ConLaw2017 wrote: I was just as taken aback as you are. I did a project for a lawyer on my first day and stayed until 11:30 to get it done. I turned it in the next day with a proviso that I would need more time if he or she wanted something in particular to be done in a more through fashion. The lawyer accepted the assignment and then offered negative feedback on the very same part of the assignment that I requested more time on. Later, I mentioned that it was a tad odd that I was an intern staying late until 11 in the night and everyone went ballistic. Notwithstanding the fact that I am not even a 0L yet, rumors began to circulate that I was not "biglaw material" and would be shown the door soon which I assume is code for being fired. I don't know why their reaction to something so small was so harsh
Whatever assignment you were given, you gravely misunderstood it. First of all, no one is going to give a 0L anything complex or substantial to work on. They have people who actually know how to do that stuff. They’re going to give you small unimportant assignments, and the deadline is going to be however much time they think it should take you. The reason everyone went ballistic is because it was inappropriate for you to stay as late as you did. If you were having difficulty with the assignment, you should have asked for clarification or a second opinion. Instead, you wasted time slaving away by yourself and all you had to show for it was a half-finished assignment.
There is a certain cognitive error to which very smart people are sometimes susceptible. They get so used to figuring things out for themselves that they think that’s the way all problems are solved. When such people encounter things they don’t understand, they don’t know how to ask for help. Often, they've built up their entire identity around their intelligence and are absolutely terrified of being perceived as stupid. It’s going to take time and a lot of practice to learn to admit what you don’t know, to ask questions, and to take constructive feedback in stride. You’re young; you can still course-correct. The first step is to stop treating everyone around you like an enemy combatant.
You know what? Its time to bring this thread to an end. I have better things to do than drag this out longer. But because some of you insist on posting just to tell me that what I experienced was not true (even though you were not there), I'm going to close with a hard, difficult truth for you. If you have contributed constructive feedback to this discussion and were not here just to decrease the likelihood of a lawsuit (that was never going to happen), I apologize for what I am about to say and respectfully ask you to quit reading my post and go on with your day.
Life is path dependent. In 1st world nations without a fixed social hierarchy such as the U.S., most us have a reasonable opportunity to grow up, get an education, and work in a job that we can find fulfilling on more occasions than not. There are exceptions to this rule though. Some of us are incredibly lucky, some of us are incredible unlucky. While the results of this lottery have, over time, become more symmetric on a racial and gender basis. The fact remains that the folks in the unlucky column are still disproportionately from minority backgrounds and are not male. This can create anxiety. If I see someone on the street, we can't tell if she or he is poor or rich or well-educated or educationally deprived. The result is that we can harbor insecurities about our self-worth and become defensive when what we are accustomed too is perceived as being under attach.
These concerns are particularly accentuated in the legal profession. While America is not a meritocracy, the fact of the matter is that where one goes to college, and where one goes to law school has a substantial (and likely too substantial effect) on where they end up in life. Our profession, for better or worse, is about as hierarchical as the ancien regime, which rightfully ticks off about 85% of people in it who don't benefit.
This is not my fault. I played the game by the rules and ended up in my lucky position even though, statistically speaking, I should have ended up working a menial job with no education like most of my childhood friends did. Just because your cards were not as good, or your law school is not as good, or your college was not as good, or your opportunities were not as good does not give you permission to come on here and trash me. I had to fight for everything I have now and you and I can fully recognize that we are both where we are by chance - no one disputes this. It is also not my fault or responsibility to assuage other's insecurity or unwillingness to acknowledge race discrimination in our law schools and law firms. You want to know the real reason why these guys reacted so violently to me? I'm a counter-stereotype. For some of you, because of residential segregation, odds are you have never lived in a diverse area much less seen a Latino or African-American who could hold their own in an intellectual tangle - this is probably the first time (and last time) you will have seen or interacted with a nergo with my background. I'm sorry I deleted my prior posts because they are proof of this. Our natural response in this situation is feel under attack and try to restore stasis by getting rid of the disturbance. Fair. The only reason I spoke out was because I wanted career advice and I felt that speaking out was in everyone's interest.
Because let me tell you right know, you all who know me know damn well that there is no way anyone will be able to completely blacklist someone with my background from every U.S. lawfirm, much less the government (I'd imagine they would laugh at you if you tried to tell them who to hire), or academia. But don't complain when these guys treat you like they treated me and you regret that you did not heed my warning. The only reason I was put out so early was because I'm such a counter-stereotype and will be practice ready in such a short amount of time that these guys literally cannot take me. But if you think for one second these partners (or any firm) will care about you when you start becoming a burden in your senior years and eat into their profit margins (and don't look like everyone around you), you are crazy. Good luck.