Controversial Facebook underwear photo offers a diversity message, says law grad seeking work

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Brian Zulberti apparently hoped to stand out among the horde of recent law graduates seeking legal work by including a nontraditional photo of himself in a mass email to potential employers.

And he succeeded, big time. Some might think the technique backfired when it caught the attention of Above the Law, and resulted in international headlines about a Facebook profile photo of the 2009 Villianova University law graduate in his underwear. But Zulberti, a Delaware lawyer, says the publicity has in a number of ways been positive.

Intrigued by the photo of Zulberti wearing a sleeveless Villanova shirt, which accompanied his email, a reporter at the online legal tabloid searched to see what else might be on the Internet and found an even more noteworthy image.

On his public Facebook profile, Zulberti included a picture of himself standing in a bathroom in his underwear, with a sign obscuring his head as he took the self-photo. It reads: “HIRE ME!!! no … as a Lawyer, Damn, NOT A ESCORT … wait, is it something I’m wearing?”

Criticized in an Above the Law post by Staci Zaretsky for making a grammar error and portraying himself in a manner that will possibly limit his job prospects, Zulberti responded with a somewhat tongue-in-cheek YouTube statement on Wednesday evening.

“At first I was angry that she was insulting me,” he says of Zaretsky. “It was a rather insulting article. But then I looked at it again, and she called me a young stud, which implies that I’m young and I’m a stud … and she said I had nice arms.”

Using Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous civil rights speech as a model, Zulberti went on to characterize the Internet buzz over his photo as sending a message about “the beauty of diversity” in the legal profession.

“I have a dream that one day young attorneys can feel free to be themselves and not feel compared to wear the exact same suit, talk the exact same way and use the exact same resume template,” he said, adding: “I have a dream that one day the state of Delaware—the first state—will be able to tolerate a lawyer with a [gasp] sense of humor. I have a dream that little children will one day grow up not to be judged by the muscle tone of their arms and their chosen picture on a resume, but rated for it rather by an analysis of whether they can do a good job. … I have a dream that one day in Delaware and its close-knit and—dare I say, sometimes stuffy—environment, the local geniuses can come to fathom that somebody can be wild, embrace sex and sexuality and still write a damn good legal brief.”

In posts on his Facebook page, Zulberti said he has received over 150 phone messages and tells readers: “I have never meant anything more than this. This press which I did not solicit or ask for is the best thing to ever happen to me. I have learned exactly who my real friends are. The way you all have illuminated yourselves to me in the last day will forever impact how I feel about you and how I act towards you.”

Zulberti is far from the only young adult to have posted material on a social media site that could adversely affect his or her job prospects.

A recent FindLaw survey found that 29 percent of those between 18 and 34 have put a comment, photo or other personal information online that they think could cause either a prospective employer to nix a job application or result in job termination by a current employer, a press release says.

It recommends that those who may wish to avoid the kind of publicity generated by Zulberti check their privacy settings; think before they post; and limit the personal information they put online.

See also:

Daily Mail: “That’s ONE way to bulk up your resume! Desperate law graduate looking for work sends picture of himself flexing his biceps in mass email to attorneys”

Philadelphia Daily News: “Villanova law grad tries to get a job with his toned arms”

worksocial: “1 In 10 Lost Job Opps Thanks to Social Media? A Closer Look”

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