Saturday, December 5, 2009

My Lloyd Braun

Remember Lloyd Braun, George Costanza's cocky, successful "friend" from Seinfeld? Apparently, he grew up in George's neighborhood and was such a model child that George's mom always demanded to know why he couldn't be "more like Llloyd Brain". In the first episode in which he appeared, Lloyd had become an adviser to the mayor while George was unemployed and lived at home with his parents.

My Lloyd Braun (MLB) didn't quite overshadow my childhood like the original character did George's. In fact, prior to high school, we were both pretty unimpressive, nerdy guys. When we later enrolled in high school, MLB bulked up both physically and in self confidence. I remained wimpy and introverted. He wooed the girls, charmed the parents, and was a regular big man on campus.

Apparently, my parents ran into him at a local event while I was in law school. He currently works for a state representative, and as is typical for many such employees, loves to give the impression that he can "make things happen". After glad handling my parents for a while, they brought up that I might be interested in interning for the local DA over the summer. He gave them the old wink and nod and told them that I should get in touch with him and he could help get me in.

I was pretty skeptical when I heard about his offer. I had live in DC for a while and knew plenty of these sorts of people who always liked to make it seem like they were better connected than they really were. I didn't really have much to lose, so I sent him an e-mail with a note thanking MLB for his "help" and an attached copy of my resume.

Not surprisingly, I never heard back from him. I had also sent my resume and cover letter to the DA's office. I received a form letter back, informing me that they had received materials too late to be considered (even though I was well within the deadline posted on their website). Remember, networking with the well connected always pays dividends!

MLB ran into my parents again during my 3L year and the topic of my career came up once again. I guess they brought up the DA, and once again, he said I should get in touch with him to see what he could do for me. My parents once again urged me to take advantage of this "resource".

At least the real Lloyd Braun had some actual clout - he was able to get George an appointment with an exclusive physician. MLB may walk with the same swagger as the Seinfeld character, but he is just as powerful as those summer interns on Capitol Hill who wear their fancy badges around town but are just sorting through mail for free in some building down the street from the actual Capitol Building.

Sadly, his charm and empty promises worked on my parents. At the end of the day, however, while George's mom wanted him to be more like Lloyd Braun, it turned out that Lloyd Braun became more like him.* If life imitates art, I have a message for MLB: Enjoy law school, my friend.

* - Lloyd Braun loses his job and eventually is committed.

1 comment:

  1. Even if this guy is well connected, why would he cash in a favor for a friend of a friend?

    It seems to me that there are only 3 situations where networking works:

    First, when you are relying on a really solid connection, for example if your father-in-law is the lifelong friend of a name partner in a big law firm. Or if you have an excellent relationship with a former co-worker or boss who knows your work well.

    Second, if the market is fairly balanced, e.g. there is rough proportionality between the number of firms looking to hire competent attorneys and the number of competent attorneys looking for jobs.

    In an inbalanced market like that of today, why would a relative stranger try to help you get a job? It's like asking a stranger to write you a check for ten thousand dollars. It might work but it's a bit of a long-shot.


Web Analytics