As I walked into the interview, I was nervous, but not defeated. I was wearing my most professional out fit, a navy blue dress suit, and I felt fairly confident. I composed myself when the boss of the small Law Firm opened the door and asked me in, as the previous applicant walked out, a young woman, high black stilettos clicking on the laminate floor.
"Hello Miss Lewis, you may take a seat on this side of the table." The small man, with graying hair and a plain gray suit pointed to the left side of a small round table with six chairs surrounding it.
This was New York, and to get this job was big. There were many lawyers, and very few open positions to be held. I quietly placed my brief case on the floor next to one of the wooden chairs opposite the three other members of the Firm. I sat down and pulled my seat forward, folding my hands and placing them in front of me, on the table. I pulled out my most confident smile.
The man with graying hair sat down across from me beside my other interviewers, two of which were male, and one female. The first man, on the right looked to be about forty. He was severe, with sharp black hair, and a black suit to go along with that. He eyed me down suspiciously. I smiled back. This job was all about being cunning. You had to say the right things to the right people. It was really much more of a mind game, than it was an interview.
Being a lawyer required you to use wit, and to never back down from an opponent, this was something that I'd learned in my 5 short years of being a practiced lawyer in New York City.
The Woman was aging, probably about 45 years old. Her dark brown hair was pulled tightly into a bun, and her horn rimmed glasses hung from a chain around her neck. She was wearing a handsome brown tweed suit, which could have been designer. She looked very educated.
The man beside her was probably a few years older than my 29. Attorney Walker. There were not many young successful lawyers here, but I knew from the word around town that there were a few gaining big ground, Attorney Walker was one of them. I was hoping to be ranked among him. The young man ran his hands through his short light hair and then sighed. I knew that he remembered.
The man who had let me in cleared his throat and began to introduce the people who would be interviewing me.
"This," He said pointing to the man with jet black hair, "Is Attorney Black."
We nodded at each other in acknowledgment.
"...Attorney Trenton." He went on; the woman smiled and lifted a few fingers in a small wave.
"...and this is Attorney Walker." The young man across from me straightened out his papers and then looked up to meet my gaze. We had met before.
It was a very big case; abut two years ago, the Belmont trial, one of the worst circumstances I had ever come into contact with. I'd had some personal contact with the issue, which led to my down fall. Attorney Walker was on the opposite side, he was a good lawyer, and my case had lost. I prayed he wouldn't hold it against me. I had come a long way since then, I was a different person. I was a very good lawyer, with years of experience under my belt. I gave him a nod that seemed to say, "That was then, this is now." He nodded back.
"My name is Attorney Jones, and this is my Law Firm. We don't make mistakes. You are the seventh lawyer we have interviewed today and you aren't the last. What makes you think that we would want you on our team Miss Lewis?" He said seriously, shuffling the papers in front of him.
"Well you see," I started calmly, organizing my thoughts in my head so that I could give a well rounded response, "I graduated from Harvard Law almost 6 years ago. I was at the top of my I have since been with many different Law Firms of increasing credibility, and I have a lot of experience. You need me on your team. I can help you. I am very good at what I do, and I do not make mistakes. Failure is a weakness, and that is not a trait that I possess." I finished confidently. There was no tip toeing around when it came to things like this, you had to let them know who you were right off the bat, or you weren't even a second thought in their superior minds.
"Very well." Attorney Jones said nodding.
"Miss Lewis, what is your view on personal interest. Should that make or break a case?" Attorney Walker asked me, leaning forward. I could not let him get to me. If I did, they would not hire me. You can't let emotions get in the way of anything, and that was precisely why he asked me that question.
"Absolutely not. It would be careless to get involved. Even Lawyers make mistakes Attorney Walker, as for me, I don't make them twice." I said confidently, almost hostile.
It was a tough game, survival of the fittest. If you didn't bring out what you had, you were sent home, and that was not where I was heading, not this easily. In the words of Henry Ward Beecher, The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't. I had a strong will.
He smiled and looked down at his papers.
The rest of the interview went by, with no real obstacles. I felt quite confident at the end. Except of course, that one thought that was lingering in the back of my mind, the thought that Attorney Walker knew, and that he would use it against me. I needed this job badly, more than anything.
"Thank you Miss Lewis, we will contact you as soon as possible. As you know there are many who want this job as much as you do, please don't be too disappointed if you are declined. I'm sure as a lawyer in your position you are well aware of all the possible outcomes." Attorney Jones concluded.
"Yes. Thank you very much." I said as I excused my self from the room. I closed the door and let out a breath. This was just another episode in my life that I would have to get through, each stop along the way, a new experience, allowing me to grow, to reach my fullest new potential. I tried not to be discouraged as I saw the next person in line; a confident man, older than me, who looked very experienced. I walked past him, and stopped at the water fountain to get a drink of water to help clear my mind.
When I stood back up, I turned around and Attorney Walker was standing directly behind me, his young and brilliant face inches from mine. I cleared my throat and tried to walk around him, awkwardly.
"Miss Lewis." He said strongly.
"Yes?" I asked. I knew he was probably going to talk to me about the Belmont trial. The sooner this was over with, the better.
"We want you on our team." He said with confidence, a confidence that I seemed to be lacking at the moment.
"What?" I asked him. I found this hard to believe.
"Yes. That case from a few years back, I remember you, you were a good lawyer. Someone we could really use. I talked to Jones about it and he trusts me. We are declining the rest of our interviews. You have the job." He informed me.
I managed to contain my excitement, an acquired skill, part of the job. "Thank you," I said. "I won't disappoint."
"I wouldn't have hired you if I thought you would." He said. "Jones will call you tonight."
With that he turned and walked back into the interview room. Success was echoing from every corner of the room, well, it was if you were standing in my shoes. I had gotten this job. I had gotten through.