Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Job Tips: Politics

With the first Democratic presidential debate of the 2016 election cycle taking place at the Wynn last night (and a Republican debate taking place at the Venetian in December), it's time to start talking politics. People will be talking politics at the gym, the bar, family holiday dinners, and, most shockingly, at the office. How do you deal with the issue of politics at the office? Does everyone know your political affiliation? Do you openly campaign for your candidate? Knowing that your contributions will be a public record, do you purposely contribute to both sides of the aisle? Do you have any tricks for steering the conversation away from politics? Do your clients expect you to be aligned a certain way?

And while we're at, what did you think about the debate last night?

55 comments:

  1. The funniest comment of the night was when they were saying that the Republicans refused to compromise. I suppose they're democrats, so they're just saying what they have to, but Obama is the most stubborn president we have ever had. The lack of compromise was because it was his way or no way.

    I think Hilary likely has the democratic nomination in the bag. Bernie Sanders is the only one who has a shot at her unless Biden decides to run, but hopefully America isn't dumb enough to vote for a socialist like Sanders. He's much worse than Obama.

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    1. Nice to have some balanced views here.

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  2. I enjoyed Hillary's sales pitch: "Vote for me because I have a vagina."

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    1. This is incredibly offensive. I'm not a Hillary fan but she is an intelligent, articulate human being who in no way trades on being female. If anything, she's had to work twice as hard as a man with comparable talents would have to carry the respect she has.

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    2. Well, she did trade on being female last night, as that was her justification for not really being a Washington insider....as a female, I was annoyed at that, but I thought she did well overall, and I wasn't expecting that.

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    3. @ 11:19: Is this sarcasm? Hillary’s only pitch is “Vote for me, I will be the first woman president.” When asked what distinguishes her from Obama's presidency, she didn't give a policy response, only, duh Anderson, I'm a woman. And, she’s had to work twice as hard? Well, I guess standing by (and lying for) your philandering husband just so you get a shot at a political career would be difficult for any woman with pride, a backbone, courage, and intelligence. Run Biden Run.

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    4. The vagina comment is disgusting. This is reflective of how some of the male attorneys are in Las Vegas, not all, but a lot.

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    5. 11:19's comments are right on point. 9:27's comments are just wrong. Hillary won the debate last night. Sanders did well, so did O'Malley. Biden is not going to run.

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    6. Putting aside the fact that the use of the word "vagina" is arguably wrong and 9:27 should have just said "woman/female/not male/etc.," 11:19 comment is still totally off base. Hillary traded on being a female last night and has done so in every interview and speech I've even heard since she announced her candidacy. It is simply incorrect to say that Hillary "in no way trades on being female."

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    7. There is no argument about using the word "vagina" is wrong. It is. Women should not be equated to genitalia. 11:19's comments are not off base.

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    8. never mind, I forgot that we are dealing with the Clinton M.O. Avoid addressing the substantive issue of any comment in favor of painting the commentator as a misogynist.

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    9. Take your asshole credit like a man.

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    10. I am 9:27. I had no idea that people would be so offended by the word "vagina" and the people I said that to in person thought it was funny, and they were all women. There is no question that Hillary is running on a platform of "vote for me because I'm a woman." She said that quite clearly in the debate. It really would have been that much less offensive if I had said "Vote for me because I'm a woman???" Really? Sad. Sorry you hate your anatomy so much. Looking that hard to be offended must make life a challenge.

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    11. In some ways, Bernie has the bigger vagina. If Bernie and Hillary took a testosterone and estrogen blood test, Hillary would bench higher on the former and lower on the latter. Ditto Obama and whatever his wife's name is. We need manly men in the oval office, like Reagan.

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    12. 12:03 you are an idiot, and any woman who finds your comments funny is dumber than you.

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    13. You gentlemen keep working on tying those shoes.

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  3. Completely off topic:

    I'm an experienced attorney. I had a couple interviews for new positions recently. Both firms told me they had some other interviews scheduled but would let me know, either way. Then... silence. For a month. What the hell is wrong with people that they can't even spare 15 seconds to bang out an email saying the position has been filled? Don't they realize that word gets around when they treat people so unprofessionally?

    You guys tell me if I'm wrong about this. Maybe it's now acceptable for lawyers to treat other lawyers like this?

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    1. Yes. Suck it up or get out of the shark pool. And no, I will not give you a hug.

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    2. I don't think it is acceptable to treat anyone without courtesy. I usually suggest sending a handwritten thank you note a couple days after the interview so it is a non pushy way of checking in.

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    3. When I was interviewing for jobs my 3L year, I had an interview lined up with a well known firm in town. I flew to Vegas specifically for this interview, although I subsequently managed to line up a couple of others for the trip. While literally driving over to this firm the morning of my interview, the office manager called me to cancel with some lame excuse about bungling schedules, etc. This is a permanent, professional grudge I will carry against this firm for the next 30 years I practice here in Vegas. The way you treat people matters. And mistreating others is something that will be forgotten, or, in my case, forgiven.

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    4. Note to 9:45, Consider yourself lucky. Imagine how poorly they would treat you if they "owned" you by writing you a regular paycheck!

      And Jordan, it's good to know how you view the profession/people you strive to serve.

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    5. 11:27, I had the same thing happen. I had an interview scheduled and booked a flight to town for it. Right before my flight, the firm called and said it had a calendaring conflict but that it would call my cell phone if a time slot freed up to do the interview that day. I flew into town, waited around on the strip, never heard anything from the firm, and then flew back out that evening.

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    6. I'm with you 11:57 on both points.

      Jordan, if you really feel that it's acceptable for firms to shit on interviewees, that tells me volumes about the firms that would hire you.

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    7. Nope, lot of firms do this. Firms conduct interviews, and if they are doing this to you, who wants to work there? Non-response could be either not hiring, or waiting to hear back from somebody else.

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    8. Jordan Ross, do you believe you're a reality star from this blog? Your comment truly states what you think about not just attorneys but employees of a company.

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    9. During law school I interviewed with many firms in a different state and always received professional treatment and notice if they were unable to offer me a position of employment. However, I had several interviews with well known Nevada firms and completely different experience--general lack of professionalism--and complete lack of communication from them after flying out to interview. Probably a good thing I didn't end up working for any of them.

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    10. Congratulations, Jordan Ross! You've just ensured that I will never use your services.

      Recruiters are kind of a pain anyway -- their huge fees just make it harder for attorneys switching firms to get the compensation they want / deserve.

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    11. I'm with 1:05. Jordan Ross will never get my business and I will recommend that others use another recruiter. While it may be common for attorneys not to engage in routine acts of courtesy, it surely is not acceptable.

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    12. I think Jordan is being unfairly criticized here. I have worked with Jordan for a number of years and he has always been nothing but professional. Jordan isn't saying that it's OK for firms to behave in this unprofessional manner, he's just saying suck it up and move along if you are treated unprofessionally during the interview process. And you know what? He's right.

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    13. You cannot let other people's rudeness in this professional get to you. I agree, it is rude. Remember it, but don't let it consume you. You can be the most professional, ethical attorney in this town, and you will be (wrongfully) accused of everything short of murder if opposing counsel thinks it will get them further up in the slime ball pile of litigation. Judges can see right through asshole attorneys.

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    14. 2:18. Jordan's comment does say that it's OK for firms to behave in an unprofessional manner. The original commenter asked, "Maybe it's now acceptable for lawyers to treat other lawyers like this?" The first word in Jordan's reply is "Yes." Then he doubles down and says, "Suck it up or get out of the shark pool. And no, I will not give you a hug." There is no reading of his comment that suggests anything else except that he considers such treatment to be acceptable.

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    15. 2:18 - thank you Mrs Ross for your opinion.

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    16. So when I set aside a day to do 4 interviews, set aside work from good clients and someone shows up looking like they just rolled out of a club and cannot remember my name, you ding me for not following up? Look in the mirror, did your conduct warrant my time to be "nice" ? Trust me, if you give just a little effort I will abide by my mother's advice and call or write to say we are not interested.

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    17. OP here. Obviously I didn't interview with you, because neither your description of the interviewee nor your supposed post-interview conduct matched my experience. That being said, I still think that if you have any integrity at all, when you tell an interviewee that you will "let him/her know," you damn well better let him/her know. If someone shows up looking like garbage, why even tell him/her you'll let him/her know? Just say no.

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    18. 6:49 tell the person, then be drawn into some twilight zone awkward conversation with someone who is never going to get it (because if he/she had the sense to get it, he/she wouldn't have shown up looking like garbage in the first place)? Nope. You say what is polite and gets you out of the situation, just like when someone says "how are you?" you say "fine, and you?"

      I have been the applicant who hasn't heard anything after an interview. However, having been on the hiring side in a different profession, I have seen first hand the innumerable things that can screw up the best laid interviewing and hiring plans. Do you want the firm to send you a letter that says "the position hasn't been filled, but we just didn't like you so we're going to keep looking"? I don't get my panties in a bunch over not getting a rejection letter. Jordan's right on this one. Say screw 'em and move on.

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    19. Yeah...just say no. Don't do drugs.

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    20. Jordan is right. Don't be an entitled, thin-skinned wuss. Tip: That character trait doesn't make attractive to firms.

      If you don't hear within 10 days, it's a no. Move on. And learn how to read between lines, which is a good life skill across the board.

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    21. ^Boyd '13 Grad....."That character trait doesn't make attractive to firms." I would say poor writing ability is not an attractive character trait as well. Also, not hearing within 10 days is not necessarily a no, I received multiple offers well past 10 days.

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    22. Nice nitpick. You’ll make a fine secretary someday.

      "...I received multiple offers well past 10 days." That means you’re the firm’s the 2nd or 3rd choice. You realize that, right?

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    23. Thanks for that pearl of wisdom.

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    24. 8:03,

      You’re being a heartless ass. You realize that, right?

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    25. 8:57,

      OK, I deserve that.

      I do sympathize. It’s a tough job market for young lawyers. In fact, some larger firms have stopped hiring first-years altogether because their learning curve is expensive and some clients won’t pay for first-year time—they see it as on-the-job training.

      It’s also tough for older attorneys, whose firms have imploded or whose partners have stabbed them in the back. Unless you’ve got juice and a significant book, ageism will be real factor. I’m thinking “Death of a Salesman.”

      It’s got to be discouraging.

      8:03

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  4. In a professional environment, I think the key to political discussions is to listen with empathy and focus on areas of agreement. Also, don't be the instigator of such discussions.

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  5. I am so happy at all the free stuff they were talking about giving out last night. Even better, they are going to make other people pay for it! Land of the free baby!

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    1. Free baby? Where do I go to get mine?

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    2. Bush started the first unfunded war the United States has ever engaged in, its the gift that keeps on giving... You want to talk about free stuff, how about the massive debt load he saddled us with starting in 2001 when he wanted to get Saddam back for making his daddy look dumb. Republicans love to talk nonsense. My favorite line last night was that the economy always does better when a Dem is in office and its true.

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  6. According to Sunday RJ, Attorney Jack Cherry died. Condolences to his family.

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    1. I think he actually passed away a month or two ago, but the obit wasn't published until now. RIP.

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  7. Do people still write thank you's? I participated in the interview process for a number of candidates at my firm and I would guess less than half followed up with a thank you. Generation gap? Or, are they not interested in the position after the interview?

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    1. Wow. It was drilled into us by our career office that thank you notes/emails were mandatory. They show the firm that you are really interested and give you an opportunity to showcase nonlegal writing skills.

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    2. I always thought thank you cards and e-mails were awkward. I never counted it against someone, but it certainly didn't help them any either.

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    3. 2:17 here. Completely agree that they can be awkward, but that's part of the reason you send one. Knowing how to thread the needle between some canned thank you note and obvious pandering is a skill. Thoughtful writing in a social setting may not be at the top of the list in terms of what a firm looks for in a candidate, but it can make the difference in a tight race for a job. That was at least the explanation by career services and was generally echoed when our firm hired its last new associate.

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  8. So, I've looking at the bottom of the latest Rick Harris Aren't We Fabulous spam, looking for the damn unsubscribe link, and I found this little note: "You are receiving this email because you have done business with the Richard Harris Law Firm, Ticket Busters, or The Defenders, you are a member of the Nevada Legal Directory or are a friend of Rick Harris." I was not aware that having my info scraped off the NV Bar's site and accumulated by NLD gave ol' Rick carte blanche to spam me.

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    1. I feel like I won the lottery by not being on that list!

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    2. And won the lottery you have brother. You do not want any part of that spam.

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