Why (insert firm)--Points to focus on in an interview?

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Matthies
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Re: Why (insert firm)--Points to focus on in an interview?

Postby Matthies » Tue Jul 06, 2010 12:02 am

solidsnake wrote:
Matthies wrote:
So in an interview you say I want to work for you because you all have a great environmental practice and have done some of the largest water law cases in the state. (my premise I want to work for YOU) I was on an environmental law review. I wrote an article about Jones vs. Day on the issue of X and Y in water rights. I've been a member of the bar water law subcommittee in for Z years. I've written a few seminar papers on this or that emerging issue in water law. I'd like to part of your firm because i know your heavily involved in the water law community and on the cutting edge of establishing new trends and I'd like to continue my research, comminutey involvement and publications while with your firm (so here is WHy I want to work for you and WHY I am the best candidate for you by showing you what i plan to do for YOU that others won't or may not metion)


While this sounds like great advice for a lateral or perhaps even a 3L, most rising 2Ls have not yet had the opportunity to engage in the type of activities that you consider to be showing a demonstrated interest. My 1L curriculum was entirely mandatory, and no journal participation is allowed until 2L year begins (a week after OCI ends). Notwithstanding any relevant 1L internship, the most people in my position can "offer" a firm at 2L OCI is something like "zOMG I got a bunch of As in a reasonably decent law school. This SHOWS that I'm at least not both stupid and lazy." I think steve_nash's post above speaks to that.


I used me as an example, just becuase its easier to think about what i would say/be interviewing than somome i have never met. But your right, if you lack these things then find things you do have. Did you do well in legal writing, does the firm do a lot of litigation did you do any moot court comps 1st year? Intrest in property they did a zoing case you read about. Something, anything mor than sitting there passivly in an interview spewing back everything from thier website that the guy before and after you is going to do is the point. Everyone has something they can turn into a hook to make the interview more memerable 9to you it will be becuase your doing maybe what 3-4 a day) they maybe doing 50 in three days, all of who had the same 1L experince you did and studied the same website.

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tome
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Re: Why (insert firm)--Points to focus on in an interview?

Postby tome » Tue Jul 06, 2010 12:07 am

From what I have encountered, Mallard is woefully misinformed on this point. I heard directly from a former hiring partner from a V10 firm that firms do want to hear about what you think you can ADD to the firm. No one is saying that this means you should avoid saying why you think you would like to work there. Fit goes both ways, and only talking about why hiring you is a good idea for you is shooting yourself in the foot.

I heard the same thing from a guy who runs a major headhunting firm. These guys are not the be all and end all, but I take what they say seriously. Of course, you risk coming off as pretentious and naive, but probably only if you are a huge asshat in the first place.

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Re: Why (insert firm)--Points to focus on in an interview?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 06, 2010 12:17 am

I spoke at length with my career services office about this, and want to share my understanding. I really feel like there are two kinds of law firms and two kinds of law firm interview experiences: The former is all about fit, and usually the primary screening credential is the candidate's grades and law school. That's how the gigantic faceless corporate law firms often operate.

Objectively, those kinds of interviews are likely less than 10%, maybe less than 5% of all legal interviews. They are those given by firms that love to see themselves as 'elite' and who do most of their judging based on grades and law school.

The second kind of law firm makes employment decisions (in my opinion) much more rationally - by interviewing people for talent, personality, fit, credentials, ability to contribute, etc.

Fit is important at both firms, which has a lot to do with express why the candidate wants to work at that firm. But the basic bottom line is that Skadden isn't looking for that special snowflake who will revolutionize due diligence - they're looking for a decent human being who will fit in at the office, seems to have real interest in what they do / where they do it, and has based a difficult academic bar.

Interviews at those places, I am told, can be nothing but 20 minute chats - and there's nothing wrong with that. In such a context, trying to steer a cordial question back to why resume line item #54.b will enable the candidate to doc review for days at a time without sleep would probably be jarring.

Now, obviously there are exceptions and it never hurts to point out one's favorable attributes as appropriate - but for a lot of people on this board, I think Matthies advice is over doing it and Mallard speaks more truth. Hopefully the board can be a resources for all legal job hunters, but my experiences and conversations with law firm partners, career services, etc. suggest a huge chasm between the methods and approaches to getting the two kinds of legal employment.

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mallard
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Re: Why (insert firm)--Points to focus on in an interview?

Postby mallard » Tue Jul 06, 2010 12:21 am

tome wrote:From what I have encountered, Mallard is woefully misinformed on this point. I heard directly from a former hiring partner from a V10 firm that firms do want to hear about what you think you can ADD to the firm. No one is saying that this means you should avoid saying why you think you would like to work there. Fit goes both ways, and only talking about why hiring you is a good idea for you is shooting yourself in the foot.

I heard the same thing from a guy who runs a major headhunting firm. These guys are not the be all and end all, but I take what they say seriously. Of course, you risk coming off as pretentious and naive, but probably only if you are a huge asshat in the first place.


And I've heard directly from dozens of students who have interviewed at dozens of Vault firms that if you can know all five of the things listed in the post above, you'll be one of the best interviewees they'll see. What associates add to the firm is billable hours. I think the partner was blowing smoke up your ass. But it's good to have both perspectives fleshed out in this thread.

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Matthies
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Re: Why (insert firm)--Points to focus on in an interview?

Postby Matthies » Tue Jul 06, 2010 12:40 am

mallard wrote:
tome wrote:From what I have encountered, Mallard is woefully misinformed on this point. I heard directly from a former hiring partner from a V10 firm that firms do want to hear about what you think you can ADD to the firm. No one is saying that this means you should avoid saying why you think you would like to work there. Fit goes both ways, and only talking about why hiring you is a good idea for you is shooting yourself in the foot.

I heard the same thing from a guy who runs a major headhunting firm. These guys are not the be all and end all, but I take what they say seriously. Of course, you risk coming off as pretentious and naive, but probably only if you are a huge asshat in the first place.


And I've heard directly from dozens of students who have interviewed at dozens of Vault firms that if you can know all five of the things listed in the post above, you'll be one of the best interviewees they'll see. What associates add to the firm is billable hours. I think the partner was blowing smoke up your ass. But it's good to have both perspectives fleshed out in this thread.


I think there is certainly a big difference between hiring/oci styles and expectations of the firms Mallrad would interview with and the firms that would interview at my school. I'm sure some of the firms at Mallrads school plan to take 40 or more summer SA.

Here, even the biggest firms take max 10. My 2L year I think H&H took six, maybe and this was 2006 I think. You also did not just interview with junior associates. The offices are much smaller and your likely to have 1 link, your dreicte senior associate and your reporting partner. Additional while H&H is a biglaw firm for Denver, its much smaller in highering for the Denver office and who you will work for.

They also did not have back then far more applicants like they do today. but again emphasis in both the firm being the right fit and you being right for the firm are key in my market. Likewise associates are expected to hit the ground running sooner simply because they have a smaller staff.

There is a big difference in how major market and major firm operatives and interview as opposed to how even branch office in a large firm in a secondary school operates. When your looking at people who are basically carbon copies of each other you need to have something to make one stand out, that one thing may be showing better knowledge of the firm AND how your skills match up with those (which if you don't mention, they likely won't notice, often the first time the have really look at your rresmay may be that morning, so don't take it for granted they know you got all A's or that the job involves contracts but your noting go to mention you top grade in Ks because its on your resume..

rajesh88
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Re: Why (insert firm)--Points to focus on in an interview?

Postby rajesh88 » Tue Jul 06, 2010 12:41 am

you just do you.

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prezidentv8
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Re: Why (insert firm)--Points to focus on in an interview?

Postby prezidentv8 » Tue Jul 06, 2010 12:59 am

solidsnake wrote:"zOMG I got a bunch of As [and B+'s!] in a reasonably decent law school. This SHOWS that I'm at least not both stupid and lazy."


O look, iz dees mai strategery?! YEEEEES!




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