Muskrat News Research Reports

Difficile est satiram non scribere.
(It is difficult not to write satire.)

For those of you who missed it, Muskrat News recaps the 2L career orientation program held August 21-22.

The program began with an upbeat introduction from Dean B, who said she envied us for the exciting period of lives we were embarking on, and the limitless possibilities that we had before us.  When she said that, she burst out laughing, but refused to explain what was so funny.  She also made air quotes around "limitless."

The Office of Career Services (OCS) team then introduced themselves.  We knew G, L and A from last year, but Bob S has been replaced by E, whose youth and energy contrasted sharply with the paternal, even avuncular presence of Bob S, who will be missed.  However warm our feelings for Bob, though, we were told that should we see him on campus we should a) call security immediately, and b) under no circumstances give him money or food.  E was upbeat, and assured us that despite the "challenging" nature of the market, that we would all find jobs.  Asked if that meant we'd all find legal jobs, E laughed and said "that's not going to happen."

The Keynote speaker was Bob D, an Assistant District Attorney from Wilmington, who gave us a rousing speech on our ability to turn our lives around before it's too late, and the many career opportunities available to people with felony convictions. Some 2Ls thought he was merely giving a canned speech he gives to soon-to-be-released convicts.  Muskrat News disagrees.

A from OCS spoke after lunch.  A is a wonderful person, and a great example of how a career can take unexpected, yet highly rewarding, turns.  Unfortunately, her grasp of microphone technology is limited and we couldn't hear her.  We assume her words were useful and/or inspirational.

Two speakers then addressed the possibilities of working overseas.  One focused on the mechanics of getting a new identity, making it past border controls, and assessed the prospects for enlargement of the Schengen Groups' area of intra-European free movement, which will make for fewer embarrassing requests for non-existent 'papers.'  The second addressed the market for, e.g., busboys, dishwashers, and construction workers in the UK, and compared it to the markets farther east - "In Belarus it's male prostitute or hit man - take your pick." Oddly, neither seemed to address legal employment.

The day ended with a workshop on resumes, cover letters, and writing samples.  The main message was "For God's Sake, take this more seriously than your legal writing class - this matters."  Good advice was given on euphemizing on your resume, making a stretch in stir look like an internship, and inventing jobs whose bona fides cannot be traced.

The next day, the four of us who showed up were treated to an extended seminar on strategic planning for life and career by Drang Kupcake, author of "If You Buy This, You're Messed Up," one of the top-selling guides to self-assessment, self-actualization, and self-abuse.   We learned a lot about the poor choices we had made up to this point, and were counseled to "learn to live on grubs, roots, and berries, because you'll never get a job."

Finally, after the smell of pizza drew most of the class back, the OCS Team got down to the nuts and bolts of the OCI process.  There was a lot of detail there, including lots of good "common-sense" rules for interviews such as:

--When the interviewer extends his hand to greet you, he's vulnerable to a quick sucker punch in the solar plexus

--Don't be afraid to be honest.  Interviewers want to know you're a genuine person, not just a bundle of rehearsed catchphrases.  For example, don't say "I think Beyonce Knowles is hot" - he knows that. Tell him what you'd do if you could get her locked up in your soundproofed basement.

--You need to show you've done your research.  Too many people just research the firm.  Don't forget to use the firms' web site, Martindale-Hubbell and other sources to research the particular attorney who's interviewing you.  A simple statement like "That's a beautiful daughter you have - it'd be a shame if she were struck by a 1973 Buick with no plates as she crossed Wisconsin Avenue at Porter at 8:42, just like she does every morning on her way to Sidwell Friends" can go a long way to scoring that flyback.

--Realistic assessment of your employment chances avoids wasting your time, so most of you shouldn't even be signing up for interviews.  A link to the NC Department of Employment Services is now part of the eAttorney home page.

--Wendy's is hiring

--The question of whether to offer or accept sexual favors during the interview was not covered, despite our reporter's repeated questioning on the subject, but certain hand gestures made by Mr. E during our shouting match with L indicated that an offer of manual gratification would be appropriate.

Callbacks were covered as well, with the emphasis on presentation:

--Remember that you're under the microscope as soon as you enter the firm's spaces.  Be friendly and professional with everyone- even and especially receptionists.  Also, assume that the hotel staff is watching you through the TV, even when it's off.

--Avoid alcohol at lunches and dinners, but if your hosts presses you with X or Coke, don't make him feel uncomfortable by refusing.  You can narc him out later.

--Don't go wild with expensive food items, don't empty the minibar, and don't charge more than one bottle of Courvoisier to room service.  Firms look at those hotel bills carefully.  To avoid this problem, find a lonely business man or woman in the hotel bar and go to their room before ordering that second bottle.

--Finally, if you get an offer, remember that many firms are very old-fashioned, and expect you to turn down the first offer or two with phrases like "Not after seeing that eyesore you call an office" or "get someone else to be your little monkey-boy."  If they're serious, they'll extend the offer at least three times.

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