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An estimated 5-minute read
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The anomaly of penning about life as a qualified lawyer lies in the fact that one way or the other we end up discrediting what we do, or at best keep wishing for what we cannot do!

Any corporate lawyer (a true pure blood one) working for a 'top-notch' law firm will never admit the misery he goes from morning through next morning, without any break. He will instead brag about his 'hard work' to everyone he can, including his poor cousins who were not so 'fortunate' (half bloods) in joining the magic circle.

But as the saying goes, which I have always believed to be closer to the ultimate truth, "A man can fool everyone, except himself". The pure blood knows exactly where the shoe pinches! But his false sense of pride will egg him on to cover the cringe whenever the pinch hits him.

One such pure blood that I happen to acquaint told me how ridiculed he was at such a law firm. Having completed about 2 years in a smaller set up, he felt he was now prepared to take the plunge. So off he went putting CVs through owls at all the so called top corporate law firms. And voila! his efforts paid off when the invite for the interview came.

Dressed in his new white cuff-linked shirt and black trousers, he was seated inside the firm's plush office 15 minutes before time - 'on time is late' being his mantra. But being early had its consequences as well - frequent nervous looks at his wrist watch, hopeful eyes fixed on the petite receptionist, every intercom ring making his heart leap - all the ingredients of a nail-biting situation. 

Forty five minutes beyond schedule was getting too far, when he finally walked up to the damsel, who informed him that the interviewer was in a client meeting and will be a 'bit' late. But God is kind, a few more minutes later and with a stern look from the receptionist, he was ushered to a large conference room down the corridor.

The pure blood was now sweating all over, beads appearing on his forehead, despite the comfortable airconditioning. He quietly took the opposite chair and unmindfully sat on its edge. No sooner did he do that, that the door opened and a short, middle aged man with a neatly trimmed French beard appeared. The interviewer had arrived.

General introduction was followed by a description of the firm and the 'unique' work culture. Next on the agenda was a volley of questions, shot one after another, from the CV that had been presented. The pure blood answered all, diligently and confidently. He was sure he had aced it when all the topics were covered, or so he thought.

He had not paid much attention to the last section on 'co-curricular' activities and inspite of past experience with interviews, research on websites and general guidance from fellow professionals, he had not really focused on this part.

The first entry related to a moot court competition from his college days, in which he had represented his team as the official researcher. Pat came the question - what was the moot court problem?

Stumped (the pure blood's spontaneous reaction)!

Instinctively he racked his brains in vain - the few seconds of silence cost him dearly as we shall find out. The partner prodded some more into the moot court competition. By then the pure blood had gone completely blank. The next question was - Can you tell me the nursery rhyme - Jack & Jill? Come on, go ahead and tell me? The pure blood had no inkling about the connection. But finally his lips parted and he answered, like a small child.

The partner almost thundered - If you can remember what you learnt twenty years ago, why cant you remember something that happened four years ago?

The pure blood wished that the ground (aka conference room) would swallow him.

That was not the end of the humiliation. The partner then called for one of the firm's associates and asked him a question on some law (the pure blood was no more in a position to comprehend which law). The associate was also probably having a bad day, he fumbled with the incorrect answer.

The partner ordered him to take the relevant statute out, made him read the law and asked him to write out the same and prepare for a 'test' by evening, failing which his salary for that month would be halved.

The ordeal went on for fifteen minutes, at the end of which the partner once again turned his attention to the pure blood. This time, to the utter disbelief of the pure blood, he offered to recruit him; with a catch of course - he would have to accept a cut in the current salary (mind you - recession was never heard of at that time), as a token of gratitude for moving up the law firm ladder.

And just to entice him, the partner took him around the firm and also to the terrace cafeteria where daily lunch (on the house) was served. He also introduced him to other staff while showing him around and much to the pure blood's relief, bid him a good day!

Whether the pure blood took the job or not is anyone's guess. But I had learnt my lesson - something which we are told every now and then - be thorough with every comma, semicolon and full stop of your CV and do not include stuff which you cannot substantiate.

The pure blood felt so much better outside, notwithstanding the hot summer afternoon sun beating down on him... Indeed he had survived today to continue his quest for the quintessential life. 

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