Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: 1L SA Interviews, secondary market, connections, what to expect? Advice?  (Read 3903 times)

TPS Report

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 48
    • View Profile
Re: 1L SA Interviews, secondary market, connections, what to expect? Advice?
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2008, 11:42:27 AM »
I got a lot of the "why XX school?" during my interiews.  I was pretty honest.  I said that I was looking for a school that would give me the most options, would enable me to be the most mobile, and would enable me to re-enter the workplace if I had to leave for a period of time or transfer to another city.  As long as you don't say, "I went there because every other school is TTT" you should be fine.

Thanks, I think that is helpful advice.  Do you think I should bring a writing sample / list of references?  Neither place has requested either but I suppose they would be good to have on hand.  Who do people generally use as refereces, law professors they have a good relationship with?  Former employers (if in an unrelated field even?)  I suppose I will be spending today and tomarrow reading lots about interviews, probably some good stuff on vault somewhere.


I did not bring a list of references or a writing sample.  One firm requested a writing sample, which I mailed with my resume and cover letter. 

The best advice I can give you is to get a list beforehand of all the attorneys you will be meeting with.  That way you can make specific references to their type of practice, a prominent case they tried, book they published, etc. when you ask them questions.  Questions that you ask them serve a few purposes, one of which is purely informative--like asking how many different practice areas you will work with during the summer.  The other purpose is to make them think you are really intelligent, capable, and prepared.  So when it comes time to ask them a question, instead of something general like, "So why did you pick this firm?" you can say, "You went to school in California and spent some time in a New York firm.  What made you decide to move to Atlanta?  What led you to this firm in particular?"  Way, way more impressive.

while you're correct about the importance of researching the firms and interviewers with whom you meet, those questions really are not impressive and do not show that you are intelligent, capable, etc... The fact of the matter is, EVERYONE asks those questions.  And if EVERYONE asks the interviewer the same boring questions like "oh, i saw you went to school here, but chose to work there" or "specifically what led you to firm X", they are no longer good questions.  If you ask the same lame questions that everyone asks, you'll just become part of the big stack of resumes. 

So, try to think of original questions that you are truly interested in.  Everyone knows you could care less why specifically did interviewer X chose firm Y.  On top of that, I guarantee you that if you ask this question, you will get a canned answer from almost every atty you meet with.  S/he will give you the whole "oh the people here are just so great, better than you can find anywhere else, and you really get a sense that the firm is very cordial to its attys and really looks out for them, blah blah blah. 

Ask questions that you really want answered.  If you're interested in atty's personal experiences working in a particular practice group, ask them to tell you a personal/everyday story.  If your're doing a call back, pick a few questions that you really want answered and ask every atty you meet with so you can compare responses. 

Everyone is expected to be capable and prepared, but that only gets you so far in an interview.  So, show the interviewer that you are truly interested in the position.  And do that by asking real questions.

I beg to differ. 

1) Not everyone asks those questions
2) Why on earth would you ask a question whose answer you were not interested in?
3) Interviewers hire people they like (as well as capable, blah blah).  People like talking about themselves.  Give them a chance to talk about themselves for a moment (and give yourself a breather).
4) They will be pummeling you with so many questions, asking one which is more involved than simply "why do you work here?" gives you time to come up with more questions, an answer to a particularly difficult question, or just get yourself composed.
5) It's like a deposition.  Asking more complicated questions can lead to questions you didn't even know you had.  For example, the issue of billing led to questions of salary led to bonuses led to equity v. non-equity partnerships led to how the firm votes on salaries led to how cases and clients are assigned.  All of that was volunteered by the attorney by a simple question targeted at something their website said about their billing minimum v. actual expectations

anyway, I see your point about how even the most brilliant of questions cannot get you a job (I totally agree).  I just think that the importance of questions is often underestimated.  Not only does asking more complicated questions get you better or more in-depth answers, but they can help attorneys remember you better, particularly if they have a stack of resumes, a roster of interviews, and only a few slots. 

rollingthedice

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 24
    • View Profile
Re: 1L SA Interviews, secondary market, connections, what to expect? Advice?
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2008, 12:36:52 PM »
Thanks for all the input everyone, I read a bit about questions in interviews and one resource suggested posing a question like "Now that you have had a chance to review my qualifications and meet me, do you have any concerns about my ability to function in this position that I can address?"  something of that nature, obviously worded poorly here.  But do you all think that question is appropriate?  It seems like it could be a good way to ask about possibly unspoken concerns and give you a chance to address them instead of getting the ding...

Also will they ask about grades?  I just found out that I actually did very well this first semester and I am wondering (as I didn't have grades to submit with my coverletter and resume) if the hiring partner will ask about these, or each individual attorney I speak with will ask about them.  I plan on modestly presenting my accomplishments, as the last thing I want to do is come off as thinking that I know it all because I obviously know nothing.

Bob Loblaw Esq.

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 225
    • View Profile
Re: 1L SA Interviews, secondary market, connections, what to expect? Advice?
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2008, 12:44:26 PM »
during 2l OCI, i dont think grades were ever brought up in discussion.  If they were, it was only in passing, as in "looks like you did well your first year"

if an atty asks you about a grade/s, then modestly talk about it, but you never want to initiate a discussion about your grades.  really, once you have secured the interview, your grades dont matter.  Very generally speaking, if you were granted an interview, then your grades are acceptable for that employer. 

Peaches

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 0
    • View Profile
Re: 1L SA Interviews, secondary market, connections, what to expect? Advice?
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2008, 03:46:37 PM »
Rollingthedice, not really a fan of your question.  Why would you want someone to try and articulate/solidify something negative about you?  If there's some reason why you know they wouldn't want you, you should already cover that objection subtly in an interview before they get a chance to raise it.


rollingthedice

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 24
    • View Profile
Re: 1L SA Interviews, secondary market, connections, what to expect? Advice?
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2008, 06:42:45 PM »
Rollingthedice, not really a fan of your question.  Why would you want someone to try and articulate/solidify something negative about you?  If there's some reason why you know they wouldn't want you, you should already cover that objection subtly in an interview before they get a chance to raise it.



I did not have any grades when I applied, but have grades now.  I think the name of the school + connections in the market got my foot in the door.  I cannot specifically anticipate any reservations they would have about me being qualified, but I would like to address any concerns which arise during / after the interview.

But I do see your point, I am pretty much begging the question.  Anyone else have any input?

jacy85

  • LSD Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 6859
    • View Profile
Re: 1L SA Interviews, secondary market, connections, what to expect? Advice?
« Reply #15 on: January 07, 2008, 06:52:16 PM »
Don't ask that question.  You should know walking in what your weaknesses are, and seek to answer for them before they even come up (if, in fact, they do come up).  IMO, you should never, ever ask a potential employer to point your weaknesses out for you during an interview, regardless of how qualified you think you might be for a position.  I agree with Peaches here.

Furthermore, it is completely irrelevant of whether you are "qualified" for a position.  Almost any 1L is qualified for a summer associate position.  Your last post is borderline arrogant (or at least it sounded a little bit arrogant to me), and I would try to make sure you don't come across as such in your interview.  Confidence is likable, arrogance and self-entitlement are not.

rollingthedice

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 24
    • View Profile
Re: 1L SA Interviews, secondary market, connections, what to expect? Advice?
« Reply #16 on: January 07, 2008, 07:28:41 PM »
Don't ask that question.  You should know walking in what your weaknesses are, and seek to answer for them before they even come up (if, in fact, they do come up).  IMO, you should never, ever ask a potential employer to point your weaknesses out for you during an interview, regardless of how qualified you think you might be for a position.  I agree with Peaches here.

Furthermore, it is completely irrelevant of whether you are "qualified" for a position.  Almost any 1L is qualified for a summer associate position.  Your last post is borderline arrogant (or at least it sounded a little bit arrogant to me), and I would try to make sure you don't come across as such in your interview.  Confidence is likable, arrogance and self-entitlement are not.

Thanks for the input, I certainly did not indent to come off as arrogant, no one is more surprised than I am by the results of this semester.  I understand that showing an arrogant attitude is a quick road to a ding in an interview, as a 1L you basically know nothing.  I have to admit I am getting a bit nervous, I have never had anything even close to resembling a professional job even though I have spent a couple years in the workforce and this will be an interesting experience for me.

Peaches

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 0
    • View Profile
Re: 1L SA Interviews, secondary market, connections, what to expect? Advice?
« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2008, 10:15:09 AM »
"I have never had anything even close to resembling a professional job"

... there's a weakness you can try to cover...


If you can't find a personal weakness then a) you need to be more self aware.  But b) you can also realize that even if you don't have any major weaknesses in your own resume/application, you should look for comparative weaknesses.  You're not just applying against applicants from your school.  There are lots of top law students from lots of top law schools who had high-level professional jobs before law school.   

ajax198

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
Re: 1L SA Interviews, secondary market, connections, what to expect? Advice?
« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2008, 12:18:43 AM »
Very generally speaking, if you were granted an interview, then your grades are acceptable for that employer. 

What about 1L interviews?  They don't always know your grades when they extend the interview

rollingthedice

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 24
    • View Profile
Re: 1L SA Interviews, secondary market, connections, what to expect? Advice?
« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2008, 05:53:08 AM »
Yeah neither of the places I interviewed at knew my grades before I got the interview.  The other one went well too.  Maybe it is just me and my background but a 3 hour interview was a lot of work!  It was fun, both places were really cool and positive about everything, but still kind of a whirlwind experience.