Tuesday, December 15, 2009

High School Reunion

I'm actually a year away from my ten year high school reunion - boy, don't I have lot to show for my time since then. I never really planned on attending. I didn't attend the five year get together my class had, and I didn't see any reason to go any of the future events either.

It may come as a surprise to you, readers, but Esq. Never wasn't exactly Big Man on Campus in high school. Showing up ten years later while living in the house in which I lived when I attended high school after seven years of education isn't exactly the path to belatedly advancing up the social hierarchy.

While I don't know what I'll be doing while my former classmates are busy one-upping each other with tales about their careers and personal lives a year from now, I do know one thing: I don't want to end up being a caterer at the event. This means doing what I can to secure to real employment sometime this year.

Okay, I don't honestly think there's any chance I'll be a caterer at my high school reunion - I'm overqualified after all. Why then do I bring up the event? Well, given my current networking outreach, it seems like I'm having the high school reunion I never planned (or wanted).

Because I did not have any decent employment prospects when I graduated from law school, I was forced to move back home. I neither went to school (past high school) nor worked full time in my current state. That leaves me with limited contacts.

The only people I really know are those who graduated from high school with me. Here's a sample conversation I had with one of my former chums:

Esq. Never: Hey, Ralph, it's [Esq. Never]. It's great to talk with you again. How's it going, buddy?

Ralph: Who is this?

EN: It's [EN]. You know, we sat in the same row in 11th grade trig. Boy, those were some crazy times taking those derivatives and stuff.

R: I think that's calculus...Yeah, I kind of remember you. You aren't trying to sell me something are you?

EN: No, man, you've got me all wrong. I just want to catch up with my old buddy. Say, did you end marrying Amy? You two were so great together.

R: No, actually, she ended up dumping me after college to marry some hot shot investment banker. It's actually really painful to think about. Thanks for bringing it up.

EN: Hey, that stinks, brother. You know what also stinks? This job market.

R: Yeah, I've heard it's tough. I'm just glad that I have a steady job working for a wholesaler, marketing our merchandise to local retailers.

EN: Are you serious?! I've been trying to get into the uh, merchandise retail, err, marketing business.

R: I thought I heard that you went to law school.

EN: Law school? No way. I spent the last three years, uh, building thatched huts for poor people, in, uh, one of them loser countries.

R: I see.

EN: So anyway, do you think maybe you could put me in touch with some of the contacts you have in, err, the business you're in? Maybe pass along my resume.

R: Well, I guess...Hey, weren't you the guy who never returned my Warcraft IICD and when I tried to get it back from you, you told Amy I was seeing other girls?

EN: Whoa, man, would you look at the time? I've got to run, but hey it was great catching up with you. I look forward to seeing you at the reunion. [Click]

Well, in all seriousness, it did seem a bit awkward to contact people out of the blue to ask for career assistance. While it was pretty transparent that I was getting in touch with them out of self interest, people seemed genuinely happy to help. Obviously, I'm going to owe a lot of people favors in the future, but after going through this from this side of the table, I'll be happy to help.

I know there's a lot skepticism about networking, but it definitely works better if you're working with people you know personally and not just as professional contacts. After all, not everyone gets their jobs through OCI and job listings...even in the non-legal world.

The big problem with trying to do this with legal jobs is that the people you know (from say high school) can't do much to help you. If your buddy is a solo practitioner, he probably can't afford to take you on. If he is a BigLaw associate, he has no clout to bring you on board.

This isn't necessarily true for non-legal industries. Sure, most of your high school and college pals aren't CEO's, but within a few years at many companies, a person could be in a position to either hire new employees or to influence whom the company hires.

We'll see how this pans out, but it's great to have people who are personally interested in you succeeding on your side. I just wish I didn't make so many fat jokes about them in back in high school.


  1. I hope you're kidding--if so, funny post.

    If not, I'm sorry I was laughing at you.


  2. All, tongue in cheek, my friend. (The conversation that is.) If it was true, I'd deserve to be laughed at for being so selfish.

  3. My high school reunion took place two years ago and I felt inferior compared to everyone else. They all had families and great jobs, but they seemed in awe of me when they heard I was a lawyer. One asked me which type of law I practiced. Since I had taken on a pro bono criminal defense case the day before, I dubbed myself as a "criminal defense lawyer" just to sound sexy.

  4. Yeah, that's the funny thing about "being a lawyer". Even if you're living in your car, people still think you are somebody important.

    In regard to my high school, I don't know how impressed people would be. I lived in a somewhat unusual school district in which over 90% of student went on to four year colleges. I wouldn't be surprised if a quarter of them were attorneys by now.

    Some may be in the same boat, but I'll bet a bunch went to T 14/25 schools and graduated before the bust, so there will be more than a few who are BigLaw associates.

  5. Networking is worthless. I'm in contact with anyone not retarded, deaf or dumb that I went to elementary through graduate school with. I have 800+ facebook friends... all people I actually know and exchanged more than a few conversations with. Although they are all lovely, they can't give me what's not there... a job that is. I have put many status updates up... one being "I know you all think I'm going to be fine... but I'm NOT.. and I'm NOT GOING TO BE FINE... HELP ME! I had about 20 unemployed lawyer friends crack jokes about opening branches of their firms for them in different locales from Boston to Chicago to Florida... and in the end.. NADA!

  6. Yeah, but I think you're talking about legal jobs for the most part. I think it's a somewhat different story with non-legal jobs. I know people who have - and I have even myself - gotten jobs through contacts.

    The problem with the law industry is the heavy saturation and that so many jobs at the major employers are simply off limits to those who didn't go to the right schools or have the right class rank.

  7. You just summed up why I generally hate lawyers, even though I am one. I left that clique nonsense in 8th grade & told the girls practicing it where to stick it, despite being stuck having to deal w/them if I wanted to take any kind of advanced level class i.e. the only way to get out of a town I hated living in. My high school being known as "Thug High" should give you a good idea of the level of education that existed. Most people my age & gender are now single parents w/at least one kid, live w/their parents or in a trailer park + are dead broke w/no college degree. Also a thousand mile difference so they can't get me legal work unless they visit the Northeast & do something stupid.

  8. I skipped my HS reunion. Didn't feel like explaining I was an unemployed lawyer.

  9. @2:02

    Law school for me was like reliving high school.


    Skipping my class reunion would have been better. I am skipping my law school reunion!

  10. i don;t think that it's your law degree that's hurting you. no, i have a feeling that is has something to do with your general awkwardness, nerdiness and ineptitude for networking. do us all a favor, why don;t you try and quit pouting and get up from behind your computer to look for a job.

  11. Ah, I was surprised that the publicity this site has received only produced a few negative comments. Glad to see I could earn one more. Is this McLeod from the ABA forum or just a random administrator from a law school?

    Funny how so many others have had trouble networking and have had their law degrees impede their job search. Of course, as I've mentioned, I am in the process of looking for a job. In fact, one negative poster even conceded it took him/her a year to find a job out of a tier two school during good times!

    In any event, I fail to see where I'm "pouting" (isn't the stock insult "whining" by the way?). I have, however, been pointing out the law schools' deception (which I know pays your bills) and providing some updates on my job search.

    Of course, if my comments are such an imposition on your time, there are plenty of other sites to visit while you're "busy" at work.

  12. Holy crap, you're paranoid! Did you ever stop and think that maybe people in a similar position as you are just fed up with your bull. Why do you think that adcomms are chasing you or honestly give a rats ass about you. Do you really think you're that important? Seriously dude, you're starting to sound freakier and freakier and may possibly be going insane (if not already). Plus, I really don't think that it would help your situation if employers were to find out who you were..uh...n0t exactly a "resume builder," to say the least.

    By the way, of course, law schools lie. But I'll tell you a secret, so do politicians and corporations and, damn, especially lawyers....so, if you haven't realized that by now, then you're seriously beyond anyone's help. Yes, it can be a cruel cruel world out there, but no one put a gun to your head to go to law school...take so damn responsibility for your own decision as an adult and don't expect others to give a crap about your plight when everyone else has their own!

  13. Uh, you only needed to post this once, chief.


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