V&E Partner Surprisingly Candid About SAs

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miamiman
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V&E Partner Surprisingly Candid About SAs

Postby miamiman » Mon Jun 07, 2010 11:44 am

http://thecareerist.typepad.com/thecare ... beans.html

Vinson & Elkins Hiring Partner Spills the Beans

Vivia Chen

June 3, 2010

Two weeks ago, we inaugurated our hiring partner Q&As with a chat with Jones Day's Gregory Shumaker in Washington, D.C. This week, we're talking big law in the big-D (that's D for Dallas) with Vinson & Elkins hiring partner Tom Leatherbury. Let's hear what he has to say about lassoing an offer from this old-line Texas firm.

Leatherbury_Tom How does this year's summer program compare with last year's?
We have 30 fewer students. This summer, there are 97 [participants] firmwide.

The firm extended offers to only 75 percent of last year's summer associates. That's a bit discouraging. Any chance that rate will improve this year?
Generally, our offer rate is north of 90 percent. We had a large program last summer and the economy was uncertain. Things are more stable now; we have room to make everyone an offer.

The breakdown last year was: a 100 percent offer rate in New York, 66 percent in Washington, D.C., 70 percent in Houston, and 80 percent in Dallas. Were the summer associates in New York that much sharper?
In New York, students tend to spend the whole summer with one firm; in some cities, they might split the summer. The offer rate tends to be higher in cities where people don't split the summer.

So it pays to stay put?
It helps if you can see more projects from a student. Also, if they have a misstep, they can correct it if they are there longer.

Let's talk about the fun part of your summer program. Any big, fabulous parties at some sprawling ranch coming up?
We used to fly all the summer associates to Austin or Houston for a weekend, with nice parties from Friday to Sunday. But last year, in keeping with the rough economic times our clients were having, we had to cut costs. There's no rush [now] to run the tab back up. We've eliminated the summer associate weekend; instead, we'll do presentations on topics like law firm economics at the offices.

Scintillating. Okay, back to more serious matters. What do you look for in candidates?
The folks who do best are self-starters, they tend to be a bit entrepreneurial.

How do you assess that quality in an interview?
You ask them questions that go beyond the resume--like how they handled a difficult client situation in a clinic.

V&E must look at the usual paper credentials--grades, journal work. Would you ever hire a student who did poorly in contracts or civil procedure?
There are no automatic exclusions. Our grade guidelines are guidelines. We look for trends, and some who took time off from school might not do so well in the first semester.

What impresses you in an interview?
Some of the most memorable interviews have been with people who've worked with the Peace Corps or Teach for America or went to graduate school. We've had great successes with people for whom law is a second career.

Any candidates that bombed?
Two years ago, we had lunch with an interviewee who insisted on ordering top-shelf liquor. It was bad judgment.

Have you ever made a hiring decision you later regretted?
You won't find a hiring partner who hasn't. Most mistakes come from being too lenient in evaluating work product. You rarely find someone who was only marginally successful as a summer associate who's also successful as an associate.

So work trumps personality?
It's a service business, and you have to hold your own.

One final question: V&E has 14 offices around the world, but Houston is still your biggest outpost. Would you say that Texas culture pervades the firm?
Only if you think that's a positive.


heathbar88
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Re: V&E Partner Surprisingly Candid About SAs

Postby heathbar88 » Mon Jun 07, 2010 1:46 pm

Thanks.

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happy187
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Re: V&E Partner Surprisingly Candid About SAs

Postby happy187 » Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:05 pm

seems like shockingly reasonable answers.

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romothesavior
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Re: V&E Partner Surprisingly Candid About SAs

Postby romothesavior » Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:06 pm

Great post. A few things he said seemed to cut against the grain of TLS conventional wisdom.

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Mr. Matlock
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Re: V&E Partner Surprisingly Candid About SAs

Postby Mr. Matlock » Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:10 pm

romothesavior wrote:Great post. A few things he said seemed to cut against the grain of TLS conventional wisdom.

Don't order top-shelf liquor?

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romothesavior
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Re: V&E Partner Surprisingly Candid About SAs

Postby romothesavior » Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:16 pm

Mr. Matlock wrote:
romothesavior wrote:Great post. A few things he said seemed to cut against the grain of TLS conventional wisdom.

Don't order top-shelf liquor?


Only order it at V10 firms. Stick with a wine cooler if you're interviewing at a rancid TTT like V&E.

At least, that's what I gleaned from this article.

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daesonesb
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Re: V&E Partner Surprisingly Candid About SAs

Postby daesonesb » Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:23 pm

romothesavior wrote:
Mr. Matlock wrote:
romothesavior wrote:Great post. A few things he said seemed to cut against the grain of TLS conventional wisdom.

Don't order top-shelf liquor?


Only order it at V10 firms. Stick with a wine cooler if you're interviewing at a rancid TTT like V&E.

At least, that's what I gleaned from this article.


You'd think this was common sense (well not the wine cooler part that's fuckin gross, and would make you look like a pussy to a Texas hiring partner IMO)... but I guess a lot of people don't have any manners.

Sidebar: Would you say anything in particular is off the plate foodwise when you go to a lunch interview? Obvious to me would be not to order anything more expensive than the partners you are eating with, but other than that? What would you all get if, for example, you were ordering first? The Donald always says he would only hire people who ordered steak.
Last edited by daesonesb on Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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happy187
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Re: V&E Partner Surprisingly Candid About SAs

Postby happy187 » Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:25 pm

Texas firm = Shiner Bock

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clintonius
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Re: V&E Partner Surprisingly Candid About SAs

Postby clintonius » Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:28 pm

daesonesb wrote:Sidebar: Would you say anything in particular is off the plate (pun intended) when you go to a lunch interview? Obvious to me would be not to order anything more expensive than the partners you are eating with, but other than that? What would you all get if, for example, you were ordering first? The Donald always says he would only hire people who ordered steak.

I believe the convention is to ask your host "What's good here?" and then receive two recommendations, one on the upper end of what they would like to spend and one on the lower. I have no idea if that actually works.

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webbylu87
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Re: V&E Partner Surprisingly Candid About SAs

Postby webbylu87 » Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:38 pm

clintonius wrote:
daesonesb wrote:Sidebar: Would you say anything in particular is off the plate (pun intended) when you go to a lunch interview? Obvious to me would be not to order anything more expensive than the partners you are eating with, but other than that? What would you all get if, for example, you were ordering first? The Donald always says he would only hire people who ordered steak.

I believe the convention is to ask your host "What's good here?" and then receive two recommendations, one on the upper end of what they would like to spend and one on the lower. I have no idea if that actually works.

I've never heard that before but that seems like a good way to handle that sort of situation. I'll remember that.

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Grizz
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Re: V&E Partner Surprisingly Candid About SAs

Postby Grizz » Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:38 pm

happy187 wrote:Texas firm = Shiner Bock

If you're not from Texas, there's a "trying too hard" type of danger here.

Good post miamiman

06072010
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Re: V&E Partner Surprisingly Candid About SAs

Postby 06072010 » Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:46 pm

daesonesb wrote:
romothesavior wrote:
Mr. Matlock wrote:
romothesavior wrote:Great post. A few things he said seemed to cut against the grain of TLS conventional wisdom.

Don't order top-shelf liquor?


Only order it at V10 firms. Stick with a wine cooler if you're interviewing at a rancid TTT like V&E.

At least, that's what I gleaned from this article.


You'd think this was common sense (well not the wine cooler part that's fuckin gross, and would make you look like a pussy to a Texas hiring partner IMO)... but I guess a lot of people don't have any manners.

Sidebar: Would you say anything in particular is off the plate foodwise when you go to a lunch interview? Obvious to me would be not to order anything more expensive than the partners you are eating with, but other than that? What would you all get if, for example, you were ordering first? The Donald always says he would only hire people who ordered steak.


Stay away from foods that are a pain in the ass to eat. I ordered a lot of steak, but I'm a steak guy and we went to a lot of steakhouses. A good way to figure out what is cool to order is to ask them if they have any particular favorites. That's a good way to figure out the price range and get something tasty to boot.

HBK
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Re: V&E Partner Surprisingly Candid About SAs

Postby HBK » Mon Jun 07, 2010 3:02 pm

daesonesb wrote:Sidebar: Would you say anything in particular is off the plate foodwise when you go to a lunch interview? Obvious to me would be not to order anything more expensive than the partners you are eating with, but other than that? What would you all get if, for example, you were ordering first? The Donald always says he would only hire people who ordered steak.


Foods to avoid for first dates or business meals:

Spaghetti and meatballs
Sloppy joes
Buffalo Wings
Au jus (personally)

Basically, you want to avoid any foods that are messy, or could make you look like a dumbass (spaghetti) eating them.

Also, never order food if you don't know the proper way to eat it- i.e. lobster, crabs, oysters. However, if someone orders something as an appetizer for the table, watch how they eat it, and then do that.

Safe bets are:
Chicken breasts
Club sandwiches
Steaks - smaller cuts for lunch, if applicable- You don't need the 28 oz porterhouse at noon.

Generally, when I'm at work lunches (I am not a lawyer), I will order a filet or a burger, depending on how hungry I am and where we're eating.

As far as price, I wouldn't order the most expensive thing on the menu the first time out, but I also wouldn't really consider the price much in my food selection. Having taken many, many clients out to lunch, I rarely ever notice how much their meals cost (it all gets reimbursed from the company anyways). I do, however, notice if they order the cheapest thing on the menu, and chalk it up to them not being on many business lunches.

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daesonesb
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Re: V&E Partner Surprisingly Candid About SAs

Postby daesonesb » Mon Jun 07, 2010 3:18 pm

Anyone who gets a sloppy joe at a firm lunch interview probably isn't too savvy in general. I'd also be wary of any firm that took me to lunch somewhere that they served sloppy joes at all.

06072010
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Re: V&E Partner Surprisingly Candid About SAs

Postby 06072010 » Mon Jun 07, 2010 3:20 pm

daesonesb wrote:Anyone who gets a sloppy joe at a firm lunch interview probably isn't too savvy in general. I'd also be wary of any firm that took me to lunch somewhere that they served sloppy joes at all.


Get outta town. Wouldn't a sloppy joe lunch with a cool co-worker be primo?

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TheBigMediocre
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Re: V&E Partner Surprisingly Candid About SAs

Postby TheBigMediocre » Mon Jun 07, 2010 3:25 pm

PKSebben wrote:
daesonesb wrote:Anyone who gets a sloppy joe at a firm lunch interview probably isn't too savvy in general. I'd also be wary of any firm that took me to lunch somewhere that they served sloppy joes at all.


Get outta town. Wouldn't a sloppy joe lunch with a cool co-worker be primo?


I can't think of a more enticing recruiting technique.

dakatz
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Re: V&E Partner Surprisingly Candid About SAs

Postby dakatz » Mon Jun 07, 2010 3:38 pm

My dad said that he went out to Chinese food lunch with a bunch of VP's at his company right after he was hired. He said he was very nervous throughout the lunch. He poured soy sauce into an eggroll, bit into it, and it squirted right onto the shirt of one of the VP's. To this day, almost 30 years later, he now only uses duck sauce on eggrolls. So yeah, the less messy, the better.

HBK
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Re: V&E Partner Surprisingly Candid About SAs

Postby HBK » Mon Jun 07, 2010 4:04 pm

PKSebben wrote:
daesonesb wrote:Anyone who gets a sloppy joe at a firm lunch interview probably isn't too savvy in general. I'd also be wary of any firm that took me to lunch somewhere that they served sloppy joes at all.


Get outta town. Wouldn't a sloppy joe lunch with a cool co-worker be primo?


Hey, McCormick and Schmick's in Austin serves $50 steaks, and $5 sloppy joes.

06072010
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Re: V&E Partner Surprisingly Candid About SAs

Postby 06072010 » Mon Jun 07, 2010 4:06 pm

HBK wrote:
PKSebben wrote:
daesonesb wrote:Anyone who gets a sloppy joe at a firm lunch interview probably isn't too savvy in general. I'd also be wary of any firm that took me to lunch somewhere that they served sloppy joes at all.


Get outta town. Wouldn't a sloppy joe lunch with a cool co-worker be primo?


Hey, McCormick and Schmick's in Austin serves $50 steaks, and $5 sloppy joes.


Holla!

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Thirteen
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Re: V&E Partner Surprisingly Candid About SAs

Postby Thirteen » Mon Jun 07, 2010 4:12 pm

HBK wrote:Hey, McCormick and Schmick's in Austin serves $50 steaks, and $5 sloppy joes.


Really? Looks like I know where I'm going for dinner tonight.

06072010
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Re: V&E Partner Surprisingly Candid About SAs

Postby 06072010 » Mon Jun 07, 2010 4:13 pm

Thirteen wrote:
HBK wrote:Hey, McCormick and Schmick's in Austin serves $50 steaks, and $5 sloppy joes.


Really? Looks like I know where I'm going for dinner tonight.


Take that, sloppy joe haters!

HBK
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Re: V&E Partner Surprisingly Candid About SAs

Postby HBK » Mon Jun 07, 2010 4:15 pm

Thirteen wrote:
HBK wrote:Hey, McCormick and Schmick's in Austin serves $50 steaks, and $5 sloppy joes.


Really? Looks like I know where I'm going for dinner tonight.


You have to get there before 7p or after 9p. It's a happy hour special (sloppy joes may actually be $3, and burgers are <$5). The food is cheap, but the drinks are still ball bustingly expensive. Also, if you order off that menu, they don't let you sit with their regular dinner guests.

06072010
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Re: V&E Partner Surprisingly Candid About SAs

Postby 06072010 » Mon Jun 07, 2010 4:16 pm

Also, if you order off that menu, they don't let you sit with their regular dinner guests.


Ain't no shame in that game, mang.

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TCScrutinizer
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Re: V&E Partner Surprisingly Candid About SAs

Postby TCScrutinizer » Mon Jun 07, 2010 4:17 pm

Thirteen wrote:
HBK wrote:Hey, McCormick and Schmick's in Austin serves $50 steaks, and $5 sloppy joes.


Really? Looks like I know where I'm going for dinner tonight.


They also have a happy hour menu after 8pm that includes excellent fish tacos at roach coach prices.

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Mr. Matlock
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Re: V&E Partner Surprisingly Candid About SAs

Postby Mr. Matlock » Mon Jun 07, 2010 4:18 pm

HBK wrote:
Thirteen wrote:
HBK wrote:Hey, McCormick and Schmick's in Austin serves $50 steaks, and $5 sloppy joes.


Really? Looks like I know where I'm going for dinner tonight.


You have to get there before 7p or after 9p. It's a happy hour special (sloppy joes may actually be $3, and burgers are <$5). The food is cheap, but the drinks are still ball bustingly expensive. Also, if you order off that menu, they don't let you sit with their regular dinner guests.

I'll sit in back of the kitchen next to the dishwasher for an amazing $5 sloppy joe!!




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