Do I sound like a pretentious a**hole?

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Anonymous User
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Do I sound like a pretentious a**hole?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:45 pm

Redacted (application to bankruptcy boutique):

"Without financial help from family, my hard work and creativity allowed me to complete college without debt. Currently, I am on track to do the same for law school. Without the pressure of law school debt, my focus is primarily on gaining great experience and strong mentorship, rather than chasing the very highest salaries.

Furthermore, I have a demonstrated commitment to bankruptcy law. I declined several interviews for 1L summer positions at large firms in XXX to work for a federal bankruptcy judge this summer. I am currently assisting on the complex XXX bankruptcy—a chapter 11 filing that later converted to a chapter 7."

Does this sound pretentious, cocky, or arrogant? If so, any suggestions for modification?

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DCDuck
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Re: Do I sound like a pretentious a**hole?

Postby DCDuck » Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:51 pm

I think it's fine for a cover letter. Immodesty has no place in cover letters, but it can be hard not to sound like an entitled prick. I think this is fine, makes you sound unique and with a genuine interest in the area.

Edit: yeah, I'd drop the part about turning down lots of firms for the bankruptcy externship, and instead mention how your summer experience has reaffirmed your interest in bankruptcy. I also thought it was a little weird that you talked about your own lack of debt, but figured it worked with the area of law. But it did strike me as odd.
Last edited by DCDuck on Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: Do I sound like a pretentious a**hole?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Redacted (application to bankruptcy boutique):

"Without financial help from family, my hard work and creativity allowed me to complete college without debt. Currently, I am on track to do the same for law school. Without the pressure of law school debt, my focus is primarily on gaining great experience and strong mentorship, rather than chasing the very highest salaries.

Furthermore, I have a demonstrated commitment to bankruptcy law. I declined several interviews for 1L summer positions at large firms in XXX to work for a federal bankruptcy judge this summer. I am currently assisting on the complex XXX bankruptcy—a chapter 11 filing that later converted to a chapter 7."

Does this sound pretentious, cocky, or arrogant? If so, any suggestions for modification?

Scratch that. Use this:

I am applying for a summer associate position at XYZ LLP from May to August 2013.

Anonymous User
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Re: Do I sound like a pretentious a**hole?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:58 pm

Yes, it does, to me at least. How about less bravado and yay me, and a little more I'm fortunate to be in this position and am really dedicated to bankruptcy.

Working through college permitted me to graduate debt free while maintaining total financial independence. I am currently in the fortunate position of being on the path to graduate from law school without financial debt. My financial situation (or some better phrase) has granted me the freedom to seek blah blah without concerns of blah blah blah.

I have an unwavering commitment to bankruptcy and gained first hand experience while clerking for blah blah. Currently, I am continuing to learn about bankruptcy through firsthand experience while assisting on the XXX bankruptcy—a chapter 11 filing that later converted to a chapter 7.

jdhonest
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Re: Do I sound like a pretentious a**hole?

Postby jdhonest » Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:00 pm

DCDuck wrote:I think it's fine for a cover letter. Immodesty has no place in cover letters, but it can be hard not to sound like an entitled prick. I think this is fine, makes you sound unique and with a genuine interest in the area.



I'm reading entitled prick, but OP, bare in mind the source. I'd say I'm a lot more laid back than most people in T14s and who seem to post on these boards.

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kalvano
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Re: Do I sound like a pretentious a**hole?

Postby kalvano » Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:10 pm

The part about graduating with no debt doesn't seem appropriate for a cover letter. And drop the part about turning down several big firms.

NotMyRealName09
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Re: Do I sound like a pretentious a**hole?

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Tue Jun 19, 2012 4:21 pm

Yes, you do, and you probably are if you write like that, so just mitigate that tendancy in your everyday life, and you'll be fine.

Also, I'm not sure you should be mentioning specific PENDING litigation you are working on for a federal court - you might want to ask your judge for permission to discuss by name cases you've worked on. More than that, don't gussy it up - you're a 1L bankruptcy court intern, so say that.

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rayiner
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Re: Do I sound like a pretentious a**hole?

Postby rayiner » Tue Jun 19, 2012 4:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Redacted (application to bankruptcy boutique):

"Without financial help from family, my hard work and creativity allowed me to complete college without debt. Currently, I am on track to do the same for law school. Without the pressure of law school debt, my focus is primarily on gaining great experience and strong mentorship, rather than chasing the very highest salaries.

Furthermore, I have a demonstrated commitment to bankruptcy law. I declined several interviews for 1L summer positions at large firms in XXX to work for a federal bankruptcy judge this summer. I am currently assisting on the complex XXX bankruptcy—a chapter 11 filing that later converted to a chapter 7."

Does this sound pretentious, cocky, or arrogant? If so, any suggestions for modification?


When trying to determine whether something is douchey, look at it's usefulness to the reader versus douchiness ratio. How useful is it to the reader versus how much is it just crowing about yourself?

E.g. your first paragraph is trying to demonstrate your a hard worker. It's not super useful to the reader. Maybe you just went to a T4 commuter undergrad and worked part-time as a bartender. Who cares? And it sounds pretty douchey. Something more useful would be "I kicked as at this project at work, getting this project done in only three months." It's still a bit douchey, but the usefulness to the reader is far higher.

Your second paragraph is the same way. Mentioning you turned down a bunch of large firm jobs helps a little bit to sense your dedication to bankruptcy, but is super douchey. Talking about foregone opportunities always is ("I turned down Harvard..."). The really useful information is the 1L Bankruptcy externship. That shows plenty about your dedication, especially if you talk about the cool things you did there. And it's very non-douchey.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Do I sound like a pretentious a**hole?

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:43 pm

Declining interviews suggests that you might be a bit too closed minded, rather than focused solely on one area of law. I understand your point, but the delivery needs refinement.

P.S. Don't assume that employers prefer debt-free employees; in truth, the opposite may be true since it relegates you to their demands.




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