A Job Ad Requesting a Family Picture is Real and Just Wrong
My lawyer husband sent this to me this afternoon and my jaw hit the concrete. Above The Law ran an interview with Nicholas Rowley, a personal injury and medical malpractice attorney with a firm that calls itself “Trial Lawyers for Justice.” Nick has some very unusual hiring methods. Here’s an excerpt of an ad he apparently wrote, according to Above the Law, where he’s seeking to hire an attorney.
DECORAH, IA plaintiff firm is seeking a brilliant hardworking lawyer who would rather do research and writing than be in court. …Much thought is going to be put into who will fill this very important position with the firm. Persons who are interested are requested to email a personal story of who the applicant is, what his or her political beliefs are, and what they believe about justice and personal injury litigation along with a recent personal and/or family photograph.
Political beliefs? A “personal story?” A “family photograph?” What the fuck?
Above The Law asked Nick to explain his reasoning for these unusual requests. Here’s some of what he had to say (for the entire explanation, click here):
“A family photo can tell me many things. First, I can see how they seem to connect, I can see how happy they really are or whether it is a ‘fake smile portrait’ photo. I can ask as I talk to the person on the phone who is in the photos. You see, I don’t care where a person went to law school or what they got on the LSAT or what standing they had in their class, I am more concerned about whether this is a person who will fit within a culture of a firm that is family to each other, who get together regularly, who have holiday dinners together, who have dedicated themselves and their family (because what we do is a 24hr/7 day per wk calling that we live and breathe) to fighting injustice.”
So Nick, here’s my question for you? What if my father was an abusive drunk and I don’t have a mother and I’m single and don’t have a happy-family picture to show you BUT I worked my ass off and pulled myself up by my boot straps to make something out of myself? Would I qualify for an interview with you or would my background scare the shit out of you?
Or, what if I’m gay, and my family disowned me and it’s just me and my mate in the picture? Would that work for you or would I not fit in with your ideal for “your firm family?”
Nick goes on to say ” When I interview a person I get to see their face, why not in advance to an interview. … I get to “feel” who the person is rather than paper and ink. Looking through a hundred resumes will tell me hardly anything about the human being I am considering, resumes are often bullshit. Also, how a person offers themselves by photograph tells me a little about who that person is pcyhologically (sic). If I ask for photos and I get a dark suit with a power look accompanied by a resume that shows an Ivy league education and member of a fraternity and the yacht club chances are that I would put it all together and choose not to call for an interview. That is not because I am discriminatory but because as a human being I have people who I match with, who the people in my firm match with.”
Nick. Nick. Nick. Hello? How can you say that this is NOT discriminatory? You presume that because a person “looks” a certain way that he or she will or will not fit into your firm culture. Just based on a picture????? On a whim, I looked through some of my photos today. I have a professional head shot, that’s not too stodgy that I use for business. It’s a business picture, it does not by any means reflect anything about my personality. Then I’ve got all kinds of other pictures that I like of myself. The one on my Facebook profile right now features me with a fishing hat. In fact, the picture I have in the “About” page of this blog also shows me wearing a floppy hat. What does it mean if I sent you a picture of myself wearing one of my big hats? Does that connote that I’m down to earth and into nature? No, it means I think I look alright in a frickin’ hat. Period.
By the way, Nick. I just went to your site. Isn’t it ironic that you and your partners have neglected to put your own mug shots up? What’s wrong? Afraid your clients might judge you by your looks?