don’t do this

a LinkedIn message describing the writer's college-aged daughter's educational background and interests in law school, noting she will be home in mid-May, and asking the recipient to offer her an internship at a law firm.

pictured: a LinkedIn message describing the writer’s college-aged daughter’s educational background and interest in law school, noting she will be home in mid-May, and asking the recipient to offer her an internship at a law firm

{ 487 comments… read them below }

  1. Merci Dee*

    Wow. It’s like all of the bad job-searching advice from parents that Alison talks about, all rolled into one, and then digitized!

    1. What's in a name?*

      For the most part, yes. But that isn’t a terrible cover letter if it was written in first person and split into paragraphs.

      1. Loosey Goosey*

        I’m a lawyer and even this was from the student directly, it wouldn’t make me want to interview her. All it says is her college major and her “interests” (which are extremely broad and in a wide range of areas). Has she done any previous internships? Is she involved in any activities at school? Why is she interested in law school, or in any of these practice areas? And why should I want to give her a chance at an internship at my law firm — which is a position that may or may not even exist, based on this letter.

        1. Princess Trachea-Aurelia Belaroth*

          If this were the framework, I think the actual student would be able to fill that stuff into this nicely. Considering some parent enquiries I’ve seen, I think this IS one of the more professionally written. It’s just inappropriate in conception and, as you say, does not contain the personal writing that the actual applicant could supply. Shows the parent is thinking of the internship like any other activity for their child, rather than a professional situation–after all, you don’t have to write a cover letter to get into little league, eh? You just sign the kid up. Doesn’t realize that this is well after the point you need to let your kid take the reins on their own stuff.

          1. Loosey Goosey*

            But as written, it wouldn’t be a good cover letter, even coming directly from the student. That’s what I was responding to.

      2. anonymouse*

        A paragraph for every field of law the daughter is interested in, although it appears to be all of them. Like moms just found a list of legal specialties.

          1. Public Sector Manager*

            On my law degree, it does read “fungible,” so yeah, let’s do it!

            1. Librolover*

              What do mushrooms have to do with anything? Unless you’re trying to say you’re a fun guy. (Puns! Yay!)

      3. Asenath*

        I am not a lawyer, but that reads to me as though Mom (or her daughter) is claiming a remarkable range of interests and experiences. How can any one person, even one with more experience than a university undergraduate, know that much about that many diverse fields?

        1. ForeignLawyer*

          I used to be on the admissions committee at the law school I attended. This is pretty common; I think probably most kids only know about the law from TV and maybe a few undergraduate courses they took. (It’s different if someone wants to go to law school after already having worked — typically they want to study a kind of law related to their existing career.)

          And uh, my own application essay for law school said I was interested in something like “human rights law, finance law, copyright law, and French law”. I was naïve. Luckily they let me in anyway ;)

          1. Venus*

            I was thinking the same, it reads like ‘all the law types we’ve seen on TV’.

            1. ForeignLawyer*

              Yeah, I’m in a country that hasn’t even had the death penalty in decades, but every year without fail we’d get someone writing about how they wanted to work on death row cases. No way that didn’t come from TV.

              1. caps22*

                Yikes, that’s pretty clueless. A good way to filter out at least some types of idiots I guess.

                1. lemon*

                  C’mon, they’re kids.

                  And for a lot of kids who don’t come from privileged backgrounds, television is the *only* exposure they have to white-collar jobs. Growing up, all the adults in my life were either teachers or waitresses or bartenders or factory workers (like my parents). So, it’s not like I could talk to adults about what television jobs were like in real life.

          2. Anononon*

            Yeah, I think I wrote about “international law,” whatever that means, because I could tie in my study abroad experience somewhat.

            1. Working Hypothesis*

              Yikes. My father actually did international law, and a more complicated disaster area humanity might never have created. I’m trying to imagine approaching it fresh out of college with nothing but a study abroad experience to teach me about the field. It makes me dizzy.

              1. Julia*

                My husband did that. Undergrad law (two years in a different country), then straight on to a master’s in International Law. Got hired by his government and has been working there ever since. Granted, his government is not known for making great decisions, and in his country, if you’re male and speak some English, you are practically a God, so it worked out for him.

                1. matcha123*

                  Having a 100-person event while telling everyone to jishuku is great leadership! /s

              2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

                yeah, like anyone with any connection with any country other than your home country is bound to do something “international” (rolleyes)

          3. L.H. Puttgrass*

            I don’t think a list that varied is necessarily bad from someone who hasn’t even gone to law school yet. Some people know exactly the type of law they want to practice—but sometimes that’s…optimistic. The number of fresh-faced law students who want to practice international law or entertainment law, for example, is much higher than the number of lawyers that actually manage to stay employed in those fields. Then there are all the areas that sound like they would make a good case for, “I want to go to law school to do some good, not just make money!”

            Going into law school with a specific area of interest is sort of like starting undergrad knowing what your major is going to be. It happens, but being open to multiple options isn’t a black mark, IMO (and how can you know if you really do like an area of law until you’ve taken some classes about it?).

            1. LizM*

              I don’t think the varied list is that bad (I went to a law school with a lot of people who wanted to be a lawyer and had some varied interests, but weren’t sure what practice areas that would actually translate into), but if you’re reaching out to a specific attorney to ask for a job, it’s helpful to acknowledge what kind of law that attorney practices. Honestly, this reads like mom is just connecting with any lawyer she can find on linkedin and cutting and pasting the same message.

              1. L.H. Puttgrass*

                Oh, absolutely. I was (or think I was) replying to a comment about law school applications. It’s utterly reasonable not to have zeroed in on a particular area of practice before having taken a single class.

                When looking for a job—well, not having your mother spam every attorney she can connect to on LinkedIn is a good start. But yes, when reaching out to a specific attorney, one should find out a little bit about that attorney first.

              2. L.H. Puttgrass*

                And it’s possible that the parent in this example did look up the attorney’s areas of practice and “criminal law, environmental law, immigration law, and medical malpractice law” is just a recitation of the attorney’s area of practice. That level of “personalization” is spammer 101. But I’m not sure any attorney would claim all those areas of practice. It’s not uncommon to see a solo or small firm do do criminal, immigration, and medmal, maybe, but environmental law seems like an outlier.

            2. lawyer*

              Oh hi, it’s me from back in law school during on campus interviews with BigLaw firms and saying I was interested in “international law.” I now know that the correct answer would either be “litigation” or “corporate” but I didn’t have anybody to coach me back then so I just answered with what sounded interesting to me (having zero idea of what international law actually was at the time).

        2. Rusty Shackelford*

          I don’t think she knows any of it. I think those are the fields she (or her mother) could think of that sounded cool/interesting, and she’s requesting an internship that will give her that knowledge. I mean, “I know nothing but I’d like to learn these things, please hire me as an intern” is how that works, isn’t it? :-/

      4. Elenna*

        Ehhh, it would still be pretty bad. Not super cringeworthy like this is, but not great. There’s no explanation of any previous experience, any reason why she would be particularly good at this job, why she’s interested in this particular firm (especially because it sounds like the firm doesn’t even have an open internship and the parent wants them to create one)…

      5. MassMatt*

        Well, “not terrible” is a pretty low bar, but even if it were from the student–what does she bring to the table, what has she achieved? Why should the law firm bring her on as an intern? How would working at THIS law firm further her goals? What ARE her goals? This just lists her major and minor (which are awfully broad, and this is coming from someone who was a double major as an undergrad) and not even her GPA. I’d say it’s pretty poor, I wouldn’t respond to it even if it were written in the first-person unless to send a link to whatever program my firm had.

  2. SocialLerker*

    Why?! Why do parents do this?! It is only undermining her child’s practice at interviewing, building networks, and learning professional norms. STOP being a snow plow parent!!

    1. SunriseRuby*

      I guess moms and dads like to flex their moxy muscles once in a while.

      (Slaps forehead.)

    2. Mike*

      Absolutely. If you have a LEGITIMATE connection to someone in your kid’s chosen field (congregation, colleague, golf buddy, networking group), then maybe you could speak to each other and see if they’re open to having an intern. But the kid still has to do all the work after the introduction is made.

      1. Awesome Sauce*

        Yeah, I’ve done things like that – ask friends to let me know if they hear of any opportunities related to my university-aged kid’s field of study, or mention to someone I know is hiring that my kid has some related experience and how should he apply if he’s interested. Which is right on the line, but hopefully doesn’t cross it. And I have gotten a job through my parent who works in the same field.

        But it looks like this person is mining a brand-new connection on behalf of their daughter, which… no.

        1. Lizzo*

          ^^Yes, that’s the way to do it with *existing* connections, and truthfully there’s nothing wrong with leveraging your existing network to help point your kid in the right direction, but it’s up to the kid to drive.

          1. KaciHall*

            Honestly, I got my current job (10 years past college) because Mom knew I was about done with my last dumpster fire of a company and her friend’s company needed people desperately. It’s been an okay job, except the owners are so deep in conspiracy theories about politics and the pandemic that I want to scream most days it comes up – but I can’t because our families are intertwined and it adds a layer of awkwardness.

            I don’t recommend it.

        2. FreakInTheExcelSheets*

          Yes to Lizzo and Awesome Sauce – I will freely admit that I got my foot in the door at my first ‘real’ job because my dad worked for the same company (completely different department) and a friend of his in HR said “isn’t your daughter studying hospitality? I haven’t seen her apply for our internship program” so he passed along my resume since apparently it hadn’t made it in front of a human for review. That got me the interview, but my performance got the extension on my internship (was supposed to be for a summer, ended up being nearly a full year) and then a full time job after I graduated. This message, however, reads as the LinkedIn equivalent of a cold call, especially the laundry list of unrelated specialties.

      2. LizM*

        The way I look at it, if it wouldn’t be weird if your old boss or mentor called me to make introductions, it wouldn’t be weird for your parents to do it. It’s not unusual for someone I know professionally to call and introduce their intern, who is interested in my office. I’ve even had my pastor call and introduce other members of our congregation who are students and looking for internships.

        Anything that would be weird for a mentor to do is weird for a parent to do. Your mentor actually filling out your job application or cold calling people or accompanying you to an interview is not normal.

        To me, the key is the preexisting relationship and that the person backs off once the initial introductions are made.

      3. Foxgloves*

        Yes, this. When I was at university, I was keen to get some office experience and asked my dad if I’d be able to work at his company for the summer (he’s the managing director, so holds… sway). He talked to a few people to see if they had anything that they would genuinely like some additional support on over the summer (in very clear “please do not make something up for her, she can get a job elsewhere if there isn’t anything” terms), put me in touch with one guy who had a project he was keen for support on, and then my dad said “Now you have to follow up, interview, get the job, and KEEP THE JOB on your own. And if you want to go back next summer, that’s also on you”. It taught me SO many useful things that I wouldn’t have learned at ALL if he’d just done it all for me.

      4. Duckles*

        Right, I didn’t see anything weird about this because I assumed they knew each other (friends, former coworkers, etc.). That’s how I got many of my HS/college internships—being placed at my dad’s clients’ or friends’ companies— including the internship I switched to after I quit the internship I’d gotten on my own because it turned out the ED was super sexist, but that’s another story. Then again, I guess it wouldn’t end up on AAM if the sender thought this was appropriate so maybe they didn’t have that relationship…

      5. CSI*

        I mean the problem with that is that people with legitimate connections are already more entrenched in the power elite, and then their kids get opportunities that others don’t have, reinforcing structural inequality.

        Obviously this message is a disaster, but I really feel for a parent who can’t hit someone up on the golf course for an opportunity for their kid and is trying to fill that gap any way they can,

    3. Beth*

      I wonder if her mom even knows she sent this in. I can’t imagine most college students would be thrilled about their parents doing this level of messaging for them, outside their own control. (Maybe if mom was already close friends with this person…but with a new connection?? I’d have been so embarrassed!)

      1. SheLooksFamiliar*

        Several of my friends did this kind of thing, against my advice. Their kids were not only thrilled, they thought it was completely normal. If your parents have been involved in scheduling/managing your life since you were born, I guess it IS normal.

        1. LunaLena*

          Yeah, I think this just comes across as “normal” to some young adults because they don’t know any other life and no one instilled the need to learn in them. A few years ago, my MIL offered to show a college student how to do her own laundry, and her response was “That’s okay, my mom does it for me.” In her case, it wasn’t that her parents scheduled/managed her life; in fact they were the opposite, totally hands-off and never asked her to do anything or expected anything of her. As a result she never thought she had to learn any life skills because hey, *they* never asked her to do anything so no one else ever would either.

          This “my mom will take care of it” attitude was also depressingly common when I was a tutor, though to be fair those were high school students so they were still learning and growing.

          1. Jessica*

            I have a much-younger sibling, and I started teaching him to do laundry when he was such a young child that the only aspect he couldn’t do was starting the washer, because he wasn’t tall enough. He found my comic-horror stories of Pathetic College People I Had Encountered Who Didn’t Even Know How To Do Their Laundry very entertaining and gratifying.

            1. ceiswyn*

              My actual parents were shocked recently to discover that I don’t know how to iron clothes (I’m in my 40s).

              I was like… you’re my parents, you know that YOU didn’t teach me, who were you thinking would?

              (And for me, the choice between ‘learn to iron by trial and mostly error’ and ‘buy clothes that don’t crease’ was not a difficult one)

              1. Beth Jacobs*

                Eh, you can teach yourself pretty much anything. By the time you’re forty, it’s really time to stop blaming your parents for anything you don’t know.

                1. ceiswyn*

                  I could, but why would I bother?

                  Ironing is something that I can pay competent professionals to do to the very few clothes I own that require it.

                2. allathian*

                  Agreed. That said, I gifted all the clothes I had that need ironing long ago. I always feel like I need three hands to do it, and it’s by far my least favorite chore. One of my friends loved ironing so much that she’d iron everything, including panties. At times she’d pretend to be upset by the fact that she couldn’t iron her underwire bras… Of course, then she had a couple of kids and while I’ve never seen her in wrinkled clothes, I do think she’s stopped ironing underwear.

                3. Clisby*

                  It doesn’t sound like she’s blaming her parents – just pointing out that she didn’t understand why they were surprised. It would be like my parents being surprised that I didn’t know how to change the oil in my car. My parents didn’t teach me, and I’m not bothering to learn. That’s what annual checkups at the mechanic are for. (I do know how to iron, and probably haven’t had any reason to do it for at least 10 years.)

              2. Keymaster of Gozer*

                I too buy clothes that don’t crease for the same reason. The only thing I use an iron for is my embroidery.

                (My parents did teach me a heck of a lot else, lest I’m giving them a bad light here. I got taught how to code, fix a plumbing issue, maintain the car, do DIY, sew…)

                1. ceiswyn*

                  My parents mostly failed to teach me actual life skills, but I’ve been pretty good at picking up the ones I actually need. And my father DID teach me how to change a tyre, including tips and tricks for not losing the nuts while doing it in the dark :)

              3. Bluesboy*

                A few years ago, I was relaxing at home with my then girlfriend on a Sunday afternoon and she got a call from her Mum telling her she urgently had to go halfway across the city to her uncle’s to iron a shirt for him.

                Apparently his wife was away, he hadn’t realised his shirt for the next day wasn’t ironed yet, and the laundrette was closed.

                You made the call to buy clothes that don’t crease, that’s reasonable enough. His choice on the other hand was to literally depend on other people to make his life work…

            2. Clisby*

              I’m all for teaching kids how to do laundry, but how long can it take? 15 minutes? 30 minutes? It’s not like there’s anything difficult about it.

      2. Elenna*

        I did actually get my first co-op job through a friend of my mother’s, but a) they were already friends, and b) the friend in question was already looking to hire a co-op in my field. So it was more like regular “someone you know knows someone with a job you might like” networking rather than her emailing a random person to ask them to create a job. And even then I found it kinda awkward that my mother knew my boss…

        1. Elenna*

          Plus, my mom just let me know that there was a job I could apply for and probably get, I still had to apply and interview myself. Mom wasn’t involved at all past the initial recommendation.

        2. Beth*

          Yeah, this feels very different to me–as a new grad job-hunting, I would’ve appreciated being put in contact with my parents’ existing networks! I could see it being a bit awkward, but that’s a legitimate connection. (It didn’t come up, I’m not remotely adjacent to either of their fields and wasn’t looking in their area, but I can see it being a positive thing.)

          What makes this one really embarrassing to me is the layer where this person isn’t even in the mom’s network. It’s just someone she randomly contacted! Cold calls (or the email equivalent, in this case) are awkward enough generally; to have it happen from a parent, without even having a chance to represent yourself accurately, sounds incredibly terrible to me.

      3. College Career Counselor*

        I will say that a number of today’s students would NOT be embarrassed by this, nor would they think it out of the norm. The parents of the students I work with these days are *far* more involved in the daily life of their students than years ago. My parents called me once a week at college on Sundays (you know, when the rates were cheaper–yes, I’m old); today’s parents and students are often texting multiple times per day.

        I have some stories about parents taking inappropriate ownership of what should be the student’s duty. Here are a few:
        *calling me up asking for lists of alumni in XYZ field to contact on behalf of their student (when told that the student needed to come in, replied “Oh, he’s much to busy to do that, so I’m doing it for him.”)

        *”I don’t know if I have a copy of my resume; my mom keeps all my important papers.” (said to me several years ago by a senior in college)

        *”Who’s going to wake up my student in time to go to class?”

        *Parents who insisted on being in the office for a career counseling session with their daughter (I ignored them and spoke with the student)

        *Parent who called me up to talk about his daughter’s career exploration and then handed the phone to her when she walked in the room, pretending that I’D CALLED HIM looking for her. (To her credit, that student was royally pissed at her father)

        1. Bluesboy*

          “to her credit, that student was royally pissed at her father)”

          This reminds me of a woman in her mid-twenties who took a job with me. The contract specified the full-time salary ‘reproportioned by hours worked’ and then specified that she was working 20 hours a week.

          Her Dad showed up at the office to argue with me about her salary. He’d gone through her stuff, read her contract, not noticed the bit about ‘reproportioned’ and came in to shout at me for not paying her what her contract said.

          She was soooo embarrassed. I’ve literally never seen anyone more embarrassed. I felt so sorry for her!

        2. Former prof*

          Long ago the mother of a student who had failed my course called me to tell me to change the grade so her son could keep his football scholarship. She was a community college instructor, she said, so she knew I could do it. I took a breath, then asked if her son’s coach knew she was calling me. Because if so, the coach would probably cut her son from the team (because our campus has an uncrossable line between athletics and academics). She was shocked, begged me to forget it and hung up. The next day her mortified child came to apologize for his mother, who he was ready to kill.

    4. TootsNYC*

      I agree with you. But as someone whose child grew up in roughly the same child-rearing era:
      -we were given HUGE pressure about the idea that our child’s success was our responsibility.
      -we were sent a very strong message that we were supposed to be INVOLVED!!
      -I had teachers SCOLD ME about whether my child was doing well in school–not alert me, not recruit my help, not ask for insight–SCOLD me, as if I was the person whose worth and whose actions were being judged.
      -the anxiety about whether a kid is going to be able to get a job is HUGE

      It was and is a helluva thing to fight back against.

      I run around my home chanting, “It’s not my life. It’s not my life.”

      1. justanobody*

        I hear you, Toots! The schools were always pushing “GET INVOLVED, PARENTS! This is your responsibility”, but then would complain about helicopter/snowplow parents. It’s *really* hard hard to get it ‘just right’ and to become hands-off.
        Still, that parent is seriously over reaching!

        1. ecnaseener*

          I hear you, but it does seem like a reasonable rule of thumb is “help your kid find a job, but they should be the one to actually contact potential employers.” Plenty of room for a parent to be involved behind the scenes, without making their kid look immature.

        2. Brezzel*

          Really? My mother was a teacher, and she never had this issue with my or my sisters’ teachers. She paid attention to what we were learning, and she had high expectations. Your job is to make sure your kids know that their job is to actively participate in their learning and meet their potential. This does not require helicopter parenting, and the teachers literally can’t do it for you.

      2. TM*

        You know, this resonated with me. We are told all along the way that everything we do as parents MATTERS. It can be tough to know when it is time to turn that off. I’m pretty good intellectually at understanding the boundaries and I think I’ve navigated them successfully, but I do have a scintilla of sympathy for parents who do this.

      3. So long and thanks for all the fish*

        Thanks for this insight- it makes a bunch of weird things parents do sometimes make so much more sense!

      4. Carriem*

        Yes, the pressure is very intense, even if it’s just generally societal. At one point I had to have a talk with myself and say ‘My son’s grades in middle school are NOT my grades as his parent’.

        1. LearnedTheHardWay*

          Mine are in 3rd and 1st and luckily, it seems that teachers have had enough of helicopter parenting, because other than the random fundraising emails and the generic “we need volunteer” emails the schools send out, I haven’t had any requests from their teachers. I HAVE reached out a few times to ask if any supplies need replenished, and I have volunteered a couple times, but I haven’t had the spoons for most of the year. I appreciate their lack of intensity – and both hubs and I just had to chill our kid out about the state testing. Like, no, it’s NOT a life or death deal. Chill out, enjoy the book when you’re done, and just get through it. No big.

      5. armchairexpert*

        Thank you, yes. I’m kind of friends with the Principal at my kids’ (K-7) school and she always bemoans over involved parents, and I’m the one saying, look, do you think we wouldn’t rather go back to the days of chucking our kids out after breakfast and telling them to play out until dinner? It was easier! We’re very busy! Nobody I know my age has any free time ever! But we can’t, because:

        Parents are arrested for letting their kids play in parks at age 9; high schools send texts to the parents if a 15 year old hands an assignment in late – and calls them to discuss if that keeps happening; it’s impossible to rent, much less buy, a home unless you earn a graduate salary and probably also have help from your parents, meanwhile university fees are spiralling and kids are weighed down with debt. Today’s parents are expected to save for astronomical college fees, and kids can’t move out of home until they have a successsful career? Of course they want to know if that same kid is sleeping through their classes. Even if they are legally adults.

    5. Hiring Manager sometimes*

      Do we even know that the daughter was on board with this? Or is mom doing the daughter a “favor”?

  3. Ginger*


    oh no, no, no.

    Wonder if the daughter knows her parent is doing this? And they just connected with this person and think their little blurb is an appropriate “application”?

      1. The New Wanderer*

        When I was a sophomore in college, my mom wanted me to go to law school. She signed me up and paid for the LSATs, guilted me into studying and taking them, and then criticized my score when I didn’t ace them (I did respectably but not top-tier).

        And SHE would never have done this!

  4. Trying my best and hoping it's enough*

    WOW. I’ve dealt with some helicopter parents of younger employees, but this is beyond. Just no.

    1. parental guidance anon*

      That’s because this isn’t a helicopter parent–this is a snowplow (lawnmower/bulldozer) parent–they want clear all the obstacles out of the way for their kids.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        What they don’t realize is how many problems they create in the bulldozing.

        These are the kids that end up wanting NOTHING to do with their parents. Or the ones that constantly “run to daddy/mommy” because the boss was mean to them.

    2. Chilipepper Attitude*

      For about 5 minutes when my son was a toddler, it was a good thing to be a helicopter parent. It meant parents hovering and keeping a watchful eye, not sticking your fingers in their pie/life but being there if called on.

      1. RagingADHD*

        Yeah, that’s the whole issue with helicoptering and bulldozing–infantilization. When you refuse to let your child face age-appropriate challenges and responsibilities, you undermine their development. That’s true for actual babies/toddlers, and all the way up.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Yup – one of my college roommates flunked out of college because they had been “helicoptered into helplessness.” It was so sad to watch, but they refused all advice and suggestions from me because I was willing to teach them, not to do it for them. Apparently that was too mean to “the princess” (according to mom when they came to pack all roommate’s things after the failing out – that mom really tried to lay into me, I was saved by my RA).

  5. PolarVortex*

    Awww, Mom, no.

    That’s not the way to help your kid. Poor kid, not sure if I hope she knows or doesn’t know her mom is doing this.

  6. Emily*

    I’d be really interested in knowing if the daughter knows her parent is doing this or not. If I were the daughter I would be *furious*. What is the parent going to do if the daughter becomes a lawyer? Is the parent planning on going to court with the daughter too? “Your honor, my daughter would like to object.”

    1. irene adler*

      Love that last line: “**We** would be greatly appreciative.”

      We know Parental Unit would be greatly appreciative. Not sure about the daughter.

    2. Magenta Sky*

      “If I were the daughter I would be *furious*. ”

      But then, if you had a parent who would do something like that, odds are, you would expect them to.

      “Is the parent planning on going to court with the daughter too?”

      That would hardly be the first time for that, either.

      1. asdfghhjkl*

        If this was me I’d do the kid a kindness and say “hey you should have a talk with your parents” as a heads up about how this comes across.

    3. Origami Dragon*

      Or worse if the parent tries to second guess her behavior in the trial. “Shouldn’t you object to that?””

      1. Anononon*

        Last year, during the lockdowns, I spent some time at my parents’ house, where I was able to work remotely, including court appearances, which were telephonic, so a couple of times my dad was able to listen in. Fortunately he stayed quiet during the actual calls!

        1. An American(ish) Werewolf in London*

          I misread this and thought your court appearances were telepathic. Which would change the meaning entirely and make your dad’s behaviour even weirder.

          Fortunately, that’s not what it said.

          1. Anononon*

            Lol! My district got extremely sophisticated with technology due to the shutdown.

        2. The Prettiest Curse*

          Your dad was probably very proud to see you in action! And I hope you didn’t accidentally turn on the kitten filter like that lawyer in Texas…

          1. Anononon*

            :D He enjoyed it because the judge reamed the attorney on the other side. He was unaware of the specific nuances of the request he was making and how it could pretty significantly impact his client. I think the phrase “potentially malpractice” was thrown around? This judge is known for being a stickler, but it was something, even for him.

            In another district I practice in, they recently started doing Zoom hearings instead of telephone, and I’m just waiting for a kitten filter to show up, what with all the older attorneys trying to figure out how Zoom works.

      2. starsaphire*

        A Monty Pythonesque sketch just leaped full-blown into my head after reading that comment.

        Picture a pepperpot Terry Jones as the mother, doing her knitting; a working-class Graham Chapman as the father, chewing on his pipe; and poor Eric Idle as the son-lawyer, sitting between them, while a trial is in session.

        John Cleese is the judge; Michael Palin is the very guilty defendant; Terry Gilliam is the bailiff trying not to laugh (and failing) when, every time Idle tries to speak, Jones interrupts him to correct him or Chapman takes his pipe out and starts expounding on how, down the mine, they do things differently…

        Idle can’t get a word in edgewise and the defendant keeps getting more and more panicky because his defense is going down the tubes, and Cleese is rapidly losing patience in that upper-class-tight-jawed way.

        Except, in real life, it wouldn’t be funny.

    4. Anon for this anecdote*

      “Is the parent planning on going to court with the daughter too?”

      Yes, probably. However, even a lenient judge will put the kibosh on any actual *talking* by the parent. (I saw a similar dynamic once with an attorney bringing his college-age prelaw kid along as an assistant.)

      If the parent is reading this — you might’ve heard that the law is a networking-heavy profession and that students with parents who practice are at some advantage. That’s correct, but reaching out this way is the opposite of helpful. There’s significant overlap between the skills involved in job searching and the skills involved in lawyering, especially if your kid plans to go to a firm where she’ll need to develop business.

      If the student is reading this — I suggest not telling your mom and dad about the details of your job search, though I know that might be hard. That letter mentions some very different areas of law; if it’s accurate, I recommend gaining some experience and narrowing your focus, or at least not sharing as many areas of interest with prospective employers. And seriously consider working for a couple years between college and law school in a town well away from your parents.

      1. anonymouse*

        I’m picturing a power strip for multiple computers that it ultimately plugged into itself.
        “Networking. You are doing it wrong.”

      2. Artemesia*

        My cynicism emerges again. There are far too many law graduates and there are not very many opportunities for lots of them. The young lawyers I know with good jobs and careers. mostly have parents who are lawyers who have connections and were able to grease the skids for their kids to get the internships and interviews that launched their careers. Many I am sure make it on their own — but those in the vast mid-range of accomplishment are very much advantaged by connections.

        This parent is doing it wrong — but it isn’t wrong that the parental network can be critical to launching a law career.

        1. Biglaw lawyer*

          The young lawyers I know with good jobs and careers. mostly have parents who are lawyers who have connections and were able to grease the skids for their kids to get the internships

          Some of them, yes, but “mostly” is putting it far too strongly.

          Biglaw firms do most of their first-year associate hiring via on-campus recruiting at top law schools. The best way to get a foot in the door is to attend a top-ten law school (or a top regional school in your market, like Fordham for NYC or Santa Clara for the Bay Area or GWU in DC), do well there academically, and *learn* about the legal market before doing on-campus recruiting.

        2. Susana*

          If I had a parent ask for an internship or job for his or her kid, I’d be very disinclined to hire that person. Unless kid got in touch to say this was done without his or her knowledge or approval.

          How on earth can parents grease the skids? All they’re doing is signaling that their kid doesn’t have the initiative or skills to do own job search.

    5. Memories light the corners of my mind*

      I’m remembering the time when my dad reached out to a law school that I didn’t get in to, to complain/argue on my behalf. I had no idea he was doing it and I was LIVID (and humiliated) when I discovered it. It was 15 years ago and I’m still cringing just thinking about it.

    6. Anonomatopoeia*

      You know, one of the things I don’t think parents who behave this way know is what lengths their child will start to go to to ensure they do not know about problems. I tolerated psychological and mild physical abuse for pretty much the entire duration of a middle school class rather than tell my mom (who in general was about 30 steps the right side of the line from this parent, but who was very likely to jump in and overwhelmingly handle things for me) because nooooooo I did not want her handling my life, ever. On the up side, I handle my own life and have since I was a teenager. On the down side, probably it would have been okay for me to seek and receive support some of the times, because it probably would have been a smoother path.

      Parenting is hard, and getting this balance right is a beast, but yeah, if I were this daughter I would be epically irate about this and the presumable 739 other letters my parent sent on my behalf. Ugh.

  7. Trying my best and hoping it's enough*

    It feels like this parent is one baby step away from Felicity Huffman / Lori Loughlin level parenting.

    1. Liane*

      Social media and Linked In accounts, even premium, have the advantage of being way cheaper than what Karen & Karen (I mean Ms. H. & Ms. L.) paid to get their girls embarrassed and out of college. Not even counting whatever fines, legal fees, & lost gigs being Privileged! Celebs! couldn’t get them out of.

    2. anonymouse*

      It feels like if this parent did have the option of buying an opportunity for the daughter, it would be on a short list of options.

    3. Black Horse Dancing*

      I never knew why people were surprised at the college scandals. Parents have been doing this for centuries–using their pull to assist their offspring get things. The only shock was these parents actually were charged with something. Tons of parents are doing the same thing just quieter. From donating huge amounts to a favored college to pushing their colleagues to hire “Sonny boy” or “Daughter”.

      1. TiffIf*

        From donating huge amounts to a favored college to pushing their colleagues to hire “Sonny boy” or “Daughter”.

        Though–the “make a donation route” is on the bribery end of the spectrum where as what they were doing is straight up fraud–I don’t know why the fraud is worse to me?

        Maybe because the bribery has always been rather transparent–everyone knows both in society and in the school that if you donate a lot of money it makes doors easier to open. So its icky but there’s a certain amount of transparency. The fraud was on a different level than just exerting monetary and social pressure.

        1. Marillenbaum*

          And at least in the bribery end, there is someone else who can conceivably benefit: when I worked in college admissions, we knew some kids with mediocre grades would be admitted to the class because they had rich parents, but it was hard to be mad about it when rich kid’s parents were greasing the skids by endowing a full ride for an undocumented student.

      2. Roci*

        Same. Every school I applied to and many I didn’t had a “legacy” program where you could get favorable consideration if your parents had attended or donated. Colleges and schools literally encourage this kind of behavior because it helps them get money and prestigious alumni.

      3. llamaswithouthats*

        For me, the surprise was that they actually got consequences. I think we all knew that this stuff happened under the wraps for years. Though I will never get over the fact that rich parents feel the need to go through this kind of trouble when being rich inherently gives you so many privileges without having to cheat. I don’t know why they get so desperate.

    4. Aquawoman*

      I was pretty amazed that this person didn’t ask about openings or interviews or applications but seemed to expect someone to give their daughter a job based on nothing more than their name and major.

  8. Greige*

    Oh noooo!!!! I hope prospective employers don’t hold this against her. She’s probably mortified!

    1. Mental Lentil*

      It’s an internship, so I don’t know about holding it against her. I mean, if mom is this involved in the search for an internship, can you imagine how involved she’s going to be in the actual internship? This is real helicopter parent territory.

      1. The Lexus Lawyer*

        I was the one who got this message and there’s not a hidden internship at stake here.

        Forget holding it against her, I never even looked at the daughter’s profile. I just ignored the mom, who by the way, followed up again a couple days later.

        1. LifeBeforeCorona*

          This is interesting that the mom contacted you again. Do you feel any obligation to let the daughter know if only by forwarding the texts to her?

    2. Cedarthea*

      I run a camp so I get a few of these. My response is that we only speak to the candidate, they can go through our application process and pass along my contact info to the parent and then ignore if they try to intervene.

      Generally, I don’t hear from those kids. Usually, they have no interest in working at a camp but their parents are pushing them, but if I do hear from them I give them the same level of scrutiny as any other candidate as they don’t deserve to be punished for their parent’s entitlement.

      1. PT*

        I ran a pool and hired lifeguards and I would get some of these too. I did not mind parents asking politely! There were plenty of valid reasons a parent might ask. We hired minors and the kid might still need working papers/a ride/Mom to put the $200 lifeguard class on their credit card so they’d need to be involved in the process somehow. Or their college kid might still be away at school or on study abroad and Mom or Dad or Grandma was in swimming laps and saw the “We’re Hiring!” flyer on the bulletin board and poked their head in the office to ask. That’s why we posted the flyer, we wanted people to ask and refer people our way!

        But occasionally we’d get parents calling on the behalf of young people, I’d give them the short answer on the application process (Sure! Apply on the website, then sign up for a class at the front desk!), and they’d get angry and start arguing with me that I was wrong and didn’t know what I was doing and that I HAD to hire their child. “Well that’s not how I think it should be done, this is just ridiculous, other places aren’t giving me this answer! You need to hire my child.”

        Yeah no.

        1. Cedarthea*

          100% this! We advertise through facebook for staff but target it at parents as we know they are on there more than their GenZ kids and they will send it along, referrals are how we get some of our best staff!

          Also, yes sometimes parents ask about logistics and I have had convos with parents about driving their kid to camp to start the contract, but that’s it. Outside of that even their minor child is provided privacy in their employment in Ontario.

          I had a parent scream into my voicemail that I needed to tell him why I terminated his daughter’s contract, needless to say there was nothing I could tell him, and that he needed to speak to his child.

          1. Clisby*

            Oh, yeah, I’ve forwarded FB leads to my 19-year-old, since he doesn’t do FB at all. He wound up getting a summer job by walking over to a place he thought he’d like to work, interviewing, and being hired on the spot. (I live in a tourism-heavy area where seasonal hiring is just ramping up.) I was really pleased since I’m a huge proponent of everybody getting a customer-service job under their belt fairly early.

      2. ecnaseener*

        Am I right in guessing that those prospective camp counselors are mostly high-school age though?

        1. Susana*

          I’d still want an application from the high school student – not a parent. Since of course the parent would not be doing the job….

        2. Cedarthea*

          Yes and no. We hire mostly university students but we do have some high schoolers. In Ontario your staff at an overnight camp must be at least turning 17 that year, and my facility has a preference for 18+.

          I do have parents of 14/15 yo inquiring about emploment and I give them info about our program and hiring process, but once we get into the nitty gritty I do only communicate with the potential staff member. Working a camp is hard work and they need to have some initiative so if they can’t even communicate with me, then the position may not be for them.

          That said, I do talk to families about logistics (getting to camp, when their child will be home, yes they do need first aid/cpr) but once we get into any sort of negotiation I will only speak with the child because it is their job and I want to make it clear who is working for me.

    3. Just no!*

      Or she may be like my 30-something niece and expect her mother to do things like this for her. I have no hope for either mother or daughter.

  9. Anononon*

    Oh, geeez. Like, maybe if mom was friends with someone at the firm, mom could text that friend to set up an opportunity for her daughter to communicate with the friend directly. But, it looks like the mom doesn’t even personally know the person, and she just blasts the person with a mini cover letter. :(

    1. Artemesia*

      This. Growing up 60 years ago, the kids who got the great summer jobs in my community were the ones whose parents used their connections. The rest of us worked at the local greasy spoon or burger joint.

      A well placed ‘connection’ that is personal can help at this stage. But even then the parent would KNOW the person and the person in the law firm would say ‘have Sally contact me for an interview’ and Sally would carry the ball from there. Or they would say ‘well we have an internship process, so Sally needs to go to our website and apply.’

      1. Kuddel Daddeldu*

        My nephew had a three-week, mandatory high school internship. He had done all the legwork himself (writing cover letters and resumes was part of his school’s curriculum). And then, four weeks before the start date, the company got bust. He was devastated.
        Okay, extenuating circumstances – I picked up the phone and asked my oldest friend (we went to Kindergarten together) and got him his internship. He still had to write the cover letter, of course.
        This is different because he had done the work and I had more than a bit of connection there (we owned a business together for a few years). My nephew learned a lot and changed the major he wants to take at college, so it worked out rather well. Kudos to the boy for not wanting to rely on his family’s network until he was forced to do that or do his internship at a grocery store, stocking shelves (nothing against stocking shelves but it’s not likely to help a 16-year-old to find out what he wants to do with his life!)

        1. ecnaseener*

          There’s also a BIG difference between a 16 y/o kid fulfilling a high school requirement and a 19-20 y/o young adult trying to break into a demanding career.

      2. LKW*

        While we can debate whether using such connections is ethical (and definitely checks a “privileged” box) if you’re going to use it, you still have to do it correctly. And that means asking people you actually know, or asking people you know to introduce you (or your kids) to the decision makers.

        In my experience, it was 80% “Hey, did you know this opportunity exists?” and 20% “I can get you to the top of the list but you have to dress for an interview, conduct a good interview and then don’t freaking embarrass me or make me regret pulling this string for you.”

        1. Lily Rowan*

          Even well into adulthood, I “got” a job thanks to family connections. Not really, but I only applied because my mother knew someone who worked at the place. The job posting was terribly written and I would have assumed it was too junior/didn’t pay enough for me.

          But these were real connections, and just got me a little extra information! (And I know I’m privileged.)

      3. Phil*

        My first summer job was with a friend of my father. I was 12 and I was the lot boy at his British car dealership. What fun!

      4. Anon4This*

        Growing up about 20-25 years ago, it was the same system. A former executive at my company called it the “nepotism exchange program”.

        1. Anon for this*

          Love the “nepotism exchange program!” It’s so true — my law firm hired clients’ kids as summer file clerks, clients hired some of the partners’ kids in their businesses for summer work. This always seemed problematic to me. You have to be a at least a little aware of what you’re saying in front of who and about what.

    2. Antilles*

      That was my impression too.
      “Thank you for connecting with me” legitimately made me think that the parent is just doing the equivalent of cold-calling people just to see if someone accepts, without any *actual* connection involved.

    3. Blushingflower*

      Right, I can see “hey, Friend, as you probably know, Daughter is thinking about Law School, do you know if your firm is taking on interns this summer, and if so, how Daughter would go about applying?”
      And then the kid does the application herself, and maybe the fact that she knows Friend gets her application a few extra points. Still a world of difference from a LinkedIn message saying “hey, give my daughter an internship!”

  10. Amber Rose*

    Oh noooo. :(

    I’d be half tempted to talk to this girl out of pity, but I also wouldn’t want to reward this kind of behavior. Yikes x 1000.

    1. L Dub*

      I’d want to connect with the daughter to make certain she knows her parent is doing this. That’s about it.

    2. Door2Door*

      I would be scared of the HR minefield that every time I felt the need to provide critical feedback or say no, that the parent would be involved in rebutting it, or trying to wrestle with me over it (or worse, a colleague). Just no. Also, if a kid is too scared to put themselves out there how they can see themselves in the courtroom (in a profession that is inherently confrontational!) is beyond me!

      I am tempted to give her the benefit of the doubt but most of the time these things are pretty competitive so I would probably pass, or at best try to turn a blind eye and say “we encourage her to apply, our website is http://www….”

      1. Zooey*

        A friend in law recounted a story about a junior lawyer in her firm who started and just refused to go to court. First few weeks – fine, she needs to settle in and get her confidence up, there’s lots to learn. But time goes on and still she just.. prefers not to. Needless to say she did not stay in the profession!

        1. Sue*

          So so many people go to law school who should not be lawyers. The profession is already overrun and schools keep sending out new graduates with dubious job prospects, personalities ill-suited to practicing law and $250,000 in debt. There are many who do well, of course. But in my 35+ year career, I’ve seen many fail to thrive. I wish someone had intervened sooner to talk through whether the career was really a good fit.

        2. Former Employee*

          I thought there were lawyers who didn’t go to court. My impression was that if you wanted to make the big bucks in law, courtroom work was required but, if you didn’t want to do that, there were other jobs where you could use your law degree, not have to go to court, and just make less money.

          1. LifeBeforeCorona*

            I worked for a patent/copywrite law firm. I don’t any of them saw the inside of a courtroom in years. It seemed pretty lucrative because someone was always inventing something.

          2. UKDancer*

            Definitely. In the UK only a minority of lawyers go to court. If you do corporate / probate / property law you very rarely wind up in court. I know (very slightly) a very well regarded QC with a specialism in pension schemes and he’s very rarely in court because he does most of his work giving advice. If he winds up in court, something’s gone badly wrong.

            I think it sounds like the junior lawyer Zooey described is in the wrong type of legal field and should look for a different type of specialism.

            I learnt in my early years as a law student that I completely sucked at mooting (mock trials) because I hated standing on my feet arguing in an adversarial manner. This meant I knew not to apply for the bar. I was much better at the paper based aspects of contract or commercial legislation.

            1. Keymaster of Gozer*

              Yeah, most of the lawyers I’ve dealt with have not seen a courtroom in years. Biological copyright attorneys, data protection experts, the one who did our mortgage…etc.

              The Barrister who was with me when I was up in the High Court (as witness for the prosecution, not as the accused!) you could tell spent a lot of time in the courtroom though. That guy was an absolute godsend.

          3. miss chevious*

            There are tons or lawyer jobs that don’t require court, actually, and going to court isn’t always where the dollars are. But it sounds like this junior lawyer took a job where going to court was a requirement, and she needed a job as a different type of lawyer.

      2. FisherCat*

        I mean this letter contains truly innumerable red flags on the parent’s part but let’s not count the child out of an entire profession because she was uncomfortable cold emailing at probably 19 or 20.

        I wouldn’t have done that at her age but now I’m uh… *mumble mumble* years old and an effective courtroom litigator.

  11. Jay*

    Interesting how many people assume it’s mom. Doesn’t look to me as if we have any identifying info about the gender of the parent.

    My kid is a rising college senior and I have been walking the fine line of supporting without overstepping. It’s a challenge. Stepping over the line would be soothing my own anxiety rather than doing the right thing for her, so I’m continuing to be a coach on the sidelines as best I can.

      1. ThatGirl*

        It’s LinkedIn speak – presumably the parent reached out to this person and asked to connect on the site, and that’s what they’re thanking them for.

    1. AnotherAlison*

      Good point. My dad was quite a micromanager of his children’s college lives.

      So genuine question for you. What makes it a challenge for you to not overstep? My son graduated last year. There were a lot of question marks due to covid, and I found it liberating to step away from my parenting role and let him figure out how to get things done. I also have a high school student teenager who works at a big box discount store and might have another summer opportunity. He feels badly about considering leaving the current job because his boss treats him well. I’m once again very happy just to say, “That’s a tough one. Here are some things to think about.” If you can’t let them make the decisions when they’re 16, you end up writing LI messages like this when they’re 23, I suppose.

      1. Lady Meyneth*

        My mom was micromanag-y in my college days. For her, the big challenge was dealing with her own hard anxiety when I was handling my own affairs. It was worse because I tend to be pretty chill about things and she’s a worrywort, so I’d be perfectly relaxed while she was freaking out, which made her unconsciously conclude I wasn’t taking things seriously enough.

        She would literally miss sleep worrying about random simple things, like wether there was a parking lot attached to my potential internship or if I’d have to look for parking (!) She did respect my boundaries, and would never do something like this post, but it could be a battle sometimes.

        1. NotAnotherManager!*

          My spouse and I have a similar dynamic to what you describe in your first paragraph – he’s very laid back and generally has good luck, and I work hard to keep my anxiety from overtaking my life and have terrible luck (seriously shocked I haven’t been struck by lightning yet – that is my luck). It used to stress me out when I didn’t think he’s taking something seriously, but we’ve found our groove over the years.

          The one thing that drives me straight up a wall, though, is when he tells me, “Relax, things always work out!” Well, no shit, Sherlock, they work out because I do a substantial amount of work making it so.

          1. cookie monster*

            Exact same dynamic in my house with my spouse, exact same “everything always works out” comment from him, and me biting my tongue that yes, everything works out because I force it to!

        2. Artemesia*

          I did not micromanage my kids at all BUT I remember when my son was getting his masters and I asked him what the job situation looked like and he said ‘oh I am waiting till I get my thesis done and will start to look then.’ It took all I had to not say ‘noooooooooo, you MUST start applying NOWWWWWW. It will take months’. Because in my profession jobs were scarce even 50 plus years ago and in my later academic career they are all but non-existent. In MY experience waiting till you graduated was ridiculous. He on the other hand, had 3 good offers within a week of starting his search one of which he took. It taught me that he might know what he is doing and that I might not have the keys to the universe.

        3. Joielle*

          My mom was (and still is) the same way. Her anxiety just will not let her relax in the face of me making simple decisions for myself, and she can’t or won’t recognize that it’s a problem.

          Sadly, the only way we can really speak at all anymore is that I just don’t tell her about anything important or interesting that I’m doing. Certainly nothing I’m conflicted about. So I tell her about how my garden is doing, and how the pets are doing, and how the weather is where I live. It really sucks to have such a surface-level relationship with my own mom, but it’s either that or spend a lot of time soothing her anxiety and fielding completely bonkers middle-of-the-night anxiety-based questions, which I’m just not willing to do anymore!

          Anyways, let this be a cautionary tale. It’s well worth it to deal with parental anxiety early on, or you may end up barely knowing your own kid when they get older. And the parent in the post is not on the right track.

      2. Jay*

        She makes her own decisions. Aways has. I still worry. Always will. I don’t allow that worry to drive me to interfere, because it’s my issue, not hers. I don’t see that as stepping away from my parenting role. I see it as fulfilling my parenting role – not the worry, the independence.

        1. allathian*

          Yeah. All these snowplow parents make me so sad, because they’ve failed at the most crucial part of being a successful parent, which is to help your child grow into an independent adult.

    2. kittymommy*

      I believe Alison historically uses the female gender for LW’s unless it is specified different.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        There’s lots of misinformation about this below, which I’ve removed because I don’t want it reinforced. When I write and gender is unknown, I default to female pronouns (for anyone, not just LWs), to counter centuries of the male default being used instead. I’m not assuming anyone is actually female, just as people used “he” to mean “he or she” for centuries. No one else needs to do that here; it’s just what I do.

    3. Public Sector Manager*

      Totally unrelated, but you mentioned you kid is a “rising college senior.” If the career services at your kid’s college is recommending using “I’m a rising student at …” for cover letters, please tell you kids not to do it. Every year we have a summer internship for law students and 95% of the cover letters we get start with: “I’m a rising star at …”; “I’m a rising 2L at …”; “I’m a rising student at …”. It’s so overused that every time I see it, I do a major eye roll. It’s doesn’t convey any information. In fact, a student who was ranked third in their law school class said they were a rising star.

      1. Anonomatopoeia*

        I’m slightly confused by this, because I think the word rising has two pretty different senses here, and rising senior or 2L is not the same at all as rising star. Rising star is like, hey, I am amazeballs and it’s a matter of time until everyone knows my name. It’s a thing one should never say about oneself, or if one should it’s in a context I haven’t considered. Rising senior or 2L is literally a way of describing what year one is in one’s program, and is in common usage in schools as the way to describe that middle time when one is transitioning to the next year, because in July (in the US), it’s not particularly clear whether someone who says they are a junior just finished, or is just about to start, the junior year. Rising senior means the former. I don’t think I think this phrase carries any of that connotation of superiority, just rank. Am I totally wrong?

        1. fhqwhgads*

          Nope, you’re right. “Rising senior” = “Just finished jr year, will be a senior when school resumes.”
          I don’t entirely disagree with recommending against the phrase though. If one’s company is getting a lot of applicants using “rising star”, I have to wonder if either: applicants have completely misunderstood and don’t know what this phrase means themselves so they’ve twisted into something ridiculous OR if this is a case of autocorrect going wrong way too frequently and students not noticing. So it may be a good idea to avoid entirely, if only to lessen the chance of falling into that trap.

        2. RagingADHD*

          Rising (grade level) is an extremely common term from elementary through college in the US.

          Toward the end of an academic year, or over the summer, you are a rising (next level).

    4. RagingADHD*

      Well, the person who received the message and sent it to Alison is in the comments, definitely referring to the sender as “she” and “the mom.”

      So whether folks saw that or made the assumption, looks like the assumption is correct.

  12. Admissions*

    I work in college admissions at a community college and just last week I had a mom leave me multiple voicemails pretending to be her daughter. It was clear by her language and tone that she was not a high school senior. The mom even scheduled an appointment with me pretending to be the daughter. When I called during our appointment time she said her daughter got caught at work and couldn’t be there but that she (mom) happened to have a full list of questions to ask me.

    Parents like this say that they are just helping out their incredibly busy kids who are occupied with work, school, and extracurriculars but they are really just wanting control over the situation so they can help guarantee their child’s success. I’ve only had white parents do this.

    1. Foreign Octopus*

      First of all, interesting that you’ve only had white parents do this but also not a massive surprise, I think. I wonder if there’s a wealth aspect at play as well in the type of people who think this is acceptable.

      Secondly, you have to tell us what you did when the mother answered the phone with a list of questions, please. You can’t leave us hanging with only half the story!

      1. Littorally*

        There is definitely a wealth element. Parents of a certain class expect that their children will have smooth paths to lifelong achievement, and tend to believe heavily in the value of family connections.

      2. Mockingdragon*

        I think it’s wealth related if only because the hovering parent needs to have the spare time to do this kind of thing.

      3. Something Something Whomp Whomp*

        In my experience parents of all ethnicities can join in the helicoptering/snowplow fun, but there’s a socioeconomic component to it, though. You don’t see parents doing this stuff unless they have at least a bit of familiarity and comfort navigating the same spaces their children are in. So college snowplowing doesn’t happen in the same way with first-gen students, and first-post-college-job snowplowing often involves parents who aren’t that far removed from white-collar work.

    2. Dark Macadamia*

      Omg what??? What did you say? I guess it’s good that she stopped pretending to be the kid during the appointment….?

    3. irene adler*

      Parents where I work were constantly doing things on behalf of their kids. All in the name of assuring their success.

      One parent “redid” the child’s homework and projects (high school). When it came time for college, she did a lot of recon work scoping out what schools had the specific programs the kid was interested in. Plus, scholarships, and the like. Now, to be fair, this kid is now completing his PhD. And he’s done the work applying to the scholarships (and scored a number of them). She’s the one contacting the various financial aid people to find out about the particulars of scholarships or asking when funds are due. She’s right there, making all his housing, transportation and any other arrangements needed so he can concentrate on coursework. I’ve seen her on Google locating the closest Laundromat, grocery store, bus lines available to him wherever he’s living at school.

      Another parent goes behind the scenes and makes connections with professionals on behalf of his kids (during and after college). Gets them into high paying jobs. Yes, during high school he was doing their homework for them. Said that there’s too much for them to complete on their own.

      My mom would have told me to do it myself (in fact she did!). She’s too busy.

      1. Esmeralda*

        Some years ago I had a mom write a student’s informational interview report. For an interview that did not happen.

        How did I find out? I send a thank you email to people my students interview. The “interviewee” emailed back, stating that they knew the student but had not actually met with them. Ooops.

        BTW while the student was not a great writer, mom’s work was not stellar either.

        1. Jyn’Leeviyah the Red*

          I had a parent once write a kid’s literary analysis essay. The essay was so-so, clearly not the child’s work, but I couldn’t find it online. I figured it out when I realized that the parent had used footnotes. I had explicitly taught and expected MLA parenthetical citations. It was somewhat satisfying to dock points for incorrect citations.

      2. EmmaPoet*

        Oh, my dear and fluffy lord. I cannot imagine my parents doing this. My first week at grad school, several thousand miles away from home, I had three asthma attacks in four days, and a bloody nose that fortunately didn’t land on my clothes but still scared a store clerk half out of her wits. I still figured out how to get to the nearest Target to get stuff I needed -via subway, which is a form of public transportation I had never been on before- a grocery store, get my books, set up my room, and arrange my classes. My parent’s only contribution was to pay the credit card bill and call me (after the store I’d had a bleeder in called them at 4am their time) to make sure that I was still breathing.

        This mom is actually stunting her child and doesn’t realize it.

        1. Biglaw lawyer*

          I disagree. I think there’s a huge difference between a parent applying for jobs on behalf of a child, and helping a child get moved in/make a Nyquil run.

          When I was in law school (I went to a law school in a city notoriously “difficult” for housing), I did a summer associate position my 1L year in a foreign country. The housing I had lined up for 3L year fell through over the summer. My dad, who was one time zone away, graciously made a few phone calls during working hours in the US, which was a big help in finding last-minute housing.

          I assure you none of this involved “stunting” me. I make my own career decisions.

      3. Cat Tree*

        I had a coworker a few years ago whose parents did everything for him. He was entry-level just out of college and was more helpless than a toddler. He had never done laundry in his life, even when he lived on campus during college. His mom actually packed his lunch for him every day, going so far as to peel his oranges ahead of time and separate the segments for him. He didn’t know how to cook even the most basic recipes, but more importantly he was unable to figure it out by googling and just trying.

        He got a high GPA in college, but had major difficulty translating his knowledge into practical skills at work. He needed constant hand-holding for even simple tasks and he couldn’t actually initiate any ideas on his own.

        He was pants-pissingly terrified to just *try* things, at work or in regular life, because he might fail. At first I felt sorry for him, but the whole situation made him bitter and arrogant. The he constantly complained that he didn’t get a signing bonus, which is not common at all for an entry-level job in our field. It’s so bizarre that he would even expect that. He was unhappy with the job because it wasn’t just a constant stream of praise and gold star stickers for being super dooper smart. BUT he also refused to make any effort to find something else, not even browse for job postings. (Realistically he would be similarly disappointed at any job though.) Once when the boss gave him an extra responsibility as a development opportunity, he felt that he was just too good to learn the existing process and follow it. Instead he whined (yes, literally whined) that he “wanted to make the process better but didn’t know how”. He was also low-key annoyed that women weren’t fawning over him. Gee, I wonder why.

        Anyway, this seems to have turned into a rant and I forgot what point I was trying to make. I guess the point is don’t raise your kids to be helpless because it will actively hinder their career. Also, men who are looking for a mother-replacement often don’t have great success with dating.

        1. Jessica Ganschen*

          That level of handholding sounds nightmarish to me. I wouldn’t say that my mom’s childrearing was without flaw, but at least I left home moderately competent at laundry/cooking/cleaning/making personal and business calls/etc. Also pretty comfortable with failure, which I would mostly attribute to the untreated ADHD, but again, my mom wasn’t doing assignments for me just because I screwed up.

      4. Pickled Limes*

        This answers someone’s question above about whether there’s a wealth element to this. I’m reading all the things this kid’s mom did to get him into college and keep him from having to deal with any life hiccups along the way, and there’s absolutely no way my working class single mom would have had the time or the energy to do all of that on top of keeping our family housed and fed.

    4. AndersonDarling*

      It’s so sad to think about all the time parents like this spend “helping” their kids when could legitimately be HELPING their kids. Instead of sneaking behind the backs of their kids and setting up interviews, why not spend the time having conversations about the workplace, coaching them through correspondence, and conducting mock interviews? Talk to them about their future plans and their goals. Tell them stories about making mistakes when starting out and lessons learned. It would make such an impact!

      1. Spotted Kitty*

        My parents worked blue collar jobs my whole life. They wouldn’t have been able to help me out with anything career-wise because they just didn’t have the knowledge. I could see them thinking reaching out to someone like this would be the only way they could actually help. Luckily my parents didn’t do this because we didn’t really know anyone with a white collar job.

        1. JSPA*

          Some of that stuff doesn’t translate from one collar color to another, but a lot of it does.

          “Be on time.” “Don’t get personally bent out of shape over feedback.” “There’s more than one right way to get something done, so be flexible if the procedure changes.” “If you don’t understand the instructions, ask.” “Safety regulations are not open to personal interpretation.” “You don’t have to like someone to work with them.” “People listen to your voice more if you’ve given them results, first.” “If you don’t love the task in front of you, remember it’s called work because they pay you to do it.”

          1. UKDancer*

            Yes I learnt a lot about people and how to lead them from my grandfather who was foreman in a steel works. I do a white collar job so he could not teach me how to do my job but he taught me so much about how to win friends and influence people.

          2. Spotted Kitty*

            I definitely got all that, but I also got a heaping handful of “Be lucky you have a job and don’t make waves if something seems off.”

            1. wittyrepartee*

              Which is kind of tragic- given that a lot of times the feedback that managers would get from blue collar workers could be pretty valuable in improving their workflow and such. But that would involve managers being willing to listen to blue collar workers.

        2. Something Something Whomp Whomp*

          Similar situation, but with a mother whose experience was only in pink-collar work, a lot of her advice was really extremely at odds with what I got from white-collar relatives and what I ultimately experienced at work.

      2. Lizzo*

        Agree 100% with what you’ve suggested here as a better way to help!

        Observation: some of this helpfulness may stem from a desire to be needed/wanted/feel important. Actually taking the time to have the conversations that will help kids gain their wings can be terrifying because it means you’re actively making your job as a parent irrelevant.

        Sample size for this observation: one mother-in-law.

        1. allathian*

          Yeah, and that’s why it’s so sad, because the most important part of parenting is to make yourself irrelevant as a parent. Snowplow parents fail at that.

      3. Keymaster of Gozer*

        Dad was a sysadmin and a manager when he worked (he’s long retired) and gave me great practise interviews. Went totally into work mode but gave great feedback after (to this day, interviews don’t stress me much unless I’m giving them).

        Mum used to work HR so her advice was more to do with how to not get on the bad side of HR. Which…I wasn’t as good at.

    5. Anonforthisone*

      This is absolutely true. I had a student who entered a program for a particular career path. During the recruitment process, her mother pretended to be her several times on the phone to ask questions. The student ended up being accepted in the program and the future calls came from the student, but the student was often on speaker, and the faculty could hear whispered questions from someone else in the room.

      The student wasn’t incapable. They did decent work in the program and passed through without incident, however after graduation while all their classmates seemed to enter the field within the year… this student lingered on without a job. Mom thought she was helping, but the student never got to learn to be assertive and this really hurt them professionally.

    6. Dumpster Fire*

      We just had the reverse happen – a (high school) student left a message for her own guidance counselor, pretending to be the mother, putting on the accent that the mother has, and ending with her mother’s signature “Have a blessed day!” comment. The counselor told the girl: we can do what you want, we just need your mother to actually KNOW it’s happening!

    7. Begonia*

      I also work university admissions. The worst is when you get a call from development asking about a candidate; you know the family must have money, and contacted someone high up in the administration to lobby for their kid to be admitted. I hate this part of my job.

    8. The Lexus Lawyer*

      Couple things you might find interesting. Neither parent or child is white.

      And daughter is at an Ivy League school if it matters.

      1. Something Something Whomp Whomp*

        That’s not really surprising, at least as a Canadian who works in something education-related and grew up around a lot of middle-class+ immigrant families. It’s a different thing than what’s playing out with wealthy well-connected families – it’s really about these families trying to beat the majority at their own game.

        You take collectivism combined with high stakes and viewing education as the only path to inclusion, and you get behaviours that can look like gumption and coddling but have very different motivations.

        1. The Lexus Lawyer*

          To be honest, if it was the kid who directly reached out I might at least have exchanged some emails and tried to help her at least understand what my practice area (one of the four mentioned) was about. But since it came from a parent, I didn’t feel the need to. The parent has since followed up, the daughter hasn’t. So it was pretty easy to ignore and just forward to Alison

      2. Cranky lady*

        I’m old, but the one kid I knew growing up who had a helicopter parent went to the same university.

    9. Beka Cooper*

      Not quite as bad, but I work in admissions handling lots of data entry, so I handle the troubleshooting when transcripts or test scores are “missing” aka not matched up with the student’s application. In many cases, it’s been a case of mismatched date of birth–the birth year was filled out incorrectly on the application, and it is clearly the parent’s birth year. And then they complain that we aren’t getting their documents.

  13. CatCat*

    Why would a parent do this? Are there some fields or cultures where this *IS* a thing? Genuinely wondering.

    1. EJ*

      I’m 21 so I’m not too far out from doing the whole work-study jobs/internships/post-college application panic. I have only had my mum involved in my professional life once and that was an emergency situation where I couldn’t contact my manager directly. I was also only 17 at the time.

      In my industry this would be unacceptable. My old boss would throw any applications or solicitations in the bin which came from parents (it was a firm which hired a lot of grads). He was known to be extreme in hiring, he also refused to hire anyone who lived with their parents which was honestly problematic – but his intolerance of parents soliciting on behalf of their kids was justified.

      1. Tofu Pie*

        Oh no. Not hiring grads living with their parents is so problematic. That automatically rules out many cultures as well as applicants from under privileged backgrounds. I really hope he recognized this at some point. This is classic white privilege at work.

        1. allathian*

          Not only this, but in the current economy, many adult children have moved back in with their parents regardless of their background.

        2. UKDancer*

          Definitely. London is very expensive to live in and property rents are high. A lot of the young people working in my company, who have family in commuting range of the city, live at home at least for the first few years while they get established. The alternative is spending most of your wage on rental accommodation.

          1. Media Monkey*

            agreed. when i got my first “proper” post-university job in london (moved from Scotland) i was so jealous of my peers who were all living at home while i was spending 50% of my tiny starting salary on rent. and barely having enough money to eat by the last couple of days of the month.

    2. anon for this*

      One of my parents did this behind my back once. I think it was just being from a time when it was much easier to find work, plus not understanding why their kid they thought so highly of and who was going to a major Name Drop Institution wasn’t getting any internships. But writing a letter very much like the one above, and misspelling a bunch of words, really wasn’t going to go over well. Even at 21, I could tell, and I felt humiliated.

    3. violet04*

      I’m Indian and I’ve seen some of my parent’s friends pretty heavily involved in their children’s education and job search. One set of parents really pushed their kids into medical school. Unfortunately the kids didn’t do well on the entrance exams and didn’t get accepted to a lot of schools. I don’ t know the details, but I remember hearing from my mom that the parents of these kids got pretty involved with getting them into med school.

    4. Black Horse Dancing*

      Every field commonly uses this–I haven’t found a field yet where name dropping or parents’ wealth/networking isn’t used. Want your kid to get into a great college? Parents can ‘donate’ a library/football field, etc. Need an internship? Contact your buddy on the hospital board and your kid is in. Want to have your adult kid to have a better chance at that company position? Ask your golf buddy VP to remember their name. No field is immune to it. It’s why colleges have legacy plans, incompentents get hired and promoted, etc.

    5. Nanani*

      The culture is “wealthy people”. Thinking your connections can just magically favour your (or your kid) up and along in life is only a thing among the gilded.

    6. a sound engineer*

      In my experience it’s the wealthy families/parents I went to school with that did this, whether lying about being Native American to get into a private school on scholarship or writing and submitting their kids’ college applications and essays for them, and heavily intervening when it looked like the kid might not get into the preferred university. As we got close to finishing college it was no surprise that those parents were also heavily involved in the nitty-gritty of job searching as well, like the parent in this letter. Those who are ahead will stop at nothing to get even more ahead, is the lesson I took away from watching all of this (plus an extra gratefulness for my own parents)

    7. FloralWraith*

      As a South Asian, my parents have been tempted to do this but haven’t. But all you have to do is go on the ABCDesis or AsianParentsStories subreddits to know that this is *rife* amongst Asian communities. Because they assume Western parents do this for their kids (my parents’ reasoning).

    8. cacwgrl*

      For me, it’s a sense of nepotism and entitlement, as in the parent has seen other parents do this and feels entitled to do the same. So even if the child was in fact hired on their own merits through proper application/selection, there is a perception of nepotism and impropriety that unfortunately makes is harder for students to excel on their own merits. Which is why, in my organization, we have become as vigilant as possible about addressing the parents committing the acts and holding our hiring managers to the selection process where we’ve tried to do everything possible to cut out parental influence. It’s an uphill battle and some days I feel like we’re making progress.

  14. Save the Hellbender*

    I really feel for the daughter. I’ve been on the receiving end of the intense parental pressure to find a prestigious school/internship/job that must go hand in hand with this, and it doesn’t feel great!

    1. Artemesia*

      I advised college students and one of my most frequent phrases when encountering parents like this trying to micromanage their kid’s college experience or bail them out of academic difficulty was ‘you need to honor your child’s adulthood and let them manage this.’

  15. Foreign Octopus*

    I think it’s interesting that the writer of the message says:

    “Would you be able to extend that opportunity to her at your law firm?”

    I don’t know how it reads to others but, to me, it reads as though they wants to bypass interview steps and install their daughter at the firm based off this message. I feel though that may be my take on it because the rest of the message puts my back up and I’m casting a negative light on the final question.

    1. Save the Hellbender*

      I think, per bored lawyer’s comment below, that the firm probably doesn’t offer undergrad internships, and the parent is requesting an exception/they let the daughter shadow someone.

    2. The Lexus Lawyer*

      I’m the one who got this message from someone right after accepting her connection request (she is a director of a law-adjacent field at a company in the same city and we have some mutual connections) and I read it exactly like you – she wants me to have her kid shadow me for a summer, to create a position for her and install her in it without any sort of process. And this is just a stranger, not someone I previously knew – that message was our first interaction.

      Normally if it was a student reaching out that maybe had an interesting question about something current or controversial in my practice area, I might reply. In the olden days before Covid maybe even have an informational coffee.

      To answer your question from below – we’ve never had high school students shadow us, nor old people considering changing careers. It’s a place of business, not education. We actually have had college kids work for us but they had other clerical or language skills or related skills that were useful. It doesn’t make sense to train someone just for a summer and then they go back to school. By the time they could be useful, they’d be gone.

      The random entitledness from the mother didn’t help. I honestly didn’t even look at the daughter’s LinkedIn.

  16. bored lawyer*

    Honestly, as a lawyer, it is pretty rare to see a non-law student intern. Most medium to big firms have 1L and 2L’s “summer” at the firm, and those positions are generally filled with a formal on-campus interview process.

    I think I’ve had two undergrad “interns” on my radar and those were kids of partners who were looking to get some resume filler that just filed papers all day. I don’t know what else you would do with an intern who isn’t a law student- they can’t do anything substantive. Maybe have them hang out with the office manager? What else are they going to do, stare at me as I do legal work? I can’t have them sit in on client meetings because they would destroy the attorney client privilege. Maybe sit in court in the rare event something goes to trial (not much does outside of criminal law anymore).

    Basically, sending a cold message via linkedin isn’t going to get you anything. You’d have to be a MAJOR client to get this kind of gig for your kid, and even then it’s iffy.

    1. Foreign Octopus*

      Out of interest, does your law firm ever offer shadowing opportunities for high school students who are considering a law career or older professionals who are thinking of switching? I know they’re not the same as internships but I’ve got a student currently shadowing someone in her field (speech therapy) and wondered if it a norm in other industries as well.

      1. LadyByTheLake*

        No — having someone shadow a lawyer could blow the privilege, so it Just Is Not Done.

        1. The Lexus Lawyer*

          Umm I’m not sure where you got this idea from.

          I’m the recipient of the message and I can tell you that privilege never entered my calculus. Not sure if you’re a lawyer or where you practice, but working with support staff or even other lawyers within the same firm doesn’t violate privilege here.

          Of course, the thought of having a college kid shadow me never entered my mind either. ‍♂️

          1. bored lawyer*

            Right, but an unpaid college student who isn’t actually working at the firm and is just following you around? I don’t think that would fit into the staff/law student exceptions.

      2. Haley*

        In addition to attorney client privilege issues, actual practice of law is not worth shadowing – it is a lot of sitting at a desk and typing and being on the phone. I don’t know what I would do if someone was just watching me do that… Instead, go to court and watch trials! They are public!

        1. Biglaw lawyer*

          In addition to attorney client privilege issues, actual practice of law is not worth shadowing

          This is simply untrue; shadowing like this is quite common in UK firms. While it’s much less common in the US (probably due to the fact that US law students are professional school students, on par — at least on paper — with MBA students), I’ve seen it happen here, too.

          1. UKDancer*

            Definitely. When I was at school at about age 16-17 we had to do “work experience” where you spent 2 weeks in a workplace. I thought I wanted to do law so I wrote to all the law firms in town and 3 of them offered me a place. I spent the time mainly photocopying and making tea but I was also allowed to go to some meetings, read the briefs and pleadings that were being prepared and see what lawyers did on a day to day basis. There were some meetings I couldn’t attend and my actual use was fairly limited but it convinced me that I did want to study law and showed me what a workplace was like. I think I must have signed some form of confidentiality letter to go there but can’t remember.

            Then as a law student I did 2 different summer placements with law firms. Again there was a lot of making tea but I definitely went to meetings with clients and got more actual work to do (I remember writing a merits paper about a property dispute). Again I think I signed a non disclosure agreement but am vague on the details.

          2. The Lexus Lawyer*

            Hmm I did know that UK law students get LLBs, so it’s the equivalent of an undergrad degree here, the whole shadowing aspect is really surprising to me.

            What possible use could you have for them? I feel like having someone follow me around and having to explain everything to them would be a distraction.

            The daughter also goes to a very name brand school far away from where my firm is, so hypothetically even if I did want to give her some “valuable experience” it would only be valuable for her since by the time she’d know enough to be useful, the summer would be over and she’d head back to school.

            1. UKDancer*

              I’m pretty sure the use to them is fairly minimal and I was probably at times rather annoying, but it’s part of “giving back” and “encouraging the next generation” which is quite a big thing in a lot of UK companies. My current company takes on interns and we expect them to get more out of the process than we do but the idea is that if we invest in them now, they might work for us in future and so we’d derive a benefit.

              In terms of what use it was to me I guess it taught me what lawyers did, what a white collar job involved and office culture. It let me see which parts of lawyer work I would enjoy and which I would not and helped me think about my future career post university.

              I think also because the lawyers I spent time with were kind to me and put up with my daft questions, I will pass that on to the interns my company asks me to have shadowing me to help them to become what it’s in them to be.

              1. The Lexus Lawyer*

                Different culture, I guess.

                Law firms here in the US have no shortage of law students or law grads or lawyers trying to work for them, people who would actually be a benefit.

                In terms of what you’re describing, if this was like the child of a close personal friend, I might let them do that for a day, or maybe just have a coffee or lunch with them (in the pre-Covid times) and answer some questions for an hour of my time. The thought of having a summer intern blows my mind. We have had college kids work for us but they were real part-time employees with skills we needed like being bilingual in key languages.

                It’s a bit of a catch-22. If I’m busy enough to need help, I’m too busy to train someone from scratch especially if I know they’re only around to learn what lawyers do. If I’m not busy, then there wouldn’t be any work for her to do, plus I’d be more focused on hustling and trying to find more clients and more work.

      3. Sue*

        This is not universally true. My husband and I are both lawyers and our local high school has a program where kids job shadow. We have seen many kids do this, it doesn’t require them sitting in on confidential client meetings. You take them to court, introduce them around, let them see the inner workings of the office. Maybe give them some advance sheets to read or cases to sit and watch. It’s a valuable exercise in my opinion.

    2. Forrest*

      Does this mean that it’s normal for people in the US to start law degrees without having had any experience inside a law firm? That seems like a HUGE time and financial commitment to make without having had an opportunity to spend any time shadowing someone doing the actual job?

      1. Anononon*

        It’s not uncommon at all. I just googled, and apparently 1/3 of law students go “straight through” from college to law school, and I bet many of them didn’t have much practical experience. I was one of them. Also, of the students who did take time off, not all of them were in the legal field prior to law school.

        1. Lizzo*

          I’d be curious to know how that statistic has changed over time. At one point, it was normal for MBA programs to expect applicants to have several years worth of work experience before they’d be considered for admittance. Not sure if law schools ever had the same rule. I’d say that has changed within the last 10 years…maybe around 2008, when lots of folks found themselves unemployed and went back to school?

      2. Anon4This*

        A lot of firms have (or had, my experience may be out of date) paralegal programs that hire recent grads with the assumption that they’ll work for two years and then go on to law school. This was my first job out of college and it was great because I learned within the first month at a big law firm that I absolutely did not want to go to law school. A lot of people in my program, though, did go on to law school and became very successful.

        1. NotAnotherManager!*

          I hired folks like you for years and years, and I put so much time into hiring, training, and managing new-to-the-workforce employees. Strong program, wonderful people, recommend it to anyone considering law school (at least aiming for BigLaw) before digging in for 6 figures of student debt – only about 50-60% of my hires went on to law school. However, two years was my minimum investment time. I wasn’t interested in having someone come in just for the summer and a lot of the go-fer sorts of tasks that were relegated to law firm summer interns are largely gone – most courts accept electronic filing, resources are online, and binder creation/organization is not frequent enough to justify them.

      3. LadyByTheLake*

        In general, the only people who start law school in the US with any previous law firm work experience are people who started out as paralegals, and that, while not an unheard of career change, is not the usual path. Sometimes children of lawyers might have some minimal exposure, but seriously — as bored lawyer points out, what are people who don’t even have a year of law school supposed to do? Make coffee and copies all day? When I started law school not only had I never worked in a law firm, I had never worked in an office of any kind (I was pretty baffled about what those people did in those buildings downtown) and I’d never met an attorney.

        1. NotAnotherManager!*

          In BigLaw, it’s pretty common to have fresh college graduates for a couple of years between college and law school. They are typically called case assistants, junior paralegals, or something similar – I hesitate to call them paralegals because they typically have experience/expertise that the case assistants don’t and are typically not planning to become career paralegals/legal assistants.

          They’re great to have on the team and add a lot of value as well as lower billing rates for clients. They do lots of things – they can do basic research, handle finalization and prep of filings (and most of them can use e-filing systems better than at least half of the attorneys), take a first cut at document review for witness names or broad relevance, prepare exhibits (prep digitally, print when requested), and handle case administration like keeping contact lists, calendars, intranet/case sites, etc.

      4. Legal Beagle*

        I’m up in Canada, but yeah, it’s common.

        Law is quite technical; it’s not useful having untrained people at a law firm. I did actually shadow in high school through a mandatory internship program we had and I don’t think it was useful for me or the lawyers. All I did was file.

        1. Something Something Whomp Whomp*

          Not only is it common here but also probably less of a potential privilege marker than in the US because
          (1) students usually aren’t carrying US-style debt loads into law school because undergrad tuition is far lower here than in the US,
          (2) Canadian law school is usually less expensive than even in-state law school tuition, and
          (3) up until recently it was still pretty common to get into law school here after three rather than four years of undergrad.

          Also I’d be super surprised if law firms in Canada could even provide useful internship experiences for non-law students because they have to save the technical stuff for articling students.

      5. JSPA*

        Some volunteer at legal nonprofits–which is an excellent eye-opener, in any case, for those whose eyes need opening.

        People who are fluent in two or more languages can help with translation without (generally) voiding lawyer-client privilege. (From Morris Law ctr, not linking so this posts directly…”United States v. Kovel, 296 F. 2d 918 (2 nd Cir. 1961) […] the otherwise privileged information does not lose its privileged status because ‘it is shared in furtherance to facilitate communication between attorney and client, thus promote the provision of competent, informed advice by counsel.'” (This isn’t an absolute protection; will add the link below.) And, no, there’s no blanket minimal qualification for interpreters.

    3. Anononon*

      I don’t think it’s necessarily that rare – it’s definitely going to be dependent based on size and type of firm. I did a college internship at the local DA’s office (which is admittedly quite different from a Big Law-type place).

      1. bored lawyer*

        Yeah. Could be more prevalent at government jobs like a DA’s office, or a nonprofit.

        In a firm I’d say 90% of the time I’m either meeting clients (so, can’t shadow me because of privilege) or just typing at my computer. Not going to be beneficial for the student to just sit there all day.

    4. Temperance*

      I frankly hate having non-law student interns, and because I do pro bono, everyone assumes that I’d just LOVE to host some random privileged kid for the summer. Because I’m “nice” and like helping people, I must want to give a leg up to some rich kid.

    5. Jules the First*

      I interned at a small law practice when I was at university and trying to decide whether to go to law school. I closed case files (prepping them for archiving), copied discovery files for opposing counsel (back before email!), prepped a whole pile of corporate annual returns, and transcribed the senior partner’s recorded case notes on a high profile fraud case. They had me sign a confidentiality agreement when I arrived and gave me a lecture about client privilege, and it was otherwise fine (and very useful in confirming that I did *not* want to go to law school!)

      1. LadyByTheLake*

        Yeah, I could see that at a tiny law firm that doesn’t have a lot of admin support that having someone come in and do paperwork like that might be helpful — but the work experience is “being an admin” it isn’t about shadowing a lawyer. So your work experience showed you that you didn’t want to be an admin. Most of lawyering is being on the phone giving advice or being on the computer writing stuff. Not exactly a spectator sport. Until a person has at least a year of law school they aren’t going to be able to do any “legal” tasks because those require special training, so any experience is going to be purely administrative (which is super important, but it isn’t lawyering).

        1. CmdrShepard4ever*

          I agree with you and you are right that most lawyering is not a spectator sport, but just being around the environment can be helpful when deciding if one wants to go to law school or not. While getting the admin experience, most people can also observe what the day to day work of being a lawyer is like without having to sit in a lawyers office and watch them research case law or type on the computer all day.

          For people who get their idea of what being a lawyer is like from Law and Order, watching the actual day to day stuff can be very helpful in making up their mind before they start law school. Especially if they expect to be in the courtroom all the time vs. being at a desk.

          1. NotAnotherManager!*

            This is exactly right. Many people have no idea what being in a law firm is actually like and assume it far more glamorous and high-minded that it is most days. (I tried to disabuse them of that notion in the interview process.) Our case assistants did all sorts of legal work – basic doc review, privilege logs, cite-checking, basic factual and legal research, electronic filing, etc. They do not draft briefs, research complex issues, depose witnesses, or present in court, but there is all sorts of stuff leading up to hearings, client meetings, and trials that even the most junior of paralegals helps with. They have billable hour requirements at many firms.

            And they get to see live how much the associates work and how much your schedule depends on your clients’ needs, which is where I saw most associates lose their mind during the first couple of year. They could all do the work, they couldn’t all do the pace.

          2. The Lexus Lawyer*

            Helpful to her maybe, but not to me.

            I agree with all the points you made, but don’t forget that as the actual lawyer involved, there is nothing that incentivizes me or my firm to do anything of that.

    6. Biglaw lawyer*

      I don’t know what else you would do with an intern who isn’t a law student- they can’t do anything substantive.

      The same thing you’d do with paraprofessional staff (organize the firm library, run basic Lexis/Westlaw searches, send pleadings to court, proofreading, ghostwriting speeches/op-eds; perhaps assist with law firm marketing materials and editing pitchbooks; etc.; I can think of lots of examples) or administrative staff (make copies, filing, etc.)

      I can’t have them sit in on client meetings because they would destroy the attorney client privilege.

      My recollection from my legal ethics courses is that this point is incorrect, and that the presence of non-legal staff at firm meetings is consistent with the privilege. So I did a three-minute search and came up with the following:

      “In addition to clients and lawyers, the definition of privileged persons includes agents of the client and the lawyer who assist in the representation. United States v. United Shoe Mach. Corp., 89 F. Supp. 357, 358 (D. Mass. 1950). ”

      “The presence of these third-party agents [such as paralegal and investigators] does not waive the privilege if their presence was to facilitate effective communication between lawyer and client or to further the representation in some other way. In re Grand Jury Investigation, 918 F.2d 374, 386 n.20 (3d Cir. 1990) (presence of agent does not abrogate privilege).”

      “United States v. Bill Harbert Int’l Constr. Co., No. 95-1231 (RCL), 2007 WL 915235, at *2-3 (D.D.C. Mar. 27, 2007) (presence of client’s assistant did not waive privilege when assistant’s job was to witness documents and ensure a record of their creation).”

      To be clear, the above isn’t legal advice, which would require more thorough research than I’m willing to put in for a blog post, but I suspect your hesitancy is more about organizational behavior (“I don’t want to deal with the hassle of a non-law student shadowing me”) than attorney-client privilege or work-product doctrine.

      1. NotAnotherManager!*

        Yeah, I was kind of surprised by the breaking-privilege comments. I am not an attorney and have sat in on tons of client meetings over the years in various support capacities. I’m acting as an agent of the attorney, and privilege is not waived merely by my presence.

        1. pancakes*

          Yes, that raised my eyebrows too. This is basic stuff, and not having a handle on it could be hugely detrimental.

    7. Heather*

      As a government lawyer, we see a lot of undergrad interns. Governmental legal agencies just don’t have the budget for support staff that they should, so undergrad interns are often helpful in assisting with tasks that don’t require legal research.

  17. Heidi*

    So did the law firm respond? Or are they still recovering from secondhand mortification? I’d be tempted to tell the parent that inquiries need to come from the applicant themselves, but I guess it would be pretty easy for the parent to set up a LinkedIn account impersonating their own child.

    1. All het up about it*

      More likely the parent set up the real LinkedIn account and has the password to it. :)

      I remember years ago when a student worker listed their parents as references. We were taken aback but ended up hiring them and they were awesome. But this was also a just turned 18 freshmen who was still learning how the world works.

      1. M*

        My dad set up a Twitter and a LinkedIn for my younger brother when he was in college, because my dad wanted to live vicariously and get over-involved in my brother’s academics and social life. When my brother started applying for law schools, my dad was also way too involved with that process. Parents who do this type of thing don’t even realize how much it doesn’t help their kid.

    2. The Lexus Lawyer*

      I was the one who got this message.

      I ignored it. And also ignored the mom again when she followed up a couple days later.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer*

        One wonders if she’ll try again in a month having forgotten entirely that she sent it to you.

        1. The Lexus Lawyer*

          She followed up 3 days later.

          Still never heard from the daughter, and I just left her LinkedIn chat message on “seen” so hopefully she would know she already tried twice.

  18. Momma Bear*

    If someone can’t write their own cover letter, what makes me want to hire them to do real work?

    1. AndersonDarling*

      I was thinking along those lines as well, but more of if the parent can’t have an adult conversation with their kid about applying to internships, then why do they think I want to hire a child that can’t have an adult conversation about internships.

      1. AnonInCanada*

        Unless, and I’m guessing this is the case, the parent wrote this “cover letter” behind the daughter’s back. And if I were said daughter, I would be mortified by this! As in a conversation that begins and ends with “if you ever want to see your future grandchildren, you’re going to butt out of my professional life right now!”

  19. BlueBelle*

    If she has a college age kid she is likely in her 40s maybe early 50s. She should know better. The new college grads with parents like this are always easy to spot in my company. The young professionals with these parents usually do not know how to accept feedback and coaching and they are often paralyzed by fear of failing, so they are very risk-averse. Risk-averse in my company is not going to fly, we want creative, problem-solving, empowered innovators.

    You may think you are giving them every opportunity you can to help them succeed, but what you are really doing is telling them that you don’t believe they are capable of being successful without you. Stop it.

    1. SweetestCin*

      Now that you mention it, you’re correct. This would not have flown even when I was in undergrad. (I’m suspecting I’m in approximately the same age grouping, and yeah, no. Would not have done anything good for me as a college-aged student.)

    2. Keymaster of Gozer*

      Quite true. Us Gen X people tend more toward cynicism than trying to steamroll stuff.

  20. ESG Lady*

    I get why this is not a great look but I will admit that as freshman in my college my mother is the one who was looking into internship opportunities for me and she managed to actually get me one by calling the main line at small government agency and simply speaking to the secretary. I happened to be attending the same university as the agency director has gone to so he agreed to have me come on part-time unpaid. I’ve since gone on to get my own internships and jobs but it did work that one time. Also this was in 2011 so not THAT long ago.

    1. Foreign Octopus*

      I think it comes down to the gumption thing, doesn’t it? 99% of the time it’s an absolutely awful idea but the 1% of the time it works is when people hear about it and you were one of the lucky 1% in this case. I’d argue it’s not the best way to start a new job though because it puts you on the back foot but how did you find the experience? Did you feel there was any negativity or resistance about your place there because of that phone call?

    2. Allypopx*

      I mean – a solid decade ago. Also this sounds like an alumni favor not an example that endorses the method.

    3. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      I got my older son a lead for what ended up being his first job out of college (early 2014). I was a member of an online forum that he (obviously) wasn’t on. Someone posted about their employer hiring and looking for the skillset etc matching my son’s. A friend alerted me to the post, I PMd the person, he gave me the contact information to send the resume, my son took it from there, yada yada yada got the job. I really hope it does not rise to the level of the OP.

      Also, in another millennium and in a different country that no longer exists, my dad got me my first job out of college. He was at a manufacturing plant on a business trip, and had a meeting with the director of the plant. The meeting was going well enough that dad felt comfortable asking: “Do you need a college grad with a degree in X?” and so I was hired sight unseen. Definitely something that happened in a different world and would not happen now.

      1. JimmyJab*

        That sounds as though your son did everything but find the job listing and contact information, which is NOT an issue as far as I can see.

      2. Elenna*

        Yeah, but I think it’s very different when a) you already know the people involved, and b) there already exists a job posting, rather than you asking for someone to create a new job/change the job requirements for your son, as this parent is doing. What you did sounds pretty much like typical networking, except that one of the links is a parent and not a former coworker or whatever. I actually got my first co-op job in a similar way – I was looking for a job, my mom’s friend was looking for a co-op student with my skills, Mom connected us and then I did the rest of the work.

        1. allathian*

          Same here. I’m a career changer and my dad told me about an opportunity at his place of employment. I freelanced for them for a couple years pt and built the portfolio I needed to qualify for my current job.

    4. JustKnope*

      Your example seems like a real fluke of luck thanks to the alumni connection, and also still wildly inappropriate for your mom to have been doing on your behalf.

    5. Student*

      The issue isn’t that this approach is doomed to fail, from a standpoint of getting an internship for a child.

      The issue is that this approach is doomed to fail if, as a parent, your core goal is to teach your child how to live independently from you.

      Would be curious, did you feel that this unpaid internship at a small government agency helped you gain independence, or improved your overall career path? Or did it merely burn a summer of your time and keep your mother happy that you were out of the house for a bit?

  21. Interviewer*

    I got a resume & cover letter around 2009 from someone looking for a paralegal role, very well written but zero work experience, so I set it aside. The letter mentioned that he would be calling in a week or so to schedule an interview. Ha, I thought.

    Instead, Mom called. After letting her know we had no openings, and a brief conversation on what types of roles a brand-new grad with zero work experience might be aiming for in a law firm, I gently suggested that *he* was the one who should be calling for a job, not her. She literally said, “OH!” like it was such a surprise, it hadn’t even occurred to her. Assured me that our firm was actually her first call, thanked me and hung up.

    Guess who never called us?

  22. Nusuth*

    In one of my first jobs, I was temping at the front desk of a progressive and expensive private school – a woo-woo place that paid their teachers well, making it a pretty popular place to work with few openings. One day a random man walked into the front building and asked to speak to the principal about “job opportunities.” I asked if he was there for an interview, he said no, and I’m starting to get very weird vibes (most schools literally won’t let you walk in the front door without getting buzzed in these days!). Eventually I got the deputy principal, and she stood very pointedly in the door of her office while he told her about his daughter, her qualifications, how lucky we would be to have her work here, etc. This girl hadn’t applied, or contacted anyone, her dad just thought it was a good idea to show up unannounced, in person at a place he thought would be lucky to hire her. It was BIZARRE.

      1. More anon today*

        Yeah, I’m 54 and my parents still think I should be doing that. But at least they wouldn’t do it for me!

  23. llamaswithouthats*

    So this would be weird if the recipient of the message were a total stranger, but this happens all the time when the parent is connected to someone at the company/organization. We almost always are obligated to hire interns recommended by our manager’s family friend or whatever. I’m still not a fan – this is basically how inequity issues persist – but it’s not unusual.

    1. Bernice Clifton*

      If this wasn’t a stranger, the author would not have had to find that attorney on Linkedin.

    2. MissB*


      I admit my hubs got my oldest an opportunity to interview for a summer job. My oldest had just finished his freshman year of engineering on the opposite coast and was coming home for the summer. His school let out in April and local universities didn’t end until May. DH’s company is an engineering consulting firm and they generally don’t hire freshman- usually it’s juniors or grad students.

      But he got an interview and the job. He was doing actual work for them, so I don’t think he was hired as a sense of obligation but because he could prove that he’d worked in that particular computer language and had mad skills. They gave him two spot awards that summer (couple hundred bucks each time) and kept him on the payroll for the entire next school year and following summer. They paid him well too.

      He did some work for them remotely during the school year but ultimately resigned because he was more interested in research.

      Still, there is a sense of unfairness there because he didn’t have to pound the pavement looking for a job. He had to polish up his resume, dress nicely and interview. But the opportunity fell into his lap, thanks to Dh.

      1. Sandi*

        There are always going to be lucky ones, whether through nepotism or otherwise. As a student, my friend worked a retail job and messed up the change. When it was pointed out they laughed and said that it was bad of them, as they were studying accounting. The customer was very interested, said their large company was hiring for the role, gave them a business card and told them to get in touch. My friend is still at the company, years later. I don’t know if they’ve ever had to write a cover letter. Some people are lucky! Taking advantage of a family member to get an interview is minor. The key from the letter this morning is to not abuse any opportunity!

        1. Rusty Shackelford*

          Your friend must have been not only lucky, but pretty darn charming to get a referal based on messing up the customer’s change!

    3. Charlotte Lucas*

      When I was in college, my mom worked somewhere that would ask staff if their kids were interested in temp jobs to help cover vacations during the summer. I did it one year, but there were some differences:

      1. These weren’t internships. They were temp jobs covering for mailroom (think assembly-line packaging), warehouse, & bindery staff.
      2. ALL staff’s kids were welcome. If you were willing to show up at 6:30 & work in bindery without AC all day, you were in.

    4. The Lexus Lawyer*

      I’m the one who got the message, and yes it was the first interaction ever with a total stranger.

      It was weird, and it also wasn’t the last interaction. She followed up again a couple days later.

  24. PlainJane*

    I’m trying to figure out if there is any reason for this whatsoever… did the parent who send it have a personal relationship with the law partner that he or she was trying to exploit (which is bad and nasty, but comprehensible on some level), or was it literally just the “Oh, I know Susie’s supposed to do all this but she thinks she doesn’t have to because people are saying it’s not true, so I’ll just do it for her”?

    1. Bernice Clifton*

      If the author had a good enough relationship with this lawyer to ask her this favor, I don’t think she would have had to connect with her on Linkedin to ask her about it.

      1. The Lexus Lawyer*

        You’re absolutely right. This message came to me from a stranger with mutual connections that works as a director in a law-adjacent field, so I accepted the connection and have come to regret it.

        Btw, she followed up 3 days later.

        1. PlainJane*

          Oy. In that case, I can’t even begin to understand the mindset. Surely, at some point, it would cross the sender’s mind that this is a bad look for the daughter!

  25. Needmore Sleep*

    Agreed that this is over the line but I gotta say that it seems like colleges and universities, in my experience, are not teaching students about job searching.
    One of my offspring went to a rather pricy engineering school and not one of the students who graduated in that program program has gotten a job in their field of study in the decade since graduation. The offspring had no clue how to do a resume, create a portfolio, etc. and now drives a truck (doing well, to be sure, but not even close to the course of study.)
    Another offspring at an elite art school took the required business program but still has no clue how to get employment in that field or market their talents.
    Parents who are shelling out major buckage to help get their little darlings started in life do find it frustrating that the practical matters don’t seem to get covered. Sigh.
    Still, parents, don’t do stuff like this.

    1. TechWriter*

      Universities are designed to generate more research and funnel you into grad school.

      I came out of a BA and an MA with no actual job search/interview/resume/anything experience or knowledge, only firmly aware that I sure as heck didn’t want to continue in academia. Sure, there was probably a career centre I could have availed myself of, but that would have taken initiative outside of my coursework.

      So I went to the local community college and got a certificate from a program with an internship (granted, a bachelor’s was a soft admissions requirement). The whole point, made clear from the very start, was to train us to get jobs; we had an entire course on get-a-job stuff. I got an internship that turned into a job that turned into a career.

      To your point: I think it would be wise if we had blunt conversations in high school about what one can expect out of a fancy university degree vs a practical college certificate. Not to say I don’t value my degrees, or that some university programs don’t provide job knowledge (I know work-study/co-op programs often do!), but there’s a lot of push to get presitgeous pieces of paper that don’t actually impart a lot of life skills.

      1. PlainJane*

        If the career centers are anything like the one at my undergrad school, it’s an updated version of the binders with possible companies the alumni are in, with no indication of what you’re supposed to do with that information, a bunch of unpaid internships (sorry, dude, I do not have time because I need to pay the rent), and *maybe* a couple of good leads. My grad school had a few of those in the city we were in, but I can’t imagine if you were trying to get to a different city.

    2. Lacey*

      Yeah they don’t really teach that stuff, but… everyone is out there figuring it out on their own anyway?

      Before there were sites like AAM I went to library and read books about it. Now people can come here and the advice will be 100% better than what the school would have told them anyway.

    3. Esmeralda*

      Most students at my large research-1 university with very good schools of engineering, business, and other areas I’ll omit for the sake of anonymity — do not take a class or get instruction on how to do these things. Some departments/programs have a class — but it’s not required. Students have to register for it on their own (or have an advisor who tells them to). They can use the university’s career center to learn these things, as well as the career services office for the school of business, engineering, etc. — those do a really good job. Not required, students have to do it themselves.

      As the parent of a junior in college, I can suggest that my son do these things, but I can’t make him do them. Nor do I want to be That Parent. I keep my advice low key and infrequent. On occasion I’ll come across an internship or other opportunity I think he’d find interesting and just forward it to him. If I ever sent a message like the one Alison posted…well, I would probably not hear anything substantive about my son’s life ever again.

    4. Cat Tree*

      I guess it depends on the school. My university has an extensive internship program, so we had tons of experience applying for jobs and interviewing (and actually working). We had an actually useful career center to review our resumes too. And many businesses in the area recruit seniors directly through the school.

      So if you want a school that teaches job searching, it’s good to look for ones where that aspect is baked into the program.

      1. Techie*

        This is what I did. My first resume was pretty bare and my first interview was disastrous. But I got the chance to learn and improve! Getting paid so I could graduate with no school debt was great too ;)

    5. Amethystmoon*

      I can tell you from past experience the most I learned about job searching in school was how to write a resume. This was in the last 90’s, so standards were different. But it doesn’t surprise me if schools these days just teach the bare minimum.

    6. judyjudyjudy*

      Many universities — especially large universities — have dedicated career counciling services that host all kinds of workshops, organize and advertise job fairs, hold seminars…when I was is grad school at a large state university, there were separate counciling services for the undergraduate and graduate programs, with dedicated councilors for public and private sector jobs. My department (chemistry) had its own career councilor to give advice about applying to chemistry jobs. Maybe your kids’ schools didn’t have anything like that, or it wasn’t advertised properly. I took advantage of university resources, and found it immensely helpful.

      1. LKW*

        Ultimately if the kid is graduating within the last 15 years with a university degree, they have google and they should be able to do a modicum of research to figure out what to do. Heck, look where we are – the site that is the best reference for this stuff out there. So sure, if you’re 50 you may have graduated without this skill, but there’s no excuse for “I don’t know how” when you’ve got the internet.

        1. judyjudyjudy*

          I mean, I agree with you — you still had to read the email advertising the workshops and decide to go. It was not required the attend any of this stuff. I was just describing my own experience at my institution, which provided a lot of excellent career resources if you sought them out.

    7. TotesMaGoats*

      Mine does because I teach it. It’s a required course for all my undergrad business students (small public uni). It was also integrated into my own undergrad experience a SLAC (snooty liberal arts college).

    8. Artemesia*

      I worked with an interdisciplinary major in prestigious University and among the things we did were build a lot of field based projects into courses as well as a lot of writing and all students did a semester long internship with concomitant seminars to help them link the experience to the coursework on organizations, personal development, communication, policy etc they took as part of the program. And there were session on resume building and interviewing. Our students often entered the program with somewhat lower initial academic qualifications than the students in the Arts and Science College, but they almost always got jobs, often very good jobs and our placement rate was much higher than the A&S grads experienced. Getting a job is a skill.

  26. Temperance*

    The worst part about this, for me, is that this works, depending on the connection and influence of the parent. I hate it so much.

    1. Emmie*

      Absolutely. It perpetuates inequalities and disadvantages first generation, women, and minority applicants. It ensures legacy privilege.

      1. Ari*

        Oh absolutely! I lost track of the number of my classmates in law school who always fell back on “my daddy is a partner at X firm” logic when they needed a get-out-of-jail-free card. It made my life as a female first generation law student so much harder because I didn’t have those types of connections to help me out when I was struggling. I had to hustle to meet attorneys in my practice area and to get my externship placement.

        1. Emmie*

          From one first generation female law student to another – I understand. I think that legacy privilege continues. I had a classmate from an affluent family who has a lucrative practice doing estate planning for her parent’s rich friends. Another whose parents were major donors to the uni. Another who obtained an important internship because her father served on a regulatory board. The student’s parent was a new, and important connection for the intern’s boss. It goes on and on.

  27. Dark Macadamia*

    This kind of makes me wonder if the daughter is even interested in law school. She’s only a sophomore, apparently has FIVE minors, and wants to practice every kind of law? I feel like she mentioned in passing that she might go to law school because she likes her criminal justice 101 class and the parent really ran with it.

    1. Pantalaimon*

      i think the first four minors might be just one awkwardly named minor. but agree w/ you.

    2. Daughter of Ada and Grace*

      To be fair, “crime, prisons, education, and justice” could be a single poorly-named minor, meaning the student has 2 minors, rather than 5.

      1. Dark Macadamia*

        I didn’t even think of that, lol. Maybe it’s one of those things where it has a very specific title but people outside the school wouldn’t know what it means so they spelled it out to show how it’s relevant to a law firm

      2. Lily*

        I feel like while I was college searching, I did come across a school that had that major (or at least one very similar to it), so I’m pretty sure it’s just two minors.

      3. NotAnotherManager!*

        One of my recruiters and I have been working together for years and have a running list of most overworked major/minor titles somewhere. That doesn’t rank in the top 10, though I would not be the least bit surprised to hear that was one minor (actually, google says it is one minor at an Ivy League school – one that does have a career services center). One of my high school friends has a minor in turf management, and a cousin has a minor in naval leadership.

    3. NotThatLucinda*

      Right! Aren’t minors only a fairly small number of classes anyway? It reads like the name of the minor might just be a list of all of the classes you have to take to complete it!

    4. Manana*

      I think Daughter has convinced Parents to pay for everything while she’s in school so she doesn’t have to work and now Parents are realizing Daughter may never pay off the loans they’re taking out in their names. I think financial desperation born from a lifetime of helicopter parenting is at the root of many “please give my kid a job” pleas.

    5. Massive Dynamic*

      When I was a sophomore, I think I was seriously considering a dance major! Am now an accountant.

  28. ari2d2*

    I got one of these, and it totally knocked my socks off! Not only did the student never contact me, but the parent followed up when I didn’t respond right away. She was a bit rude, and I got the impression that she was emailing firms in an attempt to convince the son to move back from where he was going to school to be closer to her.

  29. Just @ me next time*

    This gives me horrible memories of one time when I was a student searching for a summer job. My dad and stepmother were picking me up, probably to take me to their place for dinner or something, and I asked if we could stop quickly at a store where I wanted to drop off a resume. For whatever reason, the manager was standing outside when we arrived. My dad hopped out of the car, introduced himself to the manager as my father, and proceeded to talk about how great I was. I just stood there, screaming internally in mortification.

    I did NOT get an interview for that job.

    1. Mami21*

      Ugh, I feel your pain. My mom once called me into a business she was visiting in order to point at me and tell the guy she was speaking to, ‘she’s studying (service this business offers)’ in a confidential tone. I was horrified, the guy laughed awkwardly. It was legitimately the in the top three most embarrassing moments of my life, as well as ensuring that I would never apply at the business ever. I knew she meant well but man was I annoyed. We had a very intense discussion about not sharing her kids’ personal info with total strangers directly afterwards.

    2. udon the day away*

      Ooof! Oh wow, I feel for you. The emotions your story evoked reminded me of a time my mother came by my office to meet me for lunch, but then proceeded to introduce herself to the VP, hand her a box of donuts ‘for the office’ and then try to discuss my ‘progress’ like it was a parent-teacher meeting or something. I was at least 38 and in a senior role.

      Some parents just don’t seem to get it! Yeesh …

  30. DG*

    There’s nothing in the message that implies the person receiving the message even KNOWS the parent – they weren’t connected already and there’s no personal “hope you’re doing well since our college acapella group’s reunion last summer” note, etc. So the parent is not only expecting their child to bypass the entire interview process and move directly to an offer, but they’re also presumably asking this of a STRANGER?! My god!

  31. Admin __ Miller*

    Seen something similar in the past. More apt to get a call from a parent wanting us to hire their kid for their summer. We are hiring work studies, but they have to be enrolled full-time during the summer and qualify for the Federal Work Study program.

    If I have a parent call about us hiring the student; I’m not hiring them unless I am desperate to fill a position. It’s bad enough that helicopter parents call and question grades, student absences, etc.

    No desire to deal with a parent about work schedules, pay, etc. I’ve had instances in the past when I am trying to reach a student to click the submit button on their time card so that I can approve it, parent got real interested in the students hours, etc. Told them I couldn’t discuss it. Learned my lesson the hard way, a parent answered the phone. Said that I was trying to reach so and so, mother said they would take a message; ask student to please click their time card so that I can approve it. Turned out the parent wasn’t aware that the student had a job on campus. Real careful now, just state that I’m calling from my department and need to talk to their child if they answer the phone. That one was a can of worms I let loose.

  32. Just Another HR Pro*

    UGH – I get calls like this all the time from parents. Their child didn’t get their W2 (yes they did), they didn’t sign up for the right benefits (or sign up at all). Or my personal favorite – my child didn’t get a good review/raise/manager. I basically politely hang up on them then wonder what else their parents do for them.

    For the record – I have had wives call too. But that one is discussed here and I am more immune to that one.

    1. Bernice Clifton*

      My first office job almost 20 years ago (!) was a receptionist at a prosecutor’s office in a town where there is a lot of colleges so there was a lot of 18-20 year olds getting busted for drinking (which required a court appearance where I was).

      I couldn’t believe the number of parents who called our office on behalf of their kids – if I had got busted for drinking underage I would never have wanted my parents to find out!

      1. Not So NewReader*

        The courts may have had to notify the parents. But yeah, the kids probably did not plan on authorities notifying the parents. whoops.

      2. Moonlight Elantra*

        I used to work on the Sunday afternoon/night news desk at our local newspaper and we DEFINITELY got the panicked phone calls from parents regarding taking their kids’ names out of the police blotter for DUIs committed the night before.

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          My parents would’ve called the judge asking to throw the book at me. DUI was completely unacceptable in my family.

  33. Door2Door*

    It’s hard for me to understand how people who have presumably been successful enough in life to be able to pamper their adult children to pay for their college (and probably food, and housing, and probably their first house), don’t understand that You Don’t Do This. I suspect friends of theirs must share stories of success with doing these kinds of things and that they feel disadvantaged if they do not engage in this behavior.

    My parents, who pampered me to a large degree, drew the line around “My daughter is interested in a career in the chocolate teapot industry, is it alright if I have her give you a call?” Maybe this is what the parent was trying to do, and it’s just a failure to keep it brief but the last line is pretty damning. I mean, you can’t apply to Mac n Don’s by text.

    On a related but earlier note, maybe it isn’t parent-parent pressure, as there’s this extremely annoying trend for people to bring their kids’ fundraiser crap to school and pass it around the office. When I was a kid, it was knocking on doors in the freezing cold. By myself. With no cell phone (Granted it was a safe neighborhood but I don’t think times have necessarily gotten more dangerous).

    1. Artemesia*

      Between cases of kids being kidnapped or harmed (I know, I know — rare, but I lived in a neighborhood where a child was kidnapped and murdered delivering GS Cookies and those stories forge a communities norms) and the fact that America is filled with loons with guns, most schools and scout troops do not allow door to door sales.

    2. Lizzo*

      My dear friend’s daughter is a Girl Scout, and she requires her kid to go door to door or–for those potential customers who are not nearby–make a phone call and give a sales pitch. Even if I proactively ask my friend about cookies, she says, “When would be a good time for my daughter to call you?” On the one hand, it’s annoying, because I just want my darn cookies. ;-) On the other hand, the kid is gaining so many valuable skills by having to handle all of this herself, and it’s paying off: she sold 500 boxes this year, and that’s with not being able to go door to door due to COVID!

    3. Something Something Whomp Whomp*

      It’s not always about parent-parent pressure, though. There can be some weird things that happen when families want the best for their kids but where there’s an acculturation issue at play.

      I don’t want to be a “not everyone can have sandwiches” type, but at least in my experience 20+ years ago when knocking on doors was still common, some of the deal with parents selling their kids’ fundraising stuff at work (or just paying for the stuff themselves) happens with immigrant parents who come from places where having kids go door-to-door isn’t a norm and/or who are concerned about potential discrimination. I never sold a box of my Girl Guide cookies on my own for this reason, and I’ve heard similar stories from other immigrant families as well.

  34. Harvey JobGetter*

    The best (worst) part of this one is that the approach and tone would be all wrong even if the actual job candidate had sent it.

  35. Cosette*

    Oh, this reminded me of when I used to work retail and a guy came into the store to hand out a resume, so we told him we only hired women. He then said it was his girlfriend’s and even worse, she was just outside waiting! She didn’t even get an interview.

      1. allathian*

        I would guess it’s a women’s (under)wear store. When I’m going to a place like that and trying on clothes, I definitely don’t want to be half-undressed in front of a strange man, and I also don’t want to keep putting my own clothes on in between, if they’re bringing me stuff. I also buy my bras from an underwear boutique, and they often bring customers stuff to try and also help with the fitting. It’s intimate enough that I wouldn’t want a man anywhere near me at that time.

        1. Cosette*

          Yes, it was a store for women’s only underwear. So customers not only would rather be served by other women, but also having men on the store would open us to liability in cases of harassment.

  36. Professor Plum*

    On top of everything else that’s wrong about this, the message was sent at 7 am on a Saturday. Waking someone up on their day off is not how you want to get attention.

  37. Mental Lentil*

    So she’s interested in…law?

    I don’t know much about the law field, but if you are reaching out to a particular lawyer, shouldn’t this list be narrowed down a bit? Or shouldn’t the different fields be more connected?

    I’m wondering how much the parent knows about the field of law.

      1. Mental Lentil*

        Thank you. That struck me as the oddest part about this, as if the parent just wants to make the child seem well-rounded in their interests, but that’s not really what an internship is about.

    1. Lilo*

      Eh. You can pivot in law school. I ended up in an extremely niche area of the law that I wouldn’t have considered pre law school.

    2. The New Wanderer*

      “My daughter is interested in whatever kind of law your firm handles, she’ll be great!”

      1. Mental Lentil*

        Yes, this.

        “I’m not sure what area of law your firm practices, but whatever it is, rest assured my daughter is interested in it” was the vibe I was getting.

    3. Heather*

      Or at least do some basic research about the type of law this particular attorney handles and pretend that’s your focus. I practice one very specific type of law. I hate that friends and family are often annoyed that I don’t know their answer to a very esoteric question in a wholly unrelated area of law. I remind them that they probably wouldn’t want their OBGYN performing brain surgery.

  38. Lacey*

    My mom had these kinds of impulses, but fortunately she raised us well enough that we were mortified at the mere suggestion and insisted on her letting us handle things ourselves.

    But, a more aggressive parent might not have even given their kid a heads up.

  39. HKS*

    I am laughing in recognition at this because I got a voicemail message on my office line last May with a very similar request. Last May, 2020, when noone was in our office. Also, I have 0 hiring authority and we had 0 openings.

  40. Bagpuss*

    I once had a letter like this from the parent of a young man who was (apparently) a law student looking for a job – so he had completed a 3 year degree and was well into the post-grad year. I did wonder whether he had any idea his parent was applying on his behalf.
    It was also a pretty bad letter – for instance saying he had a particular interest in Criminal Law (My firm doesn’t deal with criminal law) . Not to mention the fact that the parent totally ignored the information about applying, which we have pretty prominently on our website.
    I do sometimes regret that I just binned it and didn’t respond, because I did have a degree of morbid curiosity about it, whether he knew, whether he approved, whether the parent would have shown up with him for any interview…

    1. Mental Lentil*

      That is all the more impressive considering that raccoons aren’t that loud usually.

  41. Sunshine*

    My friend’s dad wrote a similar letter to a U.S. senator for an internship for her and it worked–she got it (this was back in 1996). She was embarrassed and thought it was pretty ridiculous, especially because the senator was a Republican and she was a Democrat. But she went through with it and learned a lot.

  42. A*

    Oh nooooooo, so cringeworthy! Also, that is not a minor – that’s a vague list of general interests. Ack!

    It’s also blowing my mind that the expectation is that they will just… offer a position? Not even asking if they are open to interviewing? Just a straight up offer? AHHHHH

  43. CW*

    Wow. I have heard of helicopter parents but this one takes the cake. Just no. Your soon-to-be college graduated adult child needs to do this on his/her own. Give advice if you feel like it, but don’t apply for them. They are not in grade school anymore. Sheesh.

  44. Alexis Rosay*

    I dated someone in college whose darkest secret was that her father always helped her write her college papers. Obviously unethical on both ends (it was a troubled parent-child relationship in many other ways), but that’s not even the point here. The feelings and lack of self-efficacy this produced was extremely sad to witness. Knowing her father didn’t believe she could make it on her own, she also didn’t believe she could make it on her own.

  45. Just A Recruiter*

    Just today I receive an email from a gentleman who received my contact information from one of our employees. Awesome! The problem? He was requesting that I review his wife’s resume in reference to job openings. I replied back that it would be best if his wife contacted me directly. Maybe I should have included “…unless you plan to do the work for your wife, too.”

    1. Alexis Rosay*

      Ugh. I once interviewed a candidate whose husband came with her to the lobby…weird…and then when she stood up to go to the interview, he tried to come too!

      1. allathian*

        Sounds similar to a letter posted here before about the husband in the lobby of a hotel who had issues with the wife going to a jobsite as a part of an interview.

  46. BackInTheMidwest*

    I used to work for a major sports league. I was connected with another young professional my age who was also in the industry, but in a different type of role. We spoke via phone and I wrote him a note as a follow-up.
    I didn’t know he lived with his parents. His dad opened his son’s mail, saw my email address on my business card, and took it upon himself to ask that I put in a good word for him to get drafted post-college. (The son had only played on a club team, not the NCAA team.) He said that his son focused so much on his academics and his internships during college that he didn’t have time to pursue becoming a professional athlete. The dad wanted to give his son one last shot.
    1. That is not how a draft works.
    2. It’s never OK for a parent to reach out in this way.
    3. Maybe since the son was focused on his academics and career, playing professional sports was no longer his dream.
    Sounds like Dad was trying to live vicariously through his son. I never replied to the email.

  47. Anti anti-tattoo Carol*

    Apologies if this has already been said, but if the daughter is aware and okaying this outreach, then this is not setting her up for success in the future.

    I have a sibling who, to date, has gotten all internships and jobs (literally, including summer jobs as a teenager) via one of our parents’ connections. Wait- I lie. Once an uncle helped. But the point is, she is now woefully unequipped to job search and is of the opinion that someone needs to do the outreach for her. Besides the situation absolutely stinking of privilege, she has NO job hunting skills. Doesn’t know where to look. Can’t write a cover letter or a resume, doesn’t know how to ask good questions in an interview… and she’s in her thirties. She’s currently unhappy with her current workplace but is literally unable to extricate herself because our parents are realizing what they’d done and now refuse to help.

    1. Amethystmoon*

      Wow. I remember looking for babysitting job ads in the paper as a teenager (this was in the day when Internet basically consisted of AOL). I got a couple of gigs that way.

    1. Esmeralda*

      At my institution you can have as many minors as you can finish. I mean, I wouldn’t advise five minors…spend some of that time on undergrad research, or study abroad, or internships, or clubs, or sports, or painting backdrops for theater, or playing music, or just lying around daydreaming (sadly, too often neglected).

      1. Artemesia*

        I graduated back in the day with lots more than minimum hours and could only fit in two minors and one of those was an ed minor to certify me to teach high school.

  48. cacwgrl*

    Ugh, this is my life! Except not only do I have to ignore the student as a candidate, I have to report them for violating our ethics rules. It’s no sweat for me, but geez, I hate I have to do it for very seasoned employees who think rules don’t apply to them.

  49. Analyst Editor*

    Did the person to whom this addressed invite the parent to connect with her and offer her daughter the potential for an internship first?

  50. Uh huh*

    This is horrible! I would disown my parents if they did something like this. Even when I was a teen, if I had a job interview, they’d drop me off and usually park down the road during the interview.

    I did one a situation once where I had to ask my parent to help with something, and that’s only because I didn’t really have any other options. I had a webconference interview and the interviewers didn’t show up. I double checked the time, tried emailing them to ask if maybe we had gotten our lines crossed, etc. The last thing left to do was to call them. We were in different countries and I didn’t have the ability to call internationally where I was, so I contacted my dad to ask him to call on my behalf. I very firmly told him he was absolutely not to identify himself as a family member and if possible, not to give his last name as that would make it obvious. He should simply say he was calling on my behalf and I was trying to reach the interviewers but I wasn’t able to call internationally; could they please contact me via email to confirm the time of the interview. It turns out that they had miscalculated in their location the time conversion and started the interview an hour late.

  51. Spicy Tuna*

    NOOOOOO! My boss and I were interviewing a woman once and she kept prefacing her questions to us with, “My parents said I should ask…. ” Hard pass on that one!

  52. XF1013*

    Reading all of these comments along the lines of “I see parents do this all the time” makes me wonder if times aren’t changing. Is there any possibility of parental involvement becoming considered more normal and acceptable in the workplace? I’m inclined to assume not, since there are real incentives working against it, like the world’s daughters and sons needing to develop independent skills, and the benefits of the employer-employee relationship being a closed loop. But I can imagine the social-stigma aspect of this slowly disappearing with a generational change in the workforce, and if so, I wouldn’t want to miss it because I’m stuck with an old-fashioned mindset. Is that far-fetched?

    1. Web Crawler*

      That feels far-fetched to me. It seems a lot more likely that people remember the folks who stand out (in a bad way) and there’s enough of these parents resume bombing enough people that it feels like they’re everywhere, even though it’s a very small percentage of the actual population.

    2. agnes*

      I think the idea of using one’s connections as a parent to help their kid is not new. Here’s how it used to work
      1. Kid indicated an interest in the work Parent’s friend does
      2. Parent says, well I will say something, but I’m not going to go to bat for you unless you are serious about it
      3. LJ says yes, I am serious and means it
      2. Parent warms up the friend by saying, would it be OK if kid calls you–usually while Parent and friend are physically together and playing golf, tennis, running, having lunch, etc
      4. Friend usually knows kid in other ways
      5. Kid actually calls and does the footwork.

      What many parents are doing now is very different.

      1. judyjudyjudy*

        Is it “many” parents though? In my experience in biotech, the closest we had to this situation was that my group was ‘voluntold’ to take on a teenage intern who was a friend of the CEO’s daughter. It was a special roll made just for her. She spent the summer washing glassware and making salty water solutions. We actually loved having her. I’d say helicopter parents such as this are memorable but not common in my experience.

  53. Pomegranate*

    The time stamp is also exactly 7:00 am. Can you imagine this parent sitting down at 6:50 to write the message and then patiently wait till 7:00 to press send.
    I hope the parent learns a better way to help their kid… soooN!

  54. Beka*

    As someone with a parent *very invested* in my moving back to Hometown who also has no sense of boundaries, this is my nightmare.

  55. Elizabeth West*

    As a child who was helicoptered, I urge parents not to do this, ever. You’re doing your kid no favors. You infantilize them and leave them with a lack of self-efficacy—you’re sending them a strong message that they can’t handle anything on their own. And then guess what? You get to handle it even when you don’t want to.

    Quite frankly, your job as a parent is to raise a caring, thoughtful, and independent human being. That means they have to learn how to do adult tasks and deal with rejection, disappointment, hard work, and other un-fun life stuff.

    You can also smother them so much they don’t want to be around you. Choose a happy medium, people!

    1. allathian*

      Absolutely this. The most important part of parenting is to raise kids who are independent adults and to make yourself irrelevant as a parent. If you fail at this, no matter how good a parent you are otherwise, you’ve failed at parenting.

  56. Pam Poovey*

    I just cringed so hard I thought my face was going to collapse inward on itself.

  57. nnn*

    I wonder if parents who think this is reasonable from their point of view as a parent would also think it’s reasonable from their point of view as an employer. Like, if they were at work, doing their job, and a potential candidate’s parent contacted them, would they be receptive? Would they see it as more compelling than if the parent wasn’t involved?

  58. The Lexus Lawyer*

    Hi everyone,

    I was the lucky recipient of the mini-cover letter. Just to clarify – this wasn’t from someone I knew and there isn’t an internship or any job currently being advertised by my firm.

    This is just a stranger from an unrelated industry in my city who sent this to me at 7:00am on a Saturday not long after I accepted her connection request. We do have mutual connections, and she’s a director at her large-ish company in a law-adjacent field, but otherwise don’t know each other.

    As another lawyer commented earlier – nothing about this makes me actually want to hire the daughter. I work in one of the four practices of law mentioned, which aren’t really related (other than the niche possibility of criminal law intersecting with one of the other three).

    And as another lawyer commented earlier – nothing about this makes me particularly want to hire the person even if we had a job opening, let alone have her “shadow” me through my work. Had I gotten a slightly more focused message from the actual daughter, I might have replied. Had she maybe asked an interesting question about something current or controversial in my field that shows she did some research and had some knowledge, then I probably would have.

    The sad thing is that most lawyers like talking about what we do. I benefited a lot from informational coffees with lawyers in fields just as diverse as her interests when I was younger and like to pay it forward if I actually feel that someone is interested in my practice area. But I just didn’t appreciate something that I’m guessing was probably copy-pasted to a lot of people besides me.

    1. LKW*

      Given the “moxie” of the parent, I suspect that you’ll hear from her again. The fact that she’s a director and so out of touch with how a law firm (or any business really) operates is astounding. So assuming she sends you a follow up because, let’s face it, she doesn’t seem to have good boundaries/understand normal, what will you do?

      1. The Lexus Lawyer*

        She followed up already, 3 days after the original message. I just left it “seen” and didn’t reply.

  59. lepercolony*

    The only way to make it worse would have been to include a pic of the daughter.

    1. Web Crawler*

      A pic of the daughter, and a baby picture so you can see how much she’s grown

  60. Web Crawler*

    Small note about web accessibility- could you transcribe the image text instead of just describing it? That way folks using screen readers or other text-based systems know the full extent of this parent’s “support”.

    (This image has text and conveys information, which makes it different from an image without text, or an image whose purpose is mostly decorative.)

    1. Pomegranate*

      Hello [—-]
      Thank you so much for connecting with me.
      My daughter, [—–] is currently a sophomore at [—-] University, majoring in Global and Public Health with a minor in crime, prisons, education, and justice as well as inequality studies. She will be back home for summer in mid-May. She plans to attend law school and her interests within the legal field include criminal law, environmental law, immigration law, and medical malpractice law. She is seeking an internship/an opportunity to shadow in a law firm this summer, in order to gain some valuable experience. Would you be able to extend that opportunity to her in your law firm? We would be greatly appreciative.

      Here is her LinkedIn profile –[——]

  61. TotesMaGoats*

    Saw a similar thing on a FB yardsale type group. A mom asking for info on tech internships for her son who was finishing up his semester (junior year I think) in SC and hadn’t gotten on the stick and gotten an internship. My first piece of advice…your son should be doing this. And then I gave all the normal advice about internships. She really wanted son home in MD and I mentioned that an actual job could be just as helpful and summer camps, especially STEM focused ones, could be a good opportunity.

    Internships are great but jobs, even summer jobs, are also great.

    Also, dollars to doughnuts the daughter doesn’t know and I feel awful for her.

    1. Cat Tree*

      Also, why a yardsale group? That doesn’t seem especially likely to generate leads.

      1. voyager1*

        I am not surprised. I see those on FB where I am too. Those kinds of groups have a lot of traffic.

  62. Veryanon*

    Oh jeez – I can relate to the parent who sent this letter, as I am also the parent of a young adult child looking for a summer internship – he had applied for a research grant on a project at school and unfortunately was not approved, so now he’s scrambling for Plan B. However, I would never solicit a random stranger this way through Linkedin. I did put out a few feelers with people I know, just asking them generally if they were hiring for the summer, and if they were, I sent the info to my son for him to apply directly.
    Parents, don’t reach out to random strangers on Linkedin to try to get your young adult child a job.

    1. BlueBelle*

      It is also a life lesson. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. He has now learned he should applying to multiple jobs and opportunities. Things fall through at the last minute. If he doesn’t get an internship I hope he will still get a job, retail, or temping, anything. Working experience is important, even if it is not in their field.

        1. BlueBelle*

          LOL! I am sure you have. I am sure he is a great kid and listens to all his parents’ advice ;)

          1. Veryanon*

            He is a great kid, but he doesn’t always listen to advice. Just like every other 20-year old kid ever.

  63. Pam Adams*

    My guess is 1) daughter doesn’t know that parent is doing this, but 2) parent doesn’t know that daughter has secretly changed major to film studies.

  64. Erin*

    TBH I’m not surprised with this! So many parents just can’t let go, and so many young adults are so not prepared for adulting because they have never had to.

    1. Veryanon*

      This is very true. I somehow remember being much more self-sufficient at that age. My son (almost 21) is looking for an apartment for the fall and I’ve been actively keeping myself from getting involved except if he asks me for help/advice. I’ll admit it’s really hard to stay out of it. It’s a fine line to parent young adult children – on the one hand, you want to give them the benefit of your hard-earned experience, but on the other hand, they do have to learn how to manage these things for themselves.

  65. Chickaletta*

    I think the larger issue is why do so many parents these days still think of their teenagers and young adults as “kids”. And it’s not just terminology – referring to them as kids – I think a lot of people genuinely believe that their ~17 to 25-year-old children are not fully capable of handling life on their own. I’m not talking about financial support (which I get – especially if they’re going to college) or being there to advise them (also understood), I’m talking about full-on managing their daily lives. Like, finding a college internship for them. Because holy cow, if the mom really thinks her daughter is not capable or motivated to find her own internship, then maybe she should be encouraging her daughter to pursue a less intellectual career in the first place.

    1. BlueBelle*

      Helicopter parents believe they are helping, when in reality what they are doing is teaching their kids that they can’t and won’t be successful without them. There is also a level of entitlement and privilege in actions like this. The “kid” who is the first to go to college in their family won’t have connections to help. Which means that we still end up with inequity in hiring.

    2. PT*

      I think some of it is the expense. College and its ancillary costs are just so expensive, a lot of parents can’t afford to pay to cover any mistakes their kid might make, because they have no wiggle room in their budget for anything to go wrong.

      1. Chickaletta*

        While I totally get that – I’ve watched friends spend tens of thousands on their children’s college for a few semesters before watching them flunk out or drop out – I would argue that based on the majority of the comments here that getting too involved is still not the way to go.

    3. Analyst Editor*

      I mean, there’s a lot society is doing to project the image of 17-25-year olds being adolescents in a lot of senses.
      This very site assumes that people need a lot of hand-holding, beyond a reasonable amount of it, in a lot of situations. For example, if you look at the pushes for age boundaries for voting, vs. being eligible for youth-related benefits (like student benefits or parental health care), vs. driving, vs. consuming substances, vs. sexual maturity, vs. criminal responsibility – you will find it goes every which way.

  66. Still Looking (Maybe)*

    Such a thing is possible but this is the wrong way to do it. We had a long time client reach out to my attorney stating he had a daughter in college who was becoming interested in law and would he be willing to do a job shadow. Once my attorney said yes, the daughter contacted him, they worked out the schedule, and she was here for about a month. In this case it made sense for the dad to reach out initially, but he turned it over to the daughter right after.

    I’ve never seen any internships or shadowing ever happen after cold contact. There is always a relationship, either with the school or the individual, to make it happen.

    1. Bostonian*

      Exactly. The way it’s supposed to work is the introduction is very quick, and the child takes over immediately. In this case, the parent is doing all the leg work (and possibly doesn’t even know the recipient).

    2. BlueBelle*

      Which is unfair. Because only people with connections will get such opportunities. If that is something the attorneys want to offer they should advertise for it at law schools and recruit for it in a fair and equitable way. I know people think “this is just how things are done” but it does create bigger problems.
      Another problem that people overlook is that even if she does a great job and makes a good impression and they offer a summer or part-time job, she will have to work very hard to overcome the perception that daddy got her the job. This kind of thing also contributes to a particular kind of unconscious bias which is called performance attribution bias which is the belief that the nondominant group person got their job because of who they know, affirmative action, or D&I initiatives.

      **this isn’t an attack on you or your office, I wanted to get this information out there for people to think about **
      :) I am passionate about equity and have worked really hard at my company to get rid of the kinds of “good ol boy” networking that used to happen that intentionally or unintentional kept POC and women from being successful in certain industries.

      1. veronica*

        This is one of the reasons I started mentoring at my local community college. It allows me to met more students who might be interested in what I do, but don’t have the contacts.

        1. SoloKid*

          +1 and why I like to do big brother/big sister.

          Even that has an element of chance of “parent that cares enough to enroll their child in the program” which not every child has, but it’s better than nothing IMO.

      2. Still Looking (Maybe)*

        I certainly don’t disagree with you BlueBelle. We never did job shadows and this request came out of the blue. While my attorney enjoyed it, he said he’d never do it again as it was too much work for him. I truly don’t know how he’d answer if the daughter herself had dned the cold call.

        But yeah when I was in Big Law Firm, often client’s kids would show up for this and that so it definitely is a thing.

  67. This is not my first time.*

    If I received a message like this, I would ask the parent to show up for work.

  68. Bostonian*

    I think the cringe-iest part is “we would be greatly appreciative”. Emphasis on the we.

  69. agnes*

    way more common than one thinks. I actually had a woman show up for an interview I had scheduled for her son because he was “too busy” to come himself! When I told her I was not going to talk to her, she was quite offended and told me that she could tell me everything I needed to know about her son.

    1. Esmeralda*

      Well, she was right. All you needed to know was that he too busy to bother with the interview, and she told you, so…

      1. 'Tis Me*

        Either that or unaware that his mother had sent an application “from” him and genuinely thought she could surprise him with a job offer…

  70. Former Young Lady*

    I got a part-time campus job during my junior year of undergrad. Thanks to our open floorplan, in my first month on the job I got to overhear my boss handling a parent like this.

    Evidently, her son had also applied and interviewed for the same job, and Mumsy was DEAD CERTAIN that there could not possibly have been a better-suited candidate. She DEMANDED an explanation for why her son wasn’t selected. She wanted to know who I was, what were my qualifications, and presumably, by what unjust means I had eclipsed the unparalleled talents of her pride and joy.

    My then-boss (still a cherished reference and role model, to this day) handled it as cool-headedly and patiently as anyone possibly could. I think he even worked in a couple gentle hints that this kind of parental intercession might actually hurt the son’s career prospects.

    I’m sure they worked as well as gentle hints ever do, on this kind of person.

    1. allathian*

      Indeed. I’m not sure even a “No matter how qualified a candidate is otherwise, if their parent gets involved in the process in any way, we won’t even consider hiring them. Please stop actively sabotaging your son’s job prospects.” would have made this parent see the light.

  71. 653-CXK*

    Wow. That takes some particular crust from a helicopter parent to do that kind of cringe post.

  72. Bubbles*

    As a veterinarian I get these sometimes from parents. They make me crazy because for liability reasons I can’t shuttle around pre-vet students on farm calls. My least favorite request came from a dad and the whole thing was basically that the kid was an Eagle Scout and thus Deserved Things. It reeked of privilege and I tossed it in the garbage.

    1. WS*

      Yes, I have a friend who is a vet and gets the same. She has a form reply that basically goes “We take 2 work experience students from [local school] every year and that is the only opportunity.”

  73. Chc34*

    My mom absolutely would have done something like this and I would have been horrified. When I try to talk to her now about the things she pulled when I was younger (emailing my choir teacher when I was upset I didn’t make the choir I wanted and asking her to put me in it anyway, instead of helping me figure out how to deal with the normal human emotion of disappointment), she still just doesn’t get it – she was only trying to help! she says. In my experience kids of these parents go one of two ways: they either lean into the coddling, or they’re like me and now not close to their parents who don’t quite understand why.

  74. HR Exec Popping In*

    As others have stated, this is so very inappropriate. Obviously employers only want to hear from the person looking for the job. In addition to the whole, we don’t talk to other people about employees or candidates thing… Why would anyone want to hire someone who can not be bothered to do their own job searching? Why would I think they would be able to do the job if they can’t even look for a job. Please, parents and significant others just stop. You are not helping you are hurting…

  75. OceanDiva*

    My mother has applied for jobs for my sis, including the one she’s currently in, AND helped her out with her work (mega eye roll here). But this is also the reason I refuse to even share my resume with my mother because who knows where it will end up.

  76. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

    Pretty bold of this parent (who, as it turns out, is a director of a large-ish company) to use their position and connections to get an internship for their child, who “minors in inequality studies”. Got to admire the irony.

  77. MeowMeowFuzzyCatz*

    Does anyone else feel there are probably enough details that this is super identifiable? I know it’s painfully cringey and it’s probably too late but feel like more details can be blurred out.

    1. TimeTravlR*

      I think if I were the writer or had seen it on Linked In then I would be able to identify it, but not otherwise. It’s amazing how many people do stuff like this

      1. MeowMeowFuzzyCatz*

        that’s a really good point that sadly probably so many people are doing it!

    2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      Other than the first letter of the daughter’s name being visible, I don’t see anything. Admittedly, the daughter’s minor as listed is oddly specific. But I also think it’s not her real minor, and that her minor may also have already changed, or may change in the future.

      1. MeowMeowFuzzyCatz*

        Great point that the minor isn’t necessarily the same as what we are seeing here!

    3. The Lexus Lawyer*

      Point taken, and sorry. In my defense it was 7:00am on a Saturday and I literally just edited the pic on my phone with my fat finger to blur out some details before forwarding the screenshot to Alison. I’m a lawyer, not a graphic artist,

  78. Nanani*

    Isn’t sophomore (that’s 2nd year undergrad yes?) too young/early in education to be looking at a law firm internship? Don’t you need to actually be in law school to even be considered?

    File that in the recycle bin. Don’t hold it against the daughter.

    1. Artemesia*

      I had a few pre-law students intern during undergraduate years in law firms; it was pretty helpful to let them consider whether it was really the profession they wanted.

  79. SEM*

    I work in HR and can’t tell you how many emails we get like this from parents every spring about giving their children internships.

  80. Tofu Pie*

    This reminds me of a teenager I used to tutor whose mum offered me a LOT of money to do her school assignments for her.

    I’m guessing this kid didn’t turn out so good in adult life.

  81. Goldenrod*

    I used to work in a bookstore. I can’t tell you how many times a mother asked me for help in doing her son’s homework (i.e. actually trying to get me to creatively come up with research topics, that kind of thing).

    It was always a mother asking for her son, for some reason. It happened multiple times! Each time, I said something like, “Oh, I’m sure your son is very bright and can figure this out on his own.” :P

    1. pagooey*

      I worked in a bookstore pre-Internet (I am one million years old, yes), and for several years got an absolutely SHOCKING number of questions, always from moms, as to whether I had any books their kid could CUT PICTURES OUT OF for a school report. “Llama Species of the World,” the solar system (yes, did I have any photos of that), etc. I’d point them to whatever outrageously expensive, hardbound, coffee-table photography book I could manage to round up, and then they’d be outraged: “SIXTY-FIVE DOLLARS??!”

      Have ’em DRAW a llama on Mars, lady, I can’t help. Or check for a huge pile of National Geographics in the garage or something. It was the strangest thing!

  82. pagooey*

    My sister and I both work in tech, and our mom has never understood what we even do enough to meddle in this fashion (and we’ve also aged far out of this demographic!). But Ma does have some misconceptions about who can see what on social media, and a terrible tendency to comment on posts with things like “Those dummies @BridgeBurnAndAssociates were fools to lay you off! What a bunch of stupid turds!”

    It’s been…lively, occasionally.

  83. EBennet*

    I teach high school and would guess there is at least a 60% chance that the daughter does know that her parent sent this.
    The other day I asked one of my juniors which AP exam he was taking and he replied “I have to ask my Mom which one she signed me up for.”
    Many “high achieving” students suffer from learned helplessness – their parents have taken care of everything for so long that they are incapable of taking action.
    Last week was Teacher Appreciation week – throughout the district parents organized events (which was very nice, don’t get me wrong). It did not occur to the parents that they should have their children write notes/draw pictures for their teachers.
    When my sister-in-law sends me information on ordering Girl Scout cookies from my niece, I always ask her to have my niece contact me. My SIL doesn’t seem to realize how much she is stunting her daughter’s growth.

    1. Jackalope*

      When we had several Girl Scouts in my church my rule was that I would buy a box of cookies from any girl who asked me. If five girls asked I would buy five boxes. If one girl asked I would buy one box. If only parents asked I would buy zero boxes (although I would tell them to have their daughters ask me directly). Most of the time parents didn’t try but I noticed that several of the girls never asked me at all.

  84. Alice*

    I feel sorry for the daughter because she might not even know that her parent is doing this. Or she might have told them to stop and they haven’t because Parents Know Best.

    My generation gets a lot of flak for being overly dependant on parents, but it’s hard when many of us didn’t get the chance to be independent in the first place. A lot of weird overbearing behaviour is “normal” if you’ve been brought up for 20 years with mummy and daddy managing your life. I got lucky in that regard… my cousin not so much. :(

    I really hope that when she comes back she’s going to tell them that she already got an internship on her own and she was just staying quiet about it to avoid them interfering in the interview process.

  85. Alexis Rosay*

    Sadly, I think my father’s bad career advice actually got my sister fired. She didn’t get a raise one year, and our dad advised her to ask for a meeting with the CEO to ‘advocate for herself’ (the company was small, about 25 people, but the CEO was not her supervisor). I have a suspicion that she didn’t get a raise because her work was not stellar. When she asked for a meeting with the CEO to talk about a raise, she got fired instead.

  86. learnedthehardway*

    This is timely – I’m having a networking call this week with an organization that may have volunteering opportunities, which my kiddo needs to be able to complete his high school requirements. I’m going to ask if my son can write to her about them, but that’s as far as it will go. I’m trying to teach him to network – he’s extremely introverted, and hates to talk on the phone or on video calls, but I can at least get him to email.

  87. JelloStapler*

    Oh dear Lord. But somehow not surprised. We get some doozies of parents in Higher Ed, if only they realized how much they’re actually negatively affecting their kids.

    1. The Lexus Lawyer*

      The daughter goes to an Ivy. Now I wonder if the mom was the one who actually applied for her. Probably signed her up for all the APs and SATs and extracurriculars too

      1. Atlantic Beach Pie*

        I toured a couple of Ivies when I was applying to college 20-ish years ago (not the one this student attends). I was so0o turned off by the parents on the tour! The other kids were pretty much entirely mute while the parents interrogated the admissions/staff tour guides about Junior’s chances of getting in. I remember one parent asked a question about what to major in if you wanted to go on to medical school. The admissions officer was clearly annoyed as this question must have been asked CONSTANTLY, but gave a thoughtful answer that the student should major in what they were passionate about, and that actually Classics majors had the highest rate of acceptance to med school over all. The parent nodded and at the end of the speech responded, “So… Biology then?”

  88. Amaranth*

    My dad is the kind of guy who always offers to come talk to my bosses and ‘set them straight’ or put my resume in front of a friend – but he’d also feel like he has the right to contact that friend to poke his nose into my job. No, dad, no thank you.

  89. Reluctant Manager*

    My mom wouldn’t let me use her network–she didn’t want the appearance of nepotism and she didn’t want to impose. I was kind of resentful at the time, but it worked out and now I’m proud in the uphill both ways in the snow style.

  90. Choggy*

    So this person is connecting with people on LinkedIn “just” to troll them for internships for their adult child? Yikes.

  91. Message in a Bottle*

    I’ve been thinking about this post overnight. Alison says, “Don’t do this.” This seems clear to me. And I don’t think she just means, not texting or not texting at 7:00am.

    But some people have gotten internships for their family members. Some folks in the comments have. Many in the world have. I’m not sure how big a difference it makes if you know the person slightly, very well, or not at all.

    I’m trying to think how I would feel if I received this text from someone I know well. It would still be uncomfortable. I can only think if I really knew this kid from infancy, I’d be willing to help, but even then I can just make an introduction, give a recommendation, but I wouldn’t just ‘give’ any student anything. I think we value what we work hard for, yes, even when Plan A falls through, even if it means they don’t get a good job later.

    Maybe I’m in the minority in this. But I’d feel really uncomfortable if a friend asked me this. If I really knew the student and loved them and thought they’d be perfect for it, heck, I’d certainly encourage them to apply and put a good word in. But that’s as far as I’m comfortable with. So as a friend or family member, I’d tell them the same, “Don’t ask me this.”

    1. 'Tis Me*

      What about an informational chat? Answer their questions, and help give them an idea of what to expect from the proper application process, the sort of tasks and projects interns typically get to work on, etc?

      Coz if you’re in a position to give them that sort of information, it would be useful to them and something you would probably only give because you know their parent and they said “Heya, you still work at Company, don’t you? It’s one of the places Student has mentioned that they’re planning to apply for an internship at. Do you know anything about the program? Would you mind if I gave them your contact details so they can ask you a few questions about it?” – but any individual applicant would probably be able to get similar insight from anybody who has had a similar internship, other people in the industry, etc etc. It doesn’t necessarily give them any tangible advantage – but it may help them, and it’s something that some other people may not have any access to.

    2. The Lexus Lawyer*

      I was the one who got this and I completely agree.

      I benefited from networking myself, and know that sometimes it’s not what you know but who you know. If it was someone I knew, I might at least have replied.

      But whether it was someone I knew or not, I would have appreciated hearing from the actual daughter and not the parent – and also I would have appreciate some sort of sign that she knew what I did or was interested in my area – maybe an intelligent question about something current or controversial in my field? Even a link to a news story and her thoughts on that then asking for mine?

  92. EmKay*

    Oh. Oh, no.

    Oh no, no, no , no.

    I would cringe right out of my skin if my mother ever dreamt of pulling something like this. I have a lot of empathy for the daughter.

  93. Delta Delta*

    Hold. My. Beer.

    Let’s jump back about 18-19 years. Mr. Delta and I are in law school. We leave class and go to the post office, and then walk back to his apartment for lunch. When we arrive he goes through his mail. One letter is addressed to Mr. Delta, and is from Nice Law Firm in Mr. Delta’s Home State. He’s puzzled, because he has no idea why they’re sending him mail.

    It’s a job rejection letter. He’s even more puzzled because he never applied for a job there. He calls the number on the letterhead and asks to speak to the person who sent the letter. He says he’s perplexed, as he didn’t ever expect to be rejected from a job he didn’t even apply for. The person on the other end listened patiently and said she would send him a copy of the application materials they received.

    Oh lordy. A few days later Mr. Delta received in the mail a photocopy of a card emblazoned with the word “Friendship” in gold letters across the front. The inside was handwritten, clearly by his mother, and said, “hello, I am Mr. Delta, and I am from Home State. I want to work at your law firm this summer.” And allegedly signed by him. He was *mortified.* He called the law firm and explained it was a relative, meaning to do something they thought was “nice” but was instead terrible. They said they figured that was the case, and wished him well. He was so embarrassed.

    1. 'Tis Me*

      Please tell me he managed to talk to his mother and this was the only Friendship card/request for a job she sent on his behalf?! Or that the two of you had and have no intentions of ever applying for a law job in Home State or with a large company with a branch in Home State?

  94. Longtime Lurker*

    OMG. My daughter is 16 and looking for a summer job (yay being fully vaccinated!) and yes, I am coaching her and helping her craft emails but it’s all coming from her. And she’s 16!

  95. Sally*

    My parents have done this multiple times (against my strong wishes) and I cannot over emphasize how much of an emotional toll it took on me. While I understand they don’t have to, I desperately wished the people on the receiving end told them how inappropriate it was.

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