When Joseph Martin* first contacted Legal Authority, he was extremely skeptical about our ability to assist him. Mr. Martin had been attempting to get a position in the Los Angeles area for over six months without any success whatsoever. Mr. Martin had gone to school on the east coast at a law school that is probably ranked among the bottom ten accredited law schools in the United States. To make matters worse, Mr. Martin had poor grades, but he did pass the California Bar Exam on his second attempt.
Mr. Martin initially spoke with Legal Authority Employment Advocate Adam Avitable. Adam, who formerly worked in the career services office of Washington University Law School, describes his first telephone meeting as "tense." According to Adam, Mr. Martin believed that Legal Authority could not possibly work for him. Adam, in analyzing Mr. Martin's background, and the fact that he had no legal experience, was upfront with Mr. Martin and told him that it would be an uphill battle to find a position he would be happy with.
A few days later, Mr. Martin showed up at Legal Authority's Los Angeles offices and met with Adam in one of our conference rooms. According to Avitable, Mr. Martin looked like he belonged in a rock video. His hair was spiked, he smelled like smoke and was even wearing a denim jacket. According to Avitable:
"Mr. Martin was definitely his own person. It was obvious to me he was seeking to make some sort of counter cultural statement through his appearance. To top it all off, he was not very pleasant with me or my staff. At least that was how he behaved for approximately the first hour he was here."
Nevertheless, Adam explained to him how the process works, how Legal Authority identifies employers and updates its database. Mr. Martin spent a great deal of time questioning Adam about the process and even met with another Employment Advocate to discuss the process. In the resume department, Mr. Martin met with resume specialist Christopher Dacus.
Christopher immediately identified several weaknesses with Mr. Martin's resume and spent over an hour with Martin rewriting Mr. Martin's resume. The final product, according to Christopher, was much better, and Christopher gave Mr. Martin further suggestions as to how to further improve his presentation. According to Christopher:
"When Mr. Martin walked into my office I was working on a resume for the General Counsel of a Fortune 500 company who was moving to Florida. I think that resume took me less than 30 minutes to complete because it was nearly perfect. When I saw Mr. Martin's resume, I had to excuse myself and go speak with Adam about it."
"While his academic credentials were far from stellar, Mr. Martin literally had a passion for helping people and making the world a better place. But, just by reviewing his first resume you never would have known it. When I was done speaking with Mr. Martin, I believed that he would make an outstanding attorney. Like many people I deal with, once you peel away the surface you tend to find that they are very interesting and motivated. After all, Mr. Martin attended law school for a reason."
Mr. Martin ultimately approached approximately 250 firms in the Los Angeles area. After taking the order, Adam was unsure what the results would be. Adam did not feel that Mr. Martin would interview well and called Mr. Martin to give him some pointers on self-presentation. A few weeks after Mr. Martin had mailed his letters, Adam and Chris spoke a few times on the elevator - each asking the other if they had heard from Mr. Martin yet.
"In all honesty," according to Avitable, "I was not 100% confident this one would work out. Because most of us at Legal Authority are attorneys, we expect attorneys to look and act a certain way. Having formerly worked in a career services office, my opinion about Mr. Martin's potential success was not entirely positive."
According to Christopher: "I worked pretty hard on that resume and cover letter because I knew I had to. I went through several drafts of the resume and probably six or seven drafts of the cover letter before I ever showed it to Mr. Martin. For a lot of attorneys, understatement is good if they have outstanding academics or work experience. Here, unfortunately, that was not the case, so we really had to make sure that his application materials stood out."
About 6 weeks after Mr. Martin had done his mailing, Adam picked up his line on a Sunday afternoon and it was Mr. Martin. Mr. Martin informed Adam that he had received 9 interviews and was in the process of evaluating 5 separate job offers. Adam put down the phone after that call and then called Christopher at home. Since a number of the staff at Legal Authority had seen Mr. Martin when he came into the office, morale shot up quickly because everyone realized that, regardless of who the attorney is, Legal Authority can make a difference. According to Legal Authority Employment Advocate, Duane Ruth:
"I am not sure what is more important to an attorney starting their careers, BarBri for the Bar Review or Legal Authority for getting a job. Certainly Legal Authority's service gives you more than just a certificate - it gives attorneys jobs. That is something we all feel very proud about."
*Names have been changed to maintain privacy, but this is a 100% true success story.