The Legal Beat
Law School Openly Begging Students To Talk To Kasowitz
Posted on Monday January 14, 2019
Law firm events for 1Ls are always a little stilted and awkward. Only one semester through their journey toward lawyerhood, 1Ls don’t have the best banter worked out to share with seasoned attorneys and the firm’s representatives are all standing around wondering why they’re losing precious billable time on this. Still, everyone goes to these events because it’s free food and drink and a chance to get career services off your back.
Which is why it’s such high comedy that Kasowitz Benson not only can’t fill its recruiting event — the law school has resorted to begging students to show up or they’ll have to cancel it altogether.
UVA’s career services folks sent around an email gamely trying to drum up interest in what appears to be a stillborn Kasowitz event:
We hope you are having a nice break. You’ve been awfully quiet out there. Seeing that it is the new year and time to be getting going, I am writing to remind people that the Kasowitz firm is doing a UVA-only dinner in NY this Wednesday night. To say that the RSVP’s have been minimal would be something of an understatement. We hope this means that there is currently nobody in the greater NY area who wants to work ultimately in the greater NY area. I just have a sinking feeling that I will be thinking of this event in eight months when people are sitting in my office telling me that they will do ANYTHING to get a firm job in New York City.
In fairness to the students, the event is in New York, already limiting the number of potential UVA attendees and students may be loathe to jump into law school work when many students around the country are still waiting on their grades.
On the other hand, could this be more fallout from Kasowitz’s disastrous turn as Donald Trump’s lawyer? Back in 2017, the New York Law Journal was already musing that the decision to become the face of Trump’s legal woes could be destroying the firm — which was then hemorrhaging lawyers and about to clock a 7 percent revenue hit.
Sometimes it’s unfair to judge a lawyer by the clients they keep. But it’s all in the attitude a lawyer brings to the party. Emmet Flood will walk away from his time advising Trump as a respected Washington power lawyer who took on a matter of national significance with detached professionalism. Kasowitz, on the other hand, approached the Trump case with true-believer enthusiasm. These distinctions matter to students and lawyers considering whose practice they want to join.
If UVA students are really shying away from the firm because its founder invited a none too flattering spotlight on his practice, it’d be a shame. After all, the firm is more than the first name on the letterhead, and even if students are skittish about affixing their wagons to Marc Kasowitz’s star right now, that’s no reason to write off the firm as a whole.
Besides… free food.
UPDATE: The firm’s weighed in with a statement:
“As reflected in our offer and acceptance statistics and associate satisfaction surveys, our summer and permanent associate recruiting has been and remains exceptionally strong. We don’t currently recruit at UVA, but several Kasowitz partners who are UVA alumni have invited a small group of New York area students to join them for dinner to get to know the firm. We are delighted that four students will be attending and have every expectation that the dinner will be a success.”
First of all, great. It’s nice that this event is going forward. Second, their statement appears to be “it’s cool, we weren’t really into UVA either” which seems a bit like a jilted Tinder date. UVA’s a great school and hopefully this event is every bit the success they expect.
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.