Law School Discussion

Law Students => Job Search => Topic started by: Trivium on September 28, 2009, 02:28:57 PM

Title: Question on job offers
Post by: Trivium on September 28, 2009, 02:28:57 PM
so, basically I'm just looking for confirmation on something I'm already fairly sure of here, but I thought I'd ask. You have a callback with a firm and they tell you at the callback that they'll probably get back to you in mid-September. It is now almost October. Is it safe to assume you will not be receiving an offer? I'm fairly confident that is the case, but I thought I would check so that I can have my hopes officially dashed.
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: TheDudeMan on September 28, 2009, 02:46:43 PM
Yes, because we have a crystal ball here and can answer that question.  What's with people looking for reassurance online.  Didn't your mommy hug you enough?  Maybe you get an offer, maybe not.  Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: Trivium on September 28, 2009, 04:04:59 PM
I wasn't really looking for reassurance. More like an idea of if anyone else ever got an offer that long after they were told they should hear back.
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: TheDudeMan on September 29, 2009, 07:17:10 AM
Right.... So you can feel reassured.

I mean follow-up with your firm dude.  You are an adult.
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: Slumdog Lovebutton on October 03, 2009, 11:07:14 AM
Right.... So you can feel reassured.

I mean follow-up with your firm dude.  You are an adult.

TITCR.  Call the recruiter.
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: TheDudeMan on October 04, 2009, 04:24:55 PM
I don't know what that clown is being such a jerk about.

A ding shouldn't be presumed yet.  Basically, firms offered candidates who would have been overqualified pre-ITE.  But a firm doesn't know how these kids are going to react to the offers--maybe the market is tight and they accept, maybe the firm overreached and they decline, whatever.  So until the first round of offers come due, firms are sitting on borderline applicants.  That's you.  Good luck.


Yeah, because you know this firsthand.  I love the lame speculation on here....
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: Angry Gorilla on October 05, 2009, 10:45:28 PM
I know this first hand.  The reasoning--that they're reaching up in their offers--is clear from the offer landscape, at my school anyway.  The strategy--that firms are giving tiered offers and refraining from dinging/offering other candidates until the first offer set explodes--has been confirmed (to me personally, and to at least a couple others in my class) by a few different recruiters, with various degrees of directness (from "we're still considering your candidacy, but are waiting to see how our class shapes up" to "you'll have an answer from us when we get our answers from currently outstanding offers").

The other side of the coin, and this is plainly obvious though no one I know has heard it directly, is that nobody's taking chances on their yield--having your program oversubscribed is not a good scenario.  Hence the controlled tiering.

Do I know that's what's going on with the OP's specific situation?  Obviously not.  But I'd put good money it, since the callback result lapse is generally a new phenomenon, so there probably aren't too many different reasons for it to happen.

Sounds plausible.
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: TheDudeMan on October 09, 2009, 08:49:27 AM
Well, if my firm was that TTT I'd hope for the best and accept another offer elsewhere if and when I received it.  I wouldn't want to work for a firm that plays games like that.

But hey, that's just me.
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: dischord on October 09, 2009, 10:36:12 PM
 ??? I'd totally take Debevoise over S&C, not that I'd ever in a gazillion years have that choice to make.

Anyway, as for "playing games" v. "conservative business strategies" . . . obviously there is a rationale for firms tiering their offers.  But there are two things that some firms are doing that make me feel like I wouldn't want to work for them even if I got an offer in the end.

The less irksome of the two is that when many people expected firms to maintain prior years callback/offer ratios (or have even better ones because of expense), many firms seem to have called back WAY more people than they reasonably needed to fill a second, third, or so on string of potential offers.  I understand that they are trying to weed out the best candidates possible but callbacks are extremely time consuming, and even with the firm paying for travel expenses the little niceties of traveling really add up.  I mean, I'm not going to present receipts for Starbucks, magazines, etc.

What is especially annoying, though, is that there's a lack of transparency about what firms are doing.  I had only one firm tell me explicitly they are doing rolling offers, yet I seem to have ended up on a number of these supposed waitlists.  Some firms can't be bothered to let you know your status even after candidates call or email.   I mean, seriously, at that point they are just dicking you around.  One shouldn't have to call after a month to be told that he's on a waitlist.  People certainly shouldn't continue to get silence when they've let a firm know that they have impending acceptance deadlines.  I understand that recruiters are busy but some of their behavior is just really rude, especially when you consider how much time is spent barraging the anointed first string offerees with complimentary communications.
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: Slumdog Lovebutton on October 10, 2009, 09:53:30 AM
I told OP my take on the situation.  You called it "lame speculation."  I cited to classmates, recruiters, and associates, then ATL confirmed it all five days later.  Anyway, the fact that I know what I'm talking about isn't the point.  The point is that you tried to call BS when I described a strategy that virtually EVERYONE involved with hiring this year knows about.  Like I said on the 4th: the 2Ls know it, the recruiters are open about it and even the damn junior associates you knew from college will give you their takes on their firms' newfangled offer waitlists.

It made me  :'(  :'(  :'( when you you went  >:(  >:(  >:( but now I know that you were just  ???  ???  ???.   And I mean, I'm being sarcastic about it, but if you aren't involved this year then there's really no reason for you to have known that (though, "lame speculation"?  Really?).

Then we get:

Well, if my firm was that TTT I'd hope for the best and accept another offer elsewhere if and when I received it.  I wouldn't want to work for a firm that plays games like that.

But hey, that's just me.

Yowzers.  Pretty bold statement to make.  Observe:

You say you wouldn't work at one of these "game playing TTTs."  I wouldn't work anywhere else.  These "TTTs" are ranked all across Vault, from the V100 to the V5, and they include some especially healthy firms that have just chosen to be conservative ITE.  The "game playing" is nothing more than a hiring schedule based on good business sense; it isn't remotely shady, or whatever it is that the phrase "game playing" might intone.  And, lastly, with respect to the type of firm you're saying you would choose: a firm that doesn't carefully control its class size ITE is a firm that's setting itself up for oversubscription and subsequent no-offers (refer again to today's ATL article), so, with a few exceptions (WLRK and CSM come to mind), watch out for that.

Anyway, to speak to your ultimate point; if you got an offer at S&C, you'd be batshit crazy to turn it down for Debevoise just because Deb doesn't maintain an offer waitlist. 

So, yes, that's just you.

1. 180.

2. DudeMan: Boom, roasted.
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: dischord on October 10, 2009, 10:10:57 AM
Well, you know, desperation will make people put up with pretty much anything, but that doesn't mean that it's the right way to treat someone.

And even when I was really desperate for something, in cases where I knew the outrageous number of callbacks they were doing to fill a class of like, 10, it really lent an air of futility to the whole thing.  I mean, of course I was lucky to have a number of callbacks, and others were far less fortunate.  But IMO it's NOT true that I could have landed a first round offer at any of these places, short of some kind of miracle.  Offers at a lot of places where I'm on hold seem to be strictly tracking credentials from what I can tell (which, granted, is limited since I don't know that many people as a transfer, but I'm inferring from law review membership and other callbacks).  I was definitely on the lower end of the pool in most cases, and in retrospect I think I got most of my callbacks due to a combo of interviewing (so I don't think that's the problem), work experience, and connections.  My results at the callback stage have definitely reflected this in good results from the firms where my credentials were probably towards the middle or even upper end of the pack.

So personally, I felt as if one or two of my callbacks were a waste of time, and I heard a couple of horror stories from friends about callbacks where it was totally evident that the firm had no intention of giving them an offer from the get-go.  I'm not saying that I'd necessarily like to trade this for like, one callback where I'd had a 90% shot at an offer.  But, you know, if I'm going to spend a couple of evenings memorizing facts from the firm's website, a few hours on a train, and pay to get my suit dry cleaned, then I'd really like to feel as if I'm being taken at least half as seriously as a candidate as I'm taking them as a potential employer.  

And as for communications, I strongly disagree.  I mean, yeah, some people respond to emails slowly (but 2 weeks?!) and there isn't really any DUTY for firms to do much of anything.  But wtf, why would a firm TELL recruiters to keep quiet?  I guess there are plenty of plausible PR reasons but I don't think I'd want to work somewhere that takes that approach in their dealings with employees (of course, based on where you're going, we probably have differing opinions on that haha).  I think that it's incredibly inconsiderate to keep people in the dark after they've asked for an update.  I mean, 45 day countdown aside, the amount of time it takes to apply to other things and keep going on interviews is ridiculous.  Obviously if you're on some kind of waitlist you still need to be doing this, but you know, if I've been told that I'm on three waitlists as opposed to assuming three rejections, this might change what other options I'm prioritizing in the meantime, as would "We should be able to give you an answer by X date" versus "We can't estimate the timeline."

Finally -- and I realize this is sort of quibbling but it drives me nuts -- even if a firm does communicate, I really hate being told "Well, our hiring committee is still meeting, you're still under consideration, we're just really backed up, etc."  Shut the @#!* up, just TELL ME IN PLAIN ENGLISH you're waiting for other candidates to accept or decline.  I mean, I hate this corporate doublespeak, it's not like I don't know that the other kid who had a callback the same day as mine got an offer three days later.  

Anyway, of course none of this matters if your offer in hand is from Stroock and Wachtell is the one dicking you around, but that's totally unrealistic.  Maybe if you have strong preferences to be in a certain market versus another it wouldn't matter either, although I'm seriously thinking about just sticking with a secondary market at this point because of how I've been treated in NY.  I think that I'm pretty typical, though, in that most of the more prestigious (on paper) firms for whom I'm waiting are not in so much better shape than the one I've got that I'd "have" to take them.  So the fact that the firm I have not only WANTS me to be there, but has also been reasonably prompt and responsive, may lead me to pick them over a firm that most others would choose based on prestige, etc., alone.  And when or if I ever apply as a lateral, I'm certainly going to remember a lot of this behavior.

God, now I'm angry.  This whole process has just made me want to just do public interest and tell firms in general to go @#!* themselves.
  
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: TheDudeMan on October 10, 2009, 03:18:57 PM
I guess I just have a different perspective.  I have a career already and I wouldn't leave it for a firm that treats its future associates with such utter disregard.

Fortunately, I received an offer and don't have to worry about such things.  Nonetheless, it is still disheartening that the legal field has slumped so low overall.
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: dashrashi on October 11, 2009, 09:04:13 AM
[snip]
This whole process has just made me want to just do public interest and tell firms in general to go @#!* themselves.
  

Recommended!
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: ,.,.,.;.,.,. on October 11, 2009, 09:44:28 AM
I dunno.  I'm kinda sympathetic to the firm's perspective.  Think about it if you're a partner at one of these firms.  Your business is WAY down in the past year.  You're under constant pressure to bill and rainmake, and then some entitled kids without any legal skills (and little going for them besides a good LSAT score and a year of LS grades) expect immediate answers.  This is after you've laid off people who already had four or five years of experience, and are languishing in the streets. 

You even said that you did very little.  You memorized some facts on the firm's website.  You shot the breeze with their associates.  You ate crab-cakes at their callback dinner.  There are very few substantial things in this process that make you stand out, sadly.  That becomes none more apparent than with these waits.  You invested little in them (not the general them, but specific firms); they invest little in you.

"Life is hard, the world is cruel" -- Hebrew proverb

I'd also like to throw in a plug for secondary market firms.  Recruiters were much nicer and more prompt at firms that interview, say, 30 people per year for 10 spots, as opposed to mega-sweatshop firms that interview 200 of the best and brightest for 10 spots.  I had nothing but good experiences with places in my secondary markets.
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: dischord on October 11, 2009, 10:15:17 AM
I'm not saying I want or even need immediate answers.  I mean, hell, it didn't bother me when a public interest place took over a month to even give me a CALLBACK.  But that's because they were upfront about their timetable, which is a typical one for public interest.  The problem with this in the case of firms is that they've drastically changed their behavior, but many of them are refusing to acknowledge what they're doing.  I mean, it is not difficult to tell your recruiting dept. to either send out a preemptive blast group email to "waitlist" candidates, to respond to inquiries about status, and to be HONEST about where you are in the process.  Like, if you say "Oh you should be hearing from us in 1-2 weeks," then actually do it!  Or call back with a reason you can't give an answer!  Or just don't tell me that in the first place, just say you don't know!   

And cry me a f-ing river for partners.  They're still taking home salaries of which they should be ashamed, even if they are lower than in the past.  Many of them also got their firms into these dire straits through their own greedy, short-term profit-oriented decision making.  And that's assuming the firm is even actually HAVING trouble, rather than taking measures to keep PPP high.

Furthermore, I don't think it's "entitled" to expect that I not be treated rudely, ignored, bullshitted or straight up lied to. 

And as for my relative lack of accomplishments, that's precisely what infuriates me about this.  All of these firms that can't be bothered to send a simple email to their candidates on hold have been wining, dining, and flooding their offer candidates with communications.  Of course they have some prerogative to woo them.  But the point is that these places are clearly capable of treating students with courtesy, when it is in their interest.  But, you know, not being on Law Review doesn't make me unworthy of decent treatment.

[snip]
This whole process has just made me want to just do public interest and tell firms in general to go @#!* themselves.
  

Recommended!

This is seriously a whole other problem for me . . .
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: ,.,.,.;.,.,. on October 11, 2009, 10:43:44 AM
I dunno.  I'm just hoping to get to the point where I can manipulate and exploit others, rather than vice-versa.   ;)
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: dischord on October 11, 2009, 10:51:59 AM
You are part of the problem, not the solution.
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: ,.,.,.;.,.,. on October 11, 2009, 11:48:28 AM
You are part of the problem, not the solution.

It's a profession-wide problem.  One person isn't going to change it -- and certainly not someone with my credentials.  If I were a SCOTUS clerk turned BigLaw partner, it would be a different story.

Many of these partners have golden handcuffs.  I am somewhat sympathetic to their problems with mansions in the Hamptons and third wives.
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: nealric on October 11, 2009, 04:17:57 PM
Quote
I'd also like to throw in a plug for secondary market firms.  Recruiters were much nicer and more prompt at firms that interview, say, 30 people per year for 10 spots, as opposed to mega-sweatshop firms that interview 200 of the best and brightest for 10 spots.  I had nothing but good experiences with places in my secondary markets.
 

I actually had several really awful, awkward secondary market interviews and great primary market interviews. I think a lot of it was that as soon as it became clear I wasn't a good ol boy, the interviewers lost interest. Then again, I didn't interview at the mega-sweatshop (skadden et.al.) firms in primary markets either.
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: dischord on October 11, 2009, 05:42:20 PM
Again, I think that there's some conflation of issues here.  It's not so much "God they're taking so long it suuuucks how dare they" that's a legit complaint in my eyes.  That's very different from expecting professionalism and considerateness.

And why WOULDN'T how a firm treats or communicates with you during this process be a factor (not necessarily determinative) in your decision?  I'd think this would be more the case for someone who wants to be in Biglaw for the long haul, even.  If you are planning on leaving after a year you may as well go with, for example, Skadden just to have the name on your resume or pay down your loans as much as possible, even if the experience is miserable.  But if you are planning on staying somewhere for longer, and maybe even hoping to make partner, don't you think you'd want to go somewhere where you won't be treated horribly?  Obviously on some level we are all fungible here, but some behavior really seems to indicate that a firm just absolutely doesn't give a @#!* about their associates.  If a firm will mistreat you in the recruiting process, when at least in theory they should at least be TRYING to make a reasonably good impression on people, what do you think they'll be like when they actually are your employer?  How much consideration are they going to have for their associates overall?  IMO that matters more than ever in an uncertain economy and legal market, when a firm's attitudes towards its associates might be the difference between layoffs and less extreme measures to deal with the downturn.  I do not want to end up somewhere that will throw its associates under the bus no matter how much better it will be for my future career prospects, if for no other reason than that I may not ever get the chance to take advantage of those benefits if *&^% hits the fan at the wrong time in my career.

Anyway, like I said earlier, I certainly am not arguing that someone should take a V100 over a V5, or a place that only does private equity when you want to be a litigator, just because that firm is nicer to you now.  And certainly I am sensitive to the fact that those of us who don't have offers are not in a position to be picky, and those who have offers from anywhere should be ridiculously thankful regardless.  But (not to be hyperbolic . . .) I think that in the long run, collective acceptance of exploitative practices will really do all of us a disservice, especially if that attitude continues into our class's first few years of practice in acceptance of even worse working conditions than existed during the boom times. 

You are part of the problem, not the solution.

It's a profession-wide problem.  One person isn't going to change it -- and certainly not someone with my credentials.  If I were a SCOTUS clerk turned BigLaw partner, it would be a different story.

Many of these partners have golden handcuffs.  I am somewhat sympathetic to their problems with mansions in the Hamptons and third wives.

I . . . don't know where to even start with this one.  This is truly beyond the pale.

I must say, there is a lot of false conciousness in this thread.
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: ,.,.,.;.,.,. on October 11, 2009, 05:54:49 PM
What's wrong with that thought?  Please don't just end it with some Marxist jargon.  I sympathize with BigLaw partners to an extent.  I realize that they would be willing to throw me under a bus (or Ray Lewis . . . sorry, watching Bengals-Ravens highlights), but their lives aren't exactly gravy.  The money may seem generous, but they earn modest amounts in comparison to some of their lifestyles.
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: dischord on October 11, 2009, 06:14:34 PM
Those were two separate thoughts.  As in the sentence below your quote referred to you, and the last sentence was general (although I guess also refers to you generally?  I wasn't really thinking about that in particular.).

The money may seem generous, but they earn modest amounts in comparison to some of their lifestyles.

This is ridiculous.  At best that's a problem ENTIRELY of their own making.  These are not people who have basic expenses that exceed a fixed income.  These are people with enough sense, and ostensibly financial acumen, that they should know better than to engage in utterly irresponsible financial behavior.  If there's one thing I took away from my old job it was to not feel sorry for partners who get themselves into these situations (my old boss used to go on huge tirades about partners who drove Porsches and couldn't ever quit the firm because they were in so much debt from their divorces and said Porches).  Plenty of partners live fairly modest lifestyles and are extremely prudent with their money (while still doing things like travelling, etc. to enjoy their wealth).  I mean, I cannot think of a single legitimate reason that someone wouldn't be able to live within a half million, a million dollars, or more, even in NYC.   And do not even tell me that this is because of unexpected financial misfortune or alimony -- have you ever heard of something called SAVINGS and PRENUPS? 

I mean, they certainly are entitled to do whatever they want with their own money.  But to complain about not having any after blowing literally millions of dollars on opulent lifestyles, and then using this as a justification to keep their incomes at the same level by f-ing over their subordinates' careers, maybe dozens of them?  REALLY?!
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: dischord on October 11, 2009, 06:24:30 PM
Also as much I was being facetious, I do think that the concept of false consciousness is applicable here, whether or not you agree with the value judgment it implies -- acceptance of the legitimacy of working conditions, employer behavior, class structure, etc. because of the illusion of the possibility of upward mobility.
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: dischord on October 11, 2009, 07:33:19 PM
I agree that a firm's treatment of its employees is probably a bigger consideration for those of us looking to be there long-term.  I just don't assume that, in organizations as large as the ones we're talking about, the communications of the recruiting department are necessarily indicative of the firm's overall treatment of employees.  I'm not saying that, once at a firm (should that ever actually happen), I will accept relatively inconsiderate treatment as a trade-off for prestige.

That said, I say "relatively" because I think that it's reasonable to expect a certain level of inconsiderateness (if you want to call it that) from client-service organizations as large as these (law firms or not), where it isn't feasible to remain competitive while still ensuring that all of their workers are kept absolutely happy. So, my concern would be with working at a firm that treats its people noticeably worse than its competitors (and, sure, recent decisions can be indicative, but I don't know that the speed at which someone in the recruiting department answers e-mails is enough for me to make that judgment).  To the extent that it's across the board, though... well, both conditions and salaries are market-driven (and we have labor laws to prevent true exploitation).

I also say "prestige" because, yeah, I'm willing to sacrifice the best treatment and working conditions for more exciting work down the road (which is seemingly often, but not always, correlated with prestige, etc).  I don't think we are contributing to a problem by "accepting" less desirable working conditions, though, when we are fully aware that we are applying to work in organizations that will prioritize profit over employee satisfaction.

I don't think that this is false consciousness at all.  I'm not saying "I'm going to accept this because, if I want to move up as a lawyer, I must be treated poorly!"  I'm saying that I understand why these firms make their business decisions in a certain way, and (would like to) choose to be a part of it regardless.  I fully recognize that there are other ways to run a business, and that they can allow incoming lawyers significantly better working conditions.  Many people choose to work for those organizations, likely because they also recognize that there are other ways to determine priorities in an organization.  That said, large firms provide incentives, in terms of compensation (including at the partner level) and (very much depending on one's goals) experience. 

The "experience" here is not, as you seem to assume, some generally superior path of advancement in society.  The specific interests and goals that led me to law school are such that the trade-off is worth it to me.  I'm not arguing that this is the case for every single person who enters these firms (or even for enough people that firms could attract the same quality of workers if everyone were to resist the temptation of $160K and assess where they actually fall on this trade-off).  I'm just saying that it isn't necessarily some misguided decision for every person who enters a large firm and doesn't complain about the conditions.  (Of course, to the extent that you just don't think that, for example, corporate M&A is a worthwhile life passion... well, that would be a completely different discussion, and one that we probably wouldn't be able to resolve.)

*One more caveat before I end this novel:  Yes, I realize that I have not actually worked as a junior associate as a large law firm, and that there is a chance that my career interests won't actually outweigh the working conditions once I'm actually going through it.  We can only make choices based on the information available to us.

A couple of things stand out to me:

I think what you are focusing on is the rationality of the individual choosing specific trade offs in order to accomplish their specific career goals.  Obviously I spoke to that but insofar as accepting certain treatment from employers is at all problematic, that's entirely a collective action problem.  Wally's right that no one person can really change this, but the opposite is true as well -- you specifically are not the (really even a?) cause of bad working conditions in the legal field in general if you decide to choose Skadden over some "lifestyle" firm, for example, because Skadden offers you some set of benefits that makes this tradeoff worth it.  The problem comes in when a large enough group of people make this tradeoff, particularly when people making this tradeoff is also the most profitable course for individual firms.  So if 90% of attractive candidates say, "Eh, I'll put myself through hell for a couple of years for money/exit options/the sake of my ego/whatever their reasons," and making associates' lives hell happens to make firms the most money,  it removes any incentive to offer alternative business models even if they are possible in theory.  I don't think I really need to remind all of us of the dearth of options for people who want nothing to do with the Biglaw lifestyle but are interested in those particular practice areas (I mean, you can't do M&A in government, and let's all remember that "midlaw is a myth").  Even when associates had more bargaining power and firms were touting their perks, "lifestyle" firms were a bit of a joke. 

I also don't really think that labor and employment law in this country is very protective to employees.  And on that note, I think there are some things that employees shouldn't be able to bargain away or that employers shouldn't be able to subject their employees to no matter how many people are willing to do it -- I mean, ITE there are probably some people who would work for $1/hour but that doesn't mean that's a good idea.  I ALSO really deplore the "client service 24 hours a day at all costs" model, and think that it's an example of capitalism gone amok rather than of the wonders of the free market. I guess, in short, I don't believe in the invisible hand of the market balancing everyone's interests, and I think that in the legal context the misery of Biglaw during even times when talent was extremely difficult to maintain is testament to that to some extent.  To me it seems that the employer always has more bargaining power, and that this is a problem.  But of course those debates are sort of insolvable.

Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: ,.,.,.;.,.,. on October 11, 2009, 07:39:42 PM
Quote
I'd also like to throw in a plug for secondary market firms.  Recruiters were much nicer and more prompt at firms that interview, say, 30 people per year for 10 spots, as opposed to mega-sweatshop firms that interview 200 of the best and brightest for 10 spots.  I had nothing but good experiences with places in my secondary markets.
 

I actually had several really awful, awkward secondary market interviews and great primary market interviews. I think a lot of it was that as soon as it became clear I wasn't a good ol boy, the interviewers lost interest. Then again, I didn't interview at the mega-sweatshop (skadden et.al.) firms in primary markets either.

The absolute kiss of death.  You have to go all out with the good ol boy mentality.
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: nealric on October 11, 2009, 08:19:44 PM
Quote

The absolute kiss of death.  You have to go all out with the good ol boy mentality.
 

Too bad I'm a crappy actor. In any event, I think I'm ending up where I will fit in the best.
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: dischord on October 11, 2009, 10:43:29 PM
I just poked my head back in for a second but this piqued my interest just for the sake of playing devil's advocate (sort of):

  But I think that's a lot different from feeling like they owe it to me to explain themselves.

I mean, why DON'T they owe it to you to explain yourselves?  Maybe not a treatise on the inner workings of their firm, but even a minimal explanation?  Aside maybe an efficiency argument that it's impractical to do this for every waitlist candidate (which is undercut by the fact that form mass emails are easy, and there probably aren't THAT many waitlisted people at every firm), it seems to me like you, and to some degree everyone else, are buying into this whole notion of "Oh, I am just a know-nothing law student, an ant in comparison to these big important partners who are doing such important things that I could never expect them to deign to accommodate even my most piddling requests."  Of course this is exaggerated for emphasis, but frankly I'm sort of bewildered by the degree to which the concept of "entitlement" is bandied about anytime law students (or really, anyone in their early 20s) asserts that, you know, maybe their concerns are important, too?  Or god forbid, that in spite of their positions of authority and influence, maybe what these partners/firms are doing ISN'T that important?  Obviously these people are dealing with a lot of money and what a bunch of corporate hacks who can't really handle their own affairs think are catastrophic problems . . . but I don't know, are they really THAT important or impressive?  V10 partner . . . big f-ing deal. 

I mean, come on guys, where's everyone's healthy disrespect for authority, right? 

Although I suppose that the fact that I'm speaking to a bunch of law students who want to go into Biglaw really answers that question for me.
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: finderskeepers on October 11, 2009, 11:20:18 PM
Not surprisingly, many of the most attractive and preppy kids in my class got offers, almost regardless of grades.  They outperformed their grades because they fit the BigLaw mold.  Because they look sharp, corporate, and clean-cut, they look like someone BigLaw wants on the profile page or chatting with a client.  Looks were far, far more important than I think most people give them credit.  Sure, a 3.8 might land Wachtell, but for people with median and above median, the difference maker was being a good ol boy.

LOL at you thinking kids in our class are either of these things.
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: Slumdog Lovebutton on October 12, 2009, 08:09:26 AM
I mean, come on guys, where's everyone's healthy disrespect for authority, right? 

Although I suppose that the fact that I'm speaking to a bunch of law students who want to go into Biglaw really answers that question for me.

Right, I had forgotten about how you were rebelling against that career path.  It's not like you have at all considered that there might be some benefit -- even to someone who isn't completely naive -- to putting aside some pride and joining The Institution.

I too was going to point out that you, D., are also a law student who wants to go into big law...but random beat me to it.

Take it easy, guys.
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: dischord on October 12, 2009, 12:53:01 PM
Good lord, people, there was some amount of sarcasm there, certainly in the last line.  I mean, I certainly think that among law students generally (and among young lawyers, for that matter) there is a lot of kowtowing to people who are in positions of power, and a lot of internalization of these hierarchies. But I didn't mean it as a personal attack on your specific choices  :-\

Nevertheless, I will say that I don't think that it's wrong or unreasonable to expect (in the normative, not the predictive, sense) ANY employer to get back to you.  I mean, no, this doesn't happen in practice -- many if not most employers will even tell candidates they should expect to hear from them and then they never do.  But ought it?  I think so.  It's rude whether it's Blockbuster, a corporation, an insurance defense firm, or Wachtell.  At the very least there is very little administrative cost to telling candidates up front that they won't be hearing from them unless it's good news. 

And to say that, well, in practice most employers in other industries don't do this, so you shouldn't expect this from law firms -- the set of firms that participate in OCI recruiting have created expectations through a long history of certain behaviors.  And this determines how applicants interpret what firms' behavior means, and then adjust their own behavior accordingly.  Within the context of the legal community, and even different parts of the legal community, behaviors signify differently than they would in other contexts (think for example about how thank you notes are completely standard in some industries but are more controversial with firms).  So what other industries do is of little relevance.  And now that firms behavior has changed dramatically, I find it difficult to justify why the onus should be entirely on the applicant to either figure it out or to just suck it up and deal with not knowing.  And furthermore, I doubt that if the topic of, say, students accepting multiple offers or violating some other non-NALP, unspoken norms of the recruiting process came up, that the majority would think it's appropriate, yet applicants are operating under the same degree of changed economic circumstances.

The fact that we are applying to them (and need jobs) . . . well, maybe this is the overall source of our disagreement.  I am thankful in a sort of broad cosmic sense for having an offer, but I by no means see this as, like, a gift from the firm, for which I should be grateful to THEM.  Because if I go there, they're going to make a shitload of money off of me -- arguably MOST of their money is from associate leverage, rather than high fees for partner expertise.  Whatever benefits there are to any of us in going to a firm, the relationship works fundamentally in their favor, especially if you stay longer than a year or two.  I think the same is true of the recruiting process -- interviewing us isn't doing any of us a favor, even if working at a firm will be beneficial to us as well for whatever reason.  This whole process is ultimately a moneymaking enterprise for them, even if it requires spending money up front to fly us around, take time to talk to us, etc.  To be clear, I'm not saying that on this point you guys are wrong and I am right.  There certainly IS a lot of time and expense involved in recruiting and getting a new associate class to the point where they're profitable.  And not everyone they hire becomes a profitable associate, so there is some risk involved for them.  So who you think comes out the winner in this arrangement will depend on how you prioritize each of these risks and rewards for both you and the firm.  I think that the majority of you are more inclined to see it as a more equitable relationship than I.  But coming from my point of view -- that the relationship is already more exploitative of associates than not -- a lot of behavior seems more like an abuse of power/bargaining position than a legitimate exercise thereof.

And as far as accusations that I'm a hypocrite go, I don't think it's entirely fair to characterize this as an indictment of everyone else's choices when I'm making the exact same ones.  I wasn't joking when I said that this experience has really made me question whether I want to go this route at all.  I considered not doing OCI, because having worked at a firm I not only knew what I was getting into, more or less, but also knew that I hated the working conditions (and my old firm was even  a "nice" firm).  But I didn't really feel like I had any choice (I mean, what kind of idiot turns down interviewing opportunities ITE?).  I guess I am a bit of a weirdo in that I find some areas of private practice interesting, but also have strong interests in areas in government and in public interest, so my practice area goals are rather fluid.  In a way that makes me lucky, I know, because it gives me leeway that others with more focused goals don't have.  But in other ways it makes things really difficult.  I mean, is it a good idea to just go ahead with a firm despite reservations just because otherwise I wouldn't be able to do certain practice areas?  Or do those reservations really justify taking a riskier path and pursuing another interest -- a bird in the hand, you know?  I've obviously been disappointed in how some firms have handled recruiting ITE.  But I think my real frustration stems from feeling like I'm being forced into a choice that I'm not sure is right for me -- certainly not ideologically, at least -- while also feeling like a lot of the baggage that comes along with working for a firm is unnecessary. 

(ETA: I feel I should further clarify my previous post because I think it really came off wrong -- I also didn't mean it personally in the sense that I was reading everyone's individual posts and thinking, "Wow, you all are morons" or something.  Although Wally feeling sorry for partners was a little surreal, haha.  It was just a response to the general tenor of the conversation, and what I was reading as a necessary underlying assumption behind defending the behavior of firms.  I certainly recognize that they have the power right now, especially because it's a buyer's market so to speak, and I am not insensitive to everyone's individual problems that necessitate just grinning and bearing it.  I think what I was trying to say was that even if that's the way things are, that sucks, and that there's nothing inherently special about firms that justifies them treating applicants with any disrespect even if we're forced to accept it for practical reasons.  I hope that makes sense.)
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: Matthies on October 12, 2009, 02:28:06 PM

And to say that, well, in practice most employers in other industries don't do this, so you shouldn't expect this from law firms -- the set of firms that participate in OCI recruiting have created expectations through a long history of certain behaviors.  And this determines how applicants interpret what firms' behavior means, and then adjust their own behavior accordingly. 
 
The fact that we are applying to them (and need jobs) . . . well, maybe this is the overall source of our disagreement.  I am thankful in a sort of broad cosmic sense for having an offer, but I by no means see this as, like, a gift from the firm, for which I should be grateful to THEM.  Because if I go there, they're going to make a shitload of money off of me -- arguably MOST of their money is from associate leverage, rather than high fees for partner expertise.  Whatever benefits there are to any of us in going to a firm, the relationship works fundamentally in their favor, especially if you stay longer than a year or two.  I think the same is true of the recruiting process -- interviewing us isn't doing any of us a favor, even if working at a firm will be beneficial to us as well for whatever reason.  This whole process is ultimately a moneymaking enterprise for them, even if it requires spending money up front to fly us around, take time to talk to us, etc.  To be clear, I'm not saying that on this point you guys are wrong and I am right.  There certainly IS a lot of time and expense involved in recruiting and getting a new associate class to the point where they're profitable. 
 

This is the thing that in the other thread I said comes off as elitist, even if your not trying to be. You just canít look at the past and expect anything like that to be the case NOW. If you understand the way legal hiring has worked over the last 15 years (OCI has not always been what it was, there is a relatively recent phenomena) then you understand that until last year it was a studentís market for the most part. Under the Cravath model firms needed brand name JDs to support their business model, it was all based on billing more for top talent so there was a race on from all firms supporting that billing model to grab as many graduates as they could from top law schools. It was studentís market and that is why we saw steady increases in salary each year and firms going so deep into schools classes.

Those days are gone, and they are not coming back. The Cravath model has crashed and burned for all but a few elite firms. Clients are no longer willing to pay top dolor to train new associates just because they have a barnd name degree. Law firms are losing money left and right on new associates in this ecomony, they can't bill like they used to for triaining. Thinking a firm in the ecocemny owes you anything like what it used to be comes from not understanding that there is a fundamental change in the way big firms work AND hire underway. Should be feel like you owe the firm something for hiring you? Hell yes is my view. They donít really need you, and for everyone they hire there are 100ís would give a testicul to be in your position.

The simple fact is its not 2007 and it never will be again. Expecting firms to act like it is, to bow to recruits timelines over there own struggles to keep afloat and thinking youíre more needed than you are, is just not understand how the new legal world is shaping up. Believe me Iím not saying you should be thanking god on your knees this firm said yes to you, but I am suggesting you start researching the changing legal market outside what your classmates are telling you. Knowing whatís coming and the value added side to legal work will make you more valuable then if you donít. Its not going back to the way it used to be, and thinking that firms should act like they did in 2007 now is just putting more pressure on yourself then you need. Itís a firms market and will be for awhile. They have all the cards, and if you want the job then you have to play by their rules, even if those rules seem like they are screwing with the rest of your life. 

Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: dischord on October 12, 2009, 03:09:49 PM
I'm not trying to be obtuse here, but I am failing to see how I'm being condescending.  I don't begrudge anyone's desire to work at a firm, or for being happy to get an offer and/or willing to wait for one for however long, or being happy to just be on a waitlist, or not wanting to ask questions, or whatever.  I don't even think it's "misguided" to, in practice, submit to this stuff in order to get what you want out of the current job market, and in the future out of your career.  Same with aligning yourself in theory to a business model where decisions are driven by profit maximization, if for no other reason than you might benefit from this as an employee later on.  Also, I never said that any of this should be subject to some sort of formal regulation, or that employment and hiring practices shouldn't change at all with market conditions.    

What I am saying is that the fact that there is some or even a lot of benefit to employees in all of this, and that there may be an economic self-interested rationale for firms' behavior (although in the case of, for example, recruiting offices just keeping mum about what's going on, I can't see how there's more than de minimis economic benefit), doesn't automatically mean that something is justifiable or beyond reproach .  Everyone (employees) is certainly entitled to choose his own poison, so to speak, and even to like it, but that has little bearing on judgments of the employers creating those conditions, especially if there are effective alternatives that are more in line with human concerns.  I suppose that you can operate under the assumption that the market is beyond moral considerations and that businesses should be run accordingly, and there's certainly a spectrum between that and my viewpoint.  But where condescension or judgment of enter into this picture is unclear to me.

As for the hypocrisy of my own choices -- no, the fact that I'm struggling doesn't mean I'm different.  I DO think that what's different about my situation is a) I don't think I'm one of those people who just doesn't want to work for a firm and is bitching an moaning about having to -- I do have a legitimate interest in private practice, as much as I'm concerned about what this is going to entail, and b) I may end up putting my money where my mouth is.  The fact that I have conflicted interests that make a final decision difficult is only relevant insofar as I'm venting frustrations on here and that I haven't actually declined my offer.

  
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: dischord on October 12, 2009, 03:27:05 PM


This is the thing that in the other thread I said comes off as elitist, even if your not trying to be. You just canít look at the past and expect anything like that to be the case NOW. If you understand the way legal hiring has worked over the last 15 years (OCI has not always been what it was, there is a relatively recent phenomena) then you understand that until last year it was a studentís market for the most part. Under the Cravath model firms needed brand name JDs to support their business model, it was all based on billing more for top talent so there was a race on from all firms supporting that billing model to grab as many graduates as they could from top law schools. It was studentís market and that is why we saw steady increases in salary each year and firms going so deep into schools classes.

Those days are gone, and they are not coming back. The Cravath model has crashed and burned for all but a few elite firms. Clients are no longer willing to pay top dolor to train new associates just because they have a barnd name degree. Law firms are losing money left and right on new associates in this ecomony, they can't bill like they used to for triaining. Thinking a firm in the ecocemny owes you anything like what it used to be comes from not understanding that there is a fundamental change in the way big firms work AND hire underway. Should be feel like you owe the firm something for hiring you? Hell yes is my view. They donít really need you, and for everyone they hire there are 100ís would give a testicul to be in your position.

The simple fact is its not 2007 and it never will be again. Expecting firms to act like it is, to bow to recruits timelines over there own struggles to keep afloat and thinking youíre more needed than you are, is just not understand how the new legal world is shaping up. Believe me Iím not saying you should be thanking god on your knees this firm said yes to you, but I am suggesting you start researching the changing legal market outside what your classmates are telling you. Knowing whatís coming and the value added side to legal work will make you more valuable then if you donít. Its not going back to the way it used to be, and thinking that firms should act like they did in 2007 now is just putting more pressure on yourself then you need. Itís a firms market and will be for awhile. They have all the cards, and if you want the job then you have to play by their rules, even if those rules seem like they are screwing with the rest of your life. 


Again, no one's saying that no change to the recruiting or hiring model whatsoever is justifiable. 

But come on, now, don't even try to tell me that the sole reason I was given an offer WASN'T that they are betting that this will be a profitable decision for them.  It may not make them as much money as in the past, they may not be able to bill me out as high, they may not need as many people, it may not be immediate, and what contributions are valued will be different in the future, no doubt.  But these people aren't running a f-ing charity.  They aren't hiring (admittedly few) new associates out of the good of their hearts, or keeping them employed later on for that reason, either.  If nothing else, from what you're saying it will be the benefits to ME as an associate that will decrease:  They'll likely be quicker to fire associates who don't become profitable or add value in some other way pretty soon after they start, our salaries will be more in line with our "value" to the firm in terms of billing rates, etc.  But the imbalance in benefits to the associate versus the firm isn't going to diminish -- these are shrewd people, they'd get rid of us entirely before that happened.

Anyway, I appreciate that you try to point out that in practice none of us really matter.  I mean, for any of us to act otherwise would be unwise -- it's not like I'm such an idiot that I march into places IRL demanding "my due" or something.  But I don't see what's so wrong about commenting on the fact that this is dehumanizing; that in an ideal world this *&^% wouldn't be this way at all; that, you know, maybe not EVERYTHING firms do is justified by bad economic circumstances, even if it's going to happen whether we like it or not.  You're almost, like, gleeful that people aren't treated nicely or something sometimes, or when things don't go as well as they'd hoped. 

 
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: dischord on October 12, 2009, 03:37:50 PM
I meant by "if for no other reason" that even if you HAD no other reason it would be a good reason.  Not that that would be the only good reason.  So pretty much what you are saying  ???

As for alternatives, what good reason do you have for firms being rude or unresponsive?  Or giving you the run around when you ask about status?  I mean, what harm is it to admit they're running a waitlist when all of us know that's what they're doing?  I'm not being contrarian; I honestly cannot come up with anything that isn't totally refutable.

I think maybe everyone is assuming that I'm arguing that firms shouldn't be running waitlists at all, which isn't the case and I don't know where everyone got that idea.
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: dischord on October 12, 2009, 03:44:20 PM
Perhaps I want to enter this type of business because I see inherent value in a business model that is driven almost entirely by profit-maximization (regardless of the place a new law graduate would take in this model -- a source of huge profit margins).  (I say "my"/"I" because I have no idea if anyone else actually agrees with me.) 


Also -- and I'll admit that what I'm about to say is probably not going to be taken well -- don't you think that this is basically the definition of false consciousness?  The inherent value of an organization run to someone who starts at the bottom is, as far as I can tell, either that you have the possibility of getting to the top, or that the benefits you gain from being at the bottom of that org. are greater than at a less profitable one.  The latter is basically what we were talking about in the last post, so let's put that aside.  The former idea is exactly what false consciousness means.  Marx used it pejoratively, obviously, but even though it doesn't "sound" nice it can be simply descriptive.

I mean, what inherent value is there besides it being in your self-interest (isn't that the whole idea of pure capitalism)? 
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: Matthies on October 12, 2009, 04:09:24 PM

As for alternatives, what good reason do you have for firms being rude or unresponsive?  Or giving you the run around when you ask about status?  I mean, what harm is it to admit they're running a waitlist when all of us know that's what they're doing?  I'm not being contrarian; I honestly cannot come up with anything that isn't totally refutable.


I think a big part of it is THEY donít know what they are doing. Its like that in any large organization, no one really has the power to give you a straight answer unless they have the party line telling them to do so. Problem is party line is changing day by day. Given the economy and the whole hiring model of big law is in an upheaval it may not be that they are purposefully hiding information from you to make your life more complicated it just might be they have no idea whatís coming around the corner and letting associates know whatís up with their app is not a top priority at this point. Sucks to be in that situation sure, but thinking itís a big conspiracy rather than everything is changing day by day seems to me to be a bit self centered, or at least not seeing there is a bigger issue here. To you this is a big huge issue, to the firm its not they got other issues more pressing than summer 2010, does it suck each person has different priorities, yes, but thatís just the way things work when youíre dealing with a behemoth organization that needs twelve approvals before it can do anything. Like I said before they hold all the cards, that's just how the game is played now, is it right or wrong, I don't know nor do I really care, since my beilf in if its right or wrong is not going to change the fact theat they still have all the wpoer and you have to put up with the crap that comes along if you want to play the game.
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: hooloovoo on October 12, 2009, 04:43:13 PM
As for alternatives, what good reason do you have for firms being rude or unresponsive?  Or giving you the run around when you ask about status?  I mean, what harm is it to admit they're running a waitlist when all of us know that's what they're doing?  I'm not being contrarian; I honestly cannot come up with anything that isn't totally refutable.

it's fear.
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: ,.,.,.;.,.,. on October 12, 2009, 05:23:40 PM
Ms. Hoover?  I ate my red crayon.
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: dashrashi on October 12, 2009, 05:49:46 PM
Mmm. I want to read this again later. (I ran into a bit of a "tl;dr" problem, since Boo has to pee and it's my turn to take him out.) But: system justification theory + system threat. I'm intrigued by the possibility of applying it to this thread/problem.

Wally, please don't feel bad for partners. Unless it's to make them think that you are their bestie, and then to bilk them for all they are worth. That, I approve of.
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: dischord on October 12, 2009, 06:04:19 PM
Again, I do know what "false consciousness" means, but I think you're still assuming that the value I believe exists stems from my interest as an individual who would be at the bottom of the ladder.  I am not arguing that the model's inherent value is that "to someone who starts at the bottom... you have the possibility of getting to the top."  My reasoning doesn't, in any way, depend on the ability of the organizational structure to allow people to advance if they submit to certain employment conditions.  My reasoning is that a model driven strongly by profit-maximization provides incentives to those at the top, which are significant not because of how it persuades those at the bottom to stick it out so that they can advance later on, but because of how it allows the business to provide desirable services to a certain subset of (also profit-driven) clients.

Of course, this will seem circular if you are against the capitalist system and so don't think that a profit-driven model is inherently valuable in any context (as an incentive for productivity or otherwise).  If this is the case, the underlying assumptions of the financial markets are null and, sure, Marx might call this false consciousness.  (This being because, under that view, there would be no reason that a junior employee would accept undesirable working conditions other than for a self-interested belief that it would lead to advancement.)  However if that's the case, well, I don't accept the argument that there is a more effective incentive to productivity than profit (on an organizational level, where I do think motives differ from those of the organization's component-people)... so, under that assumption, I could care less about the labels put on my viewpoint by those who I don't share fundamental views with.  I will note that, if it is true that most new associates in law firms only stick it out for the self-interested reasons you mentioned -- the possibility of advancement or the benefits of being at the bottom of this type of org over a less profitable one -- rather than because they share the belief that the business model is the most efficient, then I would agree that the conditions of this particular organizational form are inefficient (as distinct from a belief that this form would always be inefficient).



Well, first, I think that is circular.  And not because I think we should stage some kind of Marxist revolution, but because it seems to me that you're endorsing pure capitalism entirely for reasons that don't fit within that model.  The whole idea is premised on every actor acting in rational self-interest -- this isn't a Marxist idea.  So while the benefits of capitalism are perhaps a maximally efficient and productive economy, these things can't be maximized if they are the actual goals, or seen as inherently valuable to the individual player.  These are only goals insofar as they serve the rational self-interest of the actors, for which profit/financial gain generally is a proxy.  And they usually do, but not always -- think about how inefficient firms were when it was profitable for them to simply bill as many hours as possible to comparatively cheap junior associate labor (and of course we've seen the collapse of this model as clients have pushed back, but I think the example still illustrates the narrow point I'm making -- and you can still think of the previous client acquiescence to inefficient legal practice as profitable to them under the circumstances).

So . . . not to be flip, but what it seems like you're saying is that your self-interest aside, you want to go to a profit-maximizing employer for the good of society?  As in, you think that this model is good for society so you want to participate in it/encourage it?  Even if this isn't a sufficient condition for you accepting certain employment conditions, picking a firm, or doing whatever, the problem I'm having is that these considerations don't fit within the model you're endorsing at all -- and I'm not saying this because capitalism is BAD for society, but rather because the model posits that social welfare considerations shouldn't drive economic decisions (I suppose justifying it by saying that social welfare will be served precisely by everyone ignoring it in making economic decisions?).  

Or maybe what you're saying is that these things don't bother you one way or the other because you're simply comfortable with the way the system is working?  In other words, it's not a positive or a negative in your decisions that employers are profit-driven rather than concerned with more touchy feely problems because you think it's for the good of society at large . . . so you will just go with your self-interest?  

As for refuting any examples of possible legit economic reasoning for doing xyz things during recruiting, I think it's entirely possible (silence bringing bad press or at least bad word of mouth?  Incredibly low cost of writing one form email in comparison to negative opinion among law students?) but at this point these are not really central to the argument anymore, and of course can be debated ad nauseum.

Like I said before they hold all the cards, that's just how the game is played now, is it right or wrong, I don't know nor do I really care, since my beilf in if its right or wrong is not going to change the fact theat they still have all the wpoer and you have to put up with the crap that comes along if you want to play the game.

Well then don't give me *&^% for pointing out that I think that that certain things are wrong here.  I understand how they work, so in this context pointing out that "Oh your moral evaluation is stupid because of how things really ARE" reads like an endorsement of the "rightness" of firms' behavior.  Meeting an "ought" argument with an "is" argument is like saying things "ought" to be how they are.

Anyway, I certainly don't think that this is the moral travesty of the century.  But jesus, I never would have anticipated that simply believing that every person is worth of a certain level of considerate treatment regardless of the other parties' interests would be so controversial.

Mmm. I want to read this again later. (I ran into a bit of a "tl;dr" problem, since Boo has to pee and it's my turn to take him out.) But: system justification theory + system threat. I'm intrigued by the possibility of applying it to this thread/problem.

Wally, please don't feel bad for partners. Unless it's to make them think that you are their bestie, and then to bilk them for all they are worth. That, I approve of.

Please come stick up for me, it's lonely being the only person who doesn't like management  :-[
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: eat it on October 12, 2009, 06:28:12 PM
jesus.  i know 2L is boring, but don't you all have other *&^% you can do?
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: dischord on October 12, 2009, 06:31:49 PM
jesus.  i know 2L is boring, but don't you all have other poo you can do?

Yes, and I am intentionally avoiding it  :P
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: dashrashi on October 12, 2009, 06:41:55 PM
I do need to read it again in more depth. But the basic idea is thusly:

You can get even people who are harmed by the system to adopt beliefs that prop up the system (despite explicit self-denigration, even) if you make it seem like the system is being threatened. E.g.: if you read an essay about how Canada is in the doldrums, and then you look at data about the rate of women CEOs in Canada (read: crazy disproportionately low, just like everywhere else), you will adopt statements about women being not suited for business because of whatever personal characteristics more readily than if you had read a paragraph on how Canada is hot *&^% and everyone wants to move there. Even if you yourself are a woman.

Extrapolate:
Step 1: Threaten the system.
Biglaw's business model, and indeed, the American white-collar economy, seems increasingly unworkable in its old forms. Common wisdom is that something BIG is going to have to shift. And soon. (Oh *&^%.)
Step 2: Present injustice in the system.
Biglaw treats young lawyers like *&^%. It used to just treat them like *&^% once they got there; now, due to ITE, this treatment is extending backwards into the hiring process, not to mention the summer associate experience.
Step 3: Watch actors within the system attempt to justify it, including to the extent of self-denigration, as well as denigration of those who maintain that the system has injustices.
"I feel bad for law firm partners."
"Why would I deserve anything more than [a rather discourteous] lack of e-mail correspondence?"
"Where do you get off challenging me and my decisions; also, you are being condescending[/rude/judgmental/ridiculous/etc. Choose your own favorite term of denigration!] in ways x, y, and z."
Step 4:
???
Step 5:
Profit!

Not to, uh, unfairly reduce anyone's comments in the thread. I do need to read it much more closely. So if you don't think I'm fairly characterizing your arguments or comments, please don't think I thought I was. I will modify/follow up later, if possible.
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: dischord on October 12, 2009, 06:55:36 PM
random's going to be five times as mad because you implied that Canada is sucky, too  :D

Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: hooloovoo on October 12, 2009, 06:56:19 PM
this is getting unnecessarily complicated.

in general, people do what they feel like so long as no one has the power to stop them from doing so.

simple, right?

[/flip]

Always so wise.  Why didn't you show up sooner so that we wouldn't have to write these essays/arguments?  :(

I TOLD YOU I'M HAVING MY OWN PROBLEMS.
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: ,.,.,.;.,.,. on October 12, 2009, 07:02:02 PM
As long as I don't have to move in with my parents, I'm happy.

That said, I agree with Dash's characterization.  To use a similar example, I'm always amazed to the extent that Israelis (and Arabs who live in the West Bank/Gaza) will go to defend their leaders, even when they're obviously corrupt and moronic.  When Arafat was threatened by Israel in his compound, suddenly he became a hero.  Ten years ago, he was a huge crook who stole lots of $ from his own people.  Similarly, Israelis loved Sharon.

* end soapbox.

But I don't think that we're defending BigLaw because it's threatened.  I think we're defending it because we feel threatened that we won't pay back our loans, and essentially need it. 
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: dischord on October 12, 2009, 09:06:40 PM
Aside from my facetious post about everyone refusing to stick it to the man, I can't really see how I'm being condescending towards you unless you are really taking what I'm arguing completely personally.  Of course I think it's legitimate to have different views on economics and ideology, and moreover, what is and isn't going to benefit you personally.  And your particular decision-making process here is perfectly reasonable.  Sure, this discussion started out with you saying that for you, recruiting behavior and maybe even working conditions were not your priority.  I pointed out some reasons why I thought that it might not be in most associates' interest to think that way, including yourself, but when it became clear that this didn't apply to your specific situation for the reasons you've outlined I thought I was clear that I had moved on to a more general point. 

In the same vein, I feel like maybe you've taken offense to my general use of the term false consciousness, which certainly wasn't directed to your situation specifically anyway so I've consistently found your anger sort of confusing.  It was more prompted by a) Wally's bleeding heart assessment of the misery of being a partner, and b) the  idea that generally firms' treatment of associates is all of a sudden not objectionable once we find any economic justification, and that this is actually good for associates as a group

And I feel like I've been arguing the latter point with you this whole time when you've really been thinking about your personal situation and were not necessarily saying that in the first place (or even now, since you've disagreed with my characterization of your view as pure capitalism)?  Because yes, the way you describe your situation in the second to last post, general operation of firms + corporations that way does align quite neatly with your particular interests and career goals.  You have to admit, though, that your situation is unique, to the point that it's really not universalizable.  It doesn't really have much bearing on whether economic concerns morally justify firm behavior in general, or whether firms/partners' authority or importance is unchallengeable.  It simply explains why you specifically are in support of the way things are -- because it's to your benefit, which also coincides with your ideology (of course this also can be see as benefit).  Conversely, a critique of the validity of the system in general doesn't mean that you're wrong in supporting it or don't understand your own situation. 

As for the inefficiency that the billable hour system promotes, that wasn't addressing the point that less ideal working conditions can be more efficient.  It was pointing out that purely capitalistic systems don't consider efficiency an inherently valuable end goal -- profit occupies that position, and efficiency often, but not always, serves that.  So the fact that capitalism is more efficient (or productive) than other economic systems is a function of the fact that they're usually related to profit.  So in some contexts, capitalism wouldn't be more efficient or productive than other economic systems -- it would be more of whatever is more profitable in that context.  The point of that whole discussion was that it seemed to me that you were endorsing capitalism for reasons that aren't within its central tenets.  But this point is sort of moot if you aren't endorsing pure capitalism, I suppose.

And yeah, we do disagree about whether the system could be as efficient with less cost to the human participants.  Or at least that the efficiency loss would be minimal.  So to me, justifying the human cost by pointing to what I see as a small(er) loss of efficiency, even if some individual actors benefit and not all of those actors are in management . . . I don't know, this just leaves me nonplussed, and it's this idea that's really ruffled my feathers.

I don't know, I suppose that maybe you see my incredulousness about this as condescending not to you, necessarily, but to associates/law students as a group.  To that I don't really have an answer except that you're probably right, because I think most people are idiots and make bad choices.  But I don't think these things about you, least of all in this context, so I feel bad that I've offended you.
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: Matthies on October 13, 2009, 08:57:41 AM
Discord,

Iím certainly not saying your not entitled to being treated as a human being, or that what the firms are doing is in anyway best practices. Iím only saying that its to be expected, and to insist otherwise either is not understanding how things work or wanting your cake and eating too. Are there firms out there who put their employees first AND pay top dollar for the talent. Sure, a few, but not many. OCI being what it is, that the employer picks you rather than the other way around means most folks wonít end up at those firms. As with any large organization human dignity often goes at the expense of profits (see Walmart). Its not any different at a huge law firm than any other large organization driving to maximize income. If you want to get paid top dollar right out of school than something has to give, and many times that is employees personal autonomy.

Iím not saying you canít find a firm that pays you a lot and cares about treating its employees well. They are out there, but what I am saying is that most large firms donít. Your part of the machine that is the firm that is producing the product that is legal advice. Your not, at this point, valued for your individuality or unqiness. You have not developed the skills or reputation to demand that yet right out of law school, you are like everyone else just a cog in the vast machine at this point.

Youíre giving up some of your personal wants and desires for a job that is at the top of the pay scale from the profession. Some sacrifice is going to be necessary, often that sacrifice is people giving up a lot of their personal autonomy for the betterment of the firm. Itís a choice you have to make, if youíre willing to be a cog in the machine for a lot of money or work someplace else where youíre more valued for your individuality for the beginning. 

Its not much different than any large orgizanation, the individual is lost to the totality of the system. Itís the hive mind rather than the individual that makes the whole thing work when youíre talking about 1000+ employees in one corporate hierarchy. That system does not reward indivudlaity at the none management level, hence people are treated more as a means of production than as an individual with wants, desires, and goals outside those of the orgization. They call it firm culture for a reason, because you either buy into and meld or standout. Its not just law firms, all large organizations tend o develop this way. It becomes impersonal, and to outsiders cold, becuase it has to be, you can't form interpersonal relations with 1000 plus pople who tunrover at the rate people do in any large orgization.
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: reez on October 13, 2009, 07:48:13 PM
lol
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: Trivium on October 20, 2009, 01:34:24 PM
I think my thread got hijacked a bit. I got the job BTW.
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: Slumdog Lovebutton on October 21, 2009, 08:20:22 PM
I think my thread got hijacked a bit. I got the job BTW.

Congrats!!!
Title: Re: Question on job offers
Post by: alex_champ on February 03, 2010, 12:13:22 PM
so, basically I'm just looking for confirmation on something I'm already fairly sure of here, but I thought I'd ask. You have a callback with a firm and they tell you at the callback that they'll probably get back to you in mid-September. It is now almost October. Is it safe to assume you will not be receiving an offer? I'm fairly confident that is the case, but I thought I would check so that I can have my hopes officially dashed.

Go ahead and call the employer to follow-up. There's nothing wrong with that.