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Author Topic: fuel my paranoia please  (Read 1932 times)

HotRunner

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fuel my paranoia please
« on: September 15, 2005, 02:03:06 PM »
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?

Comet

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Re: fuel my paranoia please
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2005, 02:09:42 AM »
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 can't speak for the firm you mentioned, but based on experience, 32 is by no means too old.  I'm 37 and interviewing as a 2L.  I've received as many or more interviews than anyone else I know except perhaps those on law review and in the third day of OCI already had three callback offers.  I don't believe the BS you hear about 30 being too old for big law.  As a matter of fact, if you did something relevant and interesting with your life, you'll be miles ahead of your competition.

SkullTatt

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Re: fuel my paranoia please
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2005, 12:08:35 PM »
I tend to find the whole "too old for biglaw" myth hard to believe, too. Employers look for skills and ability to do the job. If they interview a 35 year-old who has worked in a professional environment before and is very polished, and a 26 year-old who is going to need a year to adapt and adjust (then maybe decide he hates being a lawyer and quit), who do you think they are going to pick?

lincolnsgrandson

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Re: fuel my paranoia please
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2005, 01:04:53 PM »
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. 

SkullTatt

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Re: fuel my paranoia please
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2005, 01:53:21 PM »
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.

You are talking out of your ass. As a matter of fact, I have looked at the bio's of three partners of law firms in the last couple days and one had 17 years between his undergrad and his JD.

My point is... a lack of real world experience is what results in opinions like the one you just gave. I advise the OP to take such opinions with a giant grain of salt.

lincolnsgrandson

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Re: fuel my paranoia please
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2005, 02:17:42 PM »
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.

SkullTatt

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Re: fuel my paranoia please
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2005, 06:34:51 PM »
You sound bitter, that might be influencing what people interviewing you think of you. Anyway, you shouldn't try to generalize your situation to everyone who is older who is thinking about law school. You will probably find that a positive attitude can take you much farther in life than you'd ever expect, should you someday develop one.

Comet

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Re: fuel my paranoia please
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2005, 07:25:00 PM »
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. 

Well, I had both good grades (top 1/4 anyway) and an interesting and challenging career with much responsibility.  I honestly think it was necessary to have both to get the number of interviews I received and the number of callbacks that continue to roll in.  I will say that on balance, in the interview, they seem to care much less about my grades and much more about my resume.  If I had been a slacker for 15 years after college, I can say for certain that even with good grades, I would not be getting the attention and good reception that I have been getting.  Of course, it's also true that if I hadn't done well in the first year, my experience probably would not have put me in the running for many or most of the firms that I have callbacks for. 

I think being in your thirties is little to no disadvantage unless you were unproductive in your professional life.  But if your resume is spotty or inconsistent, or you don't have a good "story" as to why you are in law school, you will face an uphill battle, even with good grades. 

Of course, I may wash out at call backs.  The job isn't in the bag until you sign on the line that is dotted. . .

lincolnsgrandson

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Re: fuel my paranoia please
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2005, 09:58:00 AM »
Comet - it's hard to say to what extent your career has helped you get these callbacks, but doubtless your class standing (at a top school, correct?) is the greatest factor. Congratulations, good job.

Sir "Bonkers" - why you have focused on my personal character instead of the big picture is something I cannot try to understand.  I discussed my own situation in order to rebut your ignorant and ironic assertion that my comments arise from lack of "real world experience" (an expression that I have never heard in the "real world").  If my own experiences weren't the same as so many others', I would not have posted here.

Big law firms care about grades first and foremost.  You can't possibly think that's not true.  Interviews aren't like any career I've known - who else but law firms scrutinize an academic transcript?

If you think I'm bitter, then be aware that the majority of the 2Ls and 3Ls here are bitter.  I started here with the same degree enthusiasm and optimism as everyone else posting here.  That's why I've posted - because I was exactly like the people who post here.  Maybe they should understand how someone gets bitter in a year or two.

jacy85

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Re: fuel my paranoia please
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2005, 10:24:24 AM »
Of course work experience isn't going to make up for lackluster grades and a bad class rank.  However, if your grades are competitive, a prior career will put you heads and shoulders above those on your playing field.

If you expected your prior work experience to compensate for a crappy 1st year, then its no wonder that you're disappointed and bitter.

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.