OLD SCHOOL (must be 30 and over ITT)

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r6_philly
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Re: OLD SCHOOL (must be 30 and over ITT)

Postby r6_philly » Tue Jan 18, 2011 10:48 am

er doctor wrote:
Tell me about it. The best times of my life were in school - SO excited to be a student again.


I understand this but I hardly agree with. The best times in my life were achieving something I want. I can't wait until I can get back doing that.

firemed
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Re: OLD SCHOOL (must be 30 and over ITT)

Postby firemed » Tue Jan 18, 2011 10:59 am

er doctor wrote:
The answer is, to say the least, complex. I am no longer satisfied in my job and I need a change - something different from medicine altogether. Law has been a passion of mine since med school and feels like the right fit right now. I actually have the option to go to law school with minimal debt.

Actually, from what I can tell, the job I take after law school will pay significantly less than the job I have now. Fortunately, I have the luxury of taking a few years off work to go to school and end up with a lower paying job (no kids to worry about).

In short, I am doing this because it is going to make me happy, which is something my current career is not doing for me.


Fair enough! I suppose because there are many people who would kill to be in your position I assumed that it wouldn't be worth it. Then again, as a paramedic I have been through burnout... emergency medicine can be a brutal mistress that charges an unbelievably high toll... so I understand. And it sounds like you are in a good position to switch. And if you do healthcare law you wouldn't have to worry about hiring an expert witness sometimes! :mrgreen: I understand, actually, how you can have a job people would kill for and still wanting something different... I should have thought of that.

Another advantage you have is that law school won't be worse than residency, so it won't seem as brutal for you! :D

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er doctor
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Re: OLD SCHOOL (must be 30 and over ITT)

Postby er doctor » Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:31 am

firemedicprelaw wrote:
er doctor wrote:
The answer is, to say the least, complex. I am no longer satisfied in my job and I need a change - something different from medicine altogether. Law has been a passion of mine since med school and feels like the right fit right now. I actually have the option to go to law school with minimal debt.

Actually, from what I can tell, the job I take after law school will pay significantly less than the job I have now. Fortunately, I have the luxury of taking a few years off work to go to school and end up with a lower paying job (no kids to worry about).

In short, I am doing this because it is going to make me happy, which is something my current career is not doing for me.


Fair enough! I suppose because there are many people who would kill to be in your position I assumed that it wouldn't be worth it. Then again, as a paramedic I have been through burnout... emergency medicine can be a brutal mistress that charges an unbelievably high toll... so I understand. And it sounds like you are in a good position to switch. And if you do healthcare law you wouldn't have to worry about hiring an expert witness sometimes! :mrgreen: I understand, actually, how you can have a job people would kill for and still wanting something different... I should have thought of that.

Another advantage you have is that law school won't be worse than residency, so it won't seem as brutal for you! :D


A few of the physicians I know who have gone to law school have continued to practice in some limited capacity so I might not be leaving mediciene completely.

And one of the physicians I know who is currently a 3L told me law school has been like vacation compared to med school and residency.

firemed
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Re: OLD SCHOOL (must be 30 and over ITT)

Postby firemed » Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:39 am

er doctor wrote:A few of the physicians I know who have gone to law school have continued to practice in some limited capacity so I might not be leaving mediciene completely.

And one of the physicians I know who is currently a 3L told me law school has been like vacation compared to med school and residency.


Don't let my wife read this! She is doing her pre-reqs to apply to med school during my 3L year, and I want her to still feel sorry for me! :mrgreen:

sbalive
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Re: OLD SCHOOL (must be 30 and over ITT)

Postby sbalive » Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:47 am

I've caught up on this thread, and I really want to post to say that I did not have the experience that some of the other posters had in terms of age affecting hiring. I did far better than my grades would have indicated -- even taking into account my IP goals. I do agree that IP boutiques in particular do have lots of people with advanced degrees and work experience, and culturally might be a better fit for someone who is an older grad and wants to be in a more family-oriented and accommodating firm. But, I saw pretty good outcomes with the big generalists that were more my target & never got the feel that they were hesitant about the way that I would fit in. At the same time, yeah, I wasn't in the ballgame for the real elitist grinders, i.e. V5, but certainly V10 on down I didn't encounter much skepticism.

At the end of the day it comes down to what school you went to, what you have in terms of experience if it's relevant (i.e. finance, business, engineering), grades do matter if you're targeting elite firms from top schools or BigLaw generally from the rest, and then the interview matters. In particular, you are evaluated heavily on the kind of questions you ask and the discussion that results from the interviews you have.

As I think I advised upthread & is mentioned in an outstanding post re: OCI prep that's also on this thread, there are a lot of opportunities as a 1L (assuming you go to a BigLaw feeder) to meet with people working at those firms, interacting with associates and partners who were older law school grads, and really getting a feel for (a) is this work you want to do, (b) what it's like to be older than the average junior associate, and (c) the advantages of being older. And, yes, there are advantages. There are all these horror stories of 25 year old first year associates acting unprofessionally, and there's just generally this learning curve towards being an adult, with a job, and taking on responsibility -- which doesn't apply to us. Firms do seem to recognize this. Or, they lied? -- but they did extend offers to me, as well as the other "non-trads" at my school (both IP and non-IP).

The key is to figure out how to present yourself in an interview so you don't seem arrogant, you want to learn about the law firm practice, and you're enthusiastic about wanting to work there. And, frankly, if you really don't want to be in that position, don't do it, and if it means that financially law school doesn't make sense (i.e. because you don't want to do the LRAP at this stage in your life or don't have enough saved up or a spouse who can support you) then don't go. Even if you're going debt-free to some local T3, there's still significant opportunity cost.

I think this post maybe comes off a little strongly -- we all have our own experiences and anecdotal data, and a lot is influenced by our own personal backgrounds, the markets we target, and what law school we attend.

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er doctor
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Re: OLD SCHOOL (must be 30 and over ITT)

Postby er doctor » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:14 pm

firemedicprelaw wrote:
er doctor wrote:A few of the physicians I know who have gone to law school have continued to practice in some limited capacity so I might not be leaving mediciene completely.

And one of the physicians I know who is currently a 3L told me law school has been like vacation compared to med school and residency.


Don't let my wife read this! She is doing her pre-reqs to apply to med school during my 3L year, and I want her to still feel sorry for me! :mrgreen:


I could tell your wife things about med school that would turn her hair white.

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JazzOne
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Re: OLD SCHOOL (must be 30 and over ITT)

Postby JazzOne » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:49 pm

albanach wrote:As I said earlier, an associate providing for a family is probably much less of a flight risk than a 24yo who is single. The married associate is unlikely to want to drag their kids to a new school, find a new family friendly neighborhood, find a suitable home. I fail to see why that can't be sold as a strength, nor do I see why selling it as a strength would be arrogant.

The older associate is a bigger flight risk because he/she doesn't necessarily have to move to quit the job. Older associates likely have more savings, more job opportunities, and less debt. A 25 year old fresh out of law school basically has no other employment prospects. They're grunts for the heavy lifting.

albanach wrote:I don't see anyone here suggesting their past experience will allow them to perform better as a lawyer than any other graduate. That might be arrogant. Showing that you have worked the hours that will be expected and that you have worked on important projects with younger and older colleagues taking the lead demonstrates your ability to be a functioning part of a team.

Anyone thinking they'll be treated like a 5th year associate or partner because of their prior experience is clearly on a hiding to nothing. I just don't see any evidence of that in this thread.

I wasn't talking about an advantage performing as a lawyer. I meant that your past experience isn't going to give you an edge in hiring, and it might even hurt you at some firms. Naturally, there are no absolutes. One poster above reports no bias, but then again, he was vying for IP jobs, which are a different breed. And to counter that one poster's experience, we have now heard from three recent job hunters who felt that their prior WE did hurt them. I was told point blank by a hiring partner that he feared, based on my experience, that I might get bored of firm work after a few years.

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KMaine
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Re: OLD SCHOOL (must be 30 and over ITT)

Postby KMaine » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:53 pm

Just to clarify my anecdotal evidence. I go to Cornell. People over 30 here who wanted BigLaw jobs got them. IP helps. So does doing well grade-wise. From my limited perspective, I firmly believe we would have gotten more and better offers if similarly situated and younger. From my personal perspective, my background in education was not seen as a plus until I figured out exactly how to frame it and pushed VERY HARD to overcome the negatives that potential employers perceived in my background. I have a firm job that I am very pleased with, so it is certainly not all doom and gloom, it is just good for people to know that potential employers are not necessarily going to be thrilled that you are over 30 and want to work for their firm.

I personally believe that I will be a better employee in the Biglaw context than many of my younger classmates. As JazzOne said, it is not about that, it is about the difficulty in fighthing to get that job in the first place.

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JazzOne
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Re: OLD SCHOOL (must be 30 and over ITT)

Postby JazzOne » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:58 pm

KMaine wrote:From my personal perspective, my background in education was not seen as a plus until I figured out exactly how to frame it and pushed VERY HARD to overcome the negatives that potential employers perceived in my background. I have a firm job that I am very pleased with, so it is certainly not all doom and gloom, it is just good for people to know that potential employers are not necessarily going to be thrilled that you are over 30 and want to work for their firm.

+1

My situation exactly

ArghItsBlarg
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Re: OLD SCHOOL (must be 30 and over ITT)

Postby ArghItsBlarg » Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:25 pm

In my perfect world, there is a boutique firm in Chicago that is both family-friendly and high-paying, and wants nothing more in a first-year lawyer than several years of previous legal experience as a legal assistant.

Those exist, right?

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Leira7905
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Re: OLD SCHOOL (must be 30 and over ITT)

Postby Leira7905 » Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:31 pm

ArghItsBlarg wrote:In my perfect world, there is a boutique firm in Chicago that is both family-friendly and high-paying, and wants nothing more in a first-year lawyer than several years of previous legal experience as a legal assistant.

Those exist, right?


That would be lovely. That goes double for me... but in Texas though.... Chicago is way too freakin cold!

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homestyle28
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Re: OLD SCHOOL (must be 30 and over ITT)

Postby homestyle28 » Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:35 pm

ArghItsBlarg wrote:In my perfect world, there is a boutique firm in Chicago that is both family-friendly and high-paying, and wants nothing more in a first-year lawyer than several years of previous legal experience as a legal assistant.

Those exist, right?


Clearly we should start our own...and pay well above market!

r6_philly
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Re: OLD SCHOOL (must be 30 and over ITT)

Postby r6_philly » Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:38 pm

homestyle28 wrote:
ArghItsBlarg wrote:In my perfect world, there is a boutique firm in Chicago that is both family-friendly and high-paying, and wants nothing more in a first-year lawyer than several years of previous legal experience as a legal assistant.

Those exist, right?


Clearly we should start our own...and pay well above market!


Planning on it.

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er doctor
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Re: OLD SCHOOL (must be 30 and over ITT)

Postby er doctor » Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:52 pm

ArghItsBlarg wrote:In my perfect world, there is a boutique firm in Chicago that is both family-friendly and high-paying, and wants nothing more in a first-year lawyer than several years of previous legal experience as a legal assistant.

Those exist, right?


So you want to buy a house? As I am probably Michigan bound

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Ford Prefect
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Re: OLD SCHOOL (must be 30 and over ITT)

Postby Ford Prefect » Tue Jan 18, 2011 2:01 pm

JazzOne wrote:
KMaine wrote:From my personal perspective, my background in education was not seen as a plus until I figured out exactly how to frame it and pushed VERY HARD to overcome the negatives that potential employers perceived in my background. I have a firm job that I am very pleased with, so it is certainly not all doom and gloom, it is just good for people to know that potential employers are not necessarily going to be thrilled that you are over 30 and want to work for their firm.

+1

My situation exactly


I'll be 34 when I start, with most of my work experience as a teacher.

I'm going to need the two of you to stay regular posters here for the next few years so that I can pick your brains regarding hiring. And pretty much everything else.

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emhellmer
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Re: OLD SCHOOL (must be 30 and over ITT)

Postby emhellmer » Tue Jan 18, 2011 2:18 pm

[/quote]Sure, there's no need, but it sure beats shitlaw.

Edit: It has also been my experience that firms are skeptical of nontrads.[/quote]
I agree with this and this was an important point I was trying to convey.

A partner from a V100 looked at my resume, which has a fair amount of leadership experience on it, and told me that hiring partners at firms like his were reading it and thinking to themselves, "Does this person really want to do the work of a first year associate?" Several asked how I would handle working under a younger associate.

I don't want to derail the thread. Just something to think about if you're a non-trad considering moving for law school or weighing whether it is worth it to give up money to go to a better school. If you have a resume that has a diversity of experiences, lots of leadership, or work in a variety of geographical locations, biglaw hiring partners may question your fit at their firm. Some factors that generally should be considered pluses or that helped you get into law school may not work to your advantage in the legal hiring process. Just puttin it out there.[/quote]

The only reason I would consider biglaw is because I have read that it is the BEST training ground. You learn all the ins and outs and spend time researching every possible angle of a case. After two years you can quit and work for a smaller firm but be 10X more effective as a lawyer because of all you learned doing the miserable work of a junior associate. Perhaps I am wrong.

Regarding work experience, I get what you guys are saying about big firms being skeptical of non-trads. My goal is to work for a smaller firm doing "shitlaw," and I would be dumbfounded if my past work experience wouldn't help me get ahead in the employment market (at least ahead of other recent grads from a "traditional" background.

ArghItsBlarg
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Re: OLD SCHOOL (must be 30 and over ITT)

Postby ArghItsBlarg » Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:34 pm

er doctor wrote:
ArghItsBlarg wrote:In my perfect world, there is a boutique firm in Chicago that is both family-friendly and high-paying, and wants nothing more in a first-year lawyer than several years of previous legal experience as a legal assistant.

Those exist, right?


So you want to buy a house? As I am probably Michigan bound


Only if you want to buy my house in Lake County. That's only.. 5 hours each way to Michigan. Think of the books on tape you could complete!

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kalvano
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Re: OLD SCHOOL (must be 30 and over ITT)

Postby kalvano » Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:02 pm

Thankfully, I can just tell employers my old job sucked so bad that I would be happy to work in the basement for the people under the stairs rather than go back.

YoungFogey
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Re: OLD SCHOOL (must be 30 and over ITT)

Postby YoungFogey » Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:35 pm

JazzOne wrote:
KMaine wrote:From my personal perspective, my background in education was not seen as a plus until I figured out exactly how to frame it and pushed VERY HARD to overcome the negatives that potential employers perceived in my background. I have a firm job that I am very pleased with, so it is certainly not all doom and gloom, it is just good for people to know that potential employers are not necessarily going to be thrilled that you are over 30 and want to work for their firm.

+1

My situation exactly



Maybe we are all saying the same thing, but my experience was much more along the lines of sbalive's. I am 99% sure I would not have gotten the same job opportunities if I had been a traditional law student. Being old helped me, with out a doubt. However, I also believe that the reason it helped is because I sold old. :)

I didn't assume that someone reading my resume would do backflips because of it. Instead, I assumed I needed to show them why they should do backflips. Also, as I mentioned above, I really researched firms and did everything I could to figure out firm culture so that I was putting myself in front of the firms I would be a good fit for.

Do I think that every firm will see being a non-traditional applicant as a plus? No.
Do I think that there are firms that will value experience and maturity that can come with being a non-trad? Yes.

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Kinderby
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Re: OLD SCHOOL (must be 30 and over ITT)

Postby Kinderby » Tue Jan 18, 2011 5:29 pm

Love this thread. I'm single and actually not in my 30s yet but I will be as a 2L. I'm a little worried about being able to keep up with the workload, but like some of y'all, at the same time, I cannot WAIT to be back in school again. Always nice to hear from others in similar situations!

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JazzOne
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Re: OLD SCHOOL (must be 30 and over ITT)

Postby JazzOne » Tue Jan 18, 2011 6:41 pm

YoungFogey wrote:I didn't assume that someone reading my resume would do backflips because of it.

Obviously, that's a straw man. We all tried to frame our prior work experience in a positive light. Perhaps the disparity has to do with the type of work experience or maybe the selection of firms we have been exposed to. I think the biggest source of frustration in this discussion is that we're forced to speak in generalities. I would love to mention which firms were receptive to my pitch and which ones weren't. However, I'm not willing to risk burning a bridge with my employers or any potential future employers. So, we are stuck dealing with generalities. In general, I felt that more firms were suspicious of my career transition. The partner who finally hired me had a career prior to law, so perhaps he was just sympathetic to my arguments.

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KMaine
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Re: OLD SCHOOL (must be 30 and over ITT)

Postby KMaine » Tue Jan 18, 2011 6:50 pm

mdallavis wrote:
JazzOne wrote:
KMaine wrote:From my personal perspective, my background in education was not seen as a plus until I figured out exactly how to frame it and pushed VERY HARD to overcome the negatives that potential employers perceived in my background. I have a firm job that I am very pleased with, so it is certainly not all doom and gloom, it is just good for people to know that potential employers are not necessarily going to be thrilled that you are over 30 and want to work for their firm.

+1

My situation exactly


I'll be 34 when I start, with most of my work experience as a teacher.

I'm going to need the two of you to stay regular posters here for the next few years so that I can pick your brains regarding hiring. And pretty much everything else.


Any time.

run26.2
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Re: OLD SCHOOL (must be 30 and over ITT)

Postby run26.2 » Tue Jan 18, 2011 7:12 pm

sbalive wrote:I've caught up on this thread, and I really want to post to say that I did not have the experience that some of the other posters had in terms of age affecting hiring. I did far better than my grades would have indicated -- even taking into account my IP goals. I do agree that IP boutiques in particular do have lots of people with advanced degrees and work experience, and culturally might be a better fit for someone who is an older grad and wants to be in a more family-oriented and accommodating firm. But, I saw pretty good outcomes with the big generalists that were more my target & never got the feel that they were hesitant about the way that I would fit in. At the same time, yeah, I wasn't in the ballgame for the real elitist grinders, i.e. V5, but certainly V10 on down I didn't encounter much skepticism.

At the end of the day it comes down to what school you went to, what you have in terms of experience if it's relevant (i.e. finance, business, engineering), grades do matter if you're targeting elite firms from top schools or BigLaw generally from the rest, and then the interview matters. In particular, you are evaluated heavily on the kind of questions you ask and the discussion that results from the interviews you have.

As I think I advised upthread & is mentioned in an outstanding post re: OCI prep that's also on this thread, there are a lot of opportunities as a 1L (assuming you go to a BigLaw feeder) to meet with people working at those firms, interacting with associates and partners who were older law school grads, and really getting a feel for (a) is this work you want to do, (b) what it's like to be older than the average junior associate, and (c) the advantages of being older. And, yes, there are advantages. There are all these horror stories of 25 year old first year associates acting unprofessionally, and there's just generally this learning curve towards being an adult, with a job, and taking on responsibility -- which doesn't apply to us. Firms do seem to recognize this. Or, they lied? -- but they did extend offers to me, as well as the other "non-trads" at my school (both IP and non-IP).

The key is to figure out how to present yourself in an interview so you don't seem arrogant, you want to learn about the law firm practice, and you're enthusiastic about wanting to work there. And, frankly, if you really don't want to be in that position, don't do it, and if it means that financially law school doesn't make sense (i.e. because you don't want to do the LRAP at this stage in your life or don't have enough saved up or a spouse who can support you) then don't go. Even if you're going debt-free to some local T3, there's still significant opportunity cost.

I think this post maybe comes off a little strongly -- we all have our own experiences and anecdotal data, and a lot is influenced by our own personal backgrounds, the markets we target, and what law school we attend.

I agree with the bolded.

The point of my original post was that if someone has a lot of diversity in your background related to geography or work-experience, they may want to give pause about creating additional diversity by moving somewhere else to go to law school. Some of this can be mitigated by going to a good school, having good grades, having a great personality, having a great interview, etc. My point is that things that non-trad students value in jobs outside the law may not actually be valued by hiring partners.

I don't want to say that non-trads won't get hired. I had offers. I ended up at my #1 choice firm. But I expected to do a bit better based on my experiences. There were lots of firms that I felt did not really even give me a chance and mainly because of the experiences and geographical diversity listed on my resume. I wonder what it would have been like if I were not at a decent school with ok grades and an interest in IP. It sounds like that may be something we share, sbalive.

YoungFogey
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Re: OLD SCHOOL (must be 30 and over ITT)

Postby YoungFogey » Tue Jan 18, 2011 7:39 pm

JazzOne wrote:
YoungFogey wrote:I didn't assume that someone reading my resume would do backflips because of it.

Obviously, that's a straw man. We all tried to frame our prior work experience in a positive light. Perhaps the disparity has to do with the type of work experience or maybe the selection of firms we have been exposed to. I think the biggest source of frustration in this discussion is that we're forced to speak in generalities. I would love to mention which firms were receptive to my pitch and which ones weren't. However, I'm not willing to risk burning a bridge with my employers or any potential future employers. So, we are stuck dealing with generalities. In general, I felt that more firms were suspicious of my career transition. The partner who finally hired me had a career prior to law, so perhaps he was just sympathetic to my arguments.


Right -- sorry for the confusion. I meant that to be a straw man.

I was just throwing my experience out because it is contrary to yours and some others and it seemed like the pessimistic view was the predominant one.

It would be nice to speak more specifically. I do think some of my more positive experience might have been because the firms I was interviewing with. I had very few firms that seemed to have any issue with my transition. But there were one or two that I knew as soon as I sat down I was starting backed into a corner. Whether it was my resume or me personally, or being a non-trad, I don't know.

run26.2
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Re: OLD SCHOOL (must be 30 and over ITT)

Postby run26.2 » Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:48 am

YoungFogey wrote:
JazzOne wrote:
YoungFogey wrote:I didn't assume that someone reading my resume would do backflips because of it.

Obviously, that's a straw man. We all tried to frame our prior work experience in a positive light. Perhaps the disparity has to do with the type of work experience or maybe the selection of firms we have been exposed to. I think the biggest source of frustration in this discussion is that we're forced to speak in generalities. I would love to mention which firms were receptive to my pitch and which ones weren't. However, I'm not willing to risk burning a bridge with my employers or any potential future employers. So, we are stuck dealing with generalities. In general, I felt that more firms were suspicious of my career transition. The partner who finally hired me had a career prior to law, so perhaps he was just sympathetic to my arguments.


Right -- sorry for the confusion. I meant that to be a straw man.

I was just throwing my experience out because it is contrary to yours and some others and it seemed like the pessimistic view was the predominant one.

It would be nice to speak more specifically. I do think some of my more positive experience might have been because the firms I was interviewing with. I had very few firms that seemed to have any issue with my transition. But there were one or two that I knew as soon as I sat down I was starting backed into a corner. Whether it was my resume or me personally, or being a non-trad, I don't know.

What is the pessimistic view of which you speak?

Jazz qualified his statements by saying he was not being pessimistic--and I think him speaking from experience backs that up. I have repeatedly said that it is not that people won't get hired, just that they might want to think about their own experiences in light of what others have experienced at OCI if they are seeking firm gigs, especially biglaw-type jobs.

Everyone who has weighed in thus far, as far as I can tell, has a job lined up. But non-trads should not make the mistake that they are going to clean up at OCI because of the diversity of their experiences, etc. My opinion, based on my experience, is that they should think twice about how to value the diversity of their experiences/geography, etc. I don't think this is pessimism, just a word of caution and hopefully a signal that they should think about playing up strengths while minimizing the aspects of their candidacy that might suggest they won't stick around for a good while and that they're willing to roll up their sleeves and do the dirty work.




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