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Messages - Lurking Third Year

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1
2L job search / Re: Cravath or Cleary
« on: September 21, 2008, 03:39:51 PM »
As you know, Cravath uses a very unique system to assign associates to partners and expose them to different practice areas.  I would decide whether you find that system attractive. 

Separately, I wouldn't worry about Cravath's lack of international offices.  While I think many firms increasingly will rely on overseas work, Cravath has been and I think will continue to be very profitable, and is probably better suited than most to endure any downturn in US-based work. 

2
2L job search / Re: Callback prep: researching a practice area
« on: September 21, 2008, 03:28:35 PM »
Does anyone know of a good website to research different practice areas?  I told the screening interviewers at a firm that gave me a callback that I want to work for them because of their commercial real estate practice (true).  I'd like to be able to at least pretend to know a little bit about this type of practice; I haven't been able to find any blogs etc on the topic.

Thanks for your help.

Sounds obvious, but doesn't the firm's website describe that practice?  If not, try looking at competitors' websites. 

3
General Board / Re: Sending "Thank You" emails after OCI interviews?
« on: September 20, 2008, 07:08:16 PM »
While I disagree that OCI interviewers have already made up their mind about which interviewees they will recommend, I do agree that thank you letters are unnecessary.  I work at a large firm and have interviewed a fair number of candidates for our summer program, although all of my interviews have been at the firm or over lunch, rather than at OCI.  I don't care about thank you letters and my impression is that no one else does either.  I don't recommend sending thank you letters because I don't think they will help you, but they may hurt you if you make a mistake in the letter.

Do you disagree because you have some knowledge or experience that leads you to believe otherwise, or because you just don't want it to be true?

Why would I not want it to be true?  I have a job and I will never have to go through OCI again.  Many of my co-workers do OCI interviews and we have discussed this.  At some schools my firm will pre-screen the potential applicants, but the OCI interviewer has complete discretion to recommend whomever he or she likes, and management virtually always follows these recommendations. 

In my experience, and other people I've talked with, have very strongly felt that some firms DO approach OCI with a shortlist of people who are already getting offers for callbacks, and the rest will be rejected absent some extraordinary interviewing skills.  I've felt like this in both interviews where I did get callbacks (and offers) and some in which I got a rejection dated the very same day as my OCI screening interview

So some people who are perhaps unlikely candidates to get a callback (maybe at a school where the students get to choose firms via lottery or something?) might hope that the pre-interview decisions don't in fact take place.  So I was wondering if you were merely disagreeing because maybe you were one of those applicants, or if you had talked to people who interview and had information to the contrary, which turned out to be the case.  It wasn't in any way suggesting that you didn't have a job or something like that (or if you read it like that, I didn't mean it that way), but instead just looking for some more information on your position.



Yeah, I can understand that the process seems a little opaque.  To be honest, after interviewing candidates and discussing the process with my co-workers, the process now strikes me as somewhat arbitrary.  For what it's worth, I generally just try to have a conversation with applicants -- about the firm to an extent, but also about current events or whatever else either of us wants to discuss.  I also always conclude the interview by giving them a frank assessment of what I perceive to be the pros and cons of my firm.  I do this to give them the information they need to compare my firm to the other firms they're interviewing with.  I do this when we're wrapping up so they don't feel a need to respond, as I can understand how that might be awkward.

I also should admit that I don't know how other firms approach recruiting.  Some other firms may in fact decide in advance that, absent a stellar performance at the interview, certain students won't be receiving call backs. It would surprise me if this was common, though.

4
General Board / Re: Sending "Thank You" emails after OCI interviews?
« on: September 20, 2008, 02:02:12 PM »
While I disagree that OCI interviewers have already made up their mind about which interviewees they will recommend, I do agree that thank you letters are unnecessary.  I work at a large firm and have interviewed a fair number of candidates for our summer program, although all of my interviews have been at the firm or over lunch, rather than at OCI.  I don't care about thank you letters and my impression is that no one else does either.  I don't recommend sending thank you letters because I don't think they will help you, but they may hurt you if you make a mistake in the letter.

Do you disagree because you have some knowledge or experience that leads you to believe otherwise, or because you just don't want it to be true?

Why would I not want it to be true?  I have a job and I will never have to go through OCI again.  Many of my co-workers do OCI interviews and we have discussed this.  At some schools my firm will pre-screen the potential applicants, but the OCI interviewer has complete discretion to recommend whomever he or she likes, and management virtually always follows these recommendations. 

5
General Board / Re: Sending "Thank You" emails after OCI interviews?
« on: September 20, 2008, 01:32:38 PM »
I wouldn't bother sending anything. Half my interviewers give me cards, half don't. I don't think a thank you email will earn you any extra callbacks or cost you any. It is basically just wasting your time.

well I'm actually operating on the inverse theory, that by NOT sending them a thank you email I will be screwing myself, in the event that it is very common and expected to send OCI interviewers "thank you" emails. 

You won't screw yourself.  At OCI interviews, they already know before you set foot in the room whether or not you merit a callback.  And their recommendation is finalized in the thirty seconds after you leave and before the next guy goes in.  Their getting a "thank you" email five hours later won't change a thing.

While I disagree that OCI interviewers have already made up their mind about which interviewees they will recommend, I do agree that thank you letters are unnecessary.  I work at a large firm and have interviewed a fair number of candidates for our summer program, although all of my interviews have been at the firm or over lunch, rather than at OCI.  I don't care about thank you letters and my impression is that no one else does either.  I don't recommend sending thank you letters because I don't think they will help you, but they may hurt you if you make a mistake in the letter.

6


[/quote]

Actually its been my experience that the people who rely on this the most are the ones that are not that great at their jobs. They don’t have much left going for them, so they play up the school they went to five years ago.  The legal world is small enough that if you’re good you get a rep for being good, and that is all you need. People at firms know who is who at other firms, the good ones need nothing more than their work performance to stand out.  If you’re not that good, then all you have left to say is “but my school was good”.
[/quote]

Probably should have included this is in my first post, but while this is true for partners and more experienced attorneys, it's generally not true for junior attorneys.  I can promise you that the partners at my firm have no idea how good the junior associates at other firms are.  Developing a reputation for being good -- while it very well may be all you need -- takes time, at least several years.  And until you develop that reputation, your school will still matter.

7
Your school (and your grades) could matter for some time, because it can be difficult for employers to evaluate junior lawyers' abilities.  If you've only been practicing for, say, two years at a firm, you won't exactly have proven yourself and probably won't have much of a concrete track record on which other employers can evaluate you.  Once you've "proven yourself" your school/grades will matter far less, if it all, but it takes longer to prove onself than posters seem to think. 

For what it's worth, I've seen many job openings requesting transcripts for attorneys who have been practicing for less than 5 years. 

8
General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: Why Biglaw?
« on: March 29, 2007, 11:37:15 PM »
I live and work in DC.

To Denny Crane -- it sounds like midlaw?  You have no idea what you're talking about.  Read the detailed post above by a paralegal in Atlanta; my experience is similar to that of the associates he describes.  Many lawyers in large firms work, on average, around 55 hours a week.  Certainly I've put in longer weeks -- that's part of the job.  But 80-100 weeks are *extremely* rare in my firm.  Go read the mid-level surveys: mid-level associates, who have no reason to lie, report around 55 hours a week at all but the most intense firms, e.g. Sullivan, Cravath, Wachtell.


My mistake.  I misread your post and thought it said 45 hours per week.  55 hours is still challenging, even if it's not an 80-100 hour monstrosity.

No worries.  And sorry I was somewhat harsh in the last post.  That wasn't really my intent, and I was surprised at the tone when I read it.

9
General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: Why Biglaw?
« on: March 29, 2007, 11:05:38 PM »
I live and work in DC.

To Denny Crane -- it sounds like midlaw?  You have no idea what you're talking about.  Read the detailed post above by a paralegal in Atlanta; my experience is similar to that of the associates he describes.  Many lawyers in large firms work, on average, around 55 hours a week.  Certainly I've put in longer weeks -- that's part of the job.  But 80-100 weeks are *extremely* rare in my firm.  Go read the mid-level surveys: mid-level associates, who have no reason to lie, report around 55 hours a week at all but the most intense firms, e.g. Sullivan, Cravath, Wachtell.


10
General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: Why Biglaw?
« on: March 29, 2007, 10:35:33 PM »
People have their reasons.  I work in biglaw because:

1.  The hours are not 80-100 per week.  I average around 55 a week.

2.  The money is good, obviously.

3.  It's a credential.  Working at a well-known firm can lead to jobs that wouldn't otherwise be available.

Some people are also interested in areas of law that are only available in biglaw (or high-level govt. or botigues, both of which often require biglaw experience).

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