Informational Interviews

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
User avatar
TTH
Posts: 10378
Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 1:14 am

Informational Interviews

Postby TTH » Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:08 pm

So our OCS keeps talking up informational interviews, and I understand it's one of the things you're supposed to do. The whole notion of it seems contrived and silly to me, though. Employers know I'm a desperate law student sniffing around about employment opportunities, so it feels like I'd only be further inconveniencing them by taking up more of their time to ask questions about their firm.

Moreover, I'm not entirely sure what I'd ask, and I imagine a lot of TLSers, given the extent to which we research things on the internet anyhow, would run into the same problem.

So, if any of you have done informational interviews, how did you go about setting them up? What kinds of questions did you ask? What did they ask you? And how useful was it to your job search?


Also, is it a total waste of time energy and effort to set these up as a 1L, given that 1Ls don't get SA jobs and we have to drop mail bombs on Dec. 1 regardless?

Thanks

LurkerNoMore
Posts: 237
Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2008 12:05 pm

Re: Informational Interviews

Postby LurkerNoMore » Wed Nov 10, 2010 5:51 pm

TTH wrote:Employers know I'm a desperate law student sniffing around about employment opportunities, so it feels like I'd only be further inconveniencing them by taking up more of their time to ask questions about their firm.



TTH wrote:Also, is it a total waste of time energy and effort to set these up as a 1L, given that 1Ls don't get SA jobs and we have to drop mail bombs on Dec. 1 regardless?


THINK LONG TERM. You are in the ideal situation to do informational interviews. You should *not* look at them as a way to land a 1L SA.

As a 1L you can credibly ask questions without it seeming like you are hitting them up for a job. The real job action is for 2L summer. Take advantage of this. Contact alumni of your UG or LS and see if they will meet you in person or chat on the phone.

Questions to ask:
1. Ask about the local market (if it's not an obvious market like NYC/DC, etc.). Ask how it is doing generally, what they see the long term prospects being, what practice areas are developing. If you are getting along well with the person, ask what their take is on the firms in the market.

2. Ask about their practice area. Find out what they do, what path they took to get there, what they like about that area, what they don't, whether they see it as an area that it would be wise to enter as a new attorney.

3. Ask about their job history (for attorneys that have had interesting ones). Find out what made them move around, what they liked, what they didn't, what they gained from the experience, what opportunities they gave up along the way.

4. Ask about how their firm works. Find out about the business of law firms, how they are structured, what are things to look out for, what advice they would give someone in your position as you evaluate what firms to apply to next year.

5. Ask them how they would advise you to spend your 1L summer -- what types of experiences do they find valuable when they look at resumes, what types of experiences do they think are interesting and you should take advantage of 1L, etc.

There are a couple of ways to approach these interviews.

1. The clueless 1L. This is usually a good place to start, because you usually are clueless. Your overture should be one of "I'd love to talk to a practicing attorney to help get my bearings about the practice of law." In these interviews you can ask "dumb" questions -- you've set it up that you are trying to inform yourself, not present yourself as someone with clue. You can still leave a very favorable impression in these sorts of interviews by asking good questions (or at least good follow up questions) and generally being engaged and interested.

2. The Area of Interest Explorer. Once you get past cluelessness, you can move on to more specific interviews. A good one is talking to practicing attorneys to find out what practicing XX type of law is really like. Express an interest, but acknowledge that you realize book learning and practice can really diverge and you'd like to hear from them their experiences.

3. The Market Explorer. If you are interested in a particular market, especially one that is a bit off the beaten path, you can reach out by explaining that you are really interested in working in XX city, but would like to talk about what the practice of law is like there.

4. The "How'd you do that?" Interview. This is a good one for people who have followed a less obvious career path. It's a good one if you are interested in in house work, PI, gov't, or even BigLaw but via some path other than the norm. You note their resume, why it's interesting to you and ask if you can chat sometime.

If you do these interviews right, you really launch yourself ahead for your 2L job search. You will be better prepared to bid on firms, can ask good questions in interviews, can demonstrate knowledge relevant to the practice area you are emphasizing in your interview (which might be different firm to firm), etc. If you happen to hit it off with any of the people you did information interviews with, you can let them know when you apply to their firm. You can also name drop when you are interviewing (not because that person will get you a job, but rather it's a way to demonstrate your interest in the firm beyond "your Vault rank looked good").

In other words, for once, follow your OCS's advice and start reaching out. If you do strike out 2L summer, getting leads will be much more painful that it is to do information interviews.

User avatar
kurla88
Posts: 370
Joined: Wed Aug 20, 2008 10:27 am

Re: Informational Interviews

Postby kurla88 » Fri Nov 12, 2010 8:52 pm

LurkerNoMore wrote:
TTH wrote:Employers know I'm a desperate law student sniffing around about employment opportunities, so it feels like I'd only be further inconveniencing them by taking up more of their time to ask questions about their firm.



TTH wrote:Also, is it a total waste of time energy and effort to set these up as a 1L, given that 1Ls don't get SA jobs and we have to drop mail bombs on Dec. 1 regardless?


THINK LONG TERM. You are in the ideal situation to do informational interviews. You should *not* look at them as a way to land a 1L SA.

As a 1L you can credibly ask questions without it seeming like you are hitting them up for a job. The real job action is for 2L summer. Take advantage of this. Contact alumni of your UG or LS and see if they will meet you in person or chat on the phone.

Questions to ask:
1. Ask about the local market (if it's not an obvious market like NYC/DC, etc.). Ask how it is doing generally, what they see the long term prospects being, what practice areas are developing. If you are getting along well with the person, ask what their take is on the firms in the market.

2. Ask about their practice area. Find out what they do, what path they took to get there, what they like about that area, what they don't, whether they see it as an area that it would be wise to enter as a new attorney.

3. Ask about their job history (for attorneys that have had interesting ones). Find out what made them move around, what they liked, what they didn't, what they gained from the experience, what opportunities they gave up along the way.

4. Ask about how their firm works. Find out about the business of law firms, how they are structured, what are things to look out for, what advice they would give someone in your position as you evaluate what firms to apply to next year.

5. Ask them how they would advise you to spend your 1L summer -- what types of experiences do they find valuable when they look at resumes, what types of experiences do they think are interesting and you should take advantage of 1L, etc.

There are a couple of ways to approach these interviews.

1. The clueless 1L. This is usually a good place to start, because you usually are clueless. Your overture should be one of "I'd love to talk to a practicing attorney to help get my bearings about the practice of law." In these interviews you can ask "dumb" questions -- you've set it up that you are trying to inform yourself, not present yourself as someone with clue. You can still leave a very favorable impression in these sorts of interviews by asking good questions (or at least good follow up questions) and generally being engaged and interested.

2. The Area of Interest Explorer. Once you get past cluelessness, you can move on to more specific interviews. A good one is talking to practicing attorneys to find out what practicing XX type of law is really like. Express an interest, but acknowledge that you realize book learning and practice can really diverge and you'd like to hear from them their experiences.

3. The Market Explorer. If you are interested in a particular market, especially one that is a bit off the beaten path, you can reach out by explaining that you are really interested in working in XX city, but would like to talk about what the practice of law is like there.

4. The "How'd you do that?" Interview. This is a good one for people who have followed a less obvious career path. It's a good one if you are interested in in house work, PI, gov't, or even BigLaw but via some path other than the norm. You note their resume, why it's interesting to you and ask if you can chat sometime.

If you do these interviews right, you really launch yourself ahead for your 2L job search. You will be better prepared to bid on firms, can ask good questions in interviews, can demonstrate knowledge relevant to the practice area you are emphasizing in your interview (which might be different firm to firm), etc. If you happen to hit it off with any of the people you did information interviews with, you can let them know when you apply to their firm. You can also name drop when you are interviewing (not because that person will get you a job, but rather it's a way to demonstrate your interest in the firm beyond "your Vault rank looked good").

In other words, for once, follow your OCS's advice and start reaching out. If you do strike out 2L summer, getting leads will be much more painful that it is to do information interviews.


This is all v good advice.

Really look at it as just what you're asking them for - getting advice from practicing attorneys. Don't view it as "networking". The networking part will work itself out on its own if you're making a good impression.

I talked to a lot of practicing attorneys about what corporate transactional practice is like, because we have very little real exposure to it in law school. I asked for perspectives on how to get into x market/why this field/what classes to take/what to not waste my time/how to prepare for this kind of career generally. I heard a lot of things repeated, and that's what I'm taking to heart. It ended up giving me a lot of good material for interview answers, and made me sound like I actually know what I'm getting myself into when I say I'm interested in corporate transactional work. Didn't get any direct job offers because of it, but I'm glad I did it because it definitely helped overall.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.