This past Friday I had my first interview for a position as an attorney. It was with a small corporate/securities firm in Manhattan. And by small I mean it consists of the two named partners and three associates at all times. I say at all times because the associates working at the firm seem to be walking through a revolving door. Nobody stays there long and during the interview I just may have found out why.
I worked at this firm over the summer of 2009, so I knew what it was about. In fact, that's how I got the interview. I saw they were advertising on craigslist for an associate so I e-mailed the partner I worked under directly. He e-mailed me back and a week later a got a call asking me to come in for an interview.
The interview went very well up to a point. He was making clear that he wanted me to work there saying things like "we called you in here because we know you" and "Colin (the associate I worked with) had nothing but good things to say about you". I was happy it seemed the interview was a formality. However, the other shoe then hit me in the face. Towards the end he leaned forward and said "now I assume you've taken the bar and are awaiting the results". I haven't. I'm taking it in February...hopefully. I had to explain this to him. I offered the idea of working part-time for January and most of February because I need most all of those days for studying. He then went on to explain they are a small firm, with small business clients who aren't flush with money and thus it is hard to take on part-time attorneys even for a short time and because of the size of the firm they needed someone in the next few weeks. He didn't outright say I'm sorry that disqualifies you, but the way he said "I'll have to talk to my partner" said all that had to be said. Also, today they reposted their ad on craigslist...so I assume that means I didn't get the job.
It's disappointing. I didn't take the exam this past summer because of a complete misunderstanding and unfortunate circumstances...and now it has screwed me out of a job. Now, the job sucks. The reason his associates roll in and out of the firm is that they expect there associates to work 55 hours per week. He said typically everyone works 9 am to 9 pm. That's ridiculous but is justifiable should you be getting paid well. However, he admits the firm is well on the low end of pay scales...the salary rounds out to about 47k for the first year. That is absolutely absurd and is just an awful awful rate. But I am in no position to turn anything down. Plus I'd be getting a lot of good experience. I'd be writing stock purchase agreements, promissory notes, working on mergers and acquisitions, writing and editing contracts, working both transactions and litigation, as well as general corporate advice. Basically, I'd be learning by doing stuff that is really really boring and nobody wants to do...making me fairly marketable after a year. And I don't get to do it because I have to fucking take the bar this February. Unreal.