ADVICE FROM AN EX-BITTER
[Ed. Note: For today’s “The Best of the Bitter: 2009,” we’re revisiting the three most popular advice pieces by Ex-Bitter from the last year. “I’m Jealous of My Roommate” was the surprising winner, followed by “I’m Deciding Between a JD and an MBA” and “I’m a Miracle Paralegal.”]
I’m a 3L at a top-20 law school. My roommate is a 3L at a T3 law school in the same city. I’ve been published in law review, am in the top 10% of my class, and do quite well in moot court. My roommate goes to his school’s bar review every Thursday, has no law review/journal experience, and is lucky if he’s in the top 50%. The only thing he’s actually good at is his student prosecutor position with the DA’s office. Yet somehow, he has three interviews set up with decent-sized firms and already has two job offers (all legitimate)…I have NADA!
What gives? He’s the big-man-on-campus kind of guy, everyone knows him wherever he goes, the girls at his school (and mine) “ooh” & “ahh” over him, and he’s an ex-jock from a big D1 school. Prior to law school he was a freaking doorman at a nightclub! I thought employers were supposed to go for the applicants with good grades and law review experience. How is my roommate is pulling this off?
Welcome to the real world, dude. Being affable, cool and popular actually matter. What’s even more shocking is that you somehow suggest that this guy’s a loser because chicks dig him and guys want to hang out with him. Why wouldn’t someone want this cat working at his law firm? Instead of resenting him, learn something from him. Stop acting like you’re owed some great job because you get good grades and did well on your LSAT while everyone who didn’t (or doesn’t) should be condemned to a life of perpetual mediocrity. Law school is the beginning of the journey, not the end. An impressive resume is a good start—not a guaranty you’ll be successful.
Having said all that, you do seem like a highly-qualified, “employable” candidate. On paper, anyway, which means you’re probably not so great in person. Sorry. But that’s the only conclusion I can draw. Based solely on your question, I’m guessing you come across a bit entitled and self-important, which is anathema to most real-life lawyers. Especially these days.
My advice: Step up your interpersonal/ interview skills. Be hungry, excited and modest. Act like you’re lucky to even be in the room. Sit on the edge of your seat during the interview (literally) and listen to every damn word out of the interviewer’s mouth—no matter how insipid or irrelevant. In other words, try to be more likable. Like your roommate.
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