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Messages - mtfbwy

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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.)

Current Law Students / Re: DC prospects?
« on: August 29, 2007, 06:09:32 PM »
O.K., let me just say that I like coming here because it is more civilized, or "nicer" if you will, than autoadmit.  But, I cannot help but take issue with yet another assertion that CU students need not be at the very top of their class to land a spot at a top DC firm.  Please don't take this as the sort of cruel rant one might encounter over at autoadmit.

What you call the "bigger names" are NOT going to give a job to a CU student in the top 15% of his or her class.  And the firms you name off the top of your head are not much more likely to do so either.  Bear in mind that, this (huge) past year notwithstanding, most firms will be cutting back somewhat on their summer classes for 2008.

To visit a campus and/or participate in some resume drops in one thing.  That's part of the program.  Do you think those firms would actually tell CU "hey, we're only going to give a call-back to the top few students and, even then, we'll only hire the top student"?  To actually extend an offer for a 2L summer associate position is quite another thing. 

For those who care to investigate further, all you need to do is visit those firms' websites and look at the attorney profiles.  If you see any associates who graduated from CU in, say, 2006 or 2005 (or, wait a couple of weeks and most of the 2007 class should be there), then you'll get an idea of your chances (you could then go one step further and inquire with CU as to their ranks, or, more directly, simply contact that alum).

Current Law Students / Re: DC prospects?
« on: August 27, 2007, 03:36:56 PM »
Top 10-15%, really?  I would be curious to know what firms in DC.   

Print your resume on nice paper and bring it to the interview ("Mr./Ms. So and So, here's an updated copy of my resume"). Unless your typo was in or near your GPA or class rank listing (or perhaps in the description of your 1L summer job), I highly doubt they will notice at this point. How much time do you think busy recruiting coordinators (and sometimes lawyers) can afford to spend reading OCI resumes?  They won't even read the resumes of students that fall below the grade cut-off for a given school and, even past that point, they won't be looking at it very carefully.

Then again, you are applying for a $160k/year job where one of your main duties will be proof-reading, and the single most important document (to you) that you have ever produced was that resume.

Current Law Students / Re: DC prospects?
« on: August 26, 2007, 11:02:09 AM »
It seems to me that the DC market, at least based on the firm I'm going to after graduation (though I'm not going to DC), is highly selective.  The offices just tend to be smaller. Pedigree also matters a lot in that town.  Plus, as most of the prestigious firms' DC offices focus on Supreme Court, high level regulatory, and international work, the bar is set even higher.  

The earlier poster was correct in stating that, from Colorado, you would need to be more like top 5-10% (and closer to top 5%).  You will need to be one of the top 2 or 3 (students, not percent) at Catholic to even get a screening interview at a top DC office (unless you know somebody).

If it's any consolation, I met a guy this past summer (he wasn't a summer with me, I met him socially) who was top 5% at Catholic after 1L and transfered to T14.

Current Law Students / Re: Does briefing cases as a 1L = waste of time?
« on: August 24, 2007, 07:26:28 AM »
Why yes, tacojohn, some "stuff" is so important that it merits repeating.  That "stuff," of course, is the final exam.  Your post basically says, "this person is laying down advice like it's gospel, but there are lots of ways to succeed in law school."  But you do not offer your own advice.

Please enlighten me as to a school, with the exception of perhaps Yale (1L), at which test taking ability is not of paramount importance. I know it will irk you, but hey, my post wasn't for your esteemed benefit, it was for the 1L poster, so here goes, allow me to repeat: Success in law school (especially first year) depends almost entirely on exams.  Regardless of how well one actually knows the material, success will turn on a student's ability to (1) analyze a fact pattern, (2) spot issues, (3) set forth rules, (3) apply those rules to the facts, (4) set forth any possible defenses, (5) draw conclusions, and (6) (if time permits) discuss any policy views that the professor considers important. 

How QUICKLY one can complete steps 1-6 will bear heavily on one's grade.  It doesn't matter how one gets through the semester, it matters how one TAKES the exams.  Sitting in study groups can help to understand tuff concepts, or to make outlining easier, or simply to provide supportive company.  But unless such a group practices writing out answers, they won't do as well as they could have.  Again, as in my initial post, I am not saying this is the only way to succeed (i.e. it's not "gospel"), because success will depend on many other aspects of preparation and study (and luck), I am simply saying that it is arguably the best way to get as high a score on exams as one's knowledge, preparation and luck will allow. 

The "confidence" of 1L's is rattled throughout the semester by the fear of being called on in class and looking unprepared or idiotic. This fear, while understandable, is unfounded. As also noted in my initial post, flailing in class if called on is unlikely to harm one's grade, and killing it in class is unlikely to help one's grade.  By stressing to 1L's the fact that how they actually TAKE their exams is crucial, I make no guarantee of success, nor do I hope to rattle their confidence. But make no mistake 1L's, next year at this time, your success in the recruiting process will be based on how well you did on your first year exams.

It is, of course, silly that the ability to complete steps 1-6 faster than 65-95% (depending on your school) of your classmates can have such a tremendous impact on your career prospects (at least right out of the gate), but it is the arbitrary and senseless system in which you must function. (Note: If you plan to hang your own shingle after graduation, good for you, best of luck, and you simply need to pass your courses. As such, you should be able to work while in school, to minimize your debt. You can disregard my "gospel.") 

Current Law Students / Re: Does briefing cases as a 1L = waste of time?
« on: August 23, 2007, 12:11:36 PM »
1. All law schools tell their new students to brief cases.  It's the best way to learn how to spot issues, see how a court states a legal rule, applies the rule to the facts, and draws a conclusion.  This is how most exam answers are written, and how basic legal arguments are developed. 

2. You should have learned the above skills within a month or so.  By the end of your first semester, you should be "book-briefing," i.e. just highlighting, underlining and making notes in your casebooks.  You'll learn to use Lexis or Westlaw to pull up the case, read a quick summary (which can often be misleading, or off-topic for given course), and see the rules espoused in the opinion.  I typically copied/pasted from Lexis onto a Word document to create my "briefs" (at least when I was still preparing briefs).  Many schools will admonish students not to book-brief, but that's just to ensure that students prepare fully for each class (and to further enhance the skills described above). 

3. You should obtain a good outline from a (successful) 2L or 3L in electronic form, which you can keep open during class to modify as needed.   

4. The most important thing in your casebook is typically the notes (and sometimes the problems) and the end of each chapter/section.  I would also keep another Word document open throughout the semester to note any hypos the professor spits out. 

5. Notice how the theme of points 1-3 above were about minimizing how much time and effort is spent on the cases, and how point 4 is about applying the rule(s) learned in each case to a problem?  That's because all of your courses will come down to one thing: the exam. 

6. You should be creating your outline (or touching up an old outline) on a weekly basis.  This is more important than having read all of the cases for class.  Of course, it is embarrassing to seem unprepared if called on, but this almost never affects your grade, and it almost never helps your grade to nail a case when called on.  At the end of the semester, you should already know the outliines well and, instead of spending countless hours preparing an outline, you can spend more time doing...

7. Yes, this one gets its own number...writing out practice answers! 

8. Wait, yes, that one is so important, it bears stressing: get your professors' old exams (if available), look at some E & E's, whatever, and write answers.  You're success will depend on your ability to quickly read a fact pattern, spot issues, then set about writing out rules of law and applying them to the facts (allowing time to draw lawerly conclusions or add any "policy" stuff you know your professor cares about). 

9. To put it another way, you can know the cases inside and out, you can know every rule by heart for the exam, but if you cannot write out rules and conclusions FAST, you won't do as well on the exams as you should. 

Good luck.

Current Law Students / Re: what do mid firms pay summer associates?
« on: August 23, 2007, 07:01:34 AM »
Good luck with the interviews, and in the offer process.  I did the same last fall in Chicago.

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