Feeling like a failure

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Anonymous User
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Re: Feeling like a failure

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 05, 2010 9:17 am

Anonymous User wrote:DC was a bloodbath this year....

I go to a school in DC, and I'm originally from the DC area with no ties to anywhere else, aka I'm screwed


I'm from the Bay Area, and it didn't help. But you have a really tough situation there.

This "ties" concept is so sick sometimes. "Believe me, I WOULD take a job from you!"

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prezidentv8
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Re: Feeling like a failure

Postby prezidentv8 » Tue Oct 05, 2010 9:22 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:DC was a bloodbath this year....

I go to a school in DC, and I'm originally from the DC area with no ties to anywhere else, aka I'm screwed


I'm from the Bay Area, and it didn't help. But you have a really tough situation there.

This "ties" concept is so sick sometimes. "Believe me, I WOULD take a job from you!"


Yeah, Bay Area has been rough for me too, and even I feel bad for the DC folks having to deal with that mess of a market.

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Re: Feeling like a failure

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 05, 2010 9:51 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:T14, just outside of top 1/3. Have only one firm left from OCI, with which I had CB two weeks ago. Heard the hiring committee was meeting on Wednesday, still haven't gotten a call, feeling depressed.

Strike out here I come...


T14, top 1/3ish, good to very good WE, 0 biglaw callbacks out of OCI. Zero. None. I have friends just above median who at least got one or two. I swear I'm not some kind of horrible antisocial freak.

I guess pleasant really doesn't cut it. Everyone was so obsessed with grades 1L year that, when mine turned out good, I thought I had lucked out and avoided the miserable consequences of my unwise decision to go to law school. I've scraped together a couple callbacks outside of biglaw, mock-interviewed with the career people to make sure I wasn't doing something horribly offensive, and even talked to interviewers that dinged me. I didn't actually ask whether it was my interviewing that dinged me or something else, but I have received principally "You do great, you're really enthusiastic, your answers tend to be kinda long". (I had done a mock interview before, right before a 1L summer interview, and received a similar comment, but in a "That was overall pretty good, though; just do that again and you'll be fine.") Is that enough for me to be subaverage in the stupid 1 to 5 evaluation form? I can't remember, but I don't think I was like ranting for 10 minutes straight. At most, I would respond to questions with little pitches. Like if it was, "So I see you worked at XYZ, how was that?", I might give a little three-point pitch on how that experience prepared me for corporate law. I've since changed it more to "Oh, it was great, I liked A and the chance to work on my B skills. (stop and let them respond)". If that improvement would have saved me, ... I am not sure I ever want to find out what caused my failure at OCI, because if it was THAT subtle, I am plunging straight into madness. Really? REALLY? Being nervous at a 20 minute interview trumps everything else? Who are these fuckers telling us to study hard? We should be doing interview workshops or something.

Maybe it was stupid luck + aiming for hard markets like DC that killed me, or maybe my classmates all studiously researched their firms or something. I'm just feeling /self all the time. I'm applying to secondary markets and such, and yeah, it'll probably be okay, but (and I hope this isn't too snobby) I had kind of looked forward to the magical biglaw high life callbacks thing where you get to feel all important and professional flying coast to coast in fancy clothes.

I wish I had mass-mailed BigLaw before OCI. My life could be so different right now. I wish I had applied to more markets. But I thought things were going to be okay.

Anyway, OP, you are not alone by any means. I think a lot of us had the material to be successful with OCI and through one mistake or another wasted it. We'll probably still be okay.


Wow, I always stuck to the 80/20 rule (you should be doing 80% of the talking). Maybe that was a mistake- although I don't know how many of my interviews would have lasted longer than 5 minutes if I'd been shorter with my answers. I struck out too and am having no luck outside OCI, so maybe I should change it up.

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Re: Feeling like a failure

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 05, 2010 10:10 am

Anonymous User wrote:=
Wow, I always stuck to the 80/20 rule (you should be doing 80% of the talking). Maybe that was a mistake- although I don't know how many of my interviews would have lasted longer than 5 minutes if I'd been shorter with my answers. I struck out too and am having no luck outside OCI, so maybe I should change it up.


What really did it for me was learning that (and I think this is usually true?) the interviewers were only really evaluating your personality. I had thought of it like a traditional interview, where you talk to the person who might want to hire you and advocate for yourself. (I've interviewed many times outside the law school context, and I can't remember a time when I wasn't hired, so it's not like I'm just unhireably weird or something.) I would be curious to see one of these forms. But anyway, I was thinking (like you, perhaps) "hey, this is my once chance to provide a positive narrative for my application, I better make sure I get everything across". In reality, I think, they are just making notes on how much they liked talking to you. People like to talk and get frustrated when they can't.

Why am I learning this after the fact rather than through career services beforehand? "Your interviews matter a lot; also, interviewers are evaluating you almost entirely on how much they like you, so you don't need to talk up your resume more than a little."

I would encourage you to try the more conversational style; I think it does end up feeling better. There's still plenty to talk about; it's just that the format becomes more back-and-forth. That is, they ask a question, you give an initial response, they usually say something in return, you play off of that, and so on. (Or, rarely, they move right on to what they really want to know, and you can always reference back to the earlier point in other responses.)

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Re: Feeling like a failure

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 05, 2010 11:08 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Maybe it was stupid luck + aiming for hard markets like DC that killed me


This killed you. Market choice was INCREDIBLY important this year. I have a V5 offer in NYC but couldn't even get a callback at Jones Day, Steptoe, and Sidley DC.

In DC you'll have all the people with good grades at HYS competing with you. "Pleasant" doesn't cut it. Top 1/3 at T14 can get a DC offer, but you need to have some hook (relevant WE) and kill the interview.


Honestly, outside of HYS, if you're not top 5-10% + LR at a T-14, you should think long and hard about whether or not to bid DC.

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Re: Feeling like a failure

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 05, 2010 5:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:=
Wow, I always stuck to the 80/20 rule (you should be doing 80% of the talking). Maybe that was a mistake- although I don't know how many of my interviews would have lasted longer than 5 minutes if I'd been shorter with my answers. I struck out too and am having no luck outside OCI, so maybe I should change it up.


What really did it for me was learning that (and I think this is usually true?) the interviewers were only really evaluating your personality. I had thought of it like a traditional interview, where you talk to the person who might want to hire you and advocate for yourself. (I've interviewed many times outside the law school context, and I can't remember a time when I wasn't hired, so it's not like I'm just unhireably weird or something.) I would be curious to see one of these forms. But anyway, I was thinking (like you, perhaps) "hey, this is my once chance to provide a positive narrative for my application, I better make sure I get everything across". In reality, I think, they are just making notes on how much they liked talking to you. People like to talk and get frustrated when they can't.

Why am I learning this after the fact rather than through career services beforehand? "Your interviews matter a lot; also, interviewers are evaluating you almost entirely on how much they like you, so you don't need to talk up your resume more than a little."

I would encourage you to try the more conversational style; I think it does end up feeling better. There's still plenty to talk about; it's just that the format becomes more back-and-forth. That is, they ask a question, you give an initial response, they usually say something in return, you play off of that, and so on. (Or, rarely, they move right on to what they really want to know, and you can always reference back to the earlier point in other responses.)


Interesting. I feel like I had the opposite experience - I spent my interviews trying to be really chatty/personable/funny etc. In retrospect either (a) I'm not as lovable as I think I am (??!) or (b) I should have focused more on the substantive selling of myself.

Maybe we need to be somewhere in the middle.

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Re: Feeling like a failure

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 05, 2010 6:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Maybe it was stupid luck + aiming for hard markets like DC that killed me


This killed you. Market choice was INCREDIBLY important this year. I have a V5 offer in NYC but couldn't even get a callback at Jones Day, Steptoe, and Sidley DC.

In DC you'll have all the people with good grades at HYS competing with you. "Pleasant" doesn't cut it. Top 1/3 at T14 can get a DC offer, but you need to have some hook (relevant WE) and kill the interview.


Honestly, outside of HYS, if you're not top 5-10% + LR at a T-14, you should think long and hard about whether or not to bid DC.

I wouldn't recommend anyone - even people who are top 5% with LR at a T14 - use more than half their bids on DC. I'm in the top 5%, as are many of my friends, and most of us struggled in DC. Almost all of us found something there, but the number of callbacks we got there did not come close to the number of callbacks similarly situated people got by targeting NY. Unless you are a law review grade-on and have great work experience and are a strong interviewer, bidding mostly on DC is risky. Someone I know that meets those criteria, plus is from the DC area, struck out in DC with 9 bids there, but got Sull Crom, STB, and Debevoise offers from even fewer bids in NY.

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Re: Feeling like a failure

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 05, 2010 6:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Wow, I always stuck to the 80/20 rule (you should be doing 80% of the talking). Maybe that was a mistake- although I don't know how many of my interviews would have lasted longer than 5 minutes if I'd been shorter with my answers. I struck out too and am having no luck outside OCI, so maybe I should change it up.


I only got through two callbacks before I got an offer form my top choice, but at the firm that gave me an offer, I did maybe 40% of the talking on average. They are seeing if they like you, and if the interviewer is really comfortable/relaxed around you, they tend to get chatty. By the end of most of my interviews I knew all about the interviewer's family, why they went to law school, why they chose to work at the firm, etc., despite never asking them any of these questions. Seemed to work out well.

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Re: Feeling like a failure

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 05, 2010 7:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Wow, I always stuck to the 80/20 rule (you should be doing 80% of the talking). Maybe that was a mistake- although I don't know how many of my interviews would have lasted longer than 5 minutes if I'd been shorter with my answers. I struck out too and am having no luck outside OCI, so maybe I should change it up.


I only got through two callbacks before I got an offer form my top choice, but at the firm that gave me an offer, I did maybe 40% of the talking on average. They are seeing if they like you, and if the interviewer is really comfortable/relaxed around you, they tend to get chatty. By the end of most of my interviews I knew all about the interviewer's family, why they went to law school, why they chose to work at the firm, etc., despite never asking them any of these questions. Seemed to work out well.

Agreed. The 80-20 rule that this earlier poster followed should be completely inverted. Your goal here isn't to convince the interviewers that you are intelligent, but that you are somebody they can stand to be around. Your school, grades and writing sample will clue them into your level of intelligence just fine. The fact that you've already been invited on a callback will demonstrate that those "hard" components are sufficient. If you are doing 80% of the talking, the CB interviewer is probably going to be bored out of her mind. Nobody likes the person who can't shut up. Seriously, I'm strongly convinced that any answer you give to a "resume question" should be under 60 seconds. That sounds like a long time, but it's not. Practice those answers to general resume questions with a stopwatch if you need - it's quick.

I have decent (but not fantastic) grades at a decent school, so my total number of callbacks wasn't enormous. That said, I was offered at every callback I went on. The only time I did a resume-ish pitch was with one partner who I could tell was trying to see if I had the balls to deal with NYC personalities. Apart from that, I had simple conversations with people, largely about themselves. Hell, with one CB interviewer we ended up watching Youtube clips about something we were talking about.

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Re: Feeling like a failure

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 05, 2010 8:11 pm

It's pretty obvious in retrospect. Kills me that it's already too late. I might be able to pick up small- or midlaw or something, but I blew so very much by using the wrong interviewing style. I wish firms didn't recruit in just one big sweep. I don't think anyone's ever going to believe that I had the right stuff (whatever that means) but just made an interviewing mistake: it'll be "Oh yeah, there's so-and-so, not so bright and ended up at some two-bit firm despite the fancy T14 degree. Must have been sleeping through class." I so wanted to be flying back home on callbacks. I know, it's not like parents love you or hate you based on the Vault ranking of your firm, but I did kind of want to be able to say, see, after all those years in school, I've made it. Remember that MoFo firm that your company hired for their big deals? They want to hire me.

I thought it was so strange to see people saying, no, don't switch to part-time, it won't help. It might actually be wise to blow 40K for one more round of OCI bids. I could do so much more with them now that I know how this whole insane enterprise works. (I guess when it comes down to it, this would fail because firms would sniff out that I had been a 2L last year, and whatever fucking ridiculous convention keeps them from giving the time of day to 3Ls or laid-off attorneys would mean that I too would be considered "leftovers".)

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Re: Feeling like a failure

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 06, 2010 10:08 am

Anonymous User wrote:It's pretty obvious in retrospect. Kills me that it's already too late. I might be able to pick up small- or midlaw or something, but I blew so very much by using the wrong interviewing style. I wish firms didn't recruit in just one big sweep. I don't think anyone's ever going to believe that I had the right stuff (whatever that means) but just made an interviewing mistake: it'll be "Oh yeah, there's so-and-so, not so bright and ended up at some two-bit firm despite the fancy T14 degree. Must have been sleeping through class." I so wanted to be flying back home on callbacks. I know, it's not like parents love you or hate you based on the Vault ranking of your firm, but I did kind of want to be able to say, see, after all those years in school, I've made it. Remember that MoFo firm that your company hired for their big deals? They want to hire me.

I thought it was so strange to see people saying, no, don't switch to part-time, it won't help. It might actually be wise to blow 40K for one more round of OCI bids. I could do so much more with them now that I know how this whole insane enterprise works. (I guess when it comes down to it, this would fail because firms would sniff out that I had been a 2L last year, and whatever fucking ridiculous convention keeps them from giving the time of day to 3Ls or laid-off attorneys would mean that I too would be considered "leftovers".)

Wait, which T14s have a PT program? Is it just GULC?

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Re: Feeling like a failure

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 06, 2010 10:14 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Wow, I always stuck to the 80/20 rule (you should be doing 80% of the talking). Maybe that was a mistake- although I don't know how many of my interviews would have lasted longer than 5 minutes if I'd been shorter with my answers. I struck out too and am having no luck outside OCI, so maybe I should change it up.


I only got through two callbacks before I got an offer form my top choice, but at the firm that gave me an offer, I did maybe 40% of the talking on average. They are seeing if they like you, and if the interviewer is really comfortable/relaxed around you, they tend to get chatty. By the end of most of my interviews I knew all about the interviewer's family, why they went to law school, why they chose to work at the firm, etc., despite never asking them any of these questions. Seemed to work out well.

Agreed. The 80-20 rule that this earlier poster followed should be completely inverted. Your goal here isn't to convince the interviewers that you are intelligent, but that you are somebody they can stand to be around. Your school, grades and writing sample will clue them into your level of intelligence just fine. The fact that you've already been invited on a callback will demonstrate that those "hard" components are sufficient. If you are doing 80% of the talking, the CB interviewer is probably going to be bored out of her mind. Nobody likes the person who can't shut up. Seriously, I'm strongly convinced that any answer you give to a "resume question" should be under 60 seconds. That sounds like a long time, but it's not. Practice those answers to general resume questions with a stopwatch if you need - it's quick.

I have decent (but not fantastic) grades at a decent school, so my total number of callbacks wasn't enormous. That said, I was offered at every callback I went on. The only time I did a resume-ish pitch was with one partner who I could tell was trying to see if I had the balls to deal with NYC personalities. Apart from that, I had simple conversations with people, largely about themselves. Hell, with one CB interviewer we ended up watching Youtube clips about something we were talking about.


Oh my answers weren't ever longer than 60 seconds or even close to that, either they would ask more questions about my resume or they would just shut off. We usually spent maybe 1/3 to 1/2 of the time talking about my resume and the rest of the time on the firm or my law plans in general. But it was harder to transition out of interview mode, and sometimes the interviewer was content just to go through the motions. Very few interviewers volunteered information about their families or lives. Maybe I am just an introvert or people feel like they can't open up to me. I don't think I'm very great in the looks dept either, so maybe that had something to do with it.

I did get three cbs, from screeners that flowed much more smoothly than the above, but I couldn't do that again during the cb for all of my interviewers. My grades weren't great either, so I really had to go out and ace the cb, which I don't think I have the social skills to do.

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Re: Feeling like a failure

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 06, 2010 10:26 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:It's pretty obvious in retrospect. Kills me that it's already too late. I might be able to pick up small- or midlaw or something, but I blew so very much by using the wrong interviewing style. I wish firms didn't recruit in just one big sweep. I don't think anyone's ever going to believe that I had the right stuff (whatever that means) but just made an interviewing mistake: it'll be "Oh yeah, there's so-and-so, not so bright and ended up at some two-bit firm despite the fancy T14 degree. Must have been sleeping through class." I so wanted to be flying back home on callbacks. I know, it's not like parents love you or hate you based on the Vault ranking of your firm, but I did kind of want to be able to say, see, after all those years in school, I've made it. Remember that MoFo firm that your company hired for their big deals? They want to hire me.

I thought it was so strange to see people saying, no, don't switch to part-time, it won't help. It might actually be wise to blow 40K for one more round of OCI bids. I could do so much more with them now that I know how this whole insane enterprise works. (I guess when it comes down to it, this would fail because firms would sniff out that I had been a 2L last year, and whatever fucking ridiculous convention keeps them from giving the time of day to 3Ls or laid-off attorneys would mean that I too would be considered "leftovers".)

Wait, which T14s have a PT program? Is it just GULC?


Yeah. Mine doesn't, so I don't think it's even an option, unless I were to figure out something involving a joint degree. I think it's still a little too early to call "game over" in my case.




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