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Lawyer shares ‘unhinged’ email she received from student asking for law school advice: ‘What not to do’

‘Why did he feel so entitled to your time?’ one viewer asks

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Sunday 12 December 2021 14:21 GMT
Top NYC lawyer receives 'unhinged' email from 'entitled undergrad'
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A woman who documents her life as a New York City-based attorney on TikTok has shared the “unhinged” email she received from a college student after she denied his request to speak with him regarding law school admissions and “post-graduate opportunities”.

Cece Xie, a privacy lawyer and Yale University lecturer who graduated from Harvard Law School, shared the emails she received from the undergraduate student on TikTok, where she goes by the username @cecexie.

In the video, uploaded this week, Xie began by explaining that she just received “the most unhinged email”.

The attorney, who described the email as a “good example of what not to do when you are trying to network within your profession or find a mentor,” then proceeded to share the initial email she received from a man named Benjamin, who’d sent her an email with the subject line: “Help! Law school.”

In the email, which Xie displayed on her screen in the video, the student writes that he is currently in undergrad, before asking the TikToker if she’d “deign to share 10 minutes” to speak on the phone with him, as he is trying to get into Duke Law and wants her advice on admissions and “post-graduate opportunities”.

“I am a big fan of your YouTube,” Benjamin continued, before concluding the email appearing to assure Xie it will be a worthwhile use of her time.

According to Xie, who shared a screenshot of her response, she responded to the email with her “general policy”. In the email, she noted that she does not typically have one-on-one conversations, but that her followers can submit any questions they have regarding law school or a legal career that she has not answered previously on her social media channels and she will try to address them.

“Hope this helps and good luck!” she concluded the email.

Xie’s email prompted an angry response from Benjamin, which the attorney also shared a screenshot of in her TikTok.

In the email response, the law school hopeful states that he has an “extremely hard time believing [Xie’s] ‘following’ is that abundant,” before claiming that she has “plenty of time for a 10-minute call”.

“It costs you nothing, makes you nothing. But it makes sense: You are still young and had to fight hard for the position(s) you occupy currently. You will become more charitable and altruistic as you age and gain material success,” the undergraduate student continued. “Just remember, there is always time.”

Benjamin then urged Xie to “go tell Jeff Bezos, (or even your senior partner for that matter), that you don’t have any time”.

“Lastly, 9/10 of the dolts hitting you up are just time-sucking tyre kickers that have no potential. Thanks for your microaggressive civility,” the student concluded his email.

According to Xie, because she “is an Aries,” her first inclination was to email Benjamin’s college, his employer, which he included in his email signature, and the law school he hopes to be admitted into.

“But, I know that professionalism dictates that you should never send emails or other communications in the heat of the moment,” Xie continued, adding: “Like Benjamin did.”

The attorney then acknowledged that law is a “small world,” and that she often receives inquiries from friends in the business looking for recommendations regarding whether or not to hire her former colleagues or acquaintances.

“And, if I’ve had a bad experience with someone, I’m going to tell the truth,” Xie concluded. “So, Benjamin, for your sake, I hope our paths never cross again.”

The clip, which has been viewed more than 1.6m times, has been met with horror from Xie’s viewers, with many expressing their shock over the student’s “entitlement”.

“The level of entitlement is just insane,” one person commented, while another said: “This was sooo embarrassing to read, even his FIRST EMAIL.”

Someone else described the student’s attitude as “insane narcissism,” adding: “Sure you have 10 minutes, but not for everyone and certainly not for this person.”

In a follow-up video titled: “How to write a networking/mentoring request email,” Xie shared three things that people should include in their emails individuals in their field to “maximise the chances you’ll get a response”.

According to Xie, the first thing she recommends is that the sender be “more specific” about their own goals, and why they are reaching out to that specific person.

Xie also recommends people who have specific questions write them in a list format in the email, as it helps give the recipient an “idea of the scope of questions that you may have, and also see that you have given thought to why you want to talk with them”.

“Number three, do not ask questions for which answers can be easily found online,” Xie said, as she noted that recipients will appreciate seeing that the sender has done their research.

While these factors may increase chances of a response, Xie reminded individuals looking for a mentor or advice in their field that they should not get discouraged if they don’t get a reply, as it is a “number’s game”.

“You are going to hear way more ‘no’ responses than you are going to hear ‘yes,’” she said. “It’s not you, it’s just the nature of the game.”

The Independent has contacted Xie for comment.

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