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Author Topic: "knowing someone"  (Read 2612 times)

pdist

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"knowing someone"
« on: July 15, 2008, 04:33:12 PM »
If you aren't in the top of your class but you know a few people (partners) at a few firms how much can this help? get you to the interview stage maybe?

jacy85

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Re: "knowing someone"
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2008, 11:09:16 PM »
When you say "not at the top of your class" what exactly do you mean?

Do you mean top 1/3, top 1/2, or languishing near the bottom?

And also, what kind of school are we talking about?  T4 in a saturated market and several other higher ranked schools?  Lower tiered school but the only one in the market or state?  Top school?

pdist

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Re: "knowing someone"
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2008, 11:59:21 AM »
uhm I'm just outside the top 1/3 at a t2 in a major market...if that helps

jacy85

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Re: "knowing someone"
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2008, 12:14:31 PM »
So there are either T1 schools in the area, or as a major market, lots and lots of students from all over and the spectrum of schools trying to get in?

In that case, I'll have to agree with YBR.  You may get a courtesy interview, but that's it. Even if the partner backs you, no one partner is going to have a say, as it's a committee that votes on who gets offers.  He may advocate for you, but that's all you're going to get if your stats/qualifications are lower than what the firm is willing to hire.

And FWIW, I've known people who worked for firms before law school, maintain good relationships with a bunch of attorneys there, went to a lower ranked law school than the firm recruited at, and didn't even get a courtesy offer.  So I'd do whatever you can to capitalize on your connection, but don't put all your eggs in that basket.

Matthies

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Re: "knowing someone"
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2008, 12:25:26 PM »
You may get a courtesy interview.  Most partners won't vouch for you, though, unless you're at least vaguely close to what they'd usually hire.  A firm that takes top 10% from T14 schools isn't going to seriously look at you if you're top 50% at T2 just because you know someone.    And if the people you know are relatives, chances are that there's some sort of nepotism rule.

At this point, I'd set up informational interviews with the partners you know, tell them your situation, and ask them for general advice.

I disagree with some of this. But first its going to depend on how well these people know you, just knowing of you or your parents is not enough. If its someone you have met through networking and developed a relationship with over many months, maybe worked on some projects with, then they can better judge your capabilities. These are more likely to result in pull you in positions where the partner personally vouches for you and the firms hires you based on his/her recommendation, bypassing the usual summer in methoed, usually to work directly under them.

I also disagree somewhat with YBRís idea that you canít get a job with a firm that does not normally hire from your school. You canít get a job OCI wise, thatís for sure, but you can be brought in by a partner to work under them. Its happened to me twice at firms that donít not even give my school a courtesy nod in OCI.

There is one big caveat here, at least from what I have seen. I think this method has worked so well for me precisely because I have focused only on one practice area. The majority of my classes, my clinical work, my journal work, my publications, my internships/clerkships and advanced degree have all focused almost exclusively on environmental law. So its been an easier sell to people I have networked with in environmental law that I am a better candidate for an environmental practice area than a generalist student from a better school. However, its also meant I have had to network, since OCI offers little choices for someone who has so specialized in one practice area. So itís a double edged sword.

I could see this working in other specialized practice area like Tax or Admiralty, but more generalist law students donít really have much to offer most firms, so you run up against the better generalist from a better school is the better pick issue YBR describes. The key to getting handpicked is offering something lots of other folks donít have, trying to set yourself apart from the crowd (and LR or moot court board is not enough that IS the crowd), that takes focusing your resume, school activities, internships your whole package, into a specific practice area, at least thatísí what seems to have worked for me.
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mike4488

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Re: "knowing someone"
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2008, 12:34:20 PM »
Well, I don't know how much "knowing someone" does for you unless you have good grades.  For example, I started out at a T2 school and had excellent grades after my first semester and first year.  However, the firm where I knew several partners (or my dad knew several partners at as I had never met them in my life) at never has hired anybody from my school.  But through my connections the partner vouched for me and I got brought in for an interview.  This lead me to get a SA gig at a V50 firm not for this summer but for next.

However, even with this connection if I didn't have really good grades they wouldn't help me out.  At large law firms it usually is just the way that it works.  Anyways, that my two cents.
Boalt Hall '10

pdist

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Re: "knowing someone"
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2008, 04:04:50 PM »
I guess to be more specific im just out of the top 1/3 like I said. and the firm will interview top 15-20% from my school generally. That's just one example. I'm just curious not sure i even care anymore.

skeeball

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Re: "knowing someone"
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2008, 04:34:25 PM »
You may get a courtesy interview.  Most partners won't vouch for you, though, unless you're at least vaguely close to what they'd usually hire.  A firm that takes top 10% from T14 schools isn't going to seriously look at you if you're top 50% at T2 just because you know someone.    And if the people you know are relatives, chances are that there's some sort of nepotism rule.

At this point, I'd set up informational interviews with the partners you know, tell them your situation, and ask them for general advice.

I disagree with some of this. But first its going to depend on how well these people know you, just knowing of you or your parents is not enough. If its someone you have met through networking and developed a relationship with over many months, maybe worked on some projects with, then they can better judge your capabilities. These are more likely to result in pull you in positions where the partner personally vouches for you and the firms hires you based on his/her recommendation, bypassing the usual summer in methoed, usually to work directly under them.

I also disagree somewhat with YBRís idea that you canít get a job with a firm that does not normally hire from your school. You canít get a job OCI wise, thatís for sure, but you can be brought in by a partner to work under them. Its happened to me twice at firms that donít not even give my school a courtesy nod in OCI.

There is one big caveat here, at least from what I have seen. I think this method has worked so well for me precisely because I have focused only on one practice area. The majority of my classes, my clinical work, my journal work, my publications, my internships/clerkships and advanced degree have all focused almost exclusively on environmental law. So its been an easier sell to people I have networked with in environmental law that I am a better candidate for an environmental practice area than a generalist student from a better school. However, its also meant I have had to network, since OCI offers little choices for someone who has so specialized in one practice area. So itís a double edged sword.

I could see this working in other specialized practice area like Tax or Admiralty, but more generalist law students donít really have much to offer most firms, so you run up against the better generalist from a better school is the better pick issue YBR describes. The key to getting handpicked is offering something lots of other folks donít have, trying to set yourself apart from the crowd (and LR or moot court board is not enough that IS the crowd), that takes focusing your resume, school activities, internships your whole package, into a specific practice area, at least thatísí what seems to have worked for me.


Interesting...looks like you're an advocate of carving out a niche for yourself.

h2xblive

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Re: "knowing someone"
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2008, 10:37:10 PM »
If you want to get into an elite Biglaw firm, just knowing someone will not make up for "bad" grades.  If Smith, Jones, and Brown LLP has a policy of only giving OCIs to the top 20% from USNWR schools ranked in the top 30 and you are in the top 40% at a school ranked 85...knowing someone, even a partner, will likely do nothing for you.  If you're in the top 25% at a school ranked 29, then yes, knowing the right person might get you an OCI when not having that contact gets your rejected.

Just like law schools mostly care about GPA and LSAT scores, most Biglaw firms just care about your first year class rank and whether you're on a law journal/moot court.  Only if you are in the "ballpark" will the soft factors come into play.

*devo*

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Re: "knowing someone"
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2008, 12:55:47 AM »
I am always getting advice from an attorney at the small firm I work at and she always tells me to go to the highest ranked school possible because her biglaw connections have never worked out. She tried to lateral to a few different biglaw firms after working in a mid-sized firm for 2-3 years.  She knew partners there well anough to think they would vouche for her, but the firms could never get past her top half grades at a T2.  She has been practicing for 10+ years at a few firms and she says law firms never asked for her grades except for her very first job and biglaw.

Anyway, my point is that regardless of your connections, biglaw firms will still scrutinize your transcripts (whether you are still in law school or trying to lateral).  So unless you are JUST outside of the school's cutoff, the chances are very slim.