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Messages - mtfbwy

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Job Search / Re: Denver and San Francisco
« on: October 20, 2007, 02:55:03 PM »



I lived in Colorado for many years and spent a good bit of time in SF.

Denver is on the smaller side of "mid-market." There just aren't that many big offices (or branch offices of big firms), the summer classes of which are quite small compared to NY, Chi, LA, DC or Boston (smaller, actually, than Atlanta, Dallas, or Houston).  They tend to give many spots to top students at CU and DU (to a lesser extent).  But, it never hurts to try (your school rank/class rank, of course, are paramount).  The Front Range (Denver and its burbs, Evergreen, Boulder, Fort Collins) is a highly desirable place to live and, as such, there are a lot of people gunning for a relatively small number of professional jobs.  Cost (i.e. housing) of living isn't bad (though Boulder and the best hoods in Denver are pretty expensive). If your student loans aren't too much, there are actually quite a few good small to mid-size (non-Nalp) firms along the Front Range where you could happily start a career (and either stay and become a partner or lateral to a branch office of a big firm). A personal connection to the area might be important to many firms in CO.

SF is of course a much bigger city, but its legal market is small relative to its size. Much of what gets done at SF firms involves venture capital (Silicon Valley tech and bio work), plus ever-expanding work out of Asian markets.  The Bay Area is an extremely expensive place to live.  It always was, then the 90's (during which hundreds of thousands of people in SF/SV got rich quick) really pushed real estate prices through the roof.  It's a great area, though, if you can swing it.

As for SA positions, on the one hand, the show is over and most firms are nearly done with call-backs.  On the other hand, circumstances sometimes force firms to interview people after the fall recruiting seasons ends (e.g. they were too conservative in their initial hiring needs calculations, too many people declined offers, etc.).  You should get your resume (and a letter expressing your specific interest in that market and that office, especially in the case of Denver) to the recruiting director of every firm you can find right away - then hit them again in January (even if you get rejected right now).  Failing that, if you are able (i.e. if you have a SA position in another city already, e.g. NY or Chi), contact the firms again over the summer and shoot for a 3L fall call-back.

Good luck.

Transferring / Re: Whent to Apply?
« on: October 20, 2007, 12:25:54 PM »
I'm sorry to say, but your LSAT score(s) will have no bearing on your transfer prospects. (Yes, your first LSAT got you into your current school, the ranking of which may affect your transfer prospects, but your LSAT score, even your new one, will have no impact at this point.)  FORGET about the LSAT and start focusing on the only thing that actually counts - final exams. You're obviously a hard worker (if a bit crazy - I've never heard of anyone preparing for and taking an LSAT as a 1L), so just focus that energy into studying for (i.e writing out practice answers) finals.

You need to (1) determine the schools to which you would like to transfer and (2) contact each of those schools and inquire as to deadlines, requirements, etc. (most schools' sites will have a tab/page for "Transfer Applicants").  Some schools might accept applications after the first semester, others (as does the school to which I transfered) require spring semester grades as well. 

Good luck.

Current Law Students / Re: Where to take your SA position
« on: October 10, 2007, 05:45:40 AM »
V80-100 firms are never the first to raise salaries.  That doesn't mean they're not good firms - they're just not "market" leaders.  In general, it's V5 firms in NY that lead the NY market, which then sparks raises in LA, Chi and DC, which lead to raises in Boston, SF/SV, and TX, which (eventually, reluctantly, and with an insulting degree of compression) lead to raises in Atlanta, etc. 

Outside of NY, it's important to look at the rankings in a particular city. There is usually a "top tier" of firms in a given market, and so on.  The top tier firms lead on raises (and bonuses) in that market, the next tier (eventually and reluctantly) follows, and then the tier after that (eventually, reluctantly, and with an insulting degree of compression) follows. 

Job Search / Re: Chicago Illinois, CPA, 1L and confused where to start
« on: September 28, 2007, 05:58:29 AM »
I don't know if there's much of a "social aspect" to any particular area of law, except for perhaps estate planning. (Of course, when up for partner at some firms, and once a partner at any firm - whether your own or a big firm - your social skills will be important.)  

The tax groups at most large firms tend to get work in two ways: 1) they have their "own" clients, i.e. the client comes to that firm for tax work, or 2) they are called upon by other groups in the firm when something they are working on involves tax (which, it should please you to know, is almost every matter).  With the exception of small to mid-size "tax firms," the latter is far more common.  (I was a summer at a large Chicago office this year, to which I will return after graduation, and saw first-hand how integral the tax lawyers are - even though I didn't have any tax assignments.)

You don't need me to tell you that your 1L grades are of paramount importance. Your grades this semester determine your 1L summer job prospects, and your grades for 1L will determine your 2L summer, which is the most important three-month experience/step/opportunity of your career (at least at the start).  Your CPA will indeed give you an advantage (stress your CPA and your interest in tax, corp, etc. in your letter), but you must first meet the grade cutt-offs in order to get screening interviews (during 2L recruiting).  

As for your 1L summer, it's extremely hard to get a summer associate position at a big firm and, unless you're near the top of your class at Chicago or Northwestern, forget about it.  But that doesn't mean that you can't find something worthwhile for next summer. The advice Jacy85 has given you is good and should be followed as well.  If you haven't done so already, join the student division of the CBA.

Good luck on your CPA test, and on exams this semester.

P.S. If your 1L grades are a disappointment, you might want to look into completing an LLM in tax (assuming your school offers one).  This would add another year to your education (assuming your school allows law students to complete an LLM that way), which means another year of loans.  But it might allow you to salvage things.  If you do very well this year, an LLM won't be necessary (and, except for tax, LLM's are basically pointless).

Job Search / Re: Scheduling Callback
« on: September 03, 2007, 05:35:42 AM »
Good luck to you as well.

Job Search / Re: Scheduling Callback
« on: September 02, 2007, 10:13:11 AM »
In your very first post, you sought opinions about scheduling call-backs; a few hours later, you stated that you had scheduled a call-back.  It seemed like you were looking for support of a decision you had already made.  In any event, this reader's impression was that you were spending considerable time thinking about call-back scheduling, between consultations with your CDO and this board.

The opinion that I offered was to schedule your call-backs for the earliest possible dates, which means prioritizing them over everything else in your life, including school, personal commitments and your current job. In other words, to start treating this like the most important thing in your life (not forever, just for the few days it will take to complete the call-backs), or, more bluntly, to quit jerking around.  

Your response: "I posted for opinions, not "quit jerking around."  Not all of us are unemployed 24 year olds."  

Obviously, where you come from "quit jerking around" is "nasty," yet "Not all of us are unemployed 24 year olds" is considered charming.  

The fact that you "lol-ed" (in light of your already having a "career") at thorc954 for his or her view that OCI is the reason we are in law school seemed "nasty," to say the least.

Job Search / Re: Scheduling Callback
« on: August 31, 2007, 11:49:05 AM »
2LMan, where are your call-backs, at the top of a mountain in New Zealand?  Why must you "take a week off" to go to a call-back? Assuming you have to travel, you fly in the night before and fly back after the call-back. As for the "career" you already have, why are you bothering with law school?  Given your use of "lol," it seems strange for you to lord your maturity over that of 24 year olds.

Most of your classmates would give anything for just one call-back.  You have at least two, which you seem to be less than enthusiastic about fitting in amid school, watching the kids, and discharging your duties at what must be a job of Jack Bauer importance.  

I am over 30 but under 40. I missed my nephew's (whose mother is single and broke) first birthday party (which my wife and I were supposed to host) last year to travel for a call-back in mid-September.  I had originally scheduled that call-back for the third week of September, but one person (a partner at a peer firm whose opinion on the hiring process, suffice it to say, is at least as valuable as those from CDO offices and, gasp, from 3L's) stressed to me the urgency of interviewing as soon as possible.  I called to reschedule (the recruiting folks at firms do not mind doing so, and your interviewers aren't scheduled until days before the call-back, if not the day of), and the earliest date available entailed leaving my part-time job early to travel, missing his party, and missing four classes on the day of the call-back.  

My nephew's uncle made more in 14 weeks this summer than in any entire year of his life, and will be returning to that V20 firm next year after graduation.  Hopefully everyone, my nephew included, will forgive that absence from a first birthday party. Perhaps the college fund that his uncle opened in his name this summer will help.  

I'm sorry you took such umbrage at my use of "quit jerking around."  Evidently folks in your current "career" use more delicate language.  For the sake of magnanimity and the general civility of this board, I wish you the best of luck on your call-backs, whenever they take place. 

Job Search / Re: Scheduling Callback
« on: August 30, 2007, 05:16:20 PM »
Allow me to second every word written by thorc954...

There is nothing at school or in your classes or at your job that is more important than your call-backs. Unless the fate of the free world (or, at the very least, a single human life) will suffer because you placed your call-backs above all else, do not delay, quit jerking around, and see if you can reschedule for earlier dates. 

NB: In addition to the fact that most firms fill their summer classes on a rolling basis (and most of those late fall call-backs are for top candidates), ponder this: By and large, at the start of the summer program, most of the people you'll meet at the firm will be enthusiastic and happy that you are there. By the end, they'll still be nice enough but will be quite ready for the summers to be on their merry way back to school.  During the fall interview season, most lawyers will start out being pleasant enough, but by October (unless you're from Harvard and did your 1L summer at a peer firm), how happy do you think they will be to waste 20-30 minutes talking to you? 

Current Law Students / Re: OCI, SA, and grades
« on: August 30, 2007, 04:52:51 PM »
Most (but not all) firms will require you to have your transcript sent during the summer.  Most do so only to ensure that you are in fact on track to graduate (i.e. that you completed 2L), and will not scrutinize your grades. I have heard of some firms frowning on a serious drop in grades during 2L, but even then, your performance over the summer would need to be substandard for your grades to rend you asunder.  But one never knows and, given the economic outlook, this coming year might not be such a good one to let the grades tank (plus, keep your exit options in mind - many of which will indeed care about your complete transcript).

If you did well enough 1L to get a good summer associate position, you should be capable of getting all B's and a couple of A's this year without much effort.  That's fine.  (Note: If you plan to clerk, disregard this post!)

Job Search / Re: The Call Back Interview
« on: August 30, 2007, 09:11:00 AM »
First off, congrats on having call-backs, let alone at places you feel are "out of your league."  Next, my two (or three) cents:

1. Any place that gives you a call-back is no longer out of your league.  Such firms didn't become as big and prestigious as they are by accident - they know what they're doing, including their decision to spend/lose money by taking the time to interview you.  (I had a call-back at, summered at, and will be returning as an associate to a firm which was, by any objective and reasonable measure, far out of my league. Once you're summering at such a firm, you will indeed notice that most of your fellow summers and pretty much all of the lawyers are very smart, with the finest educational credentials. Then you'll realize that you are actually completing your assignments to the lawyers' satisfaction and that you will receive an offer. Strange as it is and, yes, insofar as luck had anything to do with getting that summer position, you are now in "that league.")

2. Your classes be damned.  You have call backs, so you're a serious (or just completely lucky) student, so your reluctance to miss classes is understandable.  But your call-backs are the most important thing you have to do this semester (for that matter, they are the most important thing remaining in your legal education).  You either (1) attend such a high ranked school that your professors expect students to miss lots of classes due to interviewing, or (2) attend a lower ranked school where your professors (or at least the administration) should be thanking you for having so many interviews (because it reflects well on them and the school).  I would recommend scheduling call-backs on the earliest dates possible and at the earliest times available (i.e. morning, with a lunch).  Most firms extend offers on a weekly basis, and as people accept, filling next summer's class on a rolling basis.  The time during the day is really more my personal preference, but you should schedule your call-backs for sooner rather than later.

3. You need to banish from your mind the notion that interviewing means being "boring for 2.5 hours."  Because they gave you a call-back, they know that you are smart enough (on paper) to score well on your first-year exams. The interview is your chance to confirm their judgment, i.e. it's when you show them that you are (1) smart, (2) friendly/personable, and (3) have a great attitude.  These attributes correlate to one's ability to (1) learn quickly, (2) be liked by one's fellow attorneys when working endless hours together, and (3) work long, intense hours with a "please, give me more to do" attitude."  The firm will look to confirm these same three attributes next summer, with the added attribute of "good judgment" also under review.

4. The call-back, like the job, is about stamina.  You need to be just as smart, charming and enthusiastic during your last interview of the day as you were during the first.  If you run into a dull or difficult interviewer, remain smart, pleasant and enthusiastic, and just get through that interview and get on to the next.  Basically, when you get a call back (especially at the more prestigious firms), you already have the offer, but a "no" vote from a single lawyer will sink you.  Again, the interview is just a means to confirm the firm's initial decision regarding your ability. Be smart, nice and enthusiastic with everyone, from the security gaurd and receptionist to the most junior associate and most senior partner.  Also, if you go to lunch, it is usually with junior associates, many of whom will tell you that "you can relax now."  Don't.  Until you leave for the airport, you are in the interview, being scrutinized.  (And try not to forget that next summer, once the booze starts flowing and junior associates really let their hair down.)

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