Even though I am just a lowly associate at my firm, I occasionally get sent unsolicited resumes. While I can suggest to the powers that be that we need to hire someone or that we should interview this person, I have little actual role in the hiring process. The people sending the resumes don’t know this, which is why they keep sending them. And I keep reading them.
Occasionally, you find someone that is uniquely qualified to work at your firm. Sometimes you find people that have better bonafides than you do that just want a chance to sit down with the hiring partner (I immediately delete those emails . . . what the bosses don’t know won’t hurt them). Then there is that final group of job seekers that just completely screw up their job search by sending you something you will never forget.
Case in point: I believe I received the worst cover letter ever written last week.
It wasn’t that the job seeker, a soon to be graduating law student, was unqualified. It was just the liberties that he took in trying to convince me (as well as everyone else that read this form letter) that he should work for my firm. All I found myself wanting to do while reading this letter was to send him a response. But I didn’t do that. Because I didn’t want to kill some young lad’s dreams.
I did, however, write the response:
I became interested in your firm after reading your website. I believe my experience and skills will be a wonderful addition to your firm.
The fact that you didn’t know my firm already is strike one against you. Never admit that you learned about a law firm while perusing a firm website, Craigslist or ChristianMingle.com, as it is a sign of desperation and bad internet surfing habits (neither of which I want in a potential employee). I am going to reluctantly keep reading because you claim to have skills.
I am submitting my resume for your consideration.
Wait, let me get this straight, you’ve decided that I need more reading? Pardon me, I’m going to have to set aside this brief, this case law, and a fascinating article on ESPN.com to read your resume. I’m not really sure that I am interested in making this time commitment to you.
I hope you will agree that I will make a substantial contribution to your law firm.
I hope this too. But let’s be honest, you are going to be a law clerk, not a litigating associate, so chances of you making a substantial contribution are slim-to-none. Unless you are talking about creating a substantial increase in the work that I am going to have to do correcting the mistakes you have already made.
During the last three years, I worked as a full-time legal assistant while attending a full load of night classes.
I’m fairly certain that that has resulted in substandard grades, no social life and psychoses that would make even the craziest of my clients seem normal. But I admire your pluck. Do go on.
This experience has given me insight and substantial experience with the daily life of lawyers.
So you know that lawyers and their staff are slightly neurotic, overworked, underpaid functioning alcoholics that will go nuts at the slightest screw up? I fail to see how this will help me if I give you a job. Unless this means you can make a mean dirty martini with three bleu cheese–stuffed olives at 9:17 in the morning while collating 1,800 pages of discovery.
As well as familiarizing me with the demanding scheduled of a lawyer.
A sentence fragment. How sad for you.
In my experience I have worked for both a civil litigation and a bankruptcy law firm, which gives me insight into how both practice areas differ and resemble one another.
Wait . . . what? Isn’t one of these things a subset of the other? I feel that as a lawyer, I should know this. WHY IS YOUR COVER LETTER MAKING ME THINK SO MUCH . . . MY BRAIN FEELS ITCHY.
The common skills I have learned from both positions have afforded me an ability to learn quickly and work efficiently in most practice areas.
I learned these skills at the age of five when was I trying to get the other kids to eat paste. I’m stunned it took you until this point in your life to develop these vital skill sets . . . but better late than never. These two skills will serve you well when you are out of law school and are working as a McDonald’s fry chef.
I am confident this ability will benefit your firm.
But you just said you had skills . . . What happened to both of them? And which one is going to benefit my firm? I don’t know if I want you to be a quick learner or an efficient worker. Why do I have to make these hard choices? Just spell it out for me next time.
I believe that the best litigation results happen when the lawyers and client assume the case will go to trial.
Assumption is the mother of all f***ups. On what planet do you want the twelve people who were too stupid to get out of jury duty deciding if (1) your client wins and (2) if you get paid. You don’t.
I believe this is a wonderful approach to any case.
I believe that my client is not lying to me when his lips are moving. Just because I believe this doesn’t make it so.
I have taken Introduction to Trial Advocacy, and am currently enrolled in Advanced Litigation Skills and Advocacy.
Actually, I think we need you to first chair this capital murder trial tomorrow . . . are you free?
I have learned in both courses that approaching a case with three questions (If I were going to trial, what do I need to prove? What do I need to prove it? And, how do I prove it?) have been exceedingly helpful in understanding the full scope of the issue, or issues, the likelihood of obtaining the client’s desired outcome, the merits/shortcomings of the opposing counsel’s case, and the best possible settlement.
No lie, I spent several minutes trying to grammatically understand this mass of words. Let me ask you three questions: (1) Have you ever met a real client?; (2) See Question #1; and (3) Did you first want to go to law school because of Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde?
I am confident that my experience will make me a valuable asset to your firm.
So does that mean you can make that mean dirty martini?
Enclosed is a copy of my resume for your review.
I am presently inhaling Xanax just to calm my nerves in anticipation of fully immersing myself in the prose that details your life. But you did tell me that you enclosed your resume already. Don’t worry, I am twice as excited to read it.
I am able to interview at your convenience.
I’ll fire three clients just to make this happen. They didn’t want to go to trial anyway.