Vanderbilt Interview

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chargers21

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Vanderbilt Interview

Postby chargers21 » Wed Dec 07, 2016 9:24 pm

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Last edited by chargers21 on Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Vanderbilt Interview

Postby JD_Kingfish » Wed Dec 07, 2016 10:15 pm

chargers21 wrote:Well, I recently interviewed online for Vanderbilt, and I think I kind of bombed it. I think my personality came off as a positive, but it seemed like my interviewer was not satisfied with any of my responses early on, particularly my reasons for attending law school. He has more of a personally meaningful job that he worked for, whereas I'm planning on biglaw. That didn't seem to jive well. I'm above the 75th for LSAT and GPA, but did I just really hurt the strength of my application by doing a voluntary interview? Thanks for any help.

If your numbers are that good I probably wouldnt worry that much about it. Also, it probably didn't go as bad as you think. I feel like it would be unfair for him to give you a bad recommendation just because you guys differ in reasoning for "why law".

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Re: Vanderbilt Interview

Postby BigBear » Wed Dec 07, 2016 10:56 pm

I had my Vanderbilt interview last Monday and was accepted this Monday. My numbers are right below their LSAT Median and at the GPA 75th. My interviewer was very friendly and it flowed more like a casual conversation about law school than an interview. He also told me at one point that the interview was more to sway kids to consider Vanderbilt than to actually evaluate you. He said they were looking to make your sure you weren't crazy or absolutely terrible. I would say that you are completely fine. Maybe your interviewer simply wasn't very conversational. I can't see anyone bombing the interview to the point where it would override a GPA and LSAT as strong as yours. Good luck!

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Re: Vanderbilt Interview

Postby addie1412 » Wed Dec 07, 2016 11:21 pm

BigBear wrote:He also told me at one point that the interview was more to sway kids to consider Vanderbilt than to actually evaluate you. He said they were looking to make your sure you weren't crazy or absolutely terrible.


Mine said the same thing.

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chargers21

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Re: Vanderbilt Interview

Postby chargers21 » Wed Dec 07, 2016 11:31 pm

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Re: Vanderbilt Interview

Postby BigBear » Wed Dec 07, 2016 11:38 pm

chargers21 wrote:
JD_Kingfish wrote: If your numbers are that good I probably wouldnt worry that much about it. Also, it probably didn't go as bad as you think. I feel like it would be unfair for him to give you a bad recommendation just because you guys differ in reasoning for "why law".


BigBear wrote: I had my Vanderbilt interview last Monday and was accepted this Monday. My numbers are right below their LSAT Median and at the GPA 75th. My interviewer was very friendly and it flowed more like a casual conversation about law school than an interview. He also told me at one point that the interview was more to sway kids to consider Vanderbilt than to actually evaluate you. He said they were looking to make your sure you weren't crazy or absolutely terrible. I would say that you are completely fine. Maybe your interviewer simply wasn't very conversational. I can't see anyone bombing the interview to the point where it would override a GPA and LSAT as strong as yours. Good luck!


Then he pitched the school to me and let me ask questions.


Even the fact this happened is a good sign. He wouldn't pitch the school to you if he thought you were a dud. Also, In future interviews you could stress the intellectually challenging nature of big law and how that appeals to you. Just because you're doing transactional M&A work doesn't mean its not important. You may not be directly affecting someone's life in some deep existential way, but corporate law is a necessary service to keep our economy running.

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Re: Vanderbilt Interview

Postby chargers21 » Wed Dec 07, 2016 11:47 pm

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Re: Vanderbilt Interview

Postby galeatus » Thu Dec 08, 2016 5:15 am

chargers21 wrote:He actually gave me the classic TLS response to me saying that I was going into law because my skills and interests are pertinent to the career. Something about "is it worth going hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt for a career just because you think you might be good at it and you're interested in it?" I can't even remember what I said to that, but it caught me off guard. I have no ties to any career path that are stronger than that so it is a good enough reason for me. I personally find the "why law" question to be BS for at least 50% of applicants. I want a job. That's why I went to college and why I'm going to law school. But schools don't want to hear that so I just leave it out.


Yeesh, that sounds rough, and not exactly a question I'd expect in a LS interview

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Re: Vanderbilt Interview

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu Dec 08, 2016 6:21 am

galeatus wrote:
chargers21 wrote:He actually gave me the classic TLS response to me saying that I was going into law because my skills and interests are pertinent to the career. Something about "is it worth going hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt for a career just because you think you might be good at it and you're interested in it?" I can't even remember what I said to that, but it caught me off guard. I have no ties to any career path that are stronger than that so it is a good enough reason for me. I personally find the "why law" question to be BS for at least 50% of applicants. I want a job. That's why I went to college and why I'm going to law school. But schools don't want to hear that so I just leave it out.


Yeesh, that sounds rough, and not exactly a question I'd expect in a LS interview


I got that question at multiple interviews, and it should be expected.

There are lots of viable jobs for people who can get into law school. And if you can't articulate a strong reason for going into the law instead of another field, then you likely won't last very long as an attorney.

But OP, I doubt that you're in trouble. The interview can only serve as a breaking point if your numbers were on the margins or if you legitimately came off as as psychopath.

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Re: Vanderbilt Interview

Postby addie1412 » Thu Dec 08, 2016 8:06 am

cavalier1138 wrote:
galeatus wrote:
chargers21 wrote:He actually gave me the classic TLS response to me saying that I was going into law because my skills and interests are pertinent to the career. Something about "is it worth going hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt for a career just because you think you might be good at it and you're interested in it?" I can't even remember what I said to that, but it caught me off guard. I have no ties to any career path that are stronger than that so it is a good enough reason for me. I personally find the "why law" question to be BS for at least 50% of applicants. I want a job. That's why I went to college and why I'm going to law school. But schools don't want to hear that so I just leave it out.


Yeesh, that sounds rough, and not exactly a question I'd expect in a LS interview


I got that question at multiple interviews, and it should be expected.

There are lots of viable jobs for people who can get into law school. And if you can't articulate a strong reason for going into the law instead of another field, then you likely won't last very long as an attorney.

But OP, I doubt that you're in trouble. The interview can only serve as a breaking point if your numbers were on the margins or if you legitimately came off as as psychopath.


Wait what? This describes like 90% of kids going to law school who have no idea what the day-to-day of being a lawyer is like. Which is impossible to know until you're actually, ya know, a lawyer. I'm a paralegal and I still don't know exactly what the attorneys I work for do all day. Practically no one has a strong reason for going into law instead of another field, besides the fact that they're humanities majors and can't find another job. You've either got kids who wanna be a lawyer "to make a difference", kids who wanna be a lawyer to make money and kids who just don't know what else to do with their 3.8 in Political Science. No one wants to be a lawyer cause they're excited to do the stuff lawyers actually do on a day-to-day basis. "Articulating a strong reason for going into the law instead of another field" in a way that is both honest and informed is a virtually impossible standard for the vast majority of applicants. Yet many of these will indeed last as attorneys.

OP, when I get asked this question, I just talk about my various legal jobs/internships and what I enjoyed about them. Which, of course, doesn't directly answer "Why Law" because I never practiced any actual law and mostly just talked on the phone a lot. Interviewers seem to like that answer though.

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Re: Vanderbilt Interview

Postby galeatus » Thu Dec 08, 2016 8:08 am

cavalier1138 wrote:
galeatus wrote:
chargers21 wrote:He actually gave me the classic TLS response to me saying that I was going into law because my skills and interests are pertinent to the career. Something about "is it worth going hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt for a career just because you think you might be good at it and you're interested in it?" I can't even remember what I said to that, but it caught me off guard. I have no ties to any career path that are stronger than that so it is a good enough reason for me. I personally find the "why law" question to be BS for at least 50% of applicants. I want a job. That's why I went to college and why I'm going to law school. But schools don't want to hear that so I just leave it out.


Yeesh, that sounds rough, and not exactly a question I'd expect in a LS interview


I got that question at multiple interviews, and it should be expected.

There are lots of viable jobs for people who can get into law school. And if you can't articulate a strong reason for going into the law instead of another field, then you likely won't last very long as an attorney.

But OP, I doubt that you're in trouble. The interview can only serve as a breaking point if your numbers were on the margins or if you legitimately came off as as psychopath.


Fair, well I'm fucked then.

But yeah I agree with cavalier in that OP should be fine

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Re: Vanderbilt Interview

Postby chargers21 » Thu Dec 08, 2016 9:15 am

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Re: Vanderbilt Interview

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu Dec 08, 2016 12:35 pm

addie1412 wrote:Wait what? This describes like 90% of kids going to law school who have no idea what the day-to-day of being a lawyer is like. Which is impossible to know until you're actually, ya know, a lawyer. I'm a paralegal and I still don't know exactly what the attorneys I work for do all day. Practically no one has a strong reason for going into law instead of another field, besides the fact that they're humanities majors and can't find another job. You've either got kids who wanna be a lawyer "to make a difference", kids who wanna be a lawyer to make money and kids who just don't know what else to do with their 3.8 in Political Science. No one wants to be a lawyer cause they're excited to do the stuff lawyers actually do on a day-to-day basis. "Articulating a strong reason for going into the law instead of another field" in a way that is both honest and informed is a virtually impossible standard for the vast majority of applicants. Yet many of these will indeed last as attorneys.


I know. It's almost like I'm saying that a large portion of kids going to law school shouldn't be going to law school.

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Re: Vanderbilt Interview

Postby Windjammer » Fri Dec 09, 2016 2:16 pm

I don't know how to parse the OP's story, since I wasn't there. I can chime in with my own interview.

I was interviewed by a Vanderbilt in October. They'd sent an application fee waiver after my Sept LSAT (167) 3 days after the score came through, and we interviewed four days later - super quick & responsive on their part.

The interview was fantastic. It was at a cafe in downtown, went on for over an hour. Vandy made a real effort. They got an environmental federal lawyer, since that's my main interest in going to law school. The interviewer had graduated in the '80s, had considerable seniority in the profession, and was immensely helpful and friendly. I'd sent him my resume and a draft of my personal statement. We went over both and he gave me incredibly helpful (i.e. honest) feedback on how to improve both. I was floored. Vandy didnt' just want me to apply - they wanted me to be the best I could. In a sense, that sold me on the school like nothing else could have. (I'll still be applying to T6 since my Dec LSAT was promising, but I'm taking Vandy a LOT more seriously as a result of the interview.)

Yes part of the meeting is for them to assure you're not crazy. But I got the sense it's a lot more than that. Vanderbilt has a very unique reputation for being a friendly school, and I felt the interview serves the function to not just sell candidates on the school but to determine whether the candidate would fit in with the school atmosphere - friendly and collegial, as opposed to cut throat. That's a lot more than just screening potential sociopaths. It's screening for positive qualities and a mature social personality.

Interviewers write back a detailed report to the school. This report makes a difference to your admission. My interviewer who'd interviewed for decades told me after the interview (per email) that he recommended me in the strongest possible terms. Not sure he'd have reached out to me if I hadn't personally sent him an email first to thank him for his time. And that's important. You reach out to them, you are professional and friendly in interacting with them, and they'll treat you with equal respect and interest.

That's my advice. Don't blow the interview - be appreciative of the amount of time a full time lawyer is giving to you, personally. Express that appreciation during and after the interview. Make sure to establish rapport. I spent the first fifteen minutes trying to get a sense of the person who was interviewing me - where they're from, geographically and culturally, and what they are doing now. Don't try this unless you're genuinely interested. But once you have rapport, the rest of the interview will be entirely painless. Understand it's closer to a two way conversation than a job interview.

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Re: Vanderbilt Interview

Postby Thomas Hagan, ESQ. » Fri Dec 09, 2016 2:21 pm

addie1412 wrote:
BigBear wrote:He also told me at one point that the interview was more to sway kids to consider Vanderbilt than to actually evaluate you. He said they were looking to make your sure you weren't crazy or absolutely terrible.


Mine said the same thing.


This sounds accurate.

Mine took out a Vanderbilt brochure and, with a pen as a pointer, was pointing out why Vandy is awesome. Kind of felt like I was shopping for some kind of life insurance plan :D

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Re: Vanderbilt Interview

Postby guynourmin » Fri Dec 09, 2016 2:48 pm

addie1412 wrote: Practically no one has a strong reason for going into law instead of another field, besides the fact that they're humanities majors and can't find another job.


I have a feeling one of us is going to be in for a rude awakening when we get to school...

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Re: Vanderbilt Interview

Postby 20170322 » Fri Dec 09, 2016 3:19 pm

During my Vanderbilt interview, the woman trashed my UG and at one point asked me if I "had taken the LSAT yet".

A few weeks later I got my acceptance package.

Don't sweat it.

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Re: Vanderbilt Interview

Postby shineoncrazydiamond » Fri Dec 09, 2016 3:42 pm

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Re: Vanderbilt Interview

Postby chargers21 » Fri Dec 09, 2016 3:54 pm

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Re: Vanderbilt Interview

Postby chargers21 » Fri Dec 09, 2016 3:56 pm

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cavalier1138

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Re: Vanderbilt Interview

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Dec 09, 2016 4:40 pm

Windjammer wrote:I don't know how to parse the OP's story, since I wasn't there. I can chime in with my own interview.

I was interviewed by a Vanderbilt in October. They'd sent an application fee waiver after my Sept LSAT (167) 3 days after the score came through, and we interviewed four days later - super quick & responsive on their part.

The interview was fantastic. It was at a cafe in downtown, went on for over an hour. Vandy made a real effort. They got an environmental federal lawyer, since that's my main interest in going to law school. The interviewer had graduated in the '80s, had considerable seniority in the profession, and was immensely helpful and friendly. I'd sent him my resume and a draft of my personal statement. We went over both and he gave me incredibly helpful (i.e. honest) feedback on how to improve both. I was floored. Vandy didnt' just want me to apply - they wanted me to be the best I could. In a sense, that sold me on the school like nothing else could have. (I'll still be applying to T6 since my Dec LSAT was promising, but I'm taking Vandy a LOT more seriously as a result of the interview.)

Yes part of the meeting is for them to assure you're not crazy. But I got the sense it's a lot more than that. Vanderbilt has a very unique reputation for being a friendly school, and I felt the interview serves the function to not just sell candidates on the school but to determine whether the candidate would fit in with the school atmosphere - friendly and collegial, as opposed to cut throat. That's a lot more than just screening potential sociopaths. It's screening for positive qualities and a mature social personality.

Interviewers write back a detailed report to the school. This report makes a difference to your admission. My interviewer who'd interviewed for decades told me after the interview (per email) that he recommended me in the strongest possible terms. Not sure he'd have reached out to me if I hadn't personally sent him an email first to thank him for his time. And that's important. You reach out to them, you are professional and friendly in interacting with them, and they'll treat you with equal respect and interest.

That's my advice. Don't blow the interview - be appreciative of the amount of time a full time lawyer is giving to you, personally. Express that appreciation during and after the interview. Make sure to establish rapport. I spent the first fifteen minutes trying to get a sense of the person who was interviewing me - where they're from, geographically and culturally, and what they are doing now. Don't try this unless you're genuinely interested. But once you have rapport, the rest of the interview will be entirely painless. Understand it's closer to a two way conversation than a job interview.


Cool story. There's nothing to indicate that your interviewer's recommendation made the difference between admission and rejection.

Of course you don't want to "blow the interview", but coming out of an interview feeling like it didn't go as well as you hoped isn't a kiss of death for your application. LSAT/GPA is still the most important thing you bring to the table.

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Re: Vanderbilt Interview

Postby addie1412 » Fri Dec 09, 2016 7:19 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
addie1412 wrote:Wait what? This describes like 90% of kids going to law school who have no idea what the day-to-day of being a lawyer is like. Which is impossible to know until you're actually, ya know, a lawyer. I'm a paralegal and I still don't know exactly what the attorneys I work for do all day. Practically no one has a strong reason for going into law instead of another field, besides the fact that they're humanities majors and can't find another job. You've either got kids who wanna be a lawyer "to make a difference", kids who wanna be a lawyer to make money and kids who just don't know what else to do with their 3.8 in Political Science. No one wants to be a lawyer cause they're excited to do the stuff lawyers actually do on a day-to-day basis. "Articulating a strong reason for going into the law instead of another field" in a way that is both honest and informed is a virtually impossible standard for the vast majority of applicants. Yet many of these will indeed last as attorneys.


I know. It's almost like I'm saying that a large portion of kids going to law school shouldn't be going to law school.


I think the portion of kids who don't have a good reason for going to law school (~90%) and the portion of kids who "don't last as lawyers" (less than 90%) aren't the same kids. Most kids don't know wtf they're doing in general. Youthful ignorance does not preclude future success. And an excellent reason for wanting to be a lawyer when you apply doesn't write a good law school exam.

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Re: Vanderbilt Interview

Postby cavalier1138 » Sat Dec 10, 2016 8:10 am

addie1412 wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:
addie1412 wrote:Wait what? This describes like 90% of kids going to law school who have no idea what the day-to-day of being a lawyer is like. Which is impossible to know until you're actually, ya know, a lawyer. I'm a paralegal and I still don't know exactly what the attorneys I work for do all day. Practically no one has a strong reason for going into law instead of another field, besides the fact that they're humanities majors and can't find another job. You've either got kids who wanna be a lawyer "to make a difference", kids who wanna be a lawyer to make money and kids who just don't know what else to do with their 3.8 in Political Science. No one wants to be a lawyer cause they're excited to do the stuff lawyers actually do on a day-to-day basis. "Articulating a strong reason for going into the law instead of another field" in a way that is both honest and informed is a virtually impossible standard for the vast majority of applicants. Yet many of these will indeed last as attorneys.


I know. It's almost like I'm saying that a large portion of kids going to law school shouldn't be going to law school.


I think the portion of kids who don't have a good reason for going to law school (~90%) and the portion of kids who "don't last as lawyers" (less than 90%) aren't the same kids. Most kids don't know wtf they're doing in general. Youthful ignorance does not preclude future success. And an excellent reason for wanting to be a lawyer when you apply doesn't write a good law school exam.


I didn't say anything about performance in law school. But I bet a lot of the dissatisfaction in the industry would be corrected by kids not rushing into a career based solely on the idea that it sounds like a good way to earn a big salary. And it would also correct for the massive disparity between graduates and available jobs.



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