T6 New York Law Student OCI Experience

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T6 New York Law Student OCI Experience

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:04 pm

So I know this forum is littered with threads from JD Undergrounders spreading doom and gloom messages, and I've always hated those threads for their hyperbole and "woe is me" style. I wanted to write a more balanced post on what hiring is like right now for students at the top schools to give people thinking about accepting an offer an idea of what they can realistically expect in terms of employment at a large firm.

I guess I'll start with the stuff everyone is going to ask - my grades are pretty good, top 33-40% or so at a T6 school with a position on a journal, worked between college and law school, went to a decently prestigious undergrad, and I do well socially. As recently as 3-4 years ago anyone with my numbers at one of the big NYC schools could expect to walk into a biglaw job no problem - it was just a matter of choosing the right firm more than anything. That's not the case anymore.

I walked out of the on campus interview program at my school without a single callback. I've been rejected from every firm I interviewed with. At first I thought I had screwed up my interviews somehow and that I would be the only person with halfway decent grades not to get callbacks and an offer, but this turned out not to be the case. Many of my friends (both at my school and the crosstown rival) are in similar positions. This is not to try to scare people or to create the impression that people aren't getting jobs as I have some friends with offers as well. However, probably 75% of these friends are near the top of our class, are on law review, or contribute to firm diversity numbers. The fact is that competition is just insanely intense for summer associate positions right now, and it's not clear that these firms are ever really going to bounce back to the levels they used to be at.

My advice to prospective top law students is to really consider taking a big scholarship from a school lower in the rankings. If you get a full ride at a school in the top 20 or so, definitely take it. I'm not at the very top of my class, but I did perform reasonably well last year and this is where I and many of my friends find ourselves. I used to shrug off doom and gloom posts as sour grapes from people who didn't work hard enough. With the economy this way and changes in the legal market, however, I now see that even if you work hard at a great school you can still wind up stuck in a rut to start out. I'll prevail in the long run, but it's going to be hard.

Certainly there are people at top schools who are still getting jobs, and I am honestly happy for them. If you feel like throwing caution to the wind and going for it, then do it and good luck to you. I just want people to know that it is completely possible to do things the right way and still strike out completely when it comes time for big firm interviews.

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Re: T6 New York Law Student OCI Experience

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:10 pm

Bidding strategy had a lot to do with callback success rates, imo. People targeting exclusively litigation practices didn't seem to do as well as those gunning for transactional practices. Not sure if this applies to you, but being ambivalent about practice area interest (or being unable to talk intelligently about those areas) probably hurt applicants.

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Re: T6 New York Law Student OCI Experience

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:13 pm

Dude, I have about the same grades (top quarter/thirdish) at a worse school (lower T14) and managed to get nearly 20 callbacks. Not URM, not Law Review. And I expressed interest in litigation and targeted litigation firms, FWIW.

I'm willing to be the barn that your lack of success has more to do with your interviewing ability than with anything else. Columbia and NYU are still great bets for over 50% of the people attending them. And people in the bottom half are still probably getting BigLaw offers if they aren't as dorky/aspie as the average T14 law student.

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Re: T6 New York Law Student OCI Experience

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Dude, I have about the same grades (top quarter/thirdish) at a worse school (lower T14) and managed to get nearly 20 callbacks. Not URM, not Law Review. And I expressed interest in litigation and targeted litigation firms, FWIW.

I'm willing to be the barn that your lack of success has more to do with your interviewing ability than with anything else. Columbia and NYU are still great bets for over 50% of the people attending them. And people in the bottom half are still probably getting BigLaw offers if they aren't as dorky/aspie as the average T14 law student.


Thanks, ass. My interviewing ability hasn't held me back before, and I do very well socially. Don't go randomly speculating without knowing me. A good number of my friends are in the same position as I am. I targeted firms I thought fit my goals well and the interviews usually went well with a lot of joking around and good conversation. Don't know what happened. Congratulations on your callbacks.

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Re: T6 New York Law Student OCI Experience

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:27 pm

On the other hand, I'm below median at a T6 and have 10 callbacks, and only know of one person with no callbacks (bottom 1/3 GPA). I know people with ~3.0 gpa that have 4-5 callbacks. Sorry to say man, but there's something more than ITE holding you back. Maybe interviewing, maybe bidding strategy. Or who knows, maybe you're just the unluckiest person in the world. Sorry it didn't work out for you, and good luck with the rest of the job search (sincerely).

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Re: T6 New York Law Student OCI Experience

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:On the other hand, I'm below median at a T6 and have 10 callbacks, and only know of one person with no callbacks (bottom 1/3 GPA). I know people with ~3.0 gpa that have 4-5 callbacks. Sorry to say man, but there's something more than ITE holding you back. Maybe interviewing, maybe bidding strategy. Or who knows, maybe you're just the unluckiest person in the world. Sorry it didn't work out for you, and good luck with the rest of the job search (sincerely).


It's probably unusual for a t-6 top 30-40% to not get a single callback , but it's also an anomaly for a below-medianer getting 10 callbacks. Check out the NYU callback thread for more info. You have more callbacks than most people in the top 1/3. Either way, I think OP is making an informative thread - I'd worry if I were median/below median at anywhere but HYS.

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Re: T6 New York Law Student OCI Experience

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:35 pm

FWIW, I'll second OP's viewpoint and back what he suggests as the alternative track to taking on a huge debt at a T14.

I am a TTT 2L who chose my school for the lifestyle, location, and a reasonably good specialty. Not that it's easy to do what OP is suggesting, but it is possible if you do well at a TTT. I'm top 1-2%, LR, well-involved, strong UG/graduate degrees, and I've had four BigLaw CBs so far in a tough secondary market. One has already extended an offer.

The thing is, your alumni network will advocate for you if they can. At least, mine has and it has paid off. My results so far demonstrate that the lower-ranked law school strategy can be more valuable than paying $70,000 for 20 OCIs (again - stressing that you do well). Don't get me wrong, I know the $70,000 T14 golden parachute is a good bargain if you are not confident you can be top 3% at a lower-ranked school with decently placed alumni.

Good luck everyone.

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Re: T6 New York Law Student OCI Experience

Postby 270910 » Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:37 pm

This thread is a perfect example of how hard it is to get a fix on these things. The people with 10/20 callbacks and less than stellar credentials are absolutely outliers, and in a much bigger way than somebody with top third grades and no CBs from a T6.

Results vary dramatically. The problem is that in this market firms can be so picky they aren't really rejecting people so much as they are getting to pick their favorite candidates without much concern for the enormous number of people who, while being completely without fault on paper or in person, aren't at the very top of their list.

It's really bad times. Some people will still find great success, especially if they are perfect storms in terms of background and target. Most of the people I know with double digit callbacks basically have EVERYTHING (grades, work experience, law review, personality, interesting resume) or a particular niche (practice area like IP, non-standard market, family connections, extremely relevant work experience, etc.) that makes them stand out from the pack.

At my T14 I know medianish people doing great and top 5% people about to strike out, and everything inbetween.

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Re: T6 New York Law Student OCI Experience

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:44 pm

CLS 2L here. Based on my experience and that of my friends, OP's results are pretty abnormal. I'm not going to guess what it's attributable to, but most of my friends in that rough grade range (above median, but not stone) have at least 4 or 5 callbacks, and typically at this point at least one offer. I'm slightly above that grade range (right about at top quarter) and I got 10 CBs and 3 offers before cancelling the rest of my interviews. I'm not writing this to make OP feel bad, but rather just to present a different experience.

OP - best of luck. And I think the advice about minimizing debt is something worth considering.

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Re: T6 New York Law Student OCI Experience

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:45 pm

If OP bid heavily on DC or California (non-IP background) then this would come as no real surprise. People in OP's situation who bid on New York primarily and did poorly had other issues affecting them (and were closer to median). Even if OP was a mediocre interviewer, if OP had focused on New York they would have been ok.

My general feeling (especially as it comes to me) is that being at a CCN has yielded better callbacks and better offers than would have existed farther down in the T10 or T14. That said, it's definitely feast/famine even at this range (especially for people looking outside of New York). So, yes, if you're risk-averse re: the famine, then go for the money. But if you want to work at a solid-to-prestigious BigLaw firm, you just won't be in position to get it at those other schools where you get more money. (And I do get the feeling from T30 transfers that they are much happier to be at CCN, even if it's not that much better.)

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Re: T6 New York Law Student OCI Experience

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:On the other hand, I'm below median at a T6 and have 10 callbacks, and only know of one person with no callbacks (bottom 1/3 GPA). I know people with ~3.0 gpa that have 4-5 callbacks. Sorry to say man, but there's something more than ITE holding you back. Maybe interviewing, maybe bidding strategy. Or who knows, maybe you're just the unluckiest person in the world. Sorry it didn't work out for you, and good luck with the rest of the job search (sincerely).


It's probably unusual for a t-6 top 30-40% to not get a single callback , but it's also an anomaly for a below-medianer getting 10 callbacks. Check out the NYU callback thread for more info. You have more callbacks than most people in the top 1/3. Either way, I think OP is making an informative thread - I'd worry if I were median/below median at anywhere but HYS.



I can second this sort of occurrence. I am also below median at CLS (3.1ish), and I got 7 CBs. I did 5 of them, and I got 4 offers (all NYC Vault). I'm also on a secondary journal, and I don't add diversity to firms. Of my immediate group of friends, I would estimate half of us have offers, and the other half is still waiting to hear back from their CBs. One of us received no CBs (probably has around the same GPA as I have). I feel sorry for the OP, too, but a lot of it does come down to 1. How you bid and 2. How you interview. I knew I didn't have the grades, so I went all out during my interviews.

Good luck, OP. Try some mailing, if you can (in all seriousness).

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Re: T6 New York Law Student OCI Experience

Postby RVP11 » Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:54 pm

Most people I know at UVA with similar grades have at least 5 callbacks, and many have an offer already. People who are median and below but who are more social (rough proxy for interviewing ability) than average tend to be doing pretty well, too (most have at least 2-3 callbacks, if not 5+).
Last edited by RVP11 on Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: T6 New York Law Student OCI Experience

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:55 pm

OP - What range of firms did you bid? Could there have been a glaring typo on your resume that turned everyone off that you didn't catch?

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Re: T6 New York Law Student OCI Experience

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP - What range of firms did you bid? Could there have been a glaring typo on your resume that turned everyone off that you didn't catch?


I really think it may be markets. If this is NYC, OP's experience is pretty shocking. If it's DC, it makes complete sense.

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Re: T6 New York Law Student OCI Experience

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP - What range of firms did you bid? Could there have been a glaring typo on your resume that turned everyone off that you didn't catch?


I really think it may be markets. If this is NYC, OP's experience is pretty shocking. If it's DC, it makes complete sense.



He hasn't responded, right?

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Re: T6 New York Law Student OCI Experience

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 11, 2010 5:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:FWIW, I'll second OP's viewpoint and back what he suggests as the alternative track to taking on a huge debt at a T14.

I am a TTT 2L who chose my school for the lifestyle, location, and a reasonably good specialty. Not that it's easy to do what OP is suggesting, but it is possible if you do well at a TTT. I'm top 1-2%, LR, well-involved, strong UG/graduate degrees, and I've had four BigLaw CBs so far in a tough secondary market. One has already extended an offer.

The thing is, your alumni network will advocate for you if they can. At least, mine has and it has paid off. My results so far demonstrate that the lower-ranked law school strategy can be more valuable than paying $70,000 for 20 OCIs (again - stressing that you do well). Don't get me wrong, I know the $70,000 T14 golden parachute is a good bargain if you are not confident you can be top 3% at a lower-ranked school with decently placed alumni.

Good luck everyone.


Not to quibble with the above but there is something to be said about educational quality at a top school vs ttt and also networking with your peers (as opposed to strictly alums), most of whom will land great private sector jobs as opposed to the 5 or so ppl at your school who might. OP, however, didn't make the 'full-fledged ttt w/ full ride>t14' argument that you seem to be implying. Glad things worked out for you; you made a risky bet and got a very, very high reward (at least relative to the majority of your peers). Grats!
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sat Sep 11, 2010 5:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: T6 New York Law Student OCI Experience

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 11, 2010 5:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP - What range of firms did you bid? Could there have been a glaring typo on your resume that turned everyone off that you didn't catch?


Bid throughout up to about Vault 70, split between NY and CA. Definitely no typo or anything, I was extremely careful with every part of this process. I'm honestly at a loss for why this all happened. I've historically done very well getting jobs and I thought all the pieces of a successful application/interview were there, just like usual. Obviously I'm kind of pissed about it all, and mainly because I can't find any explanation for why things went the way they did. I had positive feedback from employers last summer, and I practiced interviewing with an attorney I met before I came back and he said it was great even after I told him to be brutal.

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Re: T6 New York Law Student OCI Experience

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 11, 2010 5:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:On the other hand, I'm below median at a T6 and have 10 callbacks, and only know of one person with no callbacks (bottom 1/3 GPA). I know people with ~3.0 gpa that have 4-5 callbacks. Sorry to say man, but there's something more than ITE holding you back. Maybe interviewing, maybe bidding strategy. Or who knows, maybe you're just the unluckiest person in the world. Sorry it didn't work out for you, and good luck with the rest of the job search (sincerely).


It's probably unusual for a t-6 top 30-40% to not get a single callback , but it's also an anomaly for a below-medianer getting 10 callbacks. Check out the NYU callback thread for more info. You have more callbacks than most people in the top 1/3. Either way, I think OP is making an informative thread - I'd worry if I were median/below median at anywhere but HYS.



I can second this sort of occurrence. I am also below median at CLS (3.1ish), and I got 7 CBs. I did 5 of them, and I got 4 offers (all NYC Vault). I'm also on a secondary journal, and I don't add diversity to firms. Of my immediate group of friends, I would estimate half of us have offers, and the other half is still waiting to hear back from their CBs. One of us received no CBs (probably has around the same GPA as I have). I feel sorry for the OP, too, but a lot of it does come down to 1. How you bid and 2. How you interview. I knew I didn't have the grades, so I went all out during my interviews.

Good luck, OP. Try some mailing, if you can (in all seriousness).


This is pretty much credited. I wasted a lot of bids on a secondary market with medianish grades. Was shut out there and got 3 cbs in New York, all from interviews where I had almost immediately clicked with the interviewer.

Work experience also helps. Basically anything that helps you stand out (in a good way) from the other 19 candidates. That, and not bidding on firms where you will be auto-dinged for grades.

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Re: T6 New York Law Student OCI Experience

Postby spondee » Sat Sep 11, 2010 5:17 pm

Don't give up already! Try to identify what went wrong so that you can correct it. There's still time to find a BigLaw job (if that's what you really want).

Are you sending out targeted mailings? I received a screener from a V25 just two days ago by emailing my resume/transcripts/cover letter.

Are there other markets you can expand to include?

Also, are you sure about your interviewing ability? I know you said you're a decent interviewer, but is it possible that you're mistaken? I'm not sure that joking around in interviews and doing well socially are good indicators. 98% of us can fake social competence for 20 minutes. It seems to me that it's really about constructing a kind of narrative that makes the law firm and practice area you're targeting a natural progression of everything you've done previously. Expressing interest in Paul Weiss because they're good at litigation isn't good enough if you can't show how your background means you, too, will be good at litigation.

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Re: T6 New York Law Student OCI Experience

Postby spondee » Sat Sep 11, 2010 5:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP - What range of firms did you bid? Could there have been a glaring typo on your resume that turned everyone off that you didn't catch?


Bid throughout up to about Vault 70, split between NY and CA. Definitely no typo or anything, I was extremely careful with every part of this process. I'm honestly at a loss for why this all happened. I've historically done very well getting jobs and I thought all the pieces of a successful application/interview were there, just like usual. Obviously I'm kind of pissed about it all, and mainly because I can't find any explanation for why things went the way they did. I had positive feedback from employers last summer, and I practiced interviewing with an attorney I met before I came back and he said it was great even after I told him to be brutal.


This seems like an arbitrary cutoff. Why V70? What's the point of that? There are V90s firms that are way better than nearly all 90 firms above them for particular practice areas. And why is a V60s firm good for you but a V80s firm isn't? That's no good.

If you have particular practice areas that you're interested in, target all firms that are decent in that practice area. Forget about Vault prestige.

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Re: T6 New York Law Student OCI Experience

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 11, 2010 5:28 pm

spondee wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP - What range of firms did you bid? Could there have been a glaring typo on your resume that turned everyone off that you didn't catch?


Bid throughout up to about Vault 70, split between NY and CA. Definitely no typo or anything, I was extremely careful with every part of this process. I'm honestly at a loss for why this all happened. I've historically done very well getting jobs and I thought all the pieces of a successful application/interview were there, just like usual. Obviously I'm kind of pissed about it all, and mainly because I can't find any explanation for why things went the way they did. I had positive feedback from employers last summer, and I practiced interviewing with an attorney I met before I came back and he said it was great even after I told him to be brutal.


This seems like an arbitrary cutoff. Why V70? What's the point of that? There are V90s firms that are way better than nearly all 90 firms above them for particular practice areas. And why is a V60s firm good for you but a V80s firm isn't? That's no good.

If you have particular practice areas that you're interested in, target all firms that are decent in that practice area. Forget about Vault prestige.


I didn't actually use the Vault list to choose, it just happens that my "lowest ranked" firm falls there. I chose firms carefully based on what I could find out about specific areas I'm interested in through Chambers, NALP etc. and am just using the Vault language because it's an easy proxy for most people.

For the poster who was wondering about interview ability, I mean I guess there is no real way to know whether or not I'm "actually good" at interviewing. My only indicators are that I've gotten my top choice jobs in the past, and that both career services and the lawyer I mock interviewed with said I was good. I'm not trying to bs anyone here or inflate my own ego, but all indicators I have suggest that I'm not a terrible interviewer.

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Re: T6 New York Law Student OCI Experience

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 11, 2010 5:34 pm

Maybe this sounds mean, but I guess I am going to have to question how well you and your friends do socially (and therefore your interview skills). You're all friends; you might not be the best judge of your collective social skills.

Either way, I think OP is a bigger anomaly than someone below median with a handful of callbacks at C or N. I still haven't talked to anyone with no callbacks, but maybe my friend group is a bit skewed as well. I'm also curious to know if this is NYU or CLS. I have an offer wayyy out of my grade range, and I know there's no way I would have gotten it if I weren't at CN, given my shit GPA. So I'll represent the other position, whose incredibly thankful I came to my school, otherwise I would have been shit up a creek.

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Re: T6 New York Law Student OCI Experience

Postby spondee » Sat Sep 11, 2010 5:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Maybe this sounds mean, but I guess I am going to have to question how well you and your friends do socially (and therefore your interview skills). You're all friends; you might not be the best judge of your collective social skills.


Again, I really believe interviewing is not about social skills or 'personality.' Those are such amorphous traits. And, frankly, I'm not the most socially-able person; I'm quiet, somewhat awkward, and tend to realize that jokes are jokes only after I've said something stupidly earnest. But I've done really well getting CBs.

I think it's about how well you can match your background and skills to that particular firm and practice area. And how well you can do that in a storytelling form that sounds more conversational than PowerPoint.

But, then again, I'm just guessing, too.

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Re: T6 New York Law Student OCI Experience

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 11, 2010 5:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Maybe this sounds mean, but I guess I am going to have to question how well you and your friends do socially (and therefore your interview skills). You're all friends; you might not be the best judge of your collective social skills.

Either way, I think OP is a bigger anomaly than someone below median with a handful of callbacks at C or N. I still haven't talked to anyone with no callbacks, but maybe my friend group is a bit skewed as well. I'm also curious to know if this is NYU or CLS. I have an offer wayyy out of my grade range, and I know there's no way I would have gotten it if I weren't at CN, given my shit GPA. So I'll represent the other position, whose incredibly thankful I came to my school, otherwise I would have been shit up a creek.


Hahaha I wouldn't come on a website to anonymously brag to random people about how well I do socially. I know there isn't any way to prove this, but making many friends and finding attractive people to date has never been a problem for me. I promise I'm not a weirdo, and by the time you're in your mid 20s I'd imagine you at least have some vague idea that people don't generally respond well to you.

Maybe I don't get the aspects of my background out like I should in an interview or something, but again I got good feedback on it so I'm not sure. I feel like I'm just kind of in this cloudy, bullshitty world right now where it's hard to know why things have happened this way.

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Re: T6 New York Law Student OCI Experience

Postby spondee » Sat Sep 11, 2010 5:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I didn't actually use the Vault list to choose, it just happens that my "lowest ranked" firm falls there. I chose firms carefully based on what I could find out about specific areas I'm interested in through Chambers, NALP etc. and am just using the Vault language because it's an easy proxy for most people.

For the poster who was wondering about interview ability, I mean I guess there is no real way to know whether or not I'm "actually good" at interviewing. My only indicators are that I've gotten my top choice jobs in the past, and that both career services and the lawyer I mock interviewed with said I was good. I'm not trying to bs anyone here or inflate my own ego, but all indicators I have suggest that I'm not a terrible interviewer.


I'm still surprised that your bid list would've ended up with nothing 'lower' than V70, though. Perhaps you over-reached? I mean, there's a 100+ students at NYU alone with better grades than you. That can fill a lot of SA classes.

I don't mean to criticize. I'm sorry it's gone so poorly for you, but I really don't think it's over. If you can identify what went wrong, then if it's something you can correct, that'll help you going forward, and if it's something that can't be changed, and what's done is done, at least you'll know it's in the past.




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