I Want to Work at Wachtell or White and Case


QI’m a 2L at a pretty good second-tier school in the New York area. I’m in the top half of my class and do very well in moot court and trial skills. I’m hoping my New York connections will help in finding a job at a big New York firm. What do you think are my chances of getting a job at a New York firm like Wachtell or White and Case? Honestly.

AHonestly? Zero. You are wasting your time thinking about it. It’s like you’re Dave, one of the cutters in Breaking Away, just waiting for the chance for the Italians to come to town so you can show them your stuff and then be admitted to the Tour de France. It won’t happen. The Italians either won’t come to town or, if they do, they’ll stick a bike pump in your wheel and you’ll crash.

Not familiar with Breaking Away? Don’t get the Italian angle? Let me see if I can break it down for you with an American sports analogy.

You are currently playing single A baseball for the Charleston RiverDogs, a Yankees farm team where you have been for the past four years, two of those out of high school, where you last batted above .300. You are a utility infielder who plays every other game or so. Your career average is now .218 but this past season you batted .220. For some reason, you believe batting .002 above your career average will catch the attention of the big league scouts. Trouble is, the Yankees don’t even know you exist, other than you are some statistic in an extensive farm system that includes better teams in Scranton and even the Dominican Republic. And whatever “New York connections” you’ve got likely won’t help. You just don’t got it, shortstop.

Don’t like these chances now? Honestly, it’s not a big deal and you’ll be worse off fretting about it and beating yourself up because you are not—for whatever reasons good or bad—Wachtell material. I say, who needs the snobs? Embrace your inner cutter. Duct tape your feet to the pedals, get your way through school and hone whatever skills you’ve got, and move on. Maybe you’ll win the Little 500 or date that foreign exchange student. Sure, it’s not the same as the Tour de France or the Yankees but, hell, it’s your direction.

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Ex-Bitter is a former big firm lawyer who now doles out advice to anyone who asks. Got a question? Email it to advice@bitterlawyer.com. Or read more Advice from an Ex-Bitter.

3 Comments

  1. Guano Dubango

    January 27, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Do not be 100% negative. Granted, the chances are slim, but if the person is energetic and attractive, there always is a chance. In my country, there were limited employment opportunities for students with a 4 year college degree. So when a distant relative, Ummgana, came to my family and said she wanted to work in Accra, all were dismissive. It did not help matters that Ommgana was very large (180 kilos) and short 4″11. Even though I could not dispute that she looked like a bowling ball with acne, she still got a job at the export office Se now makes more than 90% of the men in Accra, and literally has her pick of about 300 men who are anxious to marry her. So it can happen.

  2. Quadoz

    January 27, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Nice burn Ex-Bitter!

  3. curious

    January 30, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    since when is there a second tier? Is that a fancy way of saying bottom 100?

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