Eva Braun, Matt Muttley’s PA, elegantly dressed as always in a tailored black suit and high heels, led a young man into the Partner’s Boardoom and seated him at the opposite end of the long boardroom table. He had a brown paper bag over his head.
Dr Erasmus Strangelove, Director of Psyops, Strategy and Education, looked up from his iPad 2, which held the applicant’s curriculum vitae and the security clearance report provided by a leading specialist security firm, and put his first question.
“Forgive the rather theatrical paper bag over your head. At Muttley Dastardly LLP we operate an equal opportunities policy. We are not swayed by good looks. I will allow you to remove the paper bag when you have answered my first question; assuming that your answer is to my taste. If you don’t, my colleague will take you to a waiting taxi, an idea I came up with after watching SurAlanLord Sugar’s reality TV programme The Apprentice the other night. This has the advantage that candidates who I reject do not recognise me should we happen to meet socially or in a nightclub in the West End.
“Contestant.. are you ready?” Strangelove shouted.
“Yes, Dr Strangelove” came the slightly muffled reply from the young law student seated twenty-feet away at the opposite end of the table.
“If you were on the menu in a two star Michelin restaurant in London what dish would you be?” Dr Erasmus Strangelove asked as he glanced at the cricket score on his iPad 2.
The young man, smartly dressed in a newly purchased suit, hesitated and said “I haven’t eaten at a two star Michelin restaurant.”
Strangelove considered the reply for a moment, sat back in the high backed leather chair and smiled. “At Muttley Dastardly LLP, we assume that our future trainees hold a first from Oxbridge or Russell Group university. We assume, having paid a risibly high fee for your LPC at a purveyor of legal education, that they will be sensible enough, and have the grace, to ensure you leave with a creditable result in that course. We are not that interested in the grade. We prefer to teach you how to be a practising lawyer ourselves, but we do like you to start from the entirely reasonable base of actually knowing some law from your university. We have a diversity policy here and we expect our future associates, men and women who we rely on to add to the capital value of the firm and a year on year growth in billings of 20%, to have the flexibility to be able to think on their feet. That you have not eaten in a two star Michelin restaurant troubles me not, but there is no phone a friend or fifty-fifty at our interviews. I don’t want to put too much pressure on you, but you are one down. We have a ‘Three strikes and you’re in that taxi’ policy rule here – a wonderful concept which I seem to remember our current prime minister, Mr Camcorderdirect, coming up with before he became prime minister and wanted votes. Let me suggest another line of enquiry.”
Dr Strangelove flicked back to the applicant’s file on his iPad 2.
“I see, from your Facebook page, that you have a talent for drinking and gurning. Three photographs of you in a file captioned “Future Employer’s…f*ck ’em” – I will overlook the apostrophe solecism – shows you dressed in what I am advised is tight spandex gear worn by militant cyclists, flicking a V sign at motorists. Do you consider that to be conduct becoming of a future associate at Muttley Dastardly LLP?”
The young man leaned forward. He was shaking slightly. ” I thought I had erased those files”
Dr Strangelove smiled. “Fear not. We are specialists in ‘reputation management’ here. One of my ‘black hat’ departments is most expert at erasing information from Google and replacing it with a more ‘positive’ message. We prefer that more subtle approach to the bludgeon of a superinjunction. After all, we don’t want our clients to be all over Twitter, do we? The question is important. Think carefully.”
The young man sat bolt upright. “Yes… frankly. If I want to go through red traffic lights, cycle on the pavements, and assert my libertarian rights, I shall damn well do so.”
“Correct answer. Well done!” Strangelove said, banging his hand down on one of those old bells found on hotel reception desks in 1950s American movies used by guests to attract the attention of the psycopath who ran the joint.
“Finally… our maxim at Muttley Dastardly LLP is ‘Strength & Profits’. How do you feel about lawyers making exemplary amounts of money during their careers?”
The young man, more confident after his last answer, replied “A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi – A precipice in front, wolves behind. I want to be a wolf”
“Young man” Dr Stranglove replied, a hint of amusement in his voice. “Welcome to Muttley Dastardly LLP. You may remove the paper bag.”
With thanks to the following for sponsoring the free materials for students on Insite Law magazine: Inksters Solicitors, Cellmark, OnlineWill.co.uk, BPP University College, David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Wildy & Sons, Camps Solicitors accident claims