Point, Michael Robert
Some Bay Street firms will receive over 2,000 applicants for a mere 20 positions within their 2013 2L summer class. Students from U of T, the University of Manitoba, and everywhere in between. Students with straight As, straight Bs and straight Cs. Students whose previous job titles were “Chartered Accountant”, “MA student” and “struggling actor” (i.e. Leo). Do you know how firms decide which of these students to interview and, eventually, to whom to give offers? Facebook!
It makes so much sense. If you wanted to hire the future leaders of your firm, wouldn’t it be the easiest, most sensible thing to just illegally hack into 2,000 people’s Facebook accounts to determine whether they’re Bay Street material? It’s not like lawyers are already putting in 80-hour weeks on real work.
At the very least, firms can call up their 2012 summer students, ask them to come back to Toronto, demand that they log into their Facebook accounts and scroll through the profiles of prospective applicants with whom they are friends.
Got pix of you holding a beer in your hand? Not hired – party animal. Pix of you sitting on the grass? Not hired – hippie. Pix of you smiling? Not hired – enjoys life too much. Leo’s profile denotes wayyy too much joie de vivre. Some of the highlights: 1) a display pic in which he is wearing checkered pants (pictured), 2) a stuffed teddy bear in a baseball uniform, and 3) a WHOLE album devoted to gingerbread sculpture.
In other words, massive red flags.
Firms composed of very bright, very educated lawyers can learn a lot of negative things about you on Facebook. Firms would never want to hire anyone who drinks or knows how to have a good time, because that would clash far too much with the staid, teetotaller Bay Street culture.
Come on, 2Ls. No one on Bay Street gives a gingerbread’s ass that you once drank beer or even that you once did a keg stand. (Seriously, half of Leo’s photos are of gingerbread.) Even more pertinently, NO ONE is going to hack your account. If you have any privacy settings AT ALL, firms’ student directors, with whom you are presumably not Facebook friends, cannot see your profile. Got lines of coke as your cover photo? Maybe you should change that. Racist and/or otherwise offensive imagery? Yeah probably that too.
But ask anyone who has ever worked at a downtown firm and they will tell you: law firms are pretty much the drunkest places… anywhere. Also, NEWSFLASH: if I google your real name, your Facebook profile still comes up even after you’ve changed your name. So…yeah.
Please, 2Ls: for the sake of all of your friends, casual acquaintances, and impressionable 1Ls who are trying to find you…don’t change your Facebook names.
Counterpoint, Leo Elias
Hubris. Something MPG knows very well. Hubris refers to decisions made out of a misplaced sense of self-confidence that end up screwing you down the road. Some of you will be perfectly fine, but a handful of you will find yourselves shaking your head late one night, half into a bottle of Prince Igor vodka and a box of KD. Hubris. It sucks. Despite MPG’s impressive business acumen, he is essentially telling you to take a huge risk for no gain, solely on the trust he has in Big Law.
So here’s the deal: you have a line of defence? USE. IT. You don’t pull your star goalie in the third period, you don’t use a rookie to close a game, and you don’t let Thomas Mulcair wear a cowboy hat five days before the election. You just keep on doing what you’ve practiced so hard: altering yourself to be exactly what Power, Money & Tears LLP wants you to be.
And here’s why:
1. One Bad Move = Poor Judgment
The firms, as my learned colleague pointed out, have 2,000 people applying for 20 spots. They are looking for anything, ANYTHING, to get that pool of great candidates lower. Typo? Cut. Didn’t realize that Blakes has two other names? Cut. History of working for social justice? Cut. Do not make it easy for them. Don’t let some hilarious photo of you or some stupid comment you wrote in undergrad be that reason. Change your damn name.
But, you ask, would that photo or comment really be cause for them not to hire you? Yes. The answer is yes. Any thing that you do that firms wouldn’t want on your official bio is “poor judgment.” And people with poor judgment do not get hired.
2. Zuckerberg Changes Things All the Time
Do you trust Facebook’s security features? I sure don’t. With the way the stock is tanking I wouldn’t be surprised if Facebook started selling my information to advertisers. (Oh wait, they do that already?) The reality is that Facebook constantly changes its security features and never tells anyone. Maybe you’re totally fine. Maybe you’re not. But I can tell you this: I’m not taking my chances.
3. Why Worry When You Can Change?
When I got Facebook I wasn’t planning on going to law school. I did all sorts of crazy things in undergrad. Now I’ve settled down, got myself a long-term girlfriend [Ed note: she’s a babe] and focused on getting a real job. I am not going to let some stupid pseudo-marxist comment from 2008 prevent that from happening. Not all of us can be a law school machine forged from a pit of tears like the MPG-Bot.
I don’t know what’s on my timeline and quite frankly I don’t want to. Change your name.