Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

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piccolittle
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Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby piccolittle » Fri Apr 22, 2011 7:44 pm

3rdYrLitigator wrote:
FiveSermon wrote:Does your firm's rankings on the NLJ250 matter a lot for in house jobs?


Your firm's institutional clients can matter a lot. Often, associates are leaving to go in-house at the firm's major clients. It's a natural progression. If you're looking for random in-house job X, then it probably doesn't matter so much outside of the finance industry. I don't have any direct experience, but I imagine a lot of those sought after in-house positions at financial companies will care more about what level of firm you were at than other industries, but that's just a guess on my part.


This is interesting. Apologies if this is a bit naive, but is it appropriate to ask an interviewer if they can give examples of clients in my practice areas of interest? If not (and I suspect not), is there a way to find this information through some other means? I've tried looking on firm sites but so far I haven't had much luck.

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PKSebben
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Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby PKSebben » Fri Apr 22, 2011 8:00 pm

piccolittle wrote:
3rdYrLitigator wrote:
FiveSermon wrote:Does your firm's rankings on the NLJ250 matter a lot for in house jobs?


Your firm's institutional clients can matter a lot. Often, associates are leaving to go in-house at the firm's major clients. It's a natural progression. If you're looking for random in-house job X, then it probably doesn't matter so much outside of the finance industry. I don't have any direct experience, but I imagine a lot of those sought after in-house positions at financial companies will care more about what level of firm you were at than other industries, but that's just a guess on my part.


This is interesting. Apologies if this is a bit naive, but is it appropriate to ask an interviewer if they can give examples of clients in my practice areas of interest? If not (and I suspect not), is there a way to find this information through some other means? I've tried looking on firm sites but so far I haven't had much luck.


American lawyer, law360, WSJ law blog.

Anonymous User
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Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 22, 2011 8:04 pm

3rdYrLitigator wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Is there any sort of pre-LS work experience that would be viewed negatively by firms? I used to be a freelance designer, so I all of my jobs prior to my current one have lasted 3 months or less. I'll just hit the one year mark at my current job before I leave for school. Do you think firms are going to see me as a flighty and/or generally view my work experience in a negative light? If so, is there anything I can do to mitigate the damage?

Thank you so much for taking questions!


I don't think pre-LS experience would be viewed negatively (aside from porn or something that would be embarrassing for a client to know about), but the job-hopping is more problematic. It will probably be something that comes up in an interview at some point. If you can explain that it was more like doing contract work, then I don't think it will be an issue, just have the explanation down for when it comes up.



My current 0L job is with an attorney whose practice includes represeting the porn industry in copyright law suits. He has had alot of negative press. Should I be worried?

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PKSebben
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Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby PKSebben » Fri Apr 22, 2011 8:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
3rdYrLitigator wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Is there any sort of pre-LS work experience that would be viewed negatively by firms? I used to be a freelance designer, so I all of my jobs prior to my current one have lasted 3 months or less. I'll just hit the one year mark at my current job before I leave for school. Do you think firms are going to see me as a flighty and/or generally view my work experience in a negative light? If so, is there anything I can do to mitigate the damage?

Thank you so much for taking questions!


I don't think pre-LS experience would be viewed negatively (aside from porn or something that would be embarrassing for a client to know about), but the job-hopping is more problematic. It will probably be something that comes up in an interview at some point. If you can explain that it was more like doing contract work, then I don't think it will be an issue, just have the explanation down for when it comes up.



My current 0L job is with an attorney whose practice includes represeting the porn industry in copyright law suits. He has had alot of negative press. Should I be worried?


See my PM.

sebastian0622
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Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby sebastian0622 » Fri Apr 22, 2011 8:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
3rdYrLitigator wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Is there any sort of pre-LS work experience that would be viewed negatively by firms? I used to be a freelance designer, so I all of my jobs prior to my current one have lasted 3 months or less. I'll just hit the one year mark at my current job before I leave for school. Do you think firms are going to see me as a flighty and/or generally view my work experience in a negative light? If so, is there anything I can do to mitigate the damage?

Thank you so much for taking questions!


I don't think pre-LS experience would be viewed negatively (aside from porn or something that would be embarrassing for a client to know about), but the job-hopping is more problematic. It will probably be something that comes up in an interview at some point. If you can explain that it was more like doing contract work, then I don't think it will be an issue, just have the explanation down for when it comes up.



My current 0L job is with an attorney whose practice includes represeting the porn industry in copyright law suits. He has had alot of negative press. Should I be worried?


Doesn't sound like a problem. I've heard most firms look kindly upon pro-boner work.

3rdYrLitigator
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Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby 3rdYrLitigator » Fri Apr 22, 2011 9:00 pm

newyorker88 wrote:Has the economy effected URM hiring at your firm? If you don't mind, what's the approximate GPA cut off for URMs? Have you noticed a trend in how long URM associates stay? i.e. do they tend to leave earlier than most associates?


Well, it has affected URM hiring just about the same as overall hiring. As far as I know, there's no formal separate GPA cut off for URMs. I can't say I've paid much attention to URM retention, I think it's probably pretty similar to overall attrition, but I can't say for sure.

FiveSermon
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Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby FiveSermon » Fri Apr 22, 2011 9:03 pm

Do other minorities (non URM such as Indian, Middle Eastern, Asian, etc) get any boosts or harm when it comes to hiring time?

3rdYrLitigator
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Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby 3rdYrLitigator » Fri Apr 22, 2011 9:04 pm

piccolittle wrote:
3rdYrLitigator wrote:
FiveSermon wrote:Does your firm's rankings on the NLJ250 matter a lot for in house jobs?


Your firm's institutional clients can matter a lot. Often, associates are leaving to go in-house at the firm's major clients. It's a natural progression. If you're looking for random in-house job X, then it probably doesn't matter so much outside of the finance industry. I don't have any direct experience, but I imagine a lot of those sought after in-house positions at financial companies will care more about what level of firm you were at than other industries, but that's just a guess on my part.


This is interesting. Apologies if this is a bit naive, but is it appropriate to ask an interviewer if they can give examples of clients in my practice areas of interest? If not (and I suspect not), is there a way to find this information through some other means? I've tried looking on firm sites but so far I haven't had much luck.


Well you can ask what type of work they do and they may discuss it. I don't think it's necessarily inappropriate, but you can find out by reading legal publications or asking friends who work in those firms. Certain firms have well-known associations that are easy to find out (like certain NY firms have long established ties to certain banks).

3rdYrLitigator
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Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby 3rdYrLitigator » Fri Apr 22, 2011 9:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
3rdYrLitigator wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Is there any sort of pre-LS work experience that would be viewed negatively by firms? I used to be a freelance designer, so I all of my jobs prior to my current one have lasted 3 months or less. I'll just hit the one year mark at my current job before I leave for school. Do you think firms are going to see me as a flighty and/or generally view my work experience in a negative light? If so, is there anything I can do to mitigate the damage?

Thank you so much for taking questions!


I don't think pre-LS experience would be viewed negatively (aside from porn or something that would be embarrassing for a client to know about), but the job-hopping is more problematic. It will probably be something that comes up in an interview at some point. If you can explain that it was more like doing contract work, then I don't think it will be an issue, just have the explanation down for when it comes up.



My current 0L job is with an attorney whose practice includes represeting the porn industry in copyright law suits. He has had alot of negative press. Should I be worried?


No, I don't really think so, if you're just working in his office that's not a big deal.

3rdYrLitigator
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Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby 3rdYrLitigator » Fri Apr 22, 2011 9:06 pm

FiveSermon wrote:Do other minorities (non URM such as Indian, Middle Eastern, Asian, etc) get any boosts or harm when it comes to hiring time?


Not that I've noticed. At least nothing that is institutionalized. There's no little check box on my interview form for URM or other minority.

adonai
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Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby adonai » Fri Apr 22, 2011 9:10 pm

What type of work experience is viewed most favorably when it comes to hiring? Do you find that pre-LS legal experience (not just filing, but paralegal type experience) weighs about the same as non-legal WE?
Last edited by adonai on Fri Apr 22, 2011 9:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.

3rdYrLitigator
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Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby 3rdYrLitigator » Fri Apr 22, 2011 9:12 pm

adonai wrote:What type of work experience is viewed most favorably when it comes to hiring? Do you find that pre-LS legal experience (not just filing, but paralegal type experience) weighs about the same as non-legal WE?


It depends on what the interview is for. In general, paralegal experience is no better than anything else, in fact it's pretty standard so you don't really stand out at all.

adonai
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Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby adonai » Fri Apr 22, 2011 9:18 pm

3rdYrLitigator wrote:
adonai wrote:What type of work experience is viewed most favorably when it comes to hiring? Do you find that pre-LS legal experience (not just filing, but paralegal type experience) weighs about the same as non-legal WE?


It depends on what the interview is for. In general, paralegal experience is no better than anything else, in fact it's pretty standard so you don't really stand out at all.

Let's say 1L or 2L SA position. A friend told me that they found the #1 reason they could not get a firm job this summer job because they did not have enough "legal experience" pre-LS and this is what many of the firms told them. Kind of goes against conventional TLS knowledge about doing whatever you want Pre-LS.

roranoa
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Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby roranoa » Fri Apr 22, 2011 9:26 pm

I wonder how much time lawyers spend time chitchatting and politicking with colleagues at work? (cuz I'm not very good at that)

Also, I'm really curious about what really goes on in a law firm
and I can't find any websites other than the Anonymous Lawyer
blog. Are there any websites equivalent to Mergers & Inquisitions.com (I'm not sure if you've heard of it) in the law practicing field?

3rdYrLitigator
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Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby 3rdYrLitigator » Fri Apr 22, 2011 9:52 pm

adonai wrote:
3rdYrLitigator wrote:
adonai wrote:What type of work experience is viewed most favorably when it comes to hiring? Do you find that pre-LS legal experience (not just filing, but paralegal type experience) weighs about the same as non-legal WE?


It depends on what the interview is for. In general, paralegal experience is no better than anything else, in fact it's pretty standard so you don't really stand out at all.

Let's say 1L or 2L SA position. A friend told me that they found the #1 reason they could not get a firm job this summer job because they did not have enough "legal experience" pre-LS and this is what many of the firms told them. Kind of goes against conventional TLS knowledge about doing whatever you want Pre-LS.


Well all I can tell you is what I consider, and I don't think being a paralegal or other office worker at a law firm would count for anything extra.

3rdYrLitigator
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Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby 3rdYrLitigator » Fri Apr 22, 2011 9:56 pm

roranoa wrote:I wonder how much time lawyers spend time chitchatting and politicking with colleagues at work? (cuz I'm not very good at that)

Also, I'm really curious about what really goes on in a law firm
and I can't find any websites other than the Anonymous Lawyer
blog. Are there any websites equivalent to Mergers & Inquisitions.com (I'm not sure if you've heard of it) in the law practicing field?


I don't quite know how to answer that, some people aren't as social, some people are. There's really no standard, but at some point in your career you may have to show that you can bring in business. If you are socially awkward, it's going to be hard to put you in front of a client.

Haven't heard any of those blogs and I don't know of any. I don't love working in a firm enough to read about it after I'm done, but again, things are so different in different fields and departments that it's going to vary a lot.

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PKSebben
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Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby PKSebben » Fri Apr 22, 2011 10:00 pm

roranoa wrote:I wonder how much time lawyers spend time chitchatting and politicking with colleagues at work? (cuz I'm not very good at that)

Also, I'm really curious about what really goes on in a law firm
and I can't find any websites other than the Anonymous Lawyer
blog. Are there any websites equivalent to Mergers & Inquisitions.com (I'm not sure if you've heard of it) in the law practicing field?


Nice link roranoa -- really interesting stuff from the ib / pe side. There isn't anything comparable I've seen, but that's not a bad idea to start something up. I'll float it around in the mod forum as we now have a couple of big law attys that could add content.

The billable hour system pretty much demands that you don't spend a lot of time dicking-the-dog with people at work. That's just time not billed. There are occasional lunches and get togethers, but it's nothing unbearable. I wouldn't worry about not being the greatest water cooler type. As long as you're not a complete tool, you'll be okay at the earlier levels. However as 3rdYear noted, if you are a complete d-bag and can't be put in front of clients, that's going to cost you.

If you have more specific questions about big firm life, feel free to pose them and the associates in this thread will do our best to answer.

roranoa
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Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby roranoa » Fri Apr 22, 2011 10:36 pm

Thanks for the reply!

I have more questions.

1. Speaking of billable hours, OP said that on a light day he/she works around 8:30 to 18:30 and on busy days he/she works until 21:30. But I'm sure there are days like when you're working until 3 am or 4 am and coming back to work at 8.

So, how often do you work all nighters or at least past midnight? (in relative ratio to light days)

2. I'm not socially awkward nor do I have a d-bag character but I am a bit introverted. I can keep a general conversation but I'm certainly not the most likable/interesting person to have a 1:1 personal conversation with(unless I've known the person for quite a while).

So what kind of demeanor or character do you need to make partner? What do you mean when you say that you have to be able to be put in front of clients? Do you mean in a business situation? Also, how important is it to keep/create a personal relationship with the partners you work for?

3. At what point in your career are you asked to bring in business? (5, 6th year) Or do you have to just do it one day even when nobody asked?

[Edited for clarity]
Last edited by roranoa on Sat Apr 23, 2011 6:18 am, edited 3 times in total.

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newyorker88
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Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby newyorker88 » Fri Apr 22, 2011 10:52 pm

3rdYrLitigator wrote:
newyorker88 wrote:Has the economy effected URM hiring at your firm? If you don't mind, what's the approximate GPA cut off for URMs? Have you noticed a trend in how long URM associates stay? i.e. do they tend to leave earlier than most associates?


Well, it has affected URM hiring just about the same as overall hiring. As far as I know, there's no formal separate GPA cut off for URMs. I can't say I've paid much attention to URM retention, I think it's probably pretty similar to overall attrition, but I can't say for sure.


Thank you.

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Ikki
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Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby Ikki » Sat Apr 23, 2011 1:38 am

I figured this is the best place to post my question. Does the OP, PKSebben or any other attorneys doing biglaw know how accurate this article is?

http://www.lateralattorneyreport.com/2011/04/the-importance-of-law-firm-economics-to-your-legal-career/

It's a really interesting article, and if at least half of it is true, I think everyone aiming for biglaw should read it.

EDIT: The article is really long but it goes into detail on how law firm economics work. The article explains the role of the junior associate, senior associate, and partners. One of the main points is to explain how important the billable hour is for the success of the junior associate and that being successful at one's work does not translate at doing the work as efficiently as possible (e.g. billing less hours).
Here are some of the paragraphs I found most interesting.

One of the most important aspects of your legal career-and almost among the most mysterious to young attorneys and others working both inside and outside of law firms-is law firm economics. The economics of your particular law firm will have profound significance in terms of what happens with your legal career. Many legal careers end up being quite successful in certain law firm economic environments where they might fail in other economic environments. Smart attorneys and law students should have a good understanding of law firm economics before joining any law firm.


Generally-and indeed almost always-the law firm as an institution is almost never guilty of padding its bills and the time its associates work on various matters. I have never personally encountered an episode of this occurring. However, law firms do as institutions push both their partners and associates to pad their bills. Since the client is being charged on the basis of the billable hour, the client will receive an accurate bill for the hours reported by the attorneys who worked on a given matter. Whether or not this bill accurately reflects the amount of time necessary to complete a given task is another story.


The organization of most American law firms is as follows. First, the law firm generally will have a least a few law clerks who are law students or waiting for bar results. In large law firms, most law clerks are called summer associates. Second, the law firm will have junior, midlevel and senior associates. Third, the law firm will have attorneys at a counsel level and partners. At the partner level, there may also be levels of partners such as income partners and equity partners. At each stage of your seniority with a law firm, your value to the law firm will change and the expectations the law firm has of you from an economic perspective will change.


Law Clerk (Summer Associate) $140/hour
1st Year $170/hour
2nd Year $215/hour
3rd Year $265/hour
4th Year $310/hour
—-
Partner $400+/hour


In considering the above billing rates you need to consider it from the point of view of the law firm and also the client. I personally hire attorneys all the time for the companies I work for. When you hire a law firm, you are generally working directly with a partner who will figure out the “most efficient way” to get the work done for you. Early on in your legal matter, there are usually a variety of legal matters that can be researched and analyzed. The partner may already understand these issues; however, he or she will generally say something like this to the client:


The work is then handed off to a junior associate. The junior associate knows that they are valued by their firm based on their individual productivity (i.e., how many hours they bill) and they have every incentive to work just as hard as they can and as many hours as they can on the project. The partner then can do more interesting work and rest assured that as many hours as possible will be given to the task and the bill correspondingly increased. None of this is to say anything dishonest is occurring; however, on many levels it may be:
Last edited by Ikki on Sat Apr 23, 2011 1:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

roranoa
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Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby roranoa » Sat Apr 23, 2011 1:39 am

Ikki wrote:I figured this is the best place to post my question. Does the OP, PKSebben or any other attorneys doing biglaw know how accurate this article is?

http://www.lateralattorneyreport.com/2011/04/the-importance-of-law-firm-economics-to-your-legal-career/

It's a really interesting article, and if at least half of it is true, I think everyone aiming for biglaw should read it.


I think you should summarize the article for OP :)

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Ikki
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Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby Ikki » Sat Apr 23, 2011 1:52 am

roranoa wrote:
Ikki wrote:I figured this is the best place to post my question. Does the OP, PKSebben or any other attorneys doing biglaw know how accurate this article is?

http://www.lateralattorneyreport.com/2011/04/the-importance-of-law-firm-economics-to-your-legal-career/

It's a really interesting article, and if at least half of it is true, I think everyone aiming for biglaw should read it.


I think you should summarize the article for OP :)


How's that?

lightbulb1986
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Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby lightbulb1986 » Sat Apr 23, 2011 2:39 am

.
Last edited by lightbulb1986 on Sun Apr 24, 2016 1:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PKSebben
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Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby PKSebben » Sat Apr 23, 2011 8:20 am

roranoa wrote:Thanks for the reply!

I have more questions.

1. Speaking of billable hours, OP said that on a light day he/she works around 8:30 to 18:30 and on busy days he/she works until 21:30. But I'm sure there are days like when you're working until 3 am or 4 am and coming back to work at 8.

So, how often do you work all nighters or at least past midnight? (in relative ratio to light days)

2. I'm not socially awkward nor do I have a d-bag character but I am a bit introverted. I can keep a general conversation but I'm certainly not the most likable/interesting person to have a 1:1 personal conversation with(unless I've known the person for quite a while).

So what kind of demeanor or character do you need to make partner? What do you mean when you say that you have to be able to be put in front of clients? Do you mean in a business situation? Also, how important is it to keep/create a personal relationship with the partners you work for?

3. At what point in your career are you asked to bring in business? (5, 6th year) Or do you have to just do it one day even when nobody asked?

[Edited for clarity]


1. First, I'm a lit/IP dude, so transactional guys have it worse. My general hours are 9-8:30/9pm. I work a little on the weekends voluntarily from home -- nothing too crazy. I have not pulled a legit all-nighter, but I've seen them happen. In 8 months at the firm, I have worked past midnight probably 10 times and past 2am probably 5 times. For me, the hours exhaustion comes in when you work a lot of days in a row without a break. We had a month long fire drill where I billed 10+ everyday in February. That blew really bad. I was extremely cranky around Feb 28th. But it comes and goes -- as summer rolls in I can feel the office getting a little more chill. I average 50-ish billable hours a week with probably 60ish workables. As a junior, the type of work I have is very efficient.

2. I'm very introverted, but I think you have to be willing to sell yourself and the firm to clients -- become someone they can rely on. Even though I'm introverted, I'm good with people for the most part so I'm not too worried about client interaction.

3. At my firm, you are not expected to bring in business to make partner. You do have to show an aptitude for bringing in clients, usually by showing you've developed a relationship with big institutional clients and having a clear vision for how you intend to grow your practice. That said, if you bring in business of any significance, you could pretty much shit in a hat all day and make partner -- that's just reality.

My firm is also not a strict up and out firm either and we have a significant number of 10-year plus associates / of counsels. If you do good work, but aren't quite partner material, they don't immediately boot you.

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PKSebben
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Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby PKSebben » Sat Apr 23, 2011 8:21 am

lightbulb1986 wrote:hi,

in the hiring process, how do partners perceive someone with no specific office preference. i.e. "which office would you like to work in?" "I'd like to work in market X or market Y which is geographically very close to market X"


I'm confused by your question, but you need to have an answer to which office. Even if it's "either A because of X or B because of Y." Having no preference at all makes you look like a flake.




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