Top 25% @ T20 - What level firms, if any?

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Top 25% @ T20 - What level firms, if any?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:54 am

I realize I probably won't get anything through OCI, but was wondering if I could still get a paid 2L gig at a smaller/lesser ranked firm? Is e-mailing the hiring directors/recruiters and expressing interest something I should be doing now or in a couple of weeks? Is it better to e-mail partners instead? Any help is appreciated, thanks.

edit: just finished 1L

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MC Southstar
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Re: Top 25% @ T20 - What level firms, if any?

Postby MC Southstar » Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:57 am

Anonymous User wrote:I realize I probably won't get anything through OCI, but was wondering if I could still get a paid 2L gig at a smaller/lesser ranked firm? Is e-mailing the hiring directors/recruiters and expressing interest something I should be doing now or in a couple of weeks? Is it better to e-mail partners instead? Any help is appreciated, thanks.

edit: just finished 1L


You can't get anything through OCI with top 25%?!

kaiser
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Re: Top 25% @ T20 - What level firms, if any?

Postby kaiser » Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:06 am

What makes you think you won't get a job through OCI with top quarter grades at a T20 school? Sure, its not a given, but you will most certainly be competitive for them based on academic credentials alone.

alumniguy
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Re: Top 25% @ T20 - What level firms, if any?

Postby alumniguy » Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:19 am

You'll definitely get looks from AMLAW200 firms, whether those interviews will lead to callbacks/offers is another thing. Your stats will make you competitive and IMHO, much of your success will likely turn on things you can't really affect. For example, whether a firm is having a larger class size or whether they have only looked at candidates that are too qualified given their relatively low selectivity. Much of OCI is a bit of happenstance, and this is even more the case for students at T20s that aren't top 10-15%.

Also, it depends on which T20 you are at. If it is a T20 that places well (I'm thinking BC, BU, ND, GW, Vandy, CA schools), then I think you'll have better odds of landing a biglaw gig. However, if you are at the state schools and WUSTL, it is probably going to be harder to get biglaw (mainly because of geography). You'll want to really look at each firm's GPA cutoff and shoot for those firms around your GPA. I wouldn't rule out firms that have a higher cutoff, but you'll want to focus your efforts on those firms that are actually take your GPA.

Also, as undesirable as it may sound, you should look at those firms with relatively bad reputations because the majority of top caliber students are going to rule those firms out. These firms do very similar work and while you may not be as happy (relatively speaking) as you would be at other firms, you'll be happy to at least have a job. Suck it up for two years and lateral out as soon as possible if the place in fact is miserable. Although, again I don't know that law students perception of associate's life at various firms is accurate in the least. It is a bit of the blind leading the blind in this regard.

Finally, I wouldn't mass mail partners unless you have a compelling background. You should certainly mass mail recruiters and even possibly recruiting partners, but that is as far as I would go. Most likely your resume will get thrown in a stack and only looked at if the firm can't meet its summer class through its on campus interviewing programs.

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Re: Top 25% @ T20 - What level firms, if any?

Postby romothesavior » Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:27 am

OP, I'm in a similar boat (slightly higher grades at a T20, although I imagine your school places a little better than mine into biglaw). Where are you aiming? Big/medium/small market? I think you should be emailing partners and trying to do coffee with them. Meet as many people as you can now. Don't mass mail them and just be like, "Hai, I want to work at yer furm!" but actually try to meet with them and connect. I've already gotten one interview out of this, and every single attorney has said something to the effect of, "You're doing the right thing right now meeting with people like me." My goal has been to do coffee with one attorney a week this summer in my mid-market, and I think that doing so has helped me to gain information about the firm and has even lead to having a good word put in and a resume forwarded to the hiring committee before OCI. It is something I plan to do for the remainder of the summer, and I think it is the kind of thing that can help a person in our shoes.

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Re: Top 25% @ T20 - What level firms, if any?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:33 am

romothesavior wrote:OP, I'm in a similar boat (slightly higher grades at a T20, although I imagine your school places a little better than mine into biglaw). Where are you aiming? Big/medium/small market? I think you should be emailing partners and trying to do coffee with them. Meet as many people as you can now. Don't mass mail them and just be like, "Hai, I want to work at yer furm!" but actually try to meet with them and connect. I've already gotten one interview out of this, and every single attorney has said something to the effect of, "You're doing the right thing right now meeting with people like me." My goal has been to do coffee with one attorney a week this summer in my mid-market, and I think that doing so has helped me to gain information about the firm and has even lead to having a good word put in and a resume forwarded to the hiring committee before OCI. It is something I plan to do for the remainder of the summer, and I think it is the kind of thing that can help a person in our shoes.


Can you talk about who you're e-mailing specifically? Partners/associates/etc.? Also, what's the gist of what you're writing in your e-mail to set up informational interviews? What are you including in your e-mail? How are you scheduling informational interviews around your summer job?

Sorry for the barrage of questions, but I hear this is a very helpful tactic and I just have no idea how to go about it.

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Re: Top 25% @ T20 - What level firms, if any?

Postby alumniguy » Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:48 am

romothesavior wrote:OP, I'm in a similar boat (slightly higher grades at a T20, although I imagine your school places a little better than mine into biglaw). Where are you aiming? Big/medium/small market? I think you should be emailing partners and trying to do coffee with them. Meet as many people as you can now. Don't mass mail them and just be like, "Hai, I want to work at yer furm!" but actually try to meet with them and connect. I've already gotten one interview out of this, and every single attorney has said something to the effect of, "You're doing the right thing right now meeting with people like me." My goal has been to do coffee with one attorney a week this summer in my mid-market, and I think that doing so has helped me to gain information about the firm and has even lead to having a good word put in and a resume forwarded to the hiring committee before OCI. It is something I plan to do for the remainder of the summer, and I think it is the kind of thing that can help a person in our shoes.


Curious about these meetings. Are you meeting with partners? Associates? How are you spinning these informational interviews? My experience, as a biglaw associate, is that if a current student of my alma mater asked for a coffee meeting I would agree to it. However, it is unlikely that I would have any say in whether this person gets hired, even if I called recruiting and said that I liked the person. It may be different for small/midlaw, but I imagine not.

I think to really make networking work you need a sustained period of interaction with a particular person, and I'm not sure that starting that interaction the summer before your 2L year is enough. Having an information interview is one thing. But following up with attending presentations by the same person and other types of actions is where I imagine the real benefit may arise.

Also, certainly not my intent to discourage anyone from networking.

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Re: Top 25% @ T20 - What level firms, if any?

Postby romothesavior » Wed Jun 22, 2011 11:04 am

Anonymous User wrote:
romothesavior wrote:OP, I'm in a similar boat (slightly higher grades at a T20, although I imagine your school places a little better than mine into biglaw). Where are you aiming? Big/medium/small market? I think you should be emailing partners and trying to do coffee with them. Meet as many people as you can now. Don't mass mail them and just be like, "Hai, I want to work at yer furm!" but actually try to meet with them and connect. I've already gotten one interview out of this, and every single attorney has said something to the effect of, "You're doing the right thing right now meeting with people like me." My goal has been to do coffee with one attorney a week this summer in my mid-market, and I think that doing so has helped me to gain information about the firm and has even lead to having a good word put in and a resume forwarded to the hiring committee before OCI. It is something I plan to do for the remainder of the summer, and I think it is the kind of thing that can help a person in our shoes.


Can you talk about who you're e-mailing specifically? Partners/associates/etc.? Also, what's the gist of what you're writing in your e-mail to set up informational interviews? What are you including in your e-mail? How are you scheduling informational interviews around your summer job?

Sorry for the barrage of questions, but I hear this is a very helpful tactic and I just have no idea how to go about it.

For starters, my summer job is very lax, and I have the freedom to come and go when I need to. That is a big help in doing things like this.

Generally, I look for partners from my school, or I ask a member of the CSO or a professor. Sometimes I'll meet with an associate, and I think meeting with an associate can be especially helpful before an interview to learn about the culture of the firm, find out how they conduct interviews/callbacks, and discover things that the firm wants to hear in an interview. I met with a young associate last spring before OCI and learned a lot about the firm, and he had some good advice for interviews since he was fresh out of LS. I didn't get an interview with the firm (sad face), but if I had, I feel like I could have nailed it. In general, though, I try to meet with partners.

Still, I agree with alumiguy... most associates (and even most partners) have very little say in who gets hired. I certainly would never say that networking in this way is likely to land you a job or even an interview. But if they ("they" meaning a partner) forward your resume on to the recruitment committee, or if they put in a word of some sort, your resume is less likely to get pitched (I think there was a study that showed it is 3x less likely to get put in the auto-no pile if someone , I heard that somewhere). And if someone asks you in an interview, "Why X firm?" or "What practice areas interest you at our firm?" or something of the like, you'll be able to have good answers for it, and you can say you talked to so-and-so about it. Shows you have genuine interest and didn't just read the firm website the night before.

With networking, there is often a domino effect... you meet one person, and if they like you, they'll recommend you talk to some other person they know. Then the network grows person by person. Professors are a great way of meeting people. They know a ton of attorneys and their old classmates, and they'll often take the first step in reaching out for you. Other times, I just cold email someone who went to my school. If a partner has won an alumni award at my school or if they've ever been an adjunct, that's a huge plus, because they obviously care a lot about our students. Those are the ones that typically respond. I'll PM you the general email format I'm using if you PM me.

Also, don't call it an informational interview. Call it "meeting over coffee" or something. That's what my CSO recommended to me, and it has worked well. "Informational interview" comes off as too forward... like you REALLY want a job, which we all obviously do, but you want it to stay loose and casual. You just want to play it off like you just want to learn about the firm and get their thoughts on being a lawyer in X market.

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Re: Top 25% @ T20 - What level firms, if any?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 22, 2011 11:08 am

Networking with associates can still be very helpful. You get an "inside view" to the firm, and you can speak to what you learned at your interviews. Plus, you can talk to your interviewer about how great the people at the firm are by using your contact as an example. Many interviewers will take this as a sign that you were really proactive in learning more about the firm. So, while the associate may not have much sway, the fact that you made the effort to contact them and learn more about the firm will say a lot, especially if you genuinely picked up some helpful information.

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Re: Top 25% @ T20 - What level firms, if any?

Postby alumniguy » Wed Jun 22, 2011 12:11 pm

Agree with all of this. My only caveat would be that it needs to be an organic process. One's approach to obtaining a job needs to be multi-fold, a combination of approaches is likely to yield the best results. Perhaps it is my east-coast big firm mentality that makes me skeptical, but I think networking is even more beneficial when looking for mid law/small law employment.

At the very least, this type of networking will help you learn how to speak with lawyers and get you more comfortable with meeting strangers and the types of dialogue one has on interviews.

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Re: Top 25% @ T20 - What level firms, if any?

Postby romothesavior » Wed Jun 22, 2011 12:22 pm

alumniguy wrote:Agree with all of this. My only caveat would be that it needs to be an organic process. One's approach to obtaining a job needs to be multi-fold, a combination of approaches is likely to yield the best results. Perhaps it is my east-coast big firm mentality that makes me skeptical, but I think networking is even more beneficial when looking for mid law/small law employment.

That's probably it. I'm not sitting down and shooting the shit with partners at S&C. I go to school in a relatively small legal community, and the firms I'm targeting are what I would call biglaw, but you would probably call midlaw (at least compared to where you work). And it is a Midwestern thing too, I suppose.




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