As Winston Zeddemore might say, "Dude, if someone asks if you want a job, you say YES!"
In a very tough market for young people, a law student was able to secure a summer job at a law firm. Great news! However, instead of accepting the offer with a simple "thank you," the kid emailed back with a list of inappropriate questions and ridiculous ideas.
He doesn't have a summer job anymore, but from his self-immolation we can all learn important lessons...
Our guy was offered a job at the Utah law firm Morgan, Minnock, Rice, & James. He emailed his acceptance to the firm's hiring partner. Things went off the rails immediately. From his email that's posted on Above the Law:
Seeing as this is such an important decision, I did have three questions for you. These were questions I was going to ask [ the managing partner] last Friday, but things were too busy:
(1) I live in Orem, UT, and I would likely need to use the Frontrunner to make it up to Salt Lake everyday. Some firms offer to compensate or pay for a 4-month train pass. Would that be a possibility?
(2) You mentioned several times that I should have the intention of staying on post-graduation, obviously conditional on how I perform this summer. That is something I am willing and eager to do. I want to impress the partners with my work ethic, as well as my work quality.
Looking to the future, do you have an idea of what the starting salary is for a first-year attorney at the firm? Does that change once the bar has been passed?
Tip Number 1: Do not email a hiring partner as if he's the head of human resources. If you need a train pass, you ask if he can put you in touch with the train pass guy.
Tip Number 2: Do not presume to be in the running for a permanent position until you've spent at least one day doing your internship.
I think that there was a good chance our guy could have survived these first two questions. They were inappropriate, but he's just being a little aggressive.
But the third question, I can't even describe it:
(3) Lastly, we spoke briefly in our interview together about a company from (name of state) called "(Company Name)". They have about 175 employees and are growing rapidly. We have been talking since September, and they are dissatisfied with their current outside counsel. The salesman inside of me saw this as a perfect opportunity to acquire a client for the future for whatever firm I end up clerking for. (you)
If you were OK with it, I would forego the "one or two weeks" of R & R you mentioned, and apply those foregone weeks towards a 4-week clerkship with this company. I think it could be extremely valuable to your firm for two reasons: (A) I honestly believe that if I spend a little time with them I can convince them to switch to our firm for their outside counsel services considering their current dissatisfaction; and (B) I would gain valuable experience of knowing how corporations make decisions in-house, and I would apply that experience to my work with you.
Of course, it would only be 4 weeks (not half of the summer like many clerkships), and I would be more than willing to immediately continue work for you 10 – 20 hours per week while in school my 3L year.
Tip Number 3: Do not accept your offer for employment by asking if you can work somewhere else.
Tip Number 4: Do not offer to try to steal clients for your would-be employer.
Tip Number 5: Do not send this kind of email, ever, under any circumstances, for any reason.
You can read the student's full email on Above the Law.
The law firm answered this guy's questions in a fairly simple, straightforward manner:
This will seem a little harsh. I apologize. You are an outstanding young man and you have a bright future ahead of you as a lawyer. However, the opportunity here is unique and sensitive. After reviewing your email, we have elected to withdraw the offer for you to clerk this summer for MMRJ. We do not believe it is an appropriate fit for us. Thank you for your interest and the time you devoted in coming up to meet with us.
So... I guess that's a "no" on the train-pass thingy.