Thursday, September 11, 2008

Attempt at an Interview

So, I am writing this update shortly after my previous post. I think I will start writing more often. The problem with writing regularly is that sometimes the job prospects look so terrible that I don't want to remind myself of what I am going through by writing about it. However, I think I will go through that pain if it helps someone else out. In light of how little I knew about anything law-related prior to choosing law as a profession and in law school, I think the more prepared someone is, the more they read real people's real experiences, the better he or she will handle the tough times.

So I had emailed my resume to someone yesterday and received a call within 5 minutes requesting information. As I was outdoors, I said I would call back in 10 minutes once I came home. I did that and she was too busy at the time to talk, so we emailed back and forth and scheduled a meeting today evening. I showed up at the scheduled time and the firm door was locked. I rang the bell and someone came outside to inquire what I wanted. I explained that I had communicated with the attorney via email and she had asked me to come at this time for an interview. I was told to wait outside in the lobby. A minute later, the receptionist asked again whether I had an appointment because she didn't have me scheduled and the attorney was trying to meet a deadline. I said I understood and would be happy to return at a later time if she thought that would be best. She then went back inside to ask and came back and asked me to come in. I was greeted by stacks of files and papers everywhere. That is not a surprise to me because I have worked at small firms before and not all are too organized. The receptionist/secretary moved some files and made a place for me to sit on a chair. I could hear the conversation inside the office. The attorney scolded the secretary for not printing out the email I had sent. The secretary started printing it out. Then I heard the attorney discuss matters that were related to her project for a few minutes. I offered again to come back at a later date since I did not want to interfere with an important assignment. I was told "The attorney will try to meet you." I waited for about 45 minutes. I could hear some work related talk and then I heard something like "Well, she is not important right now. She can come back tomorrow or Monday." I waited some more....and then without bothering someone else again, I left the office.

I emailed the attorney a polite apology and informed her that I needed to leave and did not want to bother them during a busy time, but would be glad to re-schedule a meeting at a more comfortable time.

I am not sure what to make of the deal. On the one hand, of course attorneys are busy and things come up. On the other hand, if there was a deadline, why would I be asked to come at that time? If I came and if they were not able to meet me, shouldn't they be more gracious or apologetic than what I heard?

As a new attorney, it is very difficult it seems to keep my head up and expect basic civility and fairness at a place of work. Perhaps the only option would be to start my own practice. Had I known all this before law school, I don't know if I would have attended. . .


MissAlexa said...

I am sorry to hear about your bad experience with your interview. I am a law school grad myself and went through the whole process of job hunting (it was a bit painful). I decided not to sit for the bar and have been working as a paralegal since i graduated back in 03. I have been pondering moving to Chicago and taking the bar there for some time now but haven't heard good things about the legal job market there. Not sure what to make of it.. Good luck with your job hunting and maybe starting your won practice isn't such a far out idea after all!!

A Modern Woman said...

I can totally understand the frustration. At least as a paralegal you can make a decent salary...sometimes lawyers make LESS starting out. However, I think, really consider taking the bar exam. While a paralegal, you can job hunt. That way you have a secure job to fall back on in case the job hunt does not work out.

And truthfully, I am sure as a paralegal you have learned some extremely valuable skills. Why not use those to start a solo practice? Yes, it will probably require an investment and a loan, but you can learn so much from going to the bar association meetings and getting their materials. Some people I know started their own practice right out of law school and struggled for a couple of years, but ended up with a nicely running practice.

This is something I want to look into as well. As a new grad, my hopes are to work for a couple of years and learn the law really well before starting something on my own. However, if the job thing does not work out, maybe i'll start off learning on my own and making the investment for my own practice.

Anonymous said...

What geographical area are you in? Apparently, there are many of us who could get together and start our own law practice. I would rather do that than try to start one alone.

Like missalexa, I am interested in Chicago and have heard the legal job market is awful there. So I took the NY bar in May. I would be shocked if I passed. I'm surprised she was able to get a paralegal job, although she says she's been working as one since 2003...but it seems as if they do not want JDs nowadays.

A Modern Woman said...

i'm also in the same geographical area (greater chicago area). I am sure we bring several skills and would love to get together sometimes with you or missalexa or anyone else who sympathizes with the difficulties we face.