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How not to get hired

Our sister publication Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly’s blog has an interesting tale of “A job application gone very, very awry.” (Sidebar: Why is it that the only familial relationships newspapers have with one another is sister? There are no uncle publications? Second cousins? But I digress.)

The story, told entirely through e-mails, begins with a paralegal contacting a lawyer about a job. The lawyer responds that she would like him to do some freelance work in order to make sure he is the right person for the job. The paralegal responds, asking why he can’t be hired right away. And so it devolves into a verbal fight akin to one of those cartoons where the characters use white gloves to slap one another. The proverbial anvil-in-the-glove final salvo comes from the paralegal, who writes:

However, I just do not want to waste my time on a women attorney who thinks she knows it all…  It’s amazing that the [Massachusetts Bar] lets women practice law. Shouldn’t you be home cleaning and raising children?

The paralegal, a law student named Jesse Clark, reversed his position on women becoming lawyers a day after the e-mails were published. But the damage had been done. Clark subsequently announced on his since-shuttered blog that he no longer wants to become a lawyer. (You can see his farewell post here by scrolling down to May 31.)

The part that gets me about this whole exchange is what led up to Clark’s gender comments. In his previous e-mail, he ended it by telling the lawyer not to communicate with him further. Yet the next morning, the lawyer, Rosaleen J. Clayton, wrote back.

“I am not going to continue to argue with you which is why I will not address each of your comical points,” she began.

As one person noted commenting on the exchange, “While the student may have looked worse in one way, the lawyer is supposed to be professional. Getting involved in this kind pathetic spat reeks of unprofessionalism and poor judgement.”

Thoughts?