Wednesday, February 09, 2005


I am not qualified to be any sort of attorney, much less a public defender. At least that's what my interviewer yesterday led me to believe.

There were a few painful moments in the first half, but nothing I felt badly about. I knew what I was talking about, I was confident in the answers that I was giving, even though the interviewer was rephrasing them back to me impatiently. It's fair to say that the entire interview fell apart when I was doing a cross-examination of the complaining witness and was trying to impeach 'her' with a prior inconsistent statement. The other interviewer (pretending to be the DA) objected to the statement not being in evidence, and I, being a law student, have no idea how to get it admitted into evidence. After a few (what I believed to be) valiant efforts at it, the alpha interviewer cut me off, saying, "I don't have the time to engage in clinical instruction." Which eliminated the remaining two thirds of my cross examination.

He did later follow up with a question as to why I thought I was qualified to be a litigator, which is a good indication that he thought I stunk. That, and the fact that at the very end, we had an actual discussion for about 3 minutes about my resume. He wasn't particularly interested in hearing about it.

I cried after I left not because I was embarrassed but because I was SO ANGRY that I felt like I didn't know what I was doing. I know that I couldn't do what he wanted me to do - I am fully aware of what I can and can't do. I knew the pre-trial motions, the trial issues, etc. I knew that I wanted to impeach this woman with her prior inconsistent statement - and I knew that I had no idea what that process looks like with a witness on the stand. People have told me over and over again that it doesn't matter whether I do the technically correct thing in interviews - it's about the way I approach the situation and think through the problem. This interview blew that theory out of the water. The young attorney who was the second interviewer tried to make me feel better, telling me that this guy is a tough interviewer, that it doesn't matter whether I get the right answer but rather the way I think about it (YOU ARE SO WRONG) but I appreciated his kindness. It still was a train wreck.

The interview made me feel like I don't have whatever it is these people are looking for. Maybe I'm just not meant to do this sort of work. I clearly haven't learned whatever it is that I was supposed to have learned by now.

I can't remember the last time I felt so deflated.