As soon as I got home from Rachel's office, I looked up the name she had given me to contact. Vivian Warren.* I found that she had previously been the Director of Legal Recruiting at two top-ranked international law firms and that she currently owned her own recruiting agency, named after herself. This definitely sounded like a woman I needed to meet.
I composed an email that emphasized my eagerness and enthusiasm to learn more about her industry, and my hope that she would at least schedule an informational interview with me. And, ok, yes, I dropped in the name of my dad's firm and the fact that I had met Rachel. This was mostly to let her knew that I already knew something about the law firm world. Later I would learn from her only employee (who became my good friend) that that was pretty much the sole reason she arranged to meet with me......... Score!
Unfortunately for me, I had decided that law firm recruiting was my life calling at about EXACTLY the same moment that the economy took a turn for the very bad. I was angling to get an internship in the summer of 2010, which was one year after almost every law firm in the city stopped hiring anyone. Anyone at all. Summer classes at the biggest and best known firms went from about 70 people to about 10 people. Recruiting departments were cut in half. No one would even consider taking on an intern, they were all too busy watching their own backs. And that's even though I was willing to work for free!
During a winter break from college, I met with Vivian and she let me know how bad the industry currently was. She told me it was unlikely that an opportunity in an actual law firm would open up at all. BUT! She did mention that SHE might be willing to take me on, out of the goodness of her enormous heart. When I left her office that day, I held onto the dream that she would let me intern for her that summer. That afternoon, I composed a long and thoughtful thank you email that I hoped would secure my place in her heart.
I was in my college dorm room when she called to let me know that she had decided to offer me an internship. My excitement was palpable, even over the phone. I remember how effusive and enthusiastic I was: "This is so amazing! Thank you, thank you!!! I can't wait! Thank you so much! I am so happy!!"
I was determined that I would do the best job possible, be the most amazing intern ever, and leave her office with a gold plated reference.
Four months later, I would officially join her team as Summer Intern Extraordinaire.
*Name also changed.