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Author Topic: Interviewing with BIGLAW as paralegal. Suggestions?  (Read 1138 times)

Warbucks

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Interviewing with BIGLAW as paralegal. Suggestions?
« on: December 27, 2008, 09:42:17 PM »
I am a senior in college and I do not think it's smart to go to law school directly after so I'm looking for law-related jobs next year.

I have landed any interview with a BIGLAW firm as a paralegal and I'd really would like the offer. My interview is coming up soon and I was hoping you good folks here could offer me some advice I haven't heard anywhere else. Perhaps wearing a solid tie is better than a striped tie, I don't know. What type of personality should I convey? Are there any specific questions I should ask? Any information I should know?

Also, what is a usual salary for a BIGLAW paralegal. What is the lowest and the highest?

Thanks in advance.

vap

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Re: Interviewing with BIGLAW as paralegal. Suggestions?
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2008, 10:21:03 PM »
Just be yourself (unless you are a feminine hygiene product; then be someone likeable). ;)

As far as salary goes, it depends on the city. I know one DC biglaw firm was starting paralegals at 33K plus overtime (which is plentiful and where you have a real opportunity to bank some cash) a few years ago.  Anecdotally, I know a guy who said about five years ago he was making 80k after overtime (a lot of it) in NYC with only a few years of experience.

Good luck! Don't sweat it.

redbull

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Re: Interviewing with BIGLAW as paralegal. Suggestions?
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2008, 02:42:17 AM »
I was a paralegal in NYC before going to law school (now a 2L).  The interviewers will be looking for two things: first that you come across as a normal intelligent person that would fit in at the firm (meaning smart and easy to work with) and second that you are willing to work long hours while completing tedious tasks.  Conveying the latter is essential, some people that we liked got dinged solely because they said something that led us to believe that they were intimidated by the hours.  Beyond that, sound interested in the job - even if you are not.  Coming across as bored or unenthusiastic is generally a turnoff for all employers, and that includes paralegal managers.  If they don't ask a lot of questions about your strengths, take the initiative to talk about them.  And definitely ask questions.  Ask about the work environment (e.g. do people get along, are they social), ask about substantive workload vs. administrative workload, ask how much contact you will get with attorneys and play up the fact that you are interested in law school and will be using this position to further your career.  Do not ask about hours or salary.  They will probably bring up the hours part by themselves and just act as if overtime and weekends are not a big deal.  Before I left to go to law school the salary was 40k plus overtime (which usually results in between 55-80k total comp) and I know several top firms paid this.  I would imagine most biglaw firms would be around there.  Let me know if you have any other questions.   

Warbucks

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Re: Interviewing with BIGLAW as paralegal. Suggestions?
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2008, 11:16:30 AM »
Thanks a lot.

Besides the usual softballs what are some curve ball questions they threw at you?

logickills

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Re: Interviewing with BIGLAW as paralegal. Suggestions?
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2008, 12:36:26 PM »
I was a paralegal in NYC before going to law school (now a 2L).  The interviewers will be looking for two things: first that you come across as a normal intelligent person that would fit in at the firm (meaning smart and easy to work with) and second that you are willing to work long hours while completing tedious tasks.  Conveying the latter is essential, some people that we liked got dinged solely because they said something that led us to believe that they were intimidated by the hours.  Beyond that, sound interested in the job - even if you are not.  Coming across as bored or unenthusiastic is generally a turnoff for all employers, and that includes paralegal managers.  If they don't ask a lot of questions about your strengths, take the initiative to talk about them.  And definitely ask questions.  Ask about the work environment (e.g. do people get along, are they social), ask about substantive workload vs. administrative workload, ask how much contact you will get with attorneys and play up the fact that you are interested in law school and will be using this position to further your career.  Do not ask about hours or salary.  They will probably bring up the hours part by themselves and just act as if overtime and weekends are not a big deal.  Before I left to go to law school the salary was 40k plus overtime (which usually results in between 55-80k total comp) and I know several top firms paid this.  I would imagine most biglaw firms would be around there.  Let me know if you have any other questions.   

im a paralegal at a top nyc law firm, and this response is spot on.
accepted: duke, georgetown, fordham $$, umich $$, nyu!, uchicago, uva, gw
pending: berkeley (rejected), yale (rejected), stanford, harvard, columbia (WL), upenn (WL)
lsn: logickills