Thursday, November 19, 2009

Some Thoughts For The Job Seeking Former Associates Of Scott Rothstein

So you're a lawyer less than 5 years out, you have no "book of business," and there is no option for you other than to get another job at another firm.

You were a great student, have a bright future as a lawyer, and this on your resume:

"Associate, Rothstein, Rosenfelt & Adler, P.A. 2006-2009"

Law firms, not all law firms, are publicly stating their concern about hiring lawyers from this now dissolved firm.

You did nothing wrong, you never knew what was going on, and everyone knows that. Still, the perception. It's all about the perception.

Some advice:

[1] Be bullish.

Do not take it off your resume. As in all issues regarding your character as a lawyer - be completely honest. A reasonable lawyer or law firm will ask the appropriate questions and move on.

[2] Over-offer to discuss your previous job.

Make it clear that while you may now be in a position where perception is hurting you, your role there was as a serious and good lawyer doing important work that you will continue to do at your new firm.

[3] Put the interviewer in your shoes.

Tell the story. One day you were told it's all over. You were sitting there preparing for a deposition, reading case law, talking to a client, and 48 hours later, you were done. "Can you imagine what that was like?"

[4] Use it as a learning experience, and maybe a speaking experience.

This new firm now has a lawyer who will be ultra-sensitive to any issues of impropriety, and is going to benefit from having a lawyer who is more prone to asking questions and verifying everything. They've now got a very paranoid (in a good way) lawyer in the office. maybe they should put you in some compliance position along with your legal duties.

On the speaking experience, how many lawyers do you think would love to hear about what you went through as a young lawyer? I'm not talking about getting paid for speaking, I'm talking about getting out there and meeting people, letting them know you're not hiding from this experience.

[5] Get over it.

Just think, you were in the belly of the beast of a huge scandal, yet you had nothing to do with it. (I hope.) Don't hide from it, use it to your advantage for the rest of your career. You've experienced something that most lawyers will never experience.

Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. Read his free ebook The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer. Please visit



Lyle Jones said...

Sound advice from a sage. Hope they heed it.

Kevin S. Brady said...

There's an opportunity waiting there. Someone with that kind of experience could present some interesting, if not eye-opening, CLE seminars around town. In return for the candor, the attorney could gain crucial networking contacts and get a head-start in clearing his/her name.