Tuesday, May 26, 2009

"Every Day is a Test" in BigLaw and in Life

Today is the first day of my summer associateship in "BigLaw." I will not be at the law firm at which I usually work for the next two and a half months. There is one particular aspect of the process of working toward getting a job in "BigLaw" that I think I really ought to incorporate into my approach to avodas Hashem.

Because I have recognized that every contact with the law firms to which I have applied is judged strictly, I have come to look at every phone call, every meeting, every e-mail, every letter and every social event (and doing quality work even more so) as a test. Hiring partners must choose between a multitude of applicants for these positions so I think their attitude is, "If I have a choice between two applicants, and one made a silly typo in an e-mail, said something a bit awkward at his interview, or had a small stain on his jacket, showing that he is not even detail oriented when attempting to obtain a high-paying job, why should I entrust him with our highly billed clients?"

I have, therefore, reviewed and customized every single résumé and cover letter that I sent out, edited and re-edited every e-mail or letter that I sent to a firm and tried to be cognizant of the fact that these items were the medium by which I would be judged by the members of firm recruiting departments and hiring partners. At many of my call-back interviews at the firms' offices this past Fall, I was taken to lunch by two younger associates at various expensive kosher restaurants in Midtown. I know that each one of them had to fill out an evaluation form about me afterward with their impressions about how I "performed" at lunch.

In fact, especially in this economy, this whole summer will be one big nine week "interview" where every day I will be judged and reviewed on everything from my legal memo writing abilities to my social skills. It will be an exercise in constant vigilance to ensure that everything that I say, do and wear will be "just right."

Every day in Modim, we thank Hashem "ועל נסיך שבכל יום עמנו," for His everyday miracles. Of course we thank Hashem for His open miracles whereby it is revealed that he has saved the Jewish people from danger, especially after last week's yeshua when Hashem used the FBI's dedication to save us. But this tefillah teaches that we also thank Hashem for the everyday miracles when he saves us and we do not even know about it.

But, as Rav Shwartz points out in Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh, Vol. 5, in about the 30th Ma'amar of the "Pirkei Avodah u"Machshava" section, there are three root meanings of the word "נס." One of them is "test." Thus, when we thank Hashem "ועל נסיך שבכל יום עמנו," we are also thanking Him for the fact that he "tests" us every day. As the author of that sefer points out, everything is a test.

I think that I have mostly internalized the knowledge that "everything is a test" when it comes to trying to get, and IY"H eventually keep, a job in "BigLaw." The real test is to use the methods generally outlined in Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh seforim to turn the intellectual knowledge that every part of life is a test in avodas Hashem

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Anonymous said...

Hatzlacha Rabbah on the new job!!!

Anonymous said...

Hatzlacha Rabbah on your SECOND day of work at Biglaw. Kain Yirbu!

DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي) said...

Amen and Amen! Thank you yedidi!