Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: Question on job offers  (Read 15935 times)

Matthies

  • LSD Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 5988
    • View Profile
    • Tell me where you are going to school and you get a cat!
Re: Question on job offers
« Reply #30 on: October 12, 2009, 04:28:06 PM »

And to say that, well, in practice most employers in other industries don't do this, so you shouldn't expect this from law firms -- the set of firms that participate in OCI recruiting have created expectations through a long history of certain behaviors.  And this determines how applicants interpret what firms' behavior means, and then adjust their own behavior accordingly. 
 
The fact that we are applying to them (and need jobs) . . . well, maybe this is the overall source of our disagreement.  I am thankful in a sort of broad cosmic sense for having an offer, but I by no means see this as, like, a gift from the firm, for which I should be grateful to THEM.  Because if I go there, they're going to make a shitload of money off of me -- arguably MOST of their money is from associate leverage, rather than high fees for partner expertise.  Whatever benefits there are to any of us in going to a firm, the relationship works fundamentally in their favor, especially if you stay longer than a year or two.  I think the same is true of the recruiting process -- interviewing us isn't doing any of us a favor, even if working at a firm will be beneficial to us as well for whatever reason.  This whole process is ultimately a moneymaking enterprise for them, even if it requires spending money up front to fly us around, take time to talk to us, etc.  To be clear, I'm not saying that on this point you guys are wrong and I am right.  There certainly IS a lot of time and expense involved in recruiting and getting a new associate class to the point where they're profitable. 
 

This is the thing that in the other thread I said comes off as elitist, even if your not trying to be. You just canít look at the past and expect anything like that to be the case NOW. If you understand the way legal hiring has worked over the last 15 years (OCI has not always been what it was, there is a relatively recent phenomena) then you understand that until last year it was a studentís market for the most part. Under the Cravath model firms needed brand name JDs to support their business model, it was all based on billing more for top talent so there was a race on from all firms supporting that billing model to grab as many graduates as they could from top law schools. It was studentís market and that is why we saw steady increases in salary each year and firms going so deep into schools classes.

Those days are gone, and they are not coming back. The Cravath model has crashed and burned for all but a few elite firms. Clients are no longer willing to pay top dolor to train new associates just because they have a barnd name degree. Law firms are losing money left and right on new associates in this ecomony, they can't bill like they used to for triaining. Thinking a firm in the ecocemny owes you anything like what it used to be comes from not understanding that there is a fundamental change in the way big firms work AND hire underway. Should be feel like you owe the firm something for hiring you? Hell yes is my view. They donít really need you, and for everyone they hire there are 100ís would give a testicul to be in your position.

The simple fact is its not 2007 and it never will be again. Expecting firms to act like it is, to bow to recruits timelines over there own struggles to keep afloat and thinking youíre more needed than you are, is just not understand how the new legal world is shaping up. Believe me Iím not saying you should be thanking god on your knees this firm said yes to you, but I am suggesting you start researching the changing legal market outside what your classmates are telling you. Knowing whatís coming and the value added side to legal work will make you more valuable then if you donít. Its not going back to the way it used to be, and thinking that firms should act like they did in 2007 now is just putting more pressure on yourself then you need. Itís a firms market and will be for awhile. They have all the cards, and if you want the job then you have to play by their rules, even if those rules seem like they are screwing with the rest of your life. 

*In clinical studies, Matthies was well tolerated, but women who are pregnant, nursing or might become pregnant should not take or handle Matthies due to a rare, but serious side effect called him having to make child support payments.

dischord

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1367
    • View Profile
Re: Question on job offers
« Reply #31 on: October 12, 2009, 05:09:49 PM »
I'm not trying to be obtuse here, but I am failing to see how I'm being condescending.  I don't begrudge anyone's desire to work at a firm, or for being happy to get an offer and/or willing to wait for one for however long, or being happy to just be on a waitlist, or not wanting to ask questions, or whatever.  I don't even think it's "misguided" to, in practice, submit to this stuff in order to get what you want out of the current job market, and in the future out of your career.  Same with aligning yourself in theory to a business model where decisions are driven by profit maximization, if for no other reason than you might benefit from this as an employee later on.  Also, I never said that any of this should be subject to some sort of formal regulation, or that employment and hiring practices shouldn't change at all with market conditions.    

What I am saying is that the fact that there is some or even a lot of benefit to employees in all of this, and that there may be an economic self-interested rationale for firms' behavior (although in the case of, for example, recruiting offices just keeping mum about what's going on, I can't see how there's more than de minimis economic benefit), doesn't automatically mean that something is justifiable or beyond reproach .  Everyone (employees) is certainly entitled to choose his own poison, so to speak, and even to like it, but that has little bearing on judgments of the employers creating those conditions, especially if there are effective alternatives that are more in line with human concerns.  I suppose that you can operate under the assumption that the market is beyond moral considerations and that businesses should be run accordingly, and there's certainly a spectrum between that and my viewpoint.  But where condescension or judgment of enter into this picture is unclear to me.

As for the hypocrisy of my own choices -- no, the fact that I'm struggling doesn't mean I'm different.  I DO think that what's different about my situation is a) I don't think I'm one of those people who just doesn't want to work for a firm and is bitching an moaning about having to -- I do have a legitimate interest in private practice, as much as I'm concerned about what this is going to entail, and b) I may end up putting my money where my mouth is.  The fact that I have conflicted interests that make a final decision difficult is only relevant insofar as I'm venting frustrations on here and that I haven't actually declined my offer.

  
At least I can f-ing think.

dischord

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1367
    • View Profile
Re: Question on job offers
« Reply #32 on: October 12, 2009, 05:27:05 PM »


This is the thing that in the other thread I said comes off as elitist, even if your not trying to be. You just canít look at the past and expect anything like that to be the case NOW. If you understand the way legal hiring has worked over the last 15 years (OCI has not always been what it was, there is a relatively recent phenomena) then you understand that until last year it was a studentís market for the most part. Under the Cravath model firms needed brand name JDs to support their business model, it was all based on billing more for top talent so there was a race on from all firms supporting that billing model to grab as many graduates as they could from top law schools. It was studentís market and that is why we saw steady increases in salary each year and firms going so deep into schools classes.

Those days are gone, and they are not coming back. The Cravath model has crashed and burned for all but a few elite firms. Clients are no longer willing to pay top dolor to train new associates just because they have a barnd name degree. Law firms are losing money left and right on new associates in this ecomony, they can't bill like they used to for triaining. Thinking a firm in the ecocemny owes you anything like what it used to be comes from not understanding that there is a fundamental change in the way big firms work AND hire underway. Should be feel like you owe the firm something for hiring you? Hell yes is my view. They donít really need you, and for everyone they hire there are 100ís would give a testicul to be in your position.

The simple fact is its not 2007 and it never will be again. Expecting firms to act like it is, to bow to recruits timelines over there own struggles to keep afloat and thinking youíre more needed than you are, is just not understand how the new legal world is shaping up. Believe me Iím not saying you should be thanking god on your knees this firm said yes to you, but I am suggesting you start researching the changing legal market outside what your classmates are telling you. Knowing whatís coming and the value added side to legal work will make you more valuable then if you donít. Its not going back to the way it used to be, and thinking that firms should act like they did in 2007 now is just putting more pressure on yourself then you need. Itís a firms market and will be for awhile. They have all the cards, and if you want the job then you have to play by their rules, even if those rules seem like they are screwing with the rest of your life. 


Again, no one's saying that no change to the recruiting or hiring model whatsoever is justifiable. 

But come on, now, don't even try to tell me that the sole reason I was given an offer WASN'T that they are betting that this will be a profitable decision for them.  It may not make them as much money as in the past, they may not be able to bill me out as high, they may not need as many people, it may not be immediate, and what contributions are valued will be different in the future, no doubt.  But these people aren't running a f-ing charity.  They aren't hiring (admittedly few) new associates out of the good of their hearts, or keeping them employed later on for that reason, either.  If nothing else, from what you're saying it will be the benefits to ME as an associate that will decrease:  They'll likely be quicker to fire associates who don't become profitable or add value in some other way pretty soon after they start, our salaries will be more in line with our "value" to the firm in terms of billing rates, etc.  But the imbalance in benefits to the associate versus the firm isn't going to diminish -- these are shrewd people, they'd get rid of us entirely before that happened.

Anyway, I appreciate that you try to point out that in practice none of us really matter.  I mean, for any of us to act otherwise would be unwise -- it's not like I'm such an idiot that I march into places IRL demanding "my due" or something.  But I don't see what's so wrong about commenting on the fact that this is dehumanizing; that in an ideal world this *&^% wouldn't be this way at all; that, you know, maybe not EVERYTHING firms do is justified by bad economic circumstances, even if it's going to happen whether we like it or not.  You're almost, like, gleeful that people aren't treated nicely or something sometimes, or when things don't go as well as they'd hoped. 

 
At least I can f-ing think.

dischord

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1367
    • View Profile
Re: Question on job offers
« Reply #33 on: October 12, 2009, 05:37:50 PM »
I meant by "if for no other reason" that even if you HAD no other reason it would be a good reason.  Not that that would be the only good reason.  So pretty much what you are saying  ???

As for alternatives, what good reason do you have for firms being rude or unresponsive?  Or giving you the run around when you ask about status?  I mean, what harm is it to admit they're running a waitlist when all of us know that's what they're doing?  I'm not being contrarian; I honestly cannot come up with anything that isn't totally refutable.

I think maybe everyone is assuming that I'm arguing that firms shouldn't be running waitlists at all, which isn't the case and I don't know where everyone got that idea.
At least I can f-ing think.

dischord

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1367
    • View Profile
Re: Question on job offers
« Reply #34 on: October 12, 2009, 05:44:20 PM »
Perhaps I want to enter this type of business because I see inherent value in a business model that is driven almost entirely by profit-maximization (regardless of the place a new law graduate would take in this model -- a source of huge profit margins).  (I say "my"/"I" because I have no idea if anyone else actually agrees with me.) 


Also -- and I'll admit that what I'm about to say is probably not going to be taken well -- don't you think that this is basically the definition of false consciousness?  The inherent value of an organization run to someone who starts at the bottom is, as far as I can tell, either that you have the possibility of getting to the top, or that the benefits you gain from being at the bottom of that org. are greater than at a less profitable one.  The latter is basically what we were talking about in the last post, so let's put that aside.  The former idea is exactly what false consciousness means.  Marx used it pejoratively, obviously, but even though it doesn't "sound" nice it can be simply descriptive.

I mean, what inherent value is there besides it being in your self-interest (isn't that the whole idea of pure capitalism)? 
At least I can f-ing think.

Matthies

  • LSD Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 5988
    • View Profile
    • Tell me where you are going to school and you get a cat!
Re: Question on job offers
« Reply #35 on: October 12, 2009, 06:09:24 PM »

As for alternatives, what good reason do you have for firms being rude or unresponsive?  Or giving you the run around when you ask about status?  I mean, what harm is it to admit they're running a waitlist when all of us know that's what they're doing?  I'm not being contrarian; I honestly cannot come up with anything that isn't totally refutable.


I think a big part of it is THEY donít know what they are doing. Its like that in any large organization, no one really has the power to give you a straight answer unless they have the party line telling them to do so. Problem is party line is changing day by day. Given the economy and the whole hiring model of big law is in an upheaval it may not be that they are purposefully hiding information from you to make your life more complicated it just might be they have no idea whatís coming around the corner and letting associates know whatís up with their app is not a top priority at this point. Sucks to be in that situation sure, but thinking itís a big conspiracy rather than everything is changing day by day seems to me to be a bit self centered, or at least not seeing there is a bigger issue here. To you this is a big huge issue, to the firm its not they got other issues more pressing than summer 2010, does it suck each person has different priorities, yes, but thatís just the way things work when youíre dealing with a behemoth organization that needs twelve approvals before it can do anything. Like I said before they hold all the cards, that's just how the game is played now, is it right or wrong, I don't know nor do I really care, since my beilf in if its right or wrong is not going to change the fact theat they still have all the wpoer and you have to put up with the crap that comes along if you want to play the game.
*In clinical studies, Matthies was well tolerated, but women who are pregnant, nursing or might become pregnant should not take or handle Matthies due to a rare, but serious side effect called him having to make child support payments.

hooloovoo

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 276
    • View Profile
Re: Question on job offers
« Reply #36 on: October 12, 2009, 06:43:13 PM »
As for alternatives, what good reason do you have for firms being rude or unresponsive?  Or giving you the run around when you ask about status?  I mean, what harm is it to admit they're running a waitlist when all of us know that's what they're doing?  I'm not being contrarian; I honestly cannot come up with anything that isn't totally refutable.

it's fear.

,.,.,.;.,.,.

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 2016
    • View Profile
Re: Question on job offers
« Reply #37 on: October 12, 2009, 07:23:40 PM »
Ms. Hoover?  I ate my red crayon.

dashrashi

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 3601
    • View Profile
    • LSN
Re: Question on job offers
« Reply #38 on: October 12, 2009, 07:49:46 PM »
Mmm. I want to read this again later. (I ran into a bit of a "tl;dr" problem, since Boo has to pee and it's my turn to take him out.) But: system justification theory + system threat. I'm intrigued by the possibility of applying it to this thread/problem.

Wally, please don't feel bad for partners. Unless it's to make them think that you are their bestie, and then to bilk them for all they are worth. That, I approve of.
This sig kills fascists.

http://lawschoolnumbers.com/display.php?user=dashrashi

Saw dashrashi's LSN site. Since she seems to use profanity, one could say that HYP does not necessarily mean class or refinement.

dischord

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1367
    • View Profile
Re: Question on job offers
« Reply #39 on: October 12, 2009, 08:04:19 PM »
Again, I do know what "false consciousness" means, but I think you're still assuming that the value I believe exists stems from my interest as an individual who would be at the bottom of the ladder.  I am not arguing that the model's inherent value is that "to someone who starts at the bottom... you have the possibility of getting to the top."  My reasoning doesn't, in any way, depend on the ability of the organizational structure to allow people to advance if they submit to certain employment conditions.  My reasoning is that a model driven strongly by profit-maximization provides incentives to those at the top, which are significant not because of how it persuades those at the bottom to stick it out so that they can advance later on, but because of how it allows the business to provide desirable services to a certain subset of (also profit-driven) clients.

Of course, this will seem circular if you are against the capitalist system and so don't think that a profit-driven model is inherently valuable in any context (as an incentive for productivity or otherwise).  If this is the case, the underlying assumptions of the financial markets are null and, sure, Marx might call this false consciousness.  (This being because, under that view, there would be no reason that a junior employee would accept undesirable working conditions other than for a self-interested belief that it would lead to advancement.)  However if that's the case, well, I don't accept the argument that there is a more effective incentive to productivity than profit (on an organizational level, where I do think motives differ from those of the organization's component-people)... so, under that assumption, I could care less about the labels put on my viewpoint by those who I don't share fundamental views with.  I will note that, if it is true that most new associates in law firms only stick it out for the self-interested reasons you mentioned -- the possibility of advancement or the benefits of being at the bottom of this type of org over a less profitable one -- rather than because they share the belief that the business model is the most efficient, then I would agree that the conditions of this particular organizational form are inefficient (as distinct from a belief that this form would always be inefficient).



Well, first, I think that is circular.  And not because I think we should stage some kind of Marxist revolution, but because it seems to me that you're endorsing pure capitalism entirely for reasons that don't fit within that model.  The whole idea is premised on every actor acting in rational self-interest -- this isn't a Marxist idea.  So while the benefits of capitalism are perhaps a maximally efficient and productive economy, these things can't be maximized if they are the actual goals, or seen as inherently valuable to the individual player.  These are only goals insofar as they serve the rational self-interest of the actors, for which profit/financial gain generally is a proxy.  And they usually do, but not always -- think about how inefficient firms were when it was profitable for them to simply bill as many hours as possible to comparatively cheap junior associate labor (and of course we've seen the collapse of this model as clients have pushed back, but I think the example still illustrates the narrow point I'm making -- and you can still think of the previous client acquiescence to inefficient legal practice as profitable to them under the circumstances).

So . . . not to be flip, but what it seems like you're saying is that your self-interest aside, you want to go to a profit-maximizing employer for the good of society?  As in, you think that this model is good for society so you want to participate in it/encourage it?  Even if this isn't a sufficient condition for you accepting certain employment conditions, picking a firm, or doing whatever, the problem I'm having is that these considerations don't fit within the model you're endorsing at all -- and I'm not saying this because capitalism is BAD for society, but rather because the model posits that social welfare considerations shouldn't drive economic decisions (I suppose justifying it by saying that social welfare will be served precisely by everyone ignoring it in making economic decisions?).  

Or maybe what you're saying is that these things don't bother you one way or the other because you're simply comfortable with the way the system is working?  In other words, it's not a positive or a negative in your decisions that employers are profit-driven rather than concerned with more touchy feely problems because you think it's for the good of society at large . . . so you will just go with your self-interest?  

As for refuting any examples of possible legit economic reasoning for doing xyz things during recruiting, I think it's entirely possible (silence bringing bad press or at least bad word of mouth?  Incredibly low cost of writing one form email in comparison to negative opinion among law students?) but at this point these are not really central to the argument anymore, and of course can be debated ad nauseum.

Like I said before they hold all the cards, that's just how the game is played now, is it right or wrong, I don't know nor do I really care, since my beilf in if its right or wrong is not going to change the fact theat they still have all the wpoer and you have to put up with the crap that comes along if you want to play the game.

Well then don't give me *&^% for pointing out that I think that that certain things are wrong here.  I understand how they work, so in this context pointing out that "Oh your moral evaluation is stupid because of how things really ARE" reads like an endorsement of the "rightness" of firms' behavior.  Meeting an "ought" argument with an "is" argument is like saying things "ought" to be how they are.

Anyway, I certainly don't think that this is the moral travesty of the century.  But jesus, I never would have anticipated that simply believing that every person is worth of a certain level of considerate treatment regardless of the other parties' interests would be so controversial.

Mmm. I want to read this again later. (I ran into a bit of a "tl;dr" problem, since Boo has to pee and it's my turn to take him out.) But: system justification theory + system threat. I'm intrigued by the possibility of applying it to this thread/problem.

Wally, please don't feel bad for partners. Unless it's to make them think that you are their bestie, and then to bilk them for all they are worth. That, I approve of.

Please come stick up for me, it's lonely being the only person who doesn't like management  :-[
At least I can f-ing think.