Murphy’s Law as Applied to Law Student Interviewing

–From Jennifer Bogart, University of Utah College of Law; Date of event: April 2007

The last day of my first year at law school had finally dawned, and I was happy to have survived relatively intact. I even dressed up for it: wore Doc Marten sandals with jeans and tee-shirt.

The day went well until around ten minutes to 4 pm, when panic struck. I remembered I was supposed to meet my boss at the company that had given me a fellowship—at 4 pm!—along with a student from a competing school who had also received a fellowship. I crammed everything into my rolling backpack and tore as fast as I could down the stairs through the breezeway and toward my car (which was naturally parked a good ten-minute walk away).

There I was, slightly overweight, dressed for a baseball game, quite a bit older than the usual law student, dragging my luggage behind me, wheezing (having developed asthma recently), trying to dial information with a hand that was also holding a water bottle and car keys, when all of a sudden the sole of one of my sandals came undone and started flapping every time I took a step.

I stepped out of the shoes, put them into the hand that was pulling the backpack and ran on through a gauntlet of hot pavement, what seemed like acres of glass-sprinkled asphalt (even hotter), all the while dodging cars, dog droppings, and other random unidentifiable stuff. I finally got to my car, took off for downtown and prayed to hit the green lights. Too bad, so sad; I hit all the red lights possible.

Fortunately, I found a parking place right in front of the place. I got out of the car, and started to put money in the meter, but realized I had given my last change to a friend for a soda an hour prior. Yikes, no time to spare (I was 15 minutes late by this time), so I ran up to the door of the building, through the foyer and into the elevator.

I got to the right floor and emerged to see a crowd of well-dressed people in suits all looking very calm, cool and collected, including one younger guy who I disliked on sight because he was the other fellowship student and was dressed for success.

After we had met the people we were working for, and were alone with the woman who was running the fellowship program, we were given a very pointed lecture (accompanied by very meaningful glances in my direction) about being on time and dressing professionally.

I was surprised we were not specifically told to make sure to comb our hair and WEAR SHOES to meetings like this! About a week later I got a job offer from another firm doing something I was very interested in and so never had the opportunity to prove that I own a suit!

Oh, and I got a $10 parking ticket.

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Andrew Jay McClurg is a law professor whose teaching and research interests include tort law, products liability, legal education, privacy law and firearms policy. He holds the Herbert Herff Chair of Excellence in Law at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
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