Posted by Yi Song
Shareholder at Cavitch Familo & Durkin
How did he become the first ever international intern turned shareholder at a firm founded in 1886?
When Yao was applying for internships during law school, most firms had stopped accepting new applications. He decided to cold show up at the doorsteps of the top 20 firms in Cleveland, Ohio, where he was studying. He went to the first firm on his list. The receptionist welcomed him, offered him coffee and informed him that the hiring partner was not in the office that day. He left his cover letter and resume. He thought it was a dead end.
As he was waiting for the elevator, he saw another gentleman was waiting as well. He looked at his watch, it was 3:30. He thought that this guy must not be a lawyer. No lawyer leaves work at 3:30. They struck up a conversation. As it turned out the guy was indeed an (estate planning) lawyer who has been with the firm for 25 years. He introduced Yao to the hiring partner a week later. During the subsequent interview, Yao wasn’t begging the firm for a job, but rather trying to figure out: why were his peers with stellar grades not being hired?
This is a story with a happy ending. Yao became the first intern the firm ever hired in its 137-year history. At the end of his internship, he received a job offer, and eventually, he made history once again by becoming the first shareholder with an international background at the firm.
How did he manage to persuade the hiring partner to offer him the internship?
How did he turn the internship into a permanent position?
Why indeed didn’t his peers with stellar grades secure jobs like he did?