BY JEREMY BLACHMAN
This time last year, I wrote about how every 1L conversation really just revolves around the same four questions: “What’s your name?”, “What section are you in?” “Where’d you go to college?” and, “Did you come straight through?” (“Come straight through what? The door?”)
New year, new questions. “What’d you do this summer?” “What classes are you taking?” “Where are you living?” and the big one: “You doing on-campus interviewing?”
It’s really not much of a question. I’ve yet to hear anyone answer “no.” Sure, I’ve heard some hedging – “only a few firms – 20, 30 max,” “just on Wednesdays through Tuesdays,” “not if my smallpox doesn’t clear up,” “depends on how my multi-state lottery ticket turns out” – but everyone’s at least thinking about it. Even me.
I must admit, I’ve done my share of firm research and come up with some simple tricks for eliminating certain firms from my bid list. Rule One: no firms whose names sound like reproductive organs (goodbye, Allen & Overy). Rule Two: no firms that sound like food (goodbye, Fish & Richardson; goodbye, Pillsbury Winthrop). Rule Three: no firms that make crayons (goodbye, Binney & Smith).
And now that I’m down to a manageable list of 694 firms, the real work begins. First, of course, a look at the financial stability of these places. I hadn’t thought of this until a friend of mine mentioned he heard that one firm was melting its associates into coins with which to fill its empty coffers. So that’s important to watch out for. Apparently, there are resources for finding this stuff out. I don’t know these resources. The Cartoon Network and ESPN.com are apparently not among them, although Daffy Duck’s cousin has some great advice about supplemental insurance.
Second, a quick read of the firm’s websites. One leading firm has a button at the bottom that reads, “how to view our site.” What you get when you click on it is an explanation of how you need RealPlayer and Flash, and your own home network in order to really experience the sights and sounds they present. What it really ought to say under “how to view our site” is: You should view this site as a marketing piece designed to make us look humane, generous, and socially worthwhile. The information you see on the site is not representative of who we are and what we do, but of what studies show you’d like us to be. The smiling men and women depicted on this site are actors and actresses; the lawyers didn’t have time to come to the photo shoot, and looked like hell anyway. We get most of our money from tobacco companies. We get the rest from nuclear arms manufacturers. Thank you for visiting!”
I will fix my resume. I will think about what I’m really looking for, and do my best to find the firms that match. I will rehearse answers to standard questions about why I want to work there, what kind of law I want to practice, and what kind of tree I would be, if I was a tree at all. I will press my suit. I will comb my hair. I will shake hands firmly. I will ask questions of my own that are neither infantile (“how many urinals are in the men’s room?”) nor frightening (“my sex change operation turned out pretty well, right?”). I will use this column as my writing sample.
That last one may be pushing it.
Jeremy Blachman’s column appears weekly. His daily commentary can be found at http://jeremyblachman.blogspot.com.