An Open Letter to My Future Employer: Hire These People Instead

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Dear Potential Future Employer,

Today, I would like to express why, good sir (or madam); it would be in your best interests to look beyond the scope of your traditional associate hiring criteria. Law firms often fail to grasp how the personalities and social abilities of their employees deliver real profits or losses to their bottom line. Too many of your competitor firms look only to a specific set of characteristics and employ—pun intended—a numbers-driven scheme of selection.

That scheme, unfortunately, is flawed.

“Why is it flawed”, you say? It’s because this hiring scheme continually produces workers and not partners. Workers will find that on-point authoritative case that you need. Workers will be able to point out specific editing errors or suspicious provisions during doc-review. Workers may even be able to successfully pen a unique, blue-book citation-adhering, law review article for which your firm can claim authorship in.*

But you know what workers can’t do? Bring in clients.

Workers, let’s be honest, are familiar to us all. They were the zombie-esque faces who went to class and then went home. They’re the ones in law school who read the cases three times and only recognized what the rule was after flipping through their sixth supplement for the course. At law school social events, they took more interest in the peanut jar than their future employers and colleagues. No one could decide if they were shy or arrogant. All we knew was that they were kind of creepy and unhygienic.

Clients don’t think in a bubble. They won’t be able to realize that the sharp suit probably isn’t as legally sharp as the recently hired associate in an ugly polka-dotted sweater. At least, they know they don’t want the creepy guy working on their account. They want someone to relate to, chat with, and maybe—gasp—even talk business over lunch with. Your recently hired worker? They’re not gonna cut it.

Just imagine, some years later, your workers will be the ones clogging your law firm’s corporate ranks with seniority status while demanding substantial pay-raises, corner offices, and the title of “partner”.  After looking at all the other potential new hires and realizing they’re all the same, your firm will just give them what they want, even as revenues tumble for the seventh straight quarter.

But there’s a way to beat this trend. Here are 8 personality types you should hire instead “the worker”:

1. The Socializer: This is the guy who can drink everyone under the table at bar review, can always be caught smoking outside class, has an insane golf handicap, and still manages a steady sexual life while in law school. He’s funny, self-deprecating, and an engaging conversationalist. Some might even say he’s the most interesting person in the world. If he doesn’t become a politician, he’ll surely be an equity-partner in your firm.

2. The Successful Procrastinator: If you’ve always been the kind of person who hates deadlines, fear not. This person hates deadlines even more than you do, and does even less to avoid them. The difference? They always get their stuff in on time. That filing deadline for a response to a demurrer? They’re not on it. But they will be. Milliseconds before the court clerk shuts her door, he’ll be there. Though he swears he’ll never procrastinate again, he knows he can’t help it. It’s like a superpower.

3. The “Google” Guy: Don’t know the answer to your legal question? Talk to this guy. Somehow, he always knows the answer. Or, better yet, just get WestlawNext.

4. The Speed-reader: This was the chick who non-chalantly read before class every day. Never read at home. Ever. Why? Because she’s a speed-reader. 60 pages of con law before class? Give her 45 minutes. In practice, she’ll read all your documents.

5. The Social-Networking Maven: This girl somehow managed to accrue three thousand friends on Facebook during law school alone. She also happens to know all their dirty little secrets. One can only wonder how she manages her rock-star life as it seems she’s always got an event going on. Last weekend she was in LA for the Grammy award show and then an after-party at the playboy mansion. Tonight, she’ll be tweeting from a fashion show in New York City while reading for Constitutional Law on the plane back to school for Monday’s 9am class.

6. The Club President: Remember that guy who was overly-interested in starting clubs and becoming president of them in high school? He did it again in law school. This time, he’s perfected the art of being overly active. He’s actually really, really good at it. He even gets paid to do it now. He’s President of the ADR club, Vice President of the Criminal Law Society, a Lexis student representative, a paid note-taker and a paid teaching assistant. Max Fischer of Rushmore Academy: eat your heart out.

7. The Sensitive Frat-Guy/Jock:  Nerds hate them. Women, love them. You know who I’m talking about. They’re the guys who strutted the undergrad campus in their university sponsored gear and got everything handed to them on a silver platter (and also probably complained they deserved to be paid like professionals as well. That’s an argument for another day my friends). But guess what? This one’s different. He’s changed. He’s a law student now, just like you. A spawn in a sea of professionals just trying to make the cut. Don’t worry though, while his outlook may have changed, he’ll have no problem stacking your intramural team to take you straight to the championship.

8. The Alleged Pot-head: Don’t underestimate how calm this person can be. Even they don’t know how calm they can be. Add one to your team, they’ll chill everyone out. Everyting’s gonna be alright.


Hire these people instead. Workers are a dime-a-dozen. Heck, if you can’t find them, just hire interns.

* this is how a “work for hire” works right? RIGHT? Oh god, I hope I pass this copyright course.

 

SOCALisBETTER (Photo Attribution via Creative Commons License 2.0):

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/27620885@N02/2654401569/in/photostream/

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