Law School Discussion

Getting a Job

Getting a Job
« on: July 04, 2005, 11:09:52 PM »
I read the general board about summer employment, and I have a few questions that I hope to get some insight on from Duquesne students who have already gone through the process.  I am especially interested in OCI, which I have been told is very important. 

When does Duq's OCI program occur?  How many firms participate?  Do most firms limit their interview process to a certain group (law review, top 1/3, etc.)?

Last year, what percentage of Duq. 2Ls (roughly) had summer jobs lined up by the end of OCI?

If a student does not get a job through OCI, how difficult is it too land a paying job?  Does Career Services assist in this?  If they do, are they more helpful than they are during first year?

Any info would be appreciated.

Re: Getting a Job
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2005, 08:43:04 PM »
Fall OCI is pretty much the province of those who graded onto law review.  There will be smaller firms who will consider top 3rd and one or two who will look at top half, but mostly the top 15% will be targeted.  Only a handful of people got jobs through that process, allthough to my knowledge most law review folks got some sort of job eventually.  I would say that under 10 people in my class had offers for summer associateships at big firms.  (My antecdotal estimate).  Most jobs are accquired in the spring because only the big firms can predict their hiring needs so far in advance.  Nonetheless at least 30 firms will have interviews.  Not all will be hiring. 

Career services is awesome in my view.  They were very helpful to me and pretty much anyone I talked to.  The reality of our market is that most 2Ls can find something for the summer, but not very many 1Ls will find anything that pays.  Most people will get their jobs in the spring and most will be paid 10-20 bucks an hour.  But I would sat almost everyone I know found legal employment for the summer.

Get your resume and references ready now.  There are guidelines online from career services.  If you are in the top 3rd or so start to do a little research on firms.  The NALP directory is the best place to start.   

Re: Getting a Job
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2005, 10:59:52 PM »

Thanks for the information.  I talked to another person over at the federal courthouse who went through Fall OCI this past fall and he is bringing me in a copy of the firms and requirements to get an interview with each.  A friend of mine just got an offer from Buchanon for next summer and I think he will probably take it.  It's nice to see that some Duq. people are getting looks at big firms.  I just missed the cut for law review, but I fell within the top 20%, so I hope that I can get interviews with a decent number of firms.


Re: Getting a Job
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2005, 11:03:50 PM »

Thanks for the information.  I talked to another person over at the federal courthouse who went through Fall OCI this past fall and he is bringing me in a copy of the firms and requirements to get an interview with each.  A friend of mine just got an offer from Buchanon for next summer and I think he will probably take it.  It's nice to see that some Duq. people are getting looks at big firms.  I just missed the cut for law review, but I fell within the top 20%, so I hope that I can get interviews with a decent number of firms.


Re: Getting a Job
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2005, 08:09:16 PM »
Top 20% should get you a few interviews.

I work at BI, so I had heard about Tom.  I hope he takes it, it is an incredible place to work.

Re: Getting a Job
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2005, 07:17:05 AM »
After talking to Tom I have been thinking about BI, what do you like about it?

Re: Getting a Job
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2005, 01:27:30 PM »
It's a big firm- big firm resources and pay and national scope.  But honestly, the people are incredible.  I thought I'd take a big firm job for the money for a few years, but I didn't expect to like the work I was doing or the people as much as I do.  They have implemented a team approach so that attoneys from different sections (Corporate, Litigation etc) all work together for client in a very collaborative manner.  They staff cases with only a few attorneys, so young lawyers get real oppurtunities.  They have family friendly policies that people, men and women, are actually using.
Most important, they really invest in their young lawyers.  They hire a small summer class knowing they have jobs for all of them.  Unlike places like K&L which just took a class of 40 summers, most of whom they will offer jobs.  But then they just let go 10 2nd years lawyers.  They're not invested, they'll churn right through you in doc. review and let you go. 
If you interview, let me know.  I'd be happy to share some thoughts about what they look for.  They loved Tom.   

Re: Getting a Job
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2005, 04:08:29 PM »
     I am a fellow student of yours- I'm the CPA that you referred to in a prior post- we were in the same tax and con law classes.  I would really appreciate if you could take some time and provide some tips on interviewing and your views on some of the different firms.  As for me, I'm hoping to get some interviews with the bigger firms- I just made law review and GPA-wise I am in the to 5%.  I would really appreciate any insight that you could provide- i.e. what resources you used to prepare for interviews, what types of questions that are asked on interviews, and what kind of questions you asked the interviewers.  Once again, thank you!!! ;D

Re: Getting a Job
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2005, 06:00:51 PM »
Hey Mr. CPA, congrats.  Con law didn't kill you and tax (surprisingly enough) did not kill me. 

I'll start with this- fall OCI probably got summer jobs for 10 people that I know of.  But everyone I know who tried to get some sort of summer job did get one.  So the goods news is, jobs are available.  But don't fret too hard about fall OCI if it doesn't pan out.  Very few get the cushy summer associateships.  I will write to those people shooting for that goal, although my general interview advice is good for anyone. 

First, if you made law review or just below you will have the opportunity to sign up for fall OCI.  Almost everyone who can do so, does.  If you absolutely know that you are not firm-bound, then skip it.  But otherwise, even if big firm life is not you cup of tea, you'll want the summer associateship on your resume. 

Fall OCI will take up a lot of time.  Be ready for that.  But you will also be more efficient at your studies.  Start investigating firms the minute the list comes out.  Talk to upperclassmen to find out about the firms.  If you are in the top of the class, the smaller firms may not take you seriously.  They will assume you want big firm.  So interview where you are expected to interview.  A friend of mine made this mistake.  He thought the small firms would believe him and didn't interview with the big ones at first.  But he didnít get the callbacks he wanted because the smaller firms werenít sure he would take a job offer.   

Reed Smith, Kirkpatrick and Lockhart and Buchanan Ingersoll are the big three in Pittsburgh.  The are national/international firms which pay the 6 figure salaries.  Klett Rooney is a regional firm that pays 6 figures.  Eckerd Seamens has passed BI in size, but is still paying in the 80's.  All those on law review can get interviews with these firms, so be sure to sign up.  There are a lot of great mid-size firms like Babst Calland as well.  Then these are those that specialize like Dickie McCaney in litigation.  It is an excellent firm.  There are also a few large firms like Morgan Lewis, which are small offices of big law firms, which have their base in other cities.  My advice, get on the NALP site for every firm on the OCI list and go to each website.

I applied to 17 firms initially.  My criteria was all 6 figure firms and any small or mid-size that appealed after I check out the website.  My goal was a summer associateship anywhere.  I needed the money and wanted the opportunity to improve my resume and maybe get a job offer.  I was not at all sure that I wanted to work in a corporate law firm.  (In fact my friends were sure it was all wrong for me).  But I figured it would be a good place to start.  And better to have a job I didn't love and look from there.  I got 16 interviews.  This took a lot of time.  But it can be a numbers game so I recommend it.  You just don't know how many 2nd interviews you will get.

There is a book in the library called, What Law School Doesn't Teach you But you Really Need to Know, by Kim Walton.  If you are interviewing with big firms, just go ahead and buy it.  Read it now.  Also, right now you need to think about wardrobe.  I don't care how poor you are, if you are going to do this, you MUST do it in a great suit.  The people you interview with make big bucks.  You need to look like one of them.  Ann Taylor for women, Men's Warehouse for men.  Kaufmanís downtown is also good.  I recommend a charcoal pinstripe for both genders.  It is not as boring as black, but remains classic.  Skirts are great, if they go below the knee, but pants are okay too.  Have your suit(s) tailored to fit you exactly.  Do not just buy it off the rack.  No polyester.  This mistake was made in my class.  You need matching shoes/belt/briefcase also.  A couple of shirts that go well underneath.  I hate collared shirts; I'm a fan of shells for the ladies.  Then you hair must be as groomed as your lovely suit.  No sloppy ponytails.  And men, for godís sake, have a women teach you how to groom your eyebrows and exfoliate.  And get a professional haircut and all the hair off the back of your neck.  Remember, look like you have the job and are off to meet an important client.

The day of the 1st interview you should have all your work for class up to date and a friend who takes decent notes if you are missing class.  Don't take any bull about that from a prof.  They may think itís your goal to hear them rhapsodize on about the Rule Against Perpetuities, but itís not.  Your goal is to get a job.  By this time you have been over the firms website and the file on each firm in Career Services.  You have talked to anybody you can track down who worked there, (a list of this is in Career Services).  You know the current news (the firm just acquired a smaller firm).  You have a perfect resume, list of references, and impeccable writing sample and a winning smile.

I'm not going to go into great detail on standard interview techniques.  Read Kimís book.  I'll tell you what I think specifically helped me. 

I made steady eye contact and smiled with a firm, non-sweaty handshake. 

I wanted a job if I could get one, but I didn't have my heart set.  So I was relaxed and conversational. 

I knew my resume and I had a sales pitch as to why a girl with a background in theatre was exactly what they wanted.  I think this is very important if you haven't got the standard experience.  I also think its a big asset if you can sell it. 

I made it very clear I was in Pittsburgh to stay.  I mentioned the fact the I owned my home and that I had lived in Pittsburgh for 3 years before law school.  Say what you need to say to convince them you want to live in Pittsburgh forever.

They can't ask you about your personal life.  But you can volunteer.  I believe that a spouse/fiancť and/or children are perceived as a positive.  They indicate stability and maturity.  I always casually mentioned my spouse as in, "My husband and I run a small business together."

If you are not straight from under grad this is great. They love people with interesting experiences and a little more life under their belt.  If not, convince them you are that mature anyway.  Most people you interview with will own a house, have kids, be married, have had other jobs.  The more they see you as like them, the better, in my opinion.

Best question ever, "Why did you choose Pepper Hamilton, and why have you stayed?"  This is an open-ended question.  It gets them talking.  If you listen well you can usually find follow-up questions to ask and/or similarities between the two of you to point out.  You want a sense of firm culture.  But you can save questions about work-life balance for interview 2.

They will ask you what you want to.  For that interview decide you want to do something they actually do!  (That mistake was made by a friend of mine who told every firm he wanted to do medical malpractice defense.  No luck until he found the only one that did that).  Hereís a good answer, ďI think Iíd like to do corporate litigation.  But Iíd really like to learn about different areas of law over the summer.Ē  Most firms will have a litigation section and a corporate section.  These are the broad categories.  So, using their website as a guide pick something open-ended, but something they actually do.  Unless you are interviewing at Dickie McCaney where you say, Iíve always wanted to be a litigator, and from what I have heard, your firms is one of the most highly respected litigation firms in Pittsburgh.Ē  Have actually heard that from someone you can name.  In the end, they are fully aware that you donít really have much idea what it is they do and what youíd be good at.  Thatís what the summer job is for.

The best interviews are relaxed conversations.  Laughter is great.  You want them to think, "Hey, I could stand to see this kid everyday."  Everyone who gets a first interview has acceptable numbers to get the 2nd.  It's your personality that earns it.  (Plus, remember, you look great, because you bought a nice, non-polyester suit).

When you are done, you are done.  They will ask you if you have more questions.  You will not hem and haw.  You will say, "No, you've answered the questions I had, thank you very much."  Don't be afraid to tell them you like what they've had to say.  Then an assured smile and confident handshake and out the door.

Take their card and write them a thank you note.  This is optional at interview one in my book.  I wrote them only to firms I was interested in at that point.  Most people don't for interview 1.  Interview 2 is a separate story.

Out of 16 interviews I had over 10 callbacks.  My rank played into this, but I know that my interview skills did too.  I was told by more than one person at the firm I ultimately picked that they loved that I was poised and confident.  Being an actress in a former life probably helped.  I was very relaxed about the whole process.  But being really prepared helped a lot too.

Okay, I'll return later with an installment for 2nd interviews. 

Re: Getting a Job
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2005, 07:29:12 PM »
     Many thanks!  I really appreciate the advice.  As for school, I'm thrilled that tax was not too bad for you.  As for me, I survived Con Law with an unexpectedly high grade.  I'm hoping that my real world experience working for a Big 4 accounting firm, my grades, law review, and the ability to mention that I spent my entire life in Pittsburgh and the fact that I'm soon to be married to a girl who is also from Pittsburgh will help to get me at least into the door.  Once again, thanks for taking the time and I really appreciate your advice!!!