Law School Discussion

Absurdity of Firm Bidding

Absurdity of Firm Bidding
« on: June 23, 2009, 04:01:00 AM »
Stats: T14 (like most people who say "T14," that means I'm at a school on the less elite end).  Top 10%, secondary journal.  BA from foreign institution but otherwise unremarkable.  Interested in litigation as opposed to transactional work.  Interested in non-NYC markets, from the East Coast originally but no ties other than those I buy at Macy's.

Typically I would be sitting pretty for OCI, but this year is really a guessing game for everyone.  My main problem is that I have zero experience with this, and I just feel like reading Abovethelaw and Vault can't possibly be the right way to determine who I should spend my career with.  I'm looking to at least get rid of my debt (luckily under $100k) but, like a certain Texan, I don't want to go in with an exit strategy.

Thoughts?  Even if you just point me to more websites, that's fine.  For those of you who are summer associates or at firms, how did you differentiate the mix?  Or will this year be a case of beggars not being choosy, and we're all beggars?


  • *****
  • 6178
  • It's only forever - not long at all.
    • View Profile
Re: Absurdity of Firm Bidding
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2009, 08:00:56 AM »
This also a helpful resource:

A rising 2L said this to me over my 1L summer when I was trying to decide if I was even doing this firm thing, and panicking about the fact that I had no idea how to distinguish between them - you will pick up a tremendous amount of information through osmosis during the interview process. By the time it is all over, you will feel like you know more about law firms than you ever wanted to. It just kind of happens. Do try to talk to any lawyers you know doing things you think are cool, 2Ls and 3Ls who have been through this before, etc., but you will find you just suddenly know that X is great for litigation in LA but not so much in NYC, Y is full of super-aggressive types, Z is insanely hard to get, etc.

It does mean that bidding is confusing and you won't know what's going on then, and it may lead you to fail to bid on places where you should (your grades are good. I know the sky is falling, but you should be s competitive as anybody can be right now, and you should bid high. You might think you don't care about that prestige stuff, and you care more about "fit." Just... make sure to consider all your options). Try to be attentive about picking up random open interview slots or dropping by the hospitality suites of places if you suddenly decide you should have bid somewhere different. I didn't bid on the firm where I'm summering, but just dropped by the hospitality suite, where they asked me if I had time for an impromptu screening interview in the hall. So, you know, stuff like that will happen. But, also, don't sweat it. At the end of the day they're hard to distinguish between for a reason  :P


  • ****
  • 194
    • View Profile
Re: Absurdity of Firm Bidding
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2009, 12:36:24 PM »
Yeah, I'm trying to figure out where to bid as well.  I'm likely going to be transferring and I've heard a select few firms flat out won't hire transfers, some respect them, and some don't care.  I think I'm probably on the low end of who normally gets in as a transfer, too, so I'm not sure how that will affect me.  Do you think firms are going to be flat out asking me my ranking at my old school or will they just glance at my GPA and lump me in with people who are like top 1/3 at the new school?  I really have no clue, and I suspect most people don't either.  My old school is a decent regional T1 so it isn't like I'll be transferring from a T4 school that some hiring partners will laugh at... Who knows if that will help.

I do have a 1L SA position in the city I'm in now, and so that is nice having the fallback, but I really want to get a new firm job in the city I'll be in because my wife is giving up her job here to move out to where I'll be.  I don't want her to get there and then have me pack up and go back to the old city.

Anyhow, I think I'll probably just do a mix and bid on a sufficient # of mid-sized firms that hopefully I'll be guaranteed at least something.  Anyone transfer & have experience on where to bid, what works, etc?  I plan on asking career services for more detailed advice on what firms to bid for after I send my deposit, etc. in.

Re: Absurdity of Firm Bidding
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2009, 10:49:36 PM »
In addition to what has already been mentioned, talk to others in the legal profession, preferably in the market in which you hope to work.  Ask which firms have the best reputations for quality work (and ideally quality of life).  This year, you'll want to be particularly attuned to a firm's financial health, so in addition to searching for various firms on ATL you should also read legal trades (Amlaw, NLJ, etc.) and speak to your contacts.

You may think you have no contacts, but unless you're looking to work in an obscure location, you probably have access to people who know something about firms in your chosen area(s).  The most obvious group would be professors who worked, taught, or attended school in that city--a quick search of your school's website should uncover who these professors are.  In my case, I mentioned to a law school classmate that I was very interested in a narrow legal specialty, and she connected me with a practitioner in that specialty who was happy to talk through my firm list with me.  One of the best things about attending a T14 is that your classmates are more likely to have these types of connections--use them!