Interviewing Rule No. 1 — Do Not Insert Foot Into Mouth

–From McClurg, University of Florida College of Law, Date of event: circa 1980

Here’s one of my funny law school memories, which I hope stimulates you—the loyal website visitor—to send in your own stories.

Legal job interviews, I learned in my very first one, are not always the best time to audition your sense of humor. In my third year of law school at the University of Florida, I interviewed with a Tallahassee firm that had split off from a firm in Jacksonville where my older brother, Doug, was a partner. Unfortunately, the interview essentially ended before it started.

I entered the interview room and one of the two lawyers stood to greet me.

“Andrew McClurg? McClurg? Don’t tell us you’re related to Doug McClurg.”

“I am,” I said, happy to have this “in.” “He’s my brother,” I added proudly.

“Well, your brother must have told you all about our firm.”

“Yeah,” I said, “but I decided to come anyway.”

This was intended as a joke, but I knew I was doomed even before I finished the sentence. Dead silence. No smiles, and certainly no laughs. The interview proceeded perfunctorily and I received a perfunctory rejection letter–which I deserved–shortly thereafter.

Read McClurg’s Top 10 Dos and Don’ts for Using Humor in a Professional Setting in Andrew J. McClurg, The Risks of Being Funny, GPSolo, Apr. 2003, at 60 (magazine of the ABA’s General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Section).

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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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