Spoilers: Through 3x19 for Community
Word Count: 1,279 (of 18,470)
Disclaimer/Notes: See Prologue for disclaimer and general notes.
Part V: University of Colorado School of Law
In which Jeff interviews for a job
"Winger? Jeff Winger?"
"Right here." Karen Avery looked toward the sound of the voice and saw a tall young man with carefully tousled hair smoothly buttoning his navy blue pinstripe suit coat as he rose from his seat. She was impressed; the boy knew how to dress, unlike many of the students she'd met that day. Good handshake, too; firm, but not overpowering.
"Nice to meet you, Mr. Winger," she said. "I'm Karen Avery. Come on in, let's get to know each other." Karen had come to the University of Colorado School of Law as a representative of the hiring committee of Hamish, Hamish & Hamlin, where she was a newly minted partner. The room the Placement Office had provided her held both a small, round table and a pair of upholstered arm chairs; she gestured Jeff toward the latter. She believed the more informal setting encouraged the students to act more naturally, which she felt was beneficial when trying to get to get a quick read on potential applicants.
Once they were both seated, Jeff extracted a resume from the leather portfolio he carried and handed it to Karen. "I appreciate you taking the trouble to see me, Ms. Avery."
"Oh, it's no trouble," she said as she scanned the resume. "I'm a Colorado Law grad myself, it's always nice to come back, even for business." Her eyebrows shot up as came across something unexpected. "You're Two-L."
"Yes. I actually wanted to talk to you about a summer associate position."
Karen frowned. "This is rather late in the year to be looking for a summer position, Mr. Winger."
"Of course. But… well, I'd been offered a position this summer with the same firm I worked for last summer, and…"
Karen glanced at the resume again. "Oh! I see. My condolences."
"Thank you. Given recent events, there's no position for me there now—"
"No, I would say not," Karen said, not without sympathy. If the kid had procrastinated in looking for a summer job, that was one thing, but this was different. She had a sorority sister who'd been told by a dot-com there was a job waiting for her when she graduated, only to have the offer rescinded a week before the end of the semester when the company filed for bankruptcy. "Well, we're always looking for talented people. Let's go ahead and chat, and if things go well, I'll see what I can do."
Jeff gave her a brilliant smile, and Karen suddenly and very unexpectedly felt a little flutter in her stomach. Which was crazy. She had fifteen years on the kid, minimum, and skinny white boys were not her style. But he had an effortless charm, the likes of which she'd very rarely seen, even in experienced lawyers, nd she decided that their chat would have to go very badly indeed for her to not try to bring him on board.
Two days later at the firm's weekly partners meeting, when senior partner Ted Hamlin asked if there was any new business to be brought up, Karen spoke up. "Ted, I want to talk about one of my interviews at Colorado Law a couple of days ago."
"Have you taken it to the hiring committee?" Ted asked, frowning slightly.
"No. Time is of the essence on this one, so I decided to bring it up here." She extracted a sheaf of documents from a folder in front of her and passed them around the table. "The student's name is Jeff Winger. Based on my talk with him on Monday, I think he's a strong candidate for—"
The head of the hiring committee, a pompous blowhard by the name of J. Edgerton Trumbull III, spoke up. "This says he's in his second year."
"Yes, if you'd allowed me to finish, I was going to say I think he's a strong candidate for our summer associate program. He—"
"Then where was he when we were interviewing summer associates last September?" Trumbull asked snidely.
"Probably celebrating the offer he had to spend a second summer working for the Freeman Group," Karen snapped. "But in light of recent events…" All around the tables, the partners began murmuring to one another as comprehension dawned.
"Hmph. Yes, well, be that as it may, that just raises further questions," Trumbull said. "We all know what kind of people Freeman represented. Do we want someone with that… taint associated with our firm?"
Another partner, a real-estate attorney named Baird, joined the conversation. "Taint? The kid was a summer associate. Even if the news reports turn out to be accurate, do you really think a One-L would've been involved?"
"Actually," Karen said if you refer to the fourth page of the packet I just handed out, you'll find a transcript of a conversation I had with the agent in charge. Jeff is not under suspicion, nor is he a target of the investigation."
"On the other hand," Baird continued, "his transcript isn't tremendously impressive. Did you get the impression he's struggling with the material? Or is he just a slacker?"
"I don't think it's the latter," Karen said. "He's working two jobs in addition to class. A marketing job of some sort, and something he calls 'lifestyle consulting.' I don't exactly know what that means, but he gave me the names of some of his clients, and to a man they're very rich, very influential, and very satisfied with the service he provides."
"So you think he's a rainmaker?"
"Possibly. That didn't really enter into my analysis…"
"I still think his association with—" Trumbull began.
Ted held up his hand, and Trumbull fell silent. "Objection noted, Trey," Ted said. "Karen, elevator pitch. Why this kid?"
She thought for a moment. "As much as anything, it was the way he buttoned his coat as he stood up." Trumbull snorted, and she shot him a dirty look before she continued. "There's something about the way he comports himself that makes me believe he'll be a force to reckon with." She looked around the table at her fellow partners. "We all know law school doesn't really teach you what you need to know to be effective in the courtroom. That's something most of us had to learn on the job, but my gut tells me Winger already knows it. Once he knows the law, I think it'll be damn hard to stop him. And that's someone we want on our side."
Ted leaned back in his chair, his hands resting on his belly. "Fine. Make it happen." The table erupted in chatter, with Trumbull's indignant cry of "Are you kidding me?" rising above the rest. Ted raised his hand and brought his thumb and middle and index fingers together as he traced a tight circle in the air, bringing the conversation to a halt. "Trusting my gut is how I went from being a street lawyer to being in charge of one of the biggest and most powerful law firms in Colorado. None of you would be at this table if I didn't respect your instincts.
"And look, I knew Phil Freeman. I don't know if he was a good person, but he was a great lawyer, one of the best I've ever seen. If he was teaching this Winger kid what he knew, then Karen's right: we want him working for us. So… any more new business?" When no one spoke, he pushed his chair back from the table and stood up. "Well then, if you'll excuse me, I have a helicopter waiting to take me to my place in Aspen."
Prologue | Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII | Epilogue