Monday, March 18, 2013

A Tale Of Two Emails From Young Lawyers, And A Request

Today I saw an email sent to a young lawyer I know. The email was requesting to meet with the lawyer to discuss a job (a job that wasn't available). Lawyers get these all the time. New graduates send cover letters with resumes saying they want to work for the firm, not having a clue whether the firm is hiring. Most just hope for a response (which this guy got.) Most would love the ability to meet with a lawyer (which this guy turned down).

Yeah, the young lawyer responded that he had no job to offer, but sure, the young lawyer could come in and meet him and talk about a possible set up where Mr. Jobless could have his own practice, share space, get some work, etc... It wasn't a job, it was an opportunity (note: Mr. Jobless actually mentioned the word "opportunity" in his email, but as you'll learn from reading Mark Bennett's post on the email, his idea of an opportunity was a paycheck. He couldn't get that, so he said "thanks, but no thanks."

There was debate in the comment section to Bennett's post about whether this kid was just bat shit stupid or deserved understanding because he made it clear he wanted a "job" and not an opportunity to at least sponge off some lawyers for a while while trying to make a few bucks. Hell, it's the internet, everyones got an opinion and where ever you fall on this, I really couldn't give a crap.

Later in the day, I myself got an email. Here are the relevant portions:

Mr. Tannebaum,

Could I fire off some questions to you?  I would like very much to enjoy the practice of law, but am at something of a crossroads as to how to do so...  

Specifically, I'd like to go solo, and am not sure where I should, what I should practice (I studied criminal and IP in law school), or how to balance it all and still have a personal life.  I don't know. . . Because I know it sounds odd, I will say that part of my problem is that I left the state I went to law school and am in a whole new network. I won't hound you or anything. . . just thought I'd give it a shot.

Reading the tone of this email, I wonder what this kid would do if I invited him to come meet me at my office for a 5 minute conversation and no promises? Sure, he makes clear he wants to go solo, but he's not sure he can make it and would probably take a job if offered. He would at least jump at the "opportunity" for a meeting.

So while I'm going to respond to his email directly, I'm asking you to help him. Give him your best advice. I think he deserves it. I think he'd appreciate it.

Anonymous comments are welcome as long as they say something relevant and half-way intelligent and aren't a vehicle for a coward to attack someone. I trust you understand.

Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. He is the author of  Defending The Lawyer Before The State Bar