What would have you done differently? The same?

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Objection
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Re: What would have you done differently? The same?

Postby Objection » Thu Sep 23, 2010 7:18 pm


I wouldn't listen to career services about not bidding on firms slightly out of reach. I didn't get a lottery interview with above-mentioned firm because I bid them lower thanks to them, and came so close to not getting a screener with them outside of OCI (it took a mass mail, resume drop at OCI, and a LOT of last-minute luck to get their last screener for my school), and it's the perfect fit for me practice-area wise. Couldn't be happier with the offer.



So credited. Yeah, it's smart to have some "perfect match" firms credential-wise, but if you don't reach, you'll never know. I received a CB (which went well, but offers won't go out until next week) with a firm that was so allegedly out of my league (as was beat into my head by everyone I mentioned it to), I almost dropped it prior to the beginning of OCI.

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mightyaphrodite
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Re: What would have you done differently? The same?

Postby mightyaphrodite » Thu Sep 23, 2010 7:23 pm

Objection wrote:Use less bids. I hated interviewing with places I had no desire to work just because I felt pressured to add them.

For the most part though I'm very satisfied.


legends159 wrote:I would've panicked less and have had more faith that it would work out.


Anonymous User wrote:I wouldn't listen to career services about not bidding on firms slightly out of reach.


+1 to all of the above. OCS was a lot more conservative than I might have been. Now, with their advice I'd definitely get a job, but I might have sacrificed performance in my screeners with firms I really liked because I was tired from adding in wayyyy too many safeties to my schedule.

Anonymous User wrote:I want to echo something earlier in this thread. If you have multiple CBs, schedule the firm you least care about first. I did this by sheer luck, but yes my first interview was totally bombed. With that I did much better in the next 2. Everyone needs a practice CB to build up their endurance, its not much different than the LSAT.


This probably depends on how comfortable one is with interviewing. My first callback was fantastic. I scheduled my interviews sort of clustered with the firms I preferred most in the first half of the week and the firms I would least want towards the end of the week. The rationale was that if I was to get an offer from one of my first choice firms, I could cancel the remainder of my callbacks. Also, in theory, I'd potentially get an offer from the preferred firms before the "safety" firms so that I wouldn't have to worry about the 28 day rule.

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Re: What would have you done differently? The same?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 24, 2010 12:00 am

Make Sure I had ties to an area before I bid on it if it's not NYC. Oh, ties, how I hate you.

shmoo597
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Re: What would have you done differently? The same?

Postby shmoo597 » Fri Sep 24, 2010 12:44 am

I went all out for OCI, did everything I could to prepare, and it paid off in spades. You CAN prepare for this.

1. No matter what, grades and school rank are 75% of the battle. These two factors are going to determine your success far more then anything else. So go to a good school, and get good grades. Everything below will only have so much of an impact.

2. Get as many interviews as you can. Don't listen to people who say otherwise. You never know what firms you might like, and regardless, the practice is good. And ITE, cast as wide a net as you can. During OCI, I interviewed with literally any firm I could talk too, even outside of my primary target areas. I had around 40.

3. Prepare for interviews. I went straight from UG, and had little interview experience, so I was not sure what to expect. Search the forums here. Make a list of every possible question you think you might get asked. I had about 5 pages of questions. The most common include:

1. why this city?
2. why this firm?
3. Tell me about your summer?
4. What was the most challenging/rewarding thing you did this summer?
5. Would you rather do corporate or litigation?
6. Tell me about X (something interesting on your resume)

Those questions are about 75%+ of any interview. Other then that, be prepared for curve balls, and also to talk about EVERYTHING on your resume. After 5-10 interviews, you will find that you fall into a rhythm where interviews become easy. It's just you repeating the same stories and anecdotes again and again. Also remember: be energetic, be enthusiastic, and be engaged. This can be hard as the day goes on, but constantly remind yourself of this.

Also - it helps a lot of you show that you are certain you wan't to do something - if you want to do corporate only, say this. They are looking to decide people between litigation and transactional work, and if you are decisive about it, it shows you've thought about it and they can better meet their hiring needs.

4. Be prepared to ask THEM questions - this is especially true in the callback stage. Print out the chambers/vault/ATL guides for each firm and the particular OFFICE and read through it in the 10 minutes before the interview. Be prepared to ask some questions. My favorites were:

1. What differentiates you from other peer firms/whats your favorite thing about working there?
2. Do associates have a lot of control over their career development and what they can work on?
3. Do you work a lot with the other offices in the firm?
4. What about X (practice area)?


5. Do callbacks ASAP. Like others have said, you will get better at these over time. Realize they are NOT like OCI interviews. I found that callbacks were rarely interviews - most of the time, your interviews are "meetings" - they will talk to you, and you are expected to find out everything you can about the firm - ask them about their day to day, practice areas, opportunities, associate life, if things are busy, etc. They are trying to get to know you, and you are expected to find out about the firm. They will NOT ask you questions, or at least, the will do so at a much reduced level. You have to show them you're a cool person who they would want to work with.

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Re: What would have you done differently? The same?

Postby bmontminy » Fri Sep 24, 2010 1:16 am

amazing thread thus far, keep it up for us curious 1L's :D

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Re: What would have you done differently? The same?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 24, 2010 1:22 am

Worked harder 1L year, OCI is essentially a transcript drop, thank goodness a few firms were different or I'd be in mass mail mode.

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Re: What would have you done differently? The same?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 24, 2010 1:41 am

At a some point don't these very thoughtful questions that people have been kind enough to share become so stale and so rehearsed that those who fire them off end up becoming the "robot" that it's so important to avoid being?

Anyway...

Things I would keep the same:

1. I took advantage of every opportunity I got. Even during 1L year I looked at every opportunity to get face time with an attorney as a chance to develop a future resource, and to pick the brain of someone who had been through the whole process before.

2. I went into interviews confident, relaxed, and unconcerned about the outcome. I realized very early that my interviewers were real people just like myself, and that even if they took themselves very seriously, I shouldnt take them too seriously. I just relaxed and let the conversation develop like any other conversation I would have.

3. I was honest. Honest about my career goals, honest about my interests, honest with firms about things that bothered me about them,and honest about my own shortcomings when asked.

4. I didn't rely on OCI.

5. I didn't make a big fuss about Vault Rankings, prestige, etc... I targeted firms that had very strong litigation practices, and had a reputation for giving young associates responsibility.

What I would change:

I only targeted one of the major markets, and even then, was only looking at one firm there. Maybe I should have looked around a little more? I kept telling myself that the quality of life for me was far more important than the prestige that goes along with working at a big firm in a major market though.

Other than the above, nothing. Interviewed with 16 firms, got 11 offers. The firms I got offers from were all places that I knew I could feel confident about working for because they liked me for who I am, not some interview alter ego. The ones that rejected me didn't think I fit, and I appreciate that they didn't waste my time or theirs.

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Re: What would have you done differently? The same?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 24, 2010 6:50 am

Things I would do differently:
1) Apply December 1st of 1L year to firms in every market I had a shot at. I know a lot of people who managed to get the "mythical" 1L firm job, and I think it's a huge advantage as a 2L. It's possible that these people were just generally awesome, but I should have tried. Especially if you are any kind of diverse.
2) Apply August 1st before 2L to firms in every market I had a shot at, especially where I was spending my summer. Cannot describe how much I regret not doing this. (I didn't want to be in that market long term, but in retrospect I should have been much more conservative about my chances. :/ )
3) Mass mail every firm coming to OCI I didn't get a screener with.

Things I would do the same:
1) Not apply in DC.
2) Not apply in other random markets I have no connection to.
3) Apply in less attractive markets, like my home market, my school's local market, etc, in addition to NYC.

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Re: What would have you done differently? The same?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 24, 2010 8:33 am

Anonymous User wrote:2) Apply August 1st before 2L to firms in every market I had a shot at, especially where I was spending my summer. Cannot describe how much I regret not doing this. (I didn't want to be in that market long term, but in retrospect I should have been much more conservative about my chances. :/ )


Coming from a TTT, this was the No. 1 thing for me, and I'd strongly suggest mid-July, not August.

My mass mailing got me double-digit callbacks and my best callbacks by far, including the offer I eventually accepted. I was going on callbacks as early as the first week of August, because during that period hiring partners have a lot of free time. If you're mass mailing once OCI has started, they're slammed and much less likely to add Random Mailing Guy for a callback.

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Re: What would have you done differently? The same?

Postby Objection » Fri Sep 24, 2010 8:52 am

Best advice I can give:

Network.

Over 1L summer, I stayed in touch with a couple of firms that had expressed interest in me. Visited them just informationally and to meet some of their attorneys.

This year, I ended up with offers from both.

Never let a connection/email address go to waste.

If you can become a familiar face to a firm or someone within the firm, that's half the battle.

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Re: What would have you done differently? The same?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 24, 2010 9:03 am

This is a fascinating thread. I realize OCI taught me some things about what I really wanted, especially after a rather senior partner at a screener looked at me, looked at my resume, and by way of a greeting, said "You don't really want to be here. You would be so much happier working in house at X." It turns out he was right and I got an internship doing just that, but at the time is was really disconcerting, because it was my first OCI interview.

Even when I was fairly certain the firms took people in my grade range, they seemed preoccupied with fit, perhaps even more than I was! I knew I was going to get asked "Why law school?" and "Why don't you want to practice X law?" (where X is my former field), but I would have been prepared to discuss both these questions at length, instead of just for a minute or two, before moving on to what I assumed would be more salient things, like discussion about the firm or the things I'd done since matriculating in law school. I'm not a future patent attorney, so my UG education might have novelty value, but it's not all that relevant unless I find a firm with clients in that area or end up in house.

As others have said, don't assume it's all about numbers. This is somewhat similar to the LS application cycle in that way! It's mostly about numbers, but there are still people "over" and "under" performing for a variety of reasons that have little to do with the LS they attend or the grades they earned there. This turned out to be incredibly valuable for me, because I feel my interviewing improved and I learned a ton about what I most want now, but I wish I had been more self aware at the beginning. Know your strengths and weaknesses, and how to present the latter to your best advantage.

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Re: What would have you done differently? The same?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 24, 2010 9:24 am

same:
-Go to PLIP if you're IP. I considered skipping it to go to the beach, and if I had, I'd be jobless. I got multiple CBs and multiple offers from PLIP, and ZERO of each from my T14 OCI. OCI at a lottery school is a COMPLETE crapshoot.

-Do the same amount and type of research. I knew how to comfortably talk about the firm, the practice, and the interviewer without coming off as a creeper.

Different: several things.
-get better grades and get on LR (duh)

-You must grit your teeth and bid on NYC. I had no interest in NY at the start of the summer and now its very likely that will be where I end up. It's not a grand exaggeration to say NY is really the only market hiring right now. I foolishly wasted a ton of bids on secondary market firms that never intended to hire anyone. I really should have gotten in with as much NY as possible and mass mailed secondaries.

-I spent way way too much time and money on mailings and thank you notes. I now begrudgingly join the legion on this website who agree that they are largely useless. Like it or not, we ain't special little flowers. At the screener stage, your school and your grades create a presumption about you that is incredibly difficult to rebut. These little formalities don't have much effect and are gigantic time sinks.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: What would have you done differently? The same?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 24, 2010 9:45 am

different:
-Bid on fewer geographic areas - i had callbacks over a 2 week span in 6 cities despite being mostly only interested in DC. all my offers ended up being from DC
-Bid more aggressively: although nothing's really a "safety" i bid mostly on v50-v100 firms with only a handful of more selective firms. a lot of firms in the v50-100 range didn't even give me screening interviews while i got offers from several V20s
-Do more research on firms - i barely did any for my initial interviews and used stock answers which was a mistake
-don't write thank you letters - ended up rejected post-callback at a firm because of typos

Same:
-Used all my bids
-Did PLIP
-Took every opportunity to bring in things I knew about my practice area of interest - i had work experience in the area last summer and interviewers seemed very impressed that i knew so much about the practice area just after 1l year

I changed my interview strategy halfway through my callbacks. instead of asking almost exclusively about the firm, i asked more questions about the attorneys themselves - "what attracted you to the firm?" "are you originally from the area?" "did you always know you wanted to practice in a firm" etc. attorneys love to talk about themselves.

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Re: What would have you done differently? The same?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 24, 2010 9:54 am

Things that helped me do well:

Apply to all the NALP firms in all your target areas (ESPECIALLY if they aren't in NYC/DC) as a 1L. You can then go and "reply" to the old emails for 2L, and you are already on their radar. Plus you may get a few callbacks which make for good practice even if you don't get the job.

Apply everywhere in your flyover hometown even if you would never work there permanently. It luckily didn't come to that for me but I would have had a job had I struck out elsewhere. Don't wait until you strike out---do this early.

Be enthusiastic about why you want to be at firm X. Read reports on culture, try and figure out how the firm is trying to brand themselves and what they find important/what they think makes them different. Then project that back to them.

Act like every CB is your only one, prep-wise. Then at the interview have the attitude that this firm is a top choice but you have offers at other places so while you really want to work here you aren't desperate. (depends on how good you are at doing this mentally, but it helps).

Tell your top choice that they are your top choice.

Proofread everything multiple times.

Get as much pro bono and other legal experience as you possibly can over the summer. Do work on the side at places other than your main internship. Be able to discuss the legal issues in your cases in a detailed, easy to understand, and enthusiastic way.

Be positive and enthusiastic. Know why you want to be at a law firm and what your goals are, so you aren't BSing and so you can tell them firm how they fit into all that. Or at least come up with a good story.

Talk to former summers and bring their names up during your interviews.

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Re: What would have you done differently? The same?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:13 am

I'd do the same:
-Have very interesting interests listed on my resume. Almost every single person I met with, whether at OCI or callbacks, said, "Oh wow, I have to ask you about this . . ." and asked about my interests. It was a great talking point, and because I'm really excited by my bizarre hobbies, my enthusiasm definitely came across during these interactions.
-Let a little bit of flair come through. I followed career services advice and went conservative with the dress (dark grey skirt suit, white button down, hose, pumps). However, I wore some colorful and funky jewelry. I got a lot of compliments (particularly from female interviewers) and definitely stood out a bit.
-NOT schedule my first choice firm's callback first. I agree with the other poster - I needed the callback at a firm I didn't care too much about to sort of warm up and make sure there weren't any obvious questions I'd fumble my way through. Part of this may be though that at the time of my first and second callback I'd only done 4 OCI screeners.
-Be honest. I didn't rehearse answers to anything, because I didn't have anything to hide. I think it makes a person seem much more genuine when they take a moment to put together an answer to a question than when they spit out a well rehearsed line before you've quite finished asking.

I'd do differently:
-Mass mail firms in my preferred geographic region with whom I don't get interviews at OCI or who don't come to OCI. There were only about 8 firms at OCI from my preferred cities, and I only got screeners with 5 of them (CBs from 4). Everything worked out for the best because I got a screener, callback, and offer from my first choice firm, but still. If that hadn't worked out for whatever reason, I might be kinda screwed at this point.

Mostly, I agree with the other poster about how important it is to be the best version of yourself, and not someone else.

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Re: What would have you done differently? The same?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:02 pm

14cbs, 2 offers so far (started doing cbs last week). not great grades.

Things I would do the same:

- Read the Guerilla Guide to Getting The Legal Job of Your Dreams and prepare answers as thoroughly as I did. I'm not naturally eloquent or very articulate at all so it was key for me to already have some sort of answer in my head so that I would look articulate at least for the duration of each interview.
- Be very enthusiastic about why I want to work at each place and show how my previous (non legal related work) is a natural transition into the legal field and to that particular firm.
- Relax, be upbeat, smile a lot.
- Have a couple of specific practice areas that I am interested in. More than 1, less than 4. They should be related. I demonstrated that I am driven, ambition, and goal oriented by doing this. I had some exposure to my stated practice areas over the summer which gave me credibility. I also told everyone I met with that I was very interested in litigation because x...but, having said that, I do not have exposure to corporate work so cannot write it off completely.
-Have a couple of interesting stories from the summer. One Skadden mock interviewer told me he was looking for people who could talk intelligently about a summer experience from beginning to end.
- Bid safely, with a caveat (below).

Things I would do differently
-Bid on some more reaches. I didn't bid on some dream firms because I was so self conscious about my grades. I probably would have sacrificed just a few out of 14 callbacks if I had taken bigger risks. It was hard to justify reaches given the economy, but next year will probably be better for ya'll.
- Purchased a black skirt suit. I didn't have the $$ and I sometimes felt nervous in a charcoal suit. Prob didn't matter in the end, but it would have been nice not to have been paranoid.
-Ignore people during OCI entirely. Especially those talking loudly about CBs.

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Re: What would have you done differently? The same?

Postby 12262010 » Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Things I would do differently
-Bid on some more reaches. I didn't bid on some dream firms because I was so self conscious about my grades. I probably would have sacrificed just a few out of 14 callbacks if I had taken bigger risks. It was hard to justify reaches given the economy, but next year will probably be better for ya'll.
- Purchased a black skirt suit. I didn't have the $$ and I sometimes felt nervous in a charcoal suit. Prob didn't matter in the end, but it would have been nice not to have been paranoid.
-Ignore people during OCI entirely. Especially those talking loudly about CBs.


This.

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Re: What would have you done differently? The same?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 24, 2010 3:27 pm

I would have sold myself more/been pushier at earlier screening interviews. After I changed how I interviewed, I started getting CBs for later interviews, wish I'd done it sooner.

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Re: What would have you done differently? The same?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 24, 2010 11:14 pm

would've totally skipped the "patent law fairs" - the elite patent groups hire out of the top law schools, that's where I ended up getting a gig from, these "patent law fairs" are good for people who are not in the t14.

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Re: What would have you done differently? The same?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 24, 2010 11:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:would've totally skipped the "patent law fairs" - the elite patent groups hire out of the top law schools, that's where I ended up getting a gig from, these "patent law fairs" are good for people who are not in the t14.


my experience and that of others at my DCNG was totally opposite.

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Re: What would have you done differently? The same?

Postby rayiner » Fri Sep 24, 2010 11:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:would've totally skipped the "patent law fairs" - the elite patent groups hire out of the top law schools, that's where I ended up getting a gig from, these "patent law fairs" are good for people who are not in the t14.


I disagree. The same firms interview at top schools, but PLIP is entirely pre-select while at a T14's OCI you're at the mercy of the lottery. If you have good first semester grades, PLIP is a great way to jack up your interview count and get some callbacks going early. It allowed me to cover my bases in 4 different markets (NYC, Chicago, DC, and Atlanta) which would be suicide at OCI.

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Re: What would have you done differently? The same?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 25, 2010 1:44 am

Totally agree with reading guerilla tactics. It's a good book for everyone. 16 cb and got 3 V5 offers before canceling the rest. I know it's mostly grades + school but interviewing well is critical ITE when there are more qualified candidates than positions to fill them.

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Re: What would have you done differently? The same?

Postby vanwinkle » Sat Sep 25, 2010 1:49 am

I would've transferred to Stanford instead so I could argue I had/was building ties to CA.

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Re: What would have you done differently? The same?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 25, 2010 3:59 pm

I would not have expressed a preference for litigation work.

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Re: What would have you done differently? The same?

Postby Kohinoor » Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I would not have expressed a preference for litigation work.




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