I was talking to my 2L "friend" (well the term friend is being used loosely here as he is an appointed mentor and I am his mentee and this is obviously something that will be put on his resume to bolster it further, which, I suppose in the law school context, doesn't automatically disqualify him from friend status - it's more a probationary measure than anything else) about my post-1L biglaw job anxieties and he informed that if I fail to finish in the top 95% of my class Cravath might not be an option. This was not good news and it took me at least 2 minutes and 34 seconds (I count the seconds off in my head as I'm waiting for my heart rate to drop sub 185 beats per min) to regain the powers of speech. He looked as if the thought of calling for an ambulance crossed his mind. Apparently he is a stranger to full blown panic attacks .. rookie. Needless to say he told me about what to do and what not to do during a job interview. I asked if he had any "nightmare" interviews. He related this story:
"Well there was one firm that I wasn't really all that interested in; only a V20, you know?"
I nod emphatically, knowing exactly what he was talking about
"So I'm sitting there as you'd expect; I don't really mind answering all of their little questions - it's a part of the process, but then the interviewer had the audacity to say:
'Do you have any questions that you would like to ask me?'
Me: 'Are you serious? We have 35 minutes left...'
Interviewer: 'Of course I'm being serious - did I give the impression that I was not?'
Me: 'Well no.. it's just that, well.. 35 minutes for me to ask you questions? Come on, doesn't that strike you in the least bit as maybe being just slightly ridiculous? You and I both know why I am here, and it isn't because I enjoy the industrial chic decor of the lobby - what is this place, by the way, a Chipotle? I know your average first year billables, I know your practice areas, I know your first year salaries, and I know the average bonus per first year - what exactly is there left for us to talk about? Sure, I could waste our mutual time and ask you questions about your practice and you could filibuster about some case that you tried 23 years ago and I could zone out and dream about what it would be like to @#!* your undoubtedly disproportionately hot wife on your desk and I could sit there and nod in feigned interest and then I'd ask you about lifestyle and community and you'd talk about pro bono and I'd smile an impressed smile and raise my eyebrows to show approval and then you'd conclude that really what keeps you going is the caliber of the people that you work with ... except neither of us would believe a single word of it though your delivery would be so slick that maybe, for just a brief minute or two, you'd even have yourself convinced that the poo you're shoveling was grade-A authentic and then you'd give an obvious look at my resume to remind yourself of my name and you'd stand and then I'd stand and we'd shake hands and if you introduced yourself as Pat I'll say 'Good bye Patrick' and you'll say 'best of luck to you Steve' even though the name Sam was lingering on the tip of your tongue...
... and I'll leave your office and there in the hallway, while rejoicing in paroxysm of relief that stems from completing such an extreme exercise in banality, I will meet your secretary who will then guide me to the next office to repeat this horrible crime-of-a-process all over again. So, maybe you were serious, maybe you weren't - either way, it doesn't really matter at this point. I'm qualified and I'll work hard. Why don't we just cut the crap and make a decision now?'
I was escorted out of the building by security."
And now I am afraid to ask the next question as it might prove to myself that despite my (and his) spectacular resume, a V20 might actually turn me (and him) down should the interview be.. well... less than pristine.
"Did you, ummm, well ......... get an offer?"
And as soon as I ask I realize that I have committed a major faux pas, for now I have forced him into either admitting that he was turned by a V20 (God forbid that the word get out about this, his local rep would be ruined!) or lying about his rejection.
His shoulders shrink, and his eyes flash in disappointment - maybe in me asking the question, maybe in himself for not getting the offer .. the eyes move too quickly to get a solid read.
"Hmph, no .. no, no offer."
Awkward silence ensues.