Big Law and Age

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ScrabbleChamp
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Big Law and Age

Postby ScrabbleChamp » Tue Aug 24, 2010 7:55 am

I searched for this topic, but really didn't find any good answers... which may be because there aren't any.

I'll be in my early 30's when I graduate from law school. I'm married and have kids. Will I be at a disadvantage when interviewing with Big Law? I have this view of Big Law work being 60+ hours a week, and I just think Big Law might look negatively upon someone who already has a family and is older than the average graduate because the work is so demanding and generally not conducive to a functional family life.

Does anyone have any idea about how being older and having a family and kids plays into hiring decisions of Big Law firms?

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2ofspades
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Re: Big Law and Age

Postby 2ofspades » Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:01 am

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Last edited by 2ofspades on Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: Big Law and Age

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 24, 2010 9:00 am

I can only speak from my own experience. I was very concerned about this going into law school (and I'm older than you). It turned out my fears were unfounded. I did much better than average for my school at OCI. Firms reacted positively to the fact that I had a number of years of work experience and I demonstrated in my interviews that I knew what I was getting into and that my decision to go to law school was well thought out and well timed for my own life goals. (I did drop in my interviews now and then that my spouse was able to take the primary role in child care responsibilities -- a topic that the interviewers could not bring up themselves, but I made the judgment that I should be proactive on the point.) Now my grades were solid (though not top) and I'm at a T14, so I'm sure that was significant in my success. I also bid strategically -- I had zero interest in firms like Skadden and Cravath. I researched to see what firms seemed to have a face time requirement or high turnover to other firms and avoided those. I took advantage of networking events my 1L year to start getting a sense of the personality of firms. My bid list did not follow Vault at all. While I had a couple of V10 firms in my bid list, they were there because of practice area and reputation for being good places to work. In the end, I was in the very fortunate position of being able to choose between some really great firms. One stood out to me in my interviews and once I got that offer, I took it -- a decision I do not regret at all.

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ScrabbleChamp
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Re: Big Law and Age

Postby ScrabbleChamp » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I can only speak from my own experience. I was very concerned about this going into law school (and I'm older than you). It turned out my fears were unfounded. I did much better than average for my school at OCI. Firms reacted positively to the fact that I had a number of years of work experience and I demonstrated in my interviews that I knew what I was getting into and that my decision to go to law school was well thought out and well timed for my own life goals. (I did drop in my interviews now and then that my spouse was able to take the primary role in child care responsibilities -- a topic that the interviewers could not bring up themselves, but I made the judgment that I should be proactive on the point.) Now my grades were solid (though not top) and I'm at a T14, so I'm sure that was significant in my success. I also bid strategically -- I had zero interest in firms like Skadden and Cravath. I researched to see what firms seemed to have a face time requirement or high turnover to other firms and avoided those. I took advantage of networking events my 1L year to start getting a sense of the personality of firms. My bid list did not follow Vault at all. While I had a couple of V10 firms in my bid list, they were there because of practice area and reputation for being good places to work. In the end, I was in the very fortunate position of being able to choose between some really great firms. One stood out to me in my interviews and once I got that offer, I took it -- a decision I do not regret at all.


Thanks for the great response! That's what I was looking for... a story from someone who had been in a similar situation. When it comes time to interview, I'll try to mention that my wife is a stay-at-home mom and is the primary care-giver, as I don't want firms to think my family life will be a problem.

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Re: Big Law and Age

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I can only speak from my own experience. I was very concerned about this going into law school (and I'm older than you). It turned out my fears were unfounded. I did much better than average for my school at OCI. Firms reacted positively to the fact that I had a number of years of work experience and I demonstrated in my interviews that I knew what I was getting into and that my decision to go to law school was well thought out and well timed for my own life goals. (I did drop in my interviews now and then that my spouse was able to take the primary role in child care responsibilities -- a topic that the interviewers could not bring up themselves, but I made the judgment that I should be proactive on the point.) Now my grades were solid (though not top) and I'm at a T14, so I'm sure that was significant in my success. I also bid strategically -- I had zero interest in firms like Skadden and Cravath. I researched to see what firms seemed to have a face time requirement or high turnover to other firms and avoided those. I took advantage of networking events my 1L year to start getting a sense of the personality of firms. My bid list did not follow Vault at all. While I had a couple of V10 firms in my bid list, they were there because of practice area and reputation for being good places to work. In the end, I was in the very fortunate position of being able to choose between some really great firms. One stood out to me in my interviews and once I got that offer, I took it -- a decision I do not regret at all.


I'm in the same position. Early 30's. Married. T14. Good grades (top 1/4). I was smart about researching firms. I got more callbacks than I can handle and several offers. Starting BIGLAW in about two weeks, so I'll update with how the work/life balance goes, but from talking to associates in my position, it's not that bad.

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Re: Big Law and Age

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:16 pm

Hey, I am also a t-14 student. 35 years old. Top 20% or so and Law Review. May be outing myself, but I don't really care too much. My experience has not been as great so far. Midlaw firms in my home state have loved me. 2 offers so far, everyone during the callbacks was "terriffically impressed" with me. Still waiting to hear from a more big-city midlaw firm that interviewed me and then called me back after I spammed them. So far, I have received no callbacks from 18 OCI screening interviews (it has been in the 1-2 week range). I do have 2 older friends, one with a science background, one with a business background, who have been more fortunate with OCI than I. I know that I tend to interview very well (people will say what they may, but I know this for a fact). But 0 for 18 is more than a coincidence with my numbers. If I had to do it over, I would probably address the age thing (and background thing) more head-on with employers. I think it hurt me with biglaw.

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Re: Big Law and Age

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:11 pm

I'll let you know, but it's not looking good.

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ScrabbleChamp
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Re: Big Law and Age

Postby ScrabbleChamp » Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:43 pm

I'm in the same position. Early 30's. Married. T14. Good grades (top 1/4). I was smart about researching firms. I got more callbacks than I can handle and several offers. Starting BIGLAW in about two weeks, so I'll update with how the work/life balance goes, but from talking to associates in my position, it's not that bad.


Please do comment back about the work/life balance. My wife is a stay-at-home mom, but I still want to be able to see my kids, so having a sense of how it is going for you would be very helpful.

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Re: Big Law and Age

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 24, 2010 9:09 pm

Early 30s. T14. Terrible grades. 8 Calls back V30-V100. In one interview, a partner said, "I'm so tired of talking to 25 year-olds. They haven't done anything and don't know anything."

BeautifulSW
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Re: Big Law and Age

Postby BeautifulSW » Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:12 pm

Wow, this thread is a real eye-opener!

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Re: Big Law and Age

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:21 pm

I think being older is an asset if you have actually done something constructive with the extra years. I was earning a Ph.D., and that has definitely helped me get many callbacks (and an offer already at a V25). I imagine consulting backgrounds are a huge plus for employers. Any prior job where the skills are transferable would be a plus, I think.

ScrabbleChamp wrote:I'll be in my early 30's when I graduate from law school. I'm married and have kids. Will I be at a disadvantage when interviewing with Big Law? I have this view of Big Law work being 60+ hours a week, and I just think Big Law might look negatively upon someone who already has a family and is older than the average graduate because the work is so demanding and generally not conducive to a functional family life.


To, answer this question. I don't think you have to mention your family in your screening or callback interviews. I'm in my 30s (starting 2L year), and yet no one has asked me about personal life. And I have never brought it up (in fact, I have not even really thought of it as relevant). Maybe it's different if you wear your wedding ring, maybe they would then ask you about your personal life ... but maybe you can avoid the whole topic.

jengaroo
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Re: Big Law and Age

Postby jengaroo » Tue Feb 08, 2011 7:09 pm

For those with experience, how do you feel this affects the ability to get on the partner track at firms? Do you think you are at a disadvantage?

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BarbaraGordon
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Re: Big Law and Age

Postby BarbaraGordon » Tue Feb 08, 2011 7:33 pm

jengaroo wrote:For those with experience, how do you feel this affects the ability to get on the partner track at firms? Do you think you are at a disadvantage?


only if you let your family life or whatever intefere. Other than that it won't matter.

As far as the interview question goes...
I think the age thing is going to affect you more if you're female. Fair or not, there's more concern if you're a thirty-year-old woman with kids than a thirty-year-old man with kids. That said, I am in my 30s (gulp) and did very well at OCI. For one, I think maybe we just interview well because we've been doing it for ten fifteen years already. But to echo the others, I also think it helps (a lot) to address family matters head-on, professionally, and briefly.

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Julio_El_Chavo
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Re: Big Law and Age

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Tue Feb 08, 2011 8:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Early 30s. T14. Terrible grades. 8 Calls back V30-V100. In one interview, a partner said, "I'm so tired of talking to 25 year-olds. They haven't done anything and don't know anything."


obvious flame

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BackToTheOldHouse
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Re: Big Law and Age

Postby BackToTheOldHouse » Thu Aug 04, 2011 12:24 pm

I'm bumping this thread to see if there are any more married with kids folks shooting for or working in biglaw. As a 30s something 0L entering a T14 in the next couple weeks, I am interested in reading about more folks' experiences in getting hired and working in a big law firm.

Thanks!




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