Law School Discussion

1L Job Search

Re: 1L Job Search
« Reply #20 on: June 08, 2006, 12:07:05 PM »
tag

Goodfella

  • ****
  • 373
  • I get to live the rest of my life like a schnook
    • View Profile
Re: 1L Job Search
« Reply #21 on: June 08, 2006, 12:36:59 PM »
Towlie,

Itís not necessary to network at any school . But networking will get you a better job at any school . You have to realize what OCI is, even at the top schools; itís a way to fill desks with warm bodies. It would be nice to think that firms are coming to OCI to find their next future partner. They are not. They are filling vacancies with entry level hires that may or may not make it to partner or even associate. There is a lot of turnover, especially for the first three years. OCI may get you a job, but itís going to be in the office and department they have vacancies. You start at the very bottom, and the firm has no real investment in you for at least the first 2 years. If where you work and what you do, at least for the first three years or so does not matter, OCI can be the easiest way to land an entry level job.

Networking on the other hand puts where you work and what you practice in your hands. Networking can get you hired at places that would never OCI or read your mass mail coming from your school. If you can land a job by being ďhand pickedĒ your more likely to get a position you really want, with better chances of moving up and a built in mentor. Also since youíre a know entity before you start, your likely to get more responsibilities sooner.

Networking in a far away town can be difficult. If itís where you live now, then you should start now. Keeping in contact is going to be key. Youíre probably going need to mass mail to get a summer job there. Once there you should network hard that summer, and keep in close contact over 2L so you can land something that summer. If you want to go from school X on the west coast to city Y on the east coast, it is going to be difficult. You need to be very proactive to land something you really like.

Pre-laws and even many law students like to think the name of your school is going to get you placed at the top of a stack of resumes. Like the resumes are sorted as they come in by rank or something. It does not work that way. OCI does, because they are coming to your school, but you have to take what they offer. If you have ever worked for a long perioed of time in a large firm you will know why. If you havenít ask someone who has, and is a partner, what the biggest pain in the ass of firm life is. It is not finding clients, or winning cases, or the workload, or the hours, its keeping the best employees happy.

Good partners are hard to come by, if they are not happy they leave, with their clients. Good legal secretaries are like gold, almost irreplaceable. A hardworking and diligent paralegal you will bend over backwards to keep. New associates, 1-3 years, are a dime a dozen. One OCI and you can replace them all. New lawyers are expendable. There are more new lawyers minted each year than there are new legal secretaries or paralegals. New lawyers also can cause the most problems in a well oiled machine, especially when this is their first real job. Nobody wants to hire a new lawyer that pisses off any of the above Ďkeyí players. Many new lawyers have never had real jobs, and may only be interviewed for 30 mins before they are hired. There is risk there for the firm, a lot of risk.
Hence if you can get out there and meet and interact with people, BEFORE you need a job, people will know if you will fit in with their firm or not beforehand. You become much more valuable. What you do the first three years in ANY firm can be done as well by a Cooley grad as by a Yale grad. Its busy work. You research, your write a memo on one thing then pass it up the line. You donít see clients, and you donít go to court.

What firms canít afford to have is dissent in the ranks of the employees who really count. There is not a huge line of well educated, hardworking legal secretaries; there is a huge line of hungry desperate new lawyers though. The more people who know you and your work ethic, personality etc before you get hired, the more valuable you become to that prospective firm, be it from local school, or from top school. Only after about 3 years does any large firm have enough invested in you for it to be more expensive for them to replace you. Being brought into the firm by a partner who hand picked you can take a lot of that time away.

Anyway, youíre going to Penn. Thatís a great school; you will have no problem finding a ĎjobĒ OCI or mass mailings. Whether or not itís a job you like, or will keep you past three years nobody knows. If you want to work in a far off town your best bet is to try as hard as you can to build a network there.

Good luck on your first year!


Re: partners coming from OCI: Most top firms fill most of their associate slots with people from OCI at top schools. Depending on how many associates get promoted to partner (varies between firms) some firms have a large bulk of eventual partners coming form OCI. Yes, they are looking for associates in the short term, but I thought they lost money on you if you don't stay at least three years so they're interested in keeping you for that long.

Re: good partners, secretaries, paralegals, etc.: Are you really sure that a good paralegal or secretary is that hard to come by? The skill set is a lot lower than what you need to be an associate. That's why they're not getting paid nearly as much. It's easy to find warm bodies to be paralegals and secretaries. The people I know that are working as paralegals and secretaries at firms (and I know a lot since I was a poli sci major) were hired right out of college, not all of them with good GPAs, not all of them particularly outgoing (though I noticed the cuter girls go to the higher ranked firms...) and many of them getting their jobs through temp agencies. Meanwhile, firms step all over each other to get the best associates, treating them like kings at callbacks and during the summer, raising their compensation to ridiculous levels to get the best grads, etc. I highly doubt that if you asked a hiring partner if he'd rather have a top-notch associate or top-notch paralegal that he'd say he'd rather have a paralegal.

Re: jobs from OCI: At schools like Penn, people go on as many as 20-30 OCI interviews. The career services people will help you as well in finding out which firm you match up with best. If you go on 20 interviews, say you click with 5 firms and get callbacks from them. Then of those 5 firms 4 give you offers (both I think are about on par with what happens judging from Law School Confidential, but let's just say you have 4 offers). That means you have 4 offers from firms you think you'd click with and you can figure out which one of them works out best for you.

Re: networking: Hey, I agree with you 100%. I'm working people I know right now in preparation for next summer. But the people I know as lawyers aren't working for top firms. They work mostly at firms in Hartford or smaller ones in DC. I can get better jobs through OCI, for my 2nd summer, and that's probably the route I'm going.

Towlie

Re: 1L Job Search
« Reply #22 on: June 08, 2006, 01:43:56 PM »
Towlie,

Itís not necessary to network at any school . But networking will get you a better job at any school . You have to realize what OCI is, even at the top schools; itís a way to fill desks with warm bodies. It would be nice to think that firms are coming to OCI to find their next future partner. They are not. They are filling vacancies with entry level hires that may or may not make it to partner or even associate. There is a lot of turnover, especially for the first three years. OCI may get you a job, but itís going to be in the office and department they have vacancies. You start at the very bottom, and the firm has no real investment in you for at least the first 2 years. If where you work and what you do, at least for the first three years or so does not matter, OCI can be the easiest way to land an entry level job.

Networking on the other hand puts where you work and what you practice in your hands. Networking can get you hired at places that would never OCI or read your mass mail coming from your school. If you can land a job by being ďhand pickedĒ your more likely to get a position you really want, with better chances of moving up and a built in mentor. Also since youíre a know entity before you start, your likely to get more responsibilities sooner.

Networking in a far away town can be difficult. If itís where you live now, then you should start now. Keeping in contact is going to be key. Youíre probably going need to mass mail to get a summer job there. Once there you should network hard that summer, and keep in close contact over 2L so you can land something that summer. If you want to go from school X on the west coast to city Y on the east coast, it is going to be difficult. You need to be very proactive to land something you really like.

Pre-laws and even many law students like to think the name of your school is going to get you placed at the top of a stack of resumes. Like the resumes are sorted as they come in by rank or something. It does not work that way. OCI does, because they are coming to your school, but you have to take what they offer. If you have ever worked for a long perioed of time in a large firm you will know why. If you havenít ask someone who has, and is a partner, what the biggest pain in the ass of firm life is. It is not finding clients, or winning cases, or the workload, or the hours, its keeping the best employees happy.

Good partners are hard to come by, if they are not happy they leave, with their clients. Good legal secretaries are like gold, almost irreplaceable. A hardworking and diligent paralegal you will bend over backwards to keep. New associates, 1-3 years, are a dime a dozen. One OCI and you can replace them all. New lawyers are expendable. There are more new lawyers minted each year than there are new legal secretaries or paralegals. New lawyers also can cause the most problems in a well oiled machine, especially when this is their first real job. Nobody wants to hire a new lawyer that pisses off any of the above Ďkeyí players. Many new lawyers have never had real jobs, and may only be interviewed for 30 mins before they are hired. There is risk there for the firm, a lot of risk.
Hence if you can get out there and meet and interact with people, BEFORE you need a job, people will know if you will fit in with their firm or not beforehand. You become much more valuable. What you do the first three years in ANY firm can be done as well by a Cooley grad as by a Yale grad. Its busy work. You research, your write a memo on one thing then pass it up the line. You donít see clients, and you donít go to court.

What firms canít afford to have is dissent in the ranks of the employees who really count. There is not a huge line of well educated, hardworking legal secretaries; there is a huge line of hungry desperate new lawyers though. The more people who know you and your work ethic, personality etc before you get hired, the more valuable you become to that prospective firm, be it from local school, or from top school. Only after about 3 years does any large firm have enough invested in you for it to be more expensive for them to replace you. Being brought into the firm by a partner who hand picked you can take a lot of that time away.

Anyway, youíre going to Penn. Thatís a great school; you will have no problem finding a ĎjobĒ OCI or mass mailings. Whether or not itís a job you like, or will keep you past three years nobody knows. If you want to work in a far off town your best bet is to try as hard as you can to build a network there.

Good luck on your first year!


Re: partners coming from OCI: Most top firms fill most of their associate slots with people from OCI at top schools. Depending on how many associates get promoted to partner (varies between firms) some firms have a large bulk of eventual partners coming form OCI. Yes, they are looking for associates in the short term, but I thought they lost money on you if you don't stay at least three years so they're interested in keeping you for that long.

Re: good partners, secretaries, paralegals, etc.: Are you really sure that a good paralegal or secretary is that hard to come by? The skill set is a lot lower than what you need to be an associate. That's why they're not getting paid nearly as much. It's easy to find warm bodies to be paralegals and secretaries. The people I know that are working as paralegals and secretaries at firms (and I know a lot since I was a poli sci major) were hired right out of college, not all of them with good GPAs, not all of them particularly outgoing (though I noticed the cuter girls go to the higher ranked firms...) and many of them getting their jobs through temp agencies. Meanwhile, firms step all over each other to get the best associates, treating them like kings at callbacks and during the summer, raising their compensation to ridiculous levels to get the best grads, etc. I highly doubt that if you asked a hiring partner if he'd rather have a top-notch associate or top-notch paralegal that he'd say he'd rather have a paralegal.

Re: jobs from OCI: At schools like Penn, people go on as many as 20-30 OCI interviews. The career services people will help you as well in finding out which firm you match up with best. If you go on 20 interviews, say you click with 5 firms and get callbacks from them. Then of those 5 firms 4 give you offers (both I think are about on par with what happens judging from Law School Confidential, but let's just say you have 4 offers). That means you have 4 offers from firms you think you'd click with and you can figure out which one of them works out best for you.

Re: networking: Hey, I agree with you 100%. I'm working people I know right now in preparation for next summer. But the people I know as lawyers aren't working for top firms. They work mostly at firms in Hartford or smaller ones in DC. I can get better jobs through OCI, for my 2nd summer, and that's probably the route I'm going.


Thanks everyone for the helpful posts.

Re: Networking, I'm actually beginning to network too. It helps that I have a friend who works fairly high up at the Department of Justice and also that my dad, step-dad, step-uncle (who is head of the bar in his county), and sister-in-law are lawyers. In other words, finding a job for my 1st summer may be much easier than it is for other people. But since I want to work in California when I'm done and my contacts are pretty much exclusively in the Northeast, I'm in no way secure in my job options.

Re: 1L Job Search
« Reply #23 on: June 08, 2006, 08:02:59 PM »
I have some friends who are great at networking and i've seen first hand how well it can work. One of them went back to grad school after he got his JD, so he had never really practiced law. He got a job as an Associate for a big international firm in their Brussells office based, almost entirely, on his personal relationships he had developed with members of that firm. If it is done well, it can work magic.

Re: 1L Job Search
« Reply #24 on: June 11, 2006, 07:08:05 PM »
YES. Resounding yes. I donít know if you have worked in the corporate world much, but the person who has all the power is the secretary. They are gate keepers, they are the first line of defense, they make sure the clients are helped when the show up, they catch your typos, they make sure things get to court on time, they save your ass. Ask any partner or good associate if they could live without a good secretary, they will tell you no. Secretaries and paralegals are easy to find, good ones are hard to find and keep, good ones have more pull than new associates, trust me.

Big hint, want that fulltime after school job with the firm you just interned with, be nice to the secretaries and paralegals. They have more power than you think. Want your life to be miserable? Treat them like crap and watch what happens when your facing a deadline, not pretty when stuff you needed typed up yesterday ďdisappearsĒ.

Haha... very very true. I work as a secretary in a big law firm in LA, and the secretaries (especially the ones who have been there a long time) are very well respected and all work hard and are skilled at what they do (otherwise they get fired! our firm doesn't tolerate incompetence). There are alot of attorneys that would be utterly lost without their secretaries... (But I'm happy to know that I won't be one of them - there are a few pluses to being an attorney with a legal secretary/paralegal background ;))

Re: 1L Job Search
« Reply #25 on: June 11, 2006, 07:21:06 PM »
Great info.

How valuable is work experience to firms as a 1l. I mean, not everyone is going straight from undergrad to law school, would you say that firms would consider your work experience crucial to getting a 1l firm job?

J D

  • ****
  • 1386
  • Lust isn't one of the 7 Deadly Sins for nothing...
    • View Profile
Re: 1L Job Search
« Reply #26 on: June 11, 2006, 07:24:05 PM »
Great info.

How valuable is work experience to firms as a 1l. I mean, not everyone is going straight from undergrad to law school, would you say that firms would consider your work experience crucial to getting a 1l firm job?

From what I know of my classmates' experience it can be, especially since you are advised to send out your letters and resumes in early December, and your first batch of grades typically only come out in January at the earliest.  Having meaningful work experience on your resume (especially in related fields, like finance, etc.) can be a big help in getting the interviews, since employers typically don't have law school grades available as a way to screen applicants.

ACK!

  • ****
  • 955
  • RESIST THE EARTHQUAKE! REUNITE GONDWANALAND!
    • View Profile
Re: 1L Job Search
« Reply #27 on: June 11, 2006, 07:29:00 PM »
*BAFF*