I'm going to be 32 when I graduate from law school. I want to work in Big Law at a firm in Europe. I've been looking at firms like Allen & Overy, etc. My question is, does big law want anybody over the age of 25? Will it be impossible for me to get my foot in the door if I want to work in another country? Anyone out there want to quell my fears or fuel my panic?
I know that it's reasonable to believe that the big law firms will be impressed with the skills and success you have achieved over your career, but they are not.
Bonkers - Your question reminds me of some old joke about picking between different wives, and the answer is "the one with the big unmentionables."The answer to your question is: the one with the better class standing. Period. Big firms do not care about your career, with few exceptions. Their summer associate programs, from which they hire virtually all their first year associates, are full of 22 year olds who have never experienced true responsibility in their lives. I know that it's reasonable to believe that the big law firms will be impressed with the skills and success you have achieved over your career, but they are not. If you don't believe me, look at the partners' bios. For the most part, you'll see three or four years between their undergrad and their JD. The upside is, if you do well your first year, age discrimination won't mean much.
I'm not talking out of my ass. And your comment about lack of "real world experience" is complete bullsh-t. I've had a more challenging and successful career than the vast majority of students at my law school. But it doesn't matter, because my first year grades were not exceptional and I didn't go to an impressive undergrad. I'm losing out on firms that practice fields substantially related to what I've spent a decade doing, to 22-year olds who have never had jobs. And I know many third-years in the same boat. I wish somebody would have been this up front with me a few years ago, but pehaps I would have still held on to my optimism, like you do. So you can ignore my assessment of law firms and keep on listening to your cheerful career counselors. Get back to me in a year or two and then tell me if you think I was talking out of my ass.