and then worked very hard once they were in college. Princeton? Are you kidding?
Why would you want to have an email address or put something on your resume that could alienate you from others before they even meet you? Going to a prestigious college or law school is a very good thing. What is not good is wearing that on your sleeve. It can drive people away from you and make others (even partners) feel inferior and insecure. That can prevent them from hiring you.
A private high school. Most people did not attend St. Paul's, Exeter, Andover, or other elite private high schools. Most attorneys in large law firms went to public schools where they worked hard. Being an attorney is also a largely middle-class profession, and the parents of most attorneys could not afford to send them to $50,000 a year private schools. Putting this information on your resume can alienate others and is never a good idea.
Member of Mensa. Mensa is an organization for people with high IQs. While there is nothing wrong with being a member of Mensa, what is most humorous about this is that most people who put this on their resumes did not go to the best colleges or law schools. Most attorneys at big law firms are extremely intelligent anyway, so this looks stupid. In addition, this screams underachiever: "If you are so freaking smart, why did you go to such a bad law school and why can't you get a job?"
A link to your personal blog. Don't get me started. You will show exactly the sort of person you are if you do this. Interested in health? Then why work 3,000 hours a year in a large law firm? A personal blog provides opportunities to get in trouble. During a law firm merger, I once saw a partner (with a good amount of business) lose his job. The law firm taking over in the merger found his personal blog and did not like a section he had on there about why he did not like being an attorney and what he would do if he quit.
Home addresses far away from the office. Los Angeles (where I work) is a giant area. Commutes between different areas of Los Angeles can often be two hours or more. If you are applying for a job more than an hour from your home, it is best just to leave your home address off of your resume. If an employer hires someone who needs to commute a great distance to work, they know that the odds are very good that this same person will leave if they find a job closer to their home, especially if the pay is close (or equivalent).
Trips during law school or between jobs. You know what? The partners in the law firm bringing home $2 million a year never traveled during law school. They've also certainly never taken time off to "travel" while looking for a job. Are you out of your mind? Leave this stuff off there.
Yeah, so apparently one part of getting such a job is coddling people's egos. You know where else people (especially women) have to do that? Marriage!!! Especially to insecure people who'd be "threatened" by intelligence, charm, money, looks, whatever else people get all whiny & huffy about. I'm getting out of a marriage now. Why in God's name would I want to insert myself in yet another atmosphere where I have to coddle to little boys in men's bodies (since most of these law firm partners are men; I wish women were more mature but I'm sure there are quite a few who have it in for younger, prettier, smarter and other women they view as threats)?
This just reads a lot like how to impress the clique of cool kids so you'll get to eat lunch with them. The class things surprise me, though since I've not met any law firm partners who came from my class background unless they owned their own firms. I figure they also were too smart for this fool's game. Maybe even went a step further & only played this long enough to get a little experience, quit & start their own practices while shunning this world. I know plenty of people who've done that or made that their career goal.
4. This is fundamental to how we as attorneys need to behave when working with others: We are expected to fit in, get along and try not to act better than our peers. A stripped down and simple resume accomplishes these goals in the large law firm environment. Saying less is saying more in the big firm world.
Yeah, b/c I'm someone who has ever "fit in" in life. Who has actually met me or had a 5 minute conversation with me? When I say "My entire character is contrary to the very basic idea of being a law firm associate," some people need to actually listen to me. This is some of the stuff I have known for many years, long before I started my entertainment law career. I knew this in law school, in fact. I was even a Psych major for fuck's sake!!! Psychology looks at the individual & his/her behavior while Sociology looks at group trends (which I minored in since I ended up taking enough classes to get it just b/c most of them were of interest to me).
The first time I was working in my law school's legal clinic & got yelled at by one of the professors working there, I knew a typical law firm associate job was not for me. I don't respond to disrespect or micromanagement & that would make a job worse than my first on the books job (the baseline by which I measure all jobs).
Fortunately, I have managed to find some law firms not run by insecure, materialistic 7th graders.
Believe it or not, there's actually a market for attorneys who aren't bland little robots (being a trendsetter can be a bitch). Per diem work is a great fit for me since I'm only doing a particular matter for a limited time, I go different places, no one breathes down my back telling me how to dress or perform the work & there's room for my fight. A job with a structure like that is perfect for my purposes & general personality.
But as for my thought, I see no way whatsoever for me to actually sabotage myself out of a law firm associate job that everyone & their mother thinks I ought to be doing + supposedly are so easy to get i.e. pays in the six figure range when there's no way in hell one of those places would hire me in the first place based on law school & grades THEN by actually meeting me in person and talking to me for a mere 5 minutes. I'd expect total hater behavior or new fans (maybe even get asked out on a date) but no actual job offers b/c I'm not a robot or into being abused. Perhaps you also couldn't get those jobs if you already experienced abuse in your upbringing & realized it was a crappy way to live so you don't care to relive it.
I wish I could get this guy to tell all these "You should be a law firm associate" cheerleaders to get off my back & stop bothering me about it since I have no chance in Hell at such a job so no effort or lack of effort I could put in would make a difference. Maybe they'd finally shut up about it after an expert said something though it pisses me off to have people in essence call me stupid or imply I don't know a thing or two about the landscape of my circumstances/opportunities.