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Big firms: How much is personality? How much is grades?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:46 pm
by Anonymous User
I have top grades from a decent school (t30ish) but I'm kind of a shy and socially awkward person? Am I screwed for OCI hiring, especially ITE?

Re: Big firms: How much is personality? How much is grades?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:50 pm
by Anonymous User
Even confident people will get nervous during interviews. The trick is to practice. Research common questions asked during interviews. Do mock interviews (career services might offer this). If you really are uncontrollably nervous, try getting a prescription for beta blockers. They're amazing - even in high stress situations you'll feel at ease.

As hard as it might be, try pretending that you already have the job or that you don't need it. By that I don't mean not to take it seriously, but just be relaxed. The more relaxed you are, the better you will come across.

Re: Big firms: How much is personality? How much is grades?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:53 pm
by rando
Anonymous User wrote:I have top grades from a decent school (t30ish) but I'm kind of a shy and socially awkward person? Am I screwed for OCI hiring, especially ITE?


Grades are way more important. That being said, get off the internet, schedule some mock interviews, talk to people etc.
"kind of shy" won't get you shut out. "socially awkward" is way too ambiguous to know. Many (if not most) attorneys are socially awkward. But being reeaaaallly awkward will be a problem.

Re: Big firms: How much is personality? How much is grades?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:57 pm
by servinDizzert
Numbers get your foot in the door, personality does the rest?

Re: Big firms: How much is personality? How much is grades?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:05 pm
by Anonymous User
servinDizzert wrote:Numbers get your foot in the door, personality does the rest?


What do you mean by 'foot in the door?'

Re: Big firms: How much is personality? How much is grades?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:24 pm
by Anonymous User
I have just-OK grades (top-25%, barely, hopefully a little bit better when the smart kids flee for the T14) from a T30 school (in fact, for all I know we are classmates), and I am an outgoing, gregarious person whom women want and men want to be. In short, my personality is the personality equivalent of a Rolls Royce automobile. I am, in the immortal words of former president William Henry Harrison, the motherfucking shit.

You have, without a doubt, a better shot at a big firm job than do I. My distinct impression is that they look overwhelmingly at the rank of your law school and your class rank; personality is judged in the interview mainly just to make sure you're not a completely far-gone Aspie serial killer a'la Hands from Boston Legal. You'll be fine. Just smile, make eye contact, and be nice. Big firms will probably have you doing tons of research and paperwork anyhow; it doesn't really matter if you aren't the guy to glad-hand potential clients.

However, my impression (hope?) is that personality matters a lot more for small and mid-sized firms where everyone has a lot more face-time with one another.

Re: Big firms: How much is personality? How much is grades?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:38 pm
by Cavalier
I haven't been through OGI yet so I don't know for sure how much personality matters. However, from everything I've heard, the lawyers mostly just want to make sure they'd be OK working long hours with you. As long as you can carry a conversation and don't come across as a douchebag, with top grades you should be fine.

Re: Big firms: How much is personality? How much is grades?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 6:52 pm
by Jarndyce
Personality is really important. I was told by my hiring partner, after getting hired and working this summer, that the entire point of interviews is to find someone the firm likes and "will fit." He won't even callback people who he doesn't get a good feeling from.

This is supported, at least at my law school (tier 2), by the job statuses of some people... I know that the number 2, 4, and 6 people in my classes did not get a law firm job at all, much less a big firm job. Grades matter too- your grades get you in the door, and your personality keeps you there. Job interviews are really a bizarre intangible combination of the two.

Re: Big firms: How much is personality? How much is grades?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 6:55 pm
by legends159
From what I hear, grades matter to get a callback, but once you're at the callback stage personality matters more

Re: Big firms: How much is personality? How much is grades?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 6:58 pm
by 20160810
legends159 wrote:From what I hear, grades matter to get a callback, but once you're at the callback stage personality matters more


But don't the bulk of people who get callbacks get jobs? This suggests grades/rank of LS >>> personality. Basically my contention would be that personality can't get you a job, but a bad personality can lose a job that otherwise would have been yours.

Re: Big firms: How much is personality? How much is grades?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 7:01 pm
by rando
SoftBoiledLife wrote:
legends159 wrote:From what I hear, grades matter to get a callback, but once you're at the callback stage personality matters more


But don't the bulk of people who get callbacks get jobs? This suggests grades/rank of LS >>> personality. Basically my contention would be that personality can't get you a job, but a bad personality can lose a job that otherwise would have been yours.


TCR

Re: Big firms: How much is personality? How much is grades?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 7:14 pm
by Jarndyce
SoftBoiledLife wrote:
legends159 wrote:From what I hear, grades matter to get a callback, but once you're at the callback stage personality matters more


But don't the bulk of people who get callbacks get jobs? This suggests grades/rank of LS >>> personality. Basically my contention would be that personality can't get you a job, but a bad personality can lose a job that otherwise would have been yours.


Maybe in bigger markets this is the case, but 1Ls who got callbacks at my school last year batted about .500. And it wasn't just poor interviewees who got dinged... the market was so tight that firms literally had their picks. Again, maybe the bigger markets that have more spots are more forgiving, but in my area, there are a lot of factors that determine whether you get an offer.

Re: Big firms: How much is personality? How much is grades?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 7:23 pm
by 20160810
You make an interesting point; it seems like one of the side-effects of the recession has been to put a premium on people skills and emotional intelligence.

Re: Big firms: How much is personality? How much is grades?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:20 pm
by nn223
Law firms look to hire people that will be a good "fit"--i.e., top 10% and law review.

Re: Big firms: How much is personality? How much is grades?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:52 pm
by Jarndyce
nn223 wrote:Law firms look to hire people that will be a good "fit"--i.e., top 10% and law review.


No, as in top 10% and law review and someone you could stand to work 65 hours a week with.

Re: Big firms: How much is personality? How much is grades?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:13 pm
by edcrane
I think the correct answer is that the importance of "fit" varies from firm to firm. Firms that are fairly selective and have huge classes are likely to place less emphasis on fit. This is not always the case, though. Davis Polk, for example, has probably the most back-loaded selection process of any major NY firm.

In any event, being quiet and (to some extent) awkward is not a big deal. Just be friendly, act like a decent human, and you'll be fine.

Re: Big firms: How much is personality? How much is grades?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:27 pm
by awesomepossum
legends159 wrote:From what I hear, grades matter to get a callback, but once you're at the callback stage personality matters more



At least at some places, this isn't necessarily true. At some firms, a good personality can actually help you get a callback (some interviewer just LOVES you despite crappy grades), but then at the end of the day a committee gives out offers. The committee may not be as wowed by a description of a great personality on paper, but be turned off by crappy grades.

Re: Big firms: How much is personality? How much is grades?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:16 pm
by shmoo597
Jarndyce wrote:This is supported, at least at my law school (tier 2)


This is why those people at the top of your class did not get jobs ITE....not because they were awkward.

Re: Big firms: How much is personality? How much is grades?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:50 pm
by 20160810
shmoo597 wrote:
Jarndyce wrote:This is supported, at least at my law school (tier 2)


This is why those people at the top of your class did not get jobs ITE....not because they were awkward.

Outed. Snark/pessimism about T2 law schools is not a legitimate use of the anonymous feature.

Re: Big firms: How much is personality? How much is grades?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:30 pm
by fenderjsm88
Anonymous User wrote:I have top grades from a decent school (t30ish) but I'm kind of a shy and socially awkward person? Am I screwed for OCI hiring, especially ITE?


I'm a pretty shy/quiet guy and the only job interview where I was rejected for not being outgoing enough was a telemarketing gig in college. I've had a few real sales jobs since then and none of them required me to be super outgoing or charismatic - they just required me to be friendly. In fact, I think quieter people are sometimes better salespeople because we actually know how to listen to our customers instead of turning on the pressure and shoving stuff down their throats. I couldn't imagine firms requiring lawyers to be any more outgoing than salespeople, especially since lawyers in general tend to be socially awkward. Just demonstrate to them that you're friendly.

And for the charisma factor, the number one way to get people to like you is to let them talk about themselves (get someone to talk about themselves for an hour and they'll think you're the most interesting person ever.) This even works in job interviews (to an extent.) Obviously the interviewer won't tell you their life story since the point of the interview is to talk about you, but if you want the interviewer to like you, make sure to ask some questions, show interest in the interviewer as a person, and maybe even give a few subtle compliments (don't do anything phony like compliment their suit.)

Re: Big firms: How much is personality? How much is grades?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:32 pm
by Always Credited
fenderjsm88 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I have top grades from a decent school (t30ish) but I'm kind of a shy and socially awkward person? Am I screwed for OCI hiring, especially ITE?


I'm a pretty shy/quiet guy and the only job interview where I was rejected for not being outgoing enough was a telemarketing gig in college. I've had a few real sales jobs since then and none of them required me to be super outgoing or charismatic - they just required me to be friendly. In fact, I think quieter people are sometimes better salespeople because we actually know how to listen to our customers instead of turning on the pressure and shoving stuff down their throats. I couldn't imagine firms requiring lawyers to be any more outgoing than salespeople, especially since lawyers in general tend to be socially awkward. Just demonstrate to them that you're friendly.

And for the charisma factor, the number one way to get people to like you is to let them talk about themselves (get someone to talk about themselves for an hour and they'll think you're the most interesting person ever.) This even works in job interviews (to an extent.) Obviously the interviewer won't tell you their life story since the point of the interview is to talk about you, but if you want the interviewer to like you, make sure to ask some questions, show interest in the interviewer as a person, and maybe even give a few subtle compliments (don't do anything phony like compliment their suit.)


So, essentially don't be socially awkward. If people need to be told at this point in their lives how to correspond with other people in a social fashion, nothing anyone says on here can save them.

Re: Big firms: How much is personality? How much is grades?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:36 pm
by enygma
Always Credited wrote:So, essentially don't be socially awkward. If people need to be told at this point in their lives how to correspond with other people in a social fashion, nothing anyone says on here can save them.


dammit. i was hoping this post wouldn't be credited. but it is.

Re: Big firms: How much is personality? How much is grades?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:51 pm
by Machine Spirit
enygma wrote:
Always Credited wrote:So, essentially don't be socially awkward. If people need to be told at this point in their lives how to correspond with other people in a social fashion, nothing anyone says on here can save them.


dammit. i was hoping this post wouldn't be credited. but it is.


No use trying to fight it.

Re: Big firms: How much is personality? How much is grades?

Posted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 7:43 am
by Jarndyce
Think about it this way- during an OCI, you have 10 minutes to make a good impression. For every person who gets a callback, about five or six people are interviewing. Grades matter big time here, and if you are already in the desired grade range, you are just going to lose your callback with a bad personality- probably won't gain anything with a good personality.

But in the callback, suppose six people are interviewing for three spots. The class ranks of those people are 2, 4, 5, 7, 10, 12. Sure, the number 2 person is significantly higher than the 12 person. But what differentiates 4 from 7? 5 from 10? Now, if you are considering giving someone a job that could lead to paying a six-figure salary for a long time, which would you, as an employer, choose - the number 5 person with a bad personality or the number 10 person who you actually like? Maybe each firm is different, but I know who I would choose.

Re: Big firms: How much is personality? How much is grades?

Posted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:14 am
by NYAssociate
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