Matthew's Foray into Blogging

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Creative Rejections

Despite reassurances that it is the job market, and not me that is the reason for my inability to land a job in my chosen field, it is difficult not to ascribe fault to the law firms that are not interested in my inquiries into the possibility of employment.

A number of law firms to which I submit résumés and résumé cover letters kindly reply with letters stating that they lack a position for me. I have a growing stack of such letters. They generally inform me that, although my résumé is impressive, they do not currently have a need for someone with my qualifications, they thank me for my interest in their firm, and they wish me luck in my legal career. A letter thanking me for my interest in their firm and stating, simply, that there are no suitable openings for me, is perfectly acceptable. Some of the law firms’ form rejection letters are rather creative and quite comical, however. I doubt that they pored over my résumé or even gave a second thought to contacting me. I have essentially no work experience and I did not graduate in the top five percent of my class. Therefore, letters stating that my credentials are notable and that the recruiter spent more than a brief moment opening and then discarding my letter and résumé are probably not entirely accurate. Following are examples from some of the more entertaining letters.

The Recruiting Coordinator from Cox Smith Matthews Incorporated drafted the thoughtful letter in which she stated,

Unfortunately, at this time we do not have a need for an associate with your experience. This is regrettable when one with your knowledge comes to our attention. However, we will certainly keep your resume on file, and if a need should arise for someone with your qualifications and background, we will get in touch with you.

The letter concludes, “If I may be of assistance to you in any way, please let me know.” Perhaps I will take her up on that offer.

The Hiring Partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP wrote,

After reviewing and fully discussing your inquiry concerning employment and our
staffing needs, we have reluctantly concluded that we are unable to explore further the matter of employment with you.

With the experience and credentials you present, it is difficult for us to have to decline the opportunity to discuss employment with you. At the same time, it is
obvious that someone with your qualifications will have little difficulty in finding any number of challenging and rewarding opportunities.

We appreciate the opportunity to consider your application.

Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P.’s Director/Lateral Hiring informed me, “Your information has been carefully reviewed by our Houston Office. Unfortunately, the Office could not identify a strong match between your experience and the current needs of the Office.”

Jenkens & Gilchrest had a similarly insincere response.

After carefully reviewing your background and assessing our current needs, we have concluded that we will not be able to consider you for a position with Jenkens & Gilchrest at this time. This is not a reflection on your qualifications, which we feel are outstanding, but more a result of our not having a position with specific requirements in line with your expertise.

Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP’s hollow letter stated, “The résumé forwarded to us indicates that you have established an outstanding academic and professional record.” The Legal Recruitment Administrator at Howrey LLP gave “careful consideration to your background and how it might match our needs.” The people at Graves, Dougherty, Hearon & Moody claimed that they “appreciated the opportunity to review your resume and learn about your accomplishments.” However, they “hope to have the opportunity to meet with you professionally at some time in the future, and look forward to being your professional colleagues.”

I would like to think that I wasted some of these potential, but unlikely, employers’ time. However, these are no doubt creative form letters that they fire off to the hundreds of applicants, like me, who, laboring under the delusion that these law firms might have positions for them, futilely submit their résumés. If anyone would like an extensive list of law firms and their addresses, for the purpose of submitting résumés, I can make such a list available.


  • That really sucks. You have to laugh that the law firms go to such trouble of trying to assuage the rejected candidates ego. It's kind of sweet, in a weird way. I hope you don't let it get you down. I'm a genius and have never gotten stellar grades. I wish I had tried harder, but I have a life, you know. I have many strong relationships I took from my college years that I wouldn't have developed had my nose been pressed to the books all the time.

    I'm not a doctor or a guidance counselor or anything like that (dammit), but have you considered relocation? Have you sent your resumes to firms elsewhere? I know Houston is big and maybe that's where your family is and there should be firms there that can give you work. But if you've been searching for three months, you know ... maybe the universe wants you somewhere else. I guess if you have a wife and parents who want you in Houston, that would be tough. And moving sucks. But ... you do what you gotta do. What do they say in Texas? Git'er done, or something like that?

    By Blogger Aries327, at 11:08 AM, August 09, 2005  

  • I have been sending my résumé all over Texas. I think it is just the job market. I could go into practice by myself, but I would like to gain the experience (and have the security, initially) that a firm would provide.

    By Blogger Matthew, at 5:48 PM, August 09, 2005  

  • Consider selling your soul to the bureaucracy. Texas government *will* hire you (I don't know you at all, but since you have a law degree and you can compose a sentence, I assure you, you pass muster), It will take you FOREVER to repay any student loans (if you have them) on a government salary; however.

    Good luck.

    By Blogger Ashley, at 7:41 PM, August 22, 2005  

  • Actually, they make it rather difficult to find a job with the state., the only way to apply for a job with some state agencies, is incredibly user-unfriendly.

    By Blogger Matthew, at 2:45 AM, August 23, 2005  

  • It's easier to go to each state agency website you would consider and click on the employment link directly on the home page. Then spend a mind-numbing 5 hours filling out an application for each position - being careful to include buzzwords from the posting, in the job descriptions of your past work experience.

    It's a real pain.

    By Blogger Ashley, at 4:28 PM, August 23, 2005  

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