Interview response

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Anonymous User
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Interview response

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:55 pm

Posting anonymously because I don't want potential interviewers to associate me with this particular thought process and response.

So lets say you're interview for a specific, boring section of law such as patent law or tax law. The interviewer asks, "So why do you want to become a lawyer to work in [given boring section]?"

I want to work in [given area] for the same reason everyone else does - opportunity (a better word for money). I have the skill for [area], and I'm good at it. Now lets be honest here. When kids are 6, they dream about becoming astronauts, firefighters, or NBA/NFL/sports stars. When you get older, you may have a calling to defend the voiceless and poor, to protect the environment, or to run for office. Sure. But no one ever dreams about growing up to push papers to the USPTO or to audit thousands of receipts for the rest of their lives and figure out which of the billions of tax laws apply to them. I mean this is a broken question with only one answer - anyone who gives you some story about how this is their lifelong calling is full of BS. [insert concluding statements here - I can't really think of them specifically right now but they continue on with the same general idea]

Any thoughts on this as a response? Auto-ding? Impressed by your ability to see the broken question?

johndhi
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Re: Interview response

Postby johndhi » Sun Jul 31, 2011 6:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Posting anonymously because I don't want potential interviewers to associate me with this particular thought process and response.

So lets say you're interview for a specific, boring section of law such as patent law or tax law. The interviewer asks, "So why do you want to become a lawyer to work in [given boring section]?"

I want to work in [given area] for the same reason everyone else does - opportunity (a better word for money). I have the skill for [area], and I'm good at it. Now lets be honest here. When kids are 6, they dream about becoming astronauts, firefighters, or NBA/NFL/sports stars. When you get older, you may have a calling to defend the voiceless and poor, to protect the environment, or to run for office. Sure. But no one ever dreams about growing up to push papers to the USPTO or to audit thousands of receipts for the rest of their lives and figure out which of the billions of tax laws apply to them. I mean this is a broken question with only one answer - anyone who gives you some story about how this is their lifelong calling is full of BS. [insert concluding statements here - I can't really think of them specifically right now but they continue on with the same general idea]

Any thoughts on this as a response? Auto-ding? Impressed by your ability to see the broken question?


I hate the response - and it makes me want to hate you - for at least the following reasons:

1. You just sound like a jerk. Don't tell someone you supposedly respect they have asked you a "broken question," or to "be honest here." "Opportunity" is not a better word for money, and money is not a good reason to tell someone you're interested in a particular area of law. I'm not going to go much more into this, but your wording is seriously off-base. Actually, it's just base.

2. I don't agree with your conclusion or the assumptions you make. I, personally, am excited to be a lawyer. I'm probably not going to do patent law, but I think it is extremely interesting - it's a mix of almost all the modern fields of study our species is interested in. It's cutting edge, important and meaningful. The same goes for taxation -it's the basis of our society, ever-evolving and particularly important considering the government's recent budget troubles. Not every kid wants to be an astronaut - I know I didn't. It was doctor or lawyer; having seen the ins and outs of Big Pharma, I'm not going to be a doctor.

traydeuce
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Re: Interview response

Postby traydeuce » Sun Jul 31, 2011 6:08 pm

I am happy to let potential interviewers disassociate me with your thought process and response; that is a terrible answer. No one will be impressed by your ability to see that it's a "broken question." I'm not a patent or tax guy myself, but there are so many patent and tax lawyers out there who genuinely love patent or tax, and I can see why; these are intellectually rewarding fields. People who lack zeal for tax or patent won't do a good job at it, so telling them you're in that area of the law for the money will, among other things, cause doubts that you'd be a good tax lawyer. It would also, I think, make you seem autistically honest, and it also shows you can't even understand a simple question, because no one asked you why you wanted to be a tax lawyer since you were six years old, or suggested that you did, or equated wanting to be a tax lawyer now with wanting to be one when you were six and didn't know what one was. I mean, most astrophysicists are really into astrophysics, I assume, but they didn't want to be in astrophysics when they were little children, not because defending the poor/being firefighters is their true calling, but because they didn't get what astrophysics was at the time. Yes, no one "dreams" of being a tax lawyer, but people think about how fun it would be to be a tax lawyer for reasons that have nothing to do with the money and everything to do with their enjoyment of arcane minutiae.

LogosEther
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Re: Interview response

Postby LogosEther » Sun Jul 31, 2011 6:15 pm

If you're interviewing with the firms where I want to work, then please, go ahead and use it.

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BaiAilian2013
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Re: Interview response

Postby BaiAilian2013 » Sun Jul 31, 2011 6:16 pm

It's not a broken question. They're probably trying to screen out people like you.

No offense, but you see what I'm saying. Some people DO want to do this shit. So given the choice, they want that person.

traydeuce
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Re: Interview response

Postby traydeuce » Sun Jul 31, 2011 6:20 pm

I would just add that, even on your own terms, what you're saying makes no sense. If it's JUST about money, why patent or tax? There are other profitable areas of the law - so did you pick this randomly? I doubt it. What's more likely the case is that you thought you'd be good at patent or tax, better at it than litigation or m&a or whatever. So why don't you at least, if you can't bring yourself to say that these things interest you, say that you chose tax because you thought your skills suited you for tax, and explain why? That might actually be helpful.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Interview response

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sun Jul 31, 2011 6:27 pm

When you get older, you may have a calling to defend the voiceless and poor, to protect the environment, or to run for office. Sure. But no one ever dreams about growing up to push papers to the USPTO or to audit thousands of receipts for the rest of their lives and figure out which of the billions of tax laws apply to them.

Do not say this.
Auto-ding?

Yes, probably.

Look, lots of people are in biglaw just for the money and would prefer to do other things. It doesn't mean that law firms are all in on the joke and think they're doing unimportant, tedious, or ethically bankrupt work. And even if your interviewer does think this, s/he still does not want to hire people who openly feel this way about the work.

Maybe you ought to seriously reconsider applying for these jobs if you find it this hard to say something positive about them. I mean that sincerely; few people have the luxury of loving their jobs, but if you think it's completely implausible that anyone might want to go into this work, why do it?

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smokyroom26
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Re: Interview response

Postby smokyroom26 » Sun Jul 31, 2011 6:35 pm

Yeesh. Get off TLS, my friend, and do some serious thinking about what it is you are doing with your life.

I mean, there's always room for a little bit of raining-on-the-lawl-parade, but you sound awfully cynical. If you view a potential job as a quasi-death sentence coupling you inexorably to a life of meaningless paper-pushing...oof.

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dood
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Re: Interview response

Postby dood » Sun Jul 31, 2011 7:51 pm

BaiAilian2013 wrote:It's not a broken question. They're probably trying to screen out people like you.

No offense, but you see what I'm saying. Some people DO want to do this shit. So given the choice, they want that person.


beat me to it. OP has failed and given up on life already.

Anonymous User
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Re: Interview response

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 31, 2011 9:40 pm

OP here:
wow, chill out guys.
I'm just asking about a hypothetical response - no need for the personal attacks. I've never actually used that answer. Only reason I'm asking this is because I've heard some interesting, inspiring answers to "why do you want to do this job" for other fields. I mean I've heard stories about how people become nurses to help others, cops who had someone close die by a criminal and now want to protect people, and doctors to save lives. Within law, people want to do public interest work because they are inspired to better the community. They want to influence environmental law to preserve the future for our kids. I mean tax law is even motivating if you're applying for a position where you can potentially influence taxation policies and impact society, but what about firms who primarily just fine/audit/defend a company's taxes? I'm just thinking... there's no equivalent for some of the more mundane fields. "I want to be a tax lawyer here... so I can help your company save money by paying fewer taxes." I'm not saying those fields are boring as hell and I'm going to waste away the rest of my life at them, but they're just not as motivating as other fields to participate in, and people don't normally dream of doing a lot of the entailed work that you do in those fields. Yes, they're challenging/interesting and I'm good at it, and I actually use a good version of those as my response, but those are probably the only two answers. How many variations of those two answers can a recruiter hear without hearing them all? What else can you say? I've talked to many people in the field and most describe the work as "tedious." Knowing that, what else can you say to "why do you want to do this work (that is tedious)?" other than challenging/interesting/good at it? I don't have a moving, convicting story like my friend who wanted to be a cop, and an important (but not the only) motivation is money and the potential business opportunity and challenge of working up to a partner. Would you bring up money at all?

Transferthrowaway
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Re: Interview response

Postby Transferthrowaway » Sun Jul 31, 2011 9:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here:
wow, chill out guys.
I'm just asking about a hypothetical response - no need for the personal attacks. I've never actually used that answer. Only reason I'm asking this is because I've heard some interesting, inspiring answers to "why do you want to do this job" for other fields. I mean I've heard stories about how people become nurses to help others, cops who had someone close die by a criminal and now want to protect people, and doctors to save lives. Within law, people want to do public interest work because they are inspired to better the community. They want to influence environmental law to preserve the future for our kids. I mean tax law is even motivating if you're applying for a position where you can potentially influence taxation policies and impact society, but what about firms who primarily just fine/audit/defend a company's taxes? I'm just thinking... there's no equivalent for some of the more mundane fields. "I want to be a tax lawyer here... so I can help your company save money by paying fewer taxes." I'm not saying those fields are boring as hell and I'm going to waste away the rest of my life at them, but they're just not as motivating as other fields to participate in, and people don't normally dream of doing a lot of the entailed work that you do in those fields. Yes, they're challenging/interesting and I'm good at it, and I actually use a good version of those as my response, but those are probably the only two answers. How many variations of those two answers can a recruiter hear without hearing them all? What else can you say? I've talked to many people in the field and most describe the work as "tedious." Knowing that, what else can you say to "why do you want to do this work (that is tedious)?" other than challenging/interesting/good at it? I don't have a moving, convicting story like my friend who wanted to be a cop, and an important (but not the only) motivation is money and the potential business opportunity and challenge of working up to a partner. Would you bring up money at all?


1) I hope this is a subtle flame.
2) There are people who DO find tax or patent interesting and enjoy the work.
3) I sat here for 10 seconds before I thought of a decent touchy-feely answer of the kind you're looking for to both patent and tax.
4) You're a d-bag.

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Grizz
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Re: Interview response

Postby Grizz » Sun Jul 31, 2011 9:47 pm

Is it so weird to you that some people just like tax? Do you know anything about tax? Think about what you are saying before you type it.

lawgod
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Re: Interview response

Postby lawgod » Sun Jul 31, 2011 9:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Posting anonymously because I don't want potential interviewers to associate me with this particular thought process and response.

So lets say you're interview for a specific, boring section of law such as patent law or tax law. The interviewer asks, "So why do you want to become a lawyer to work in [given boring section]?"

I want to work in [given area] for the same reason everyone else does - opportunity (a better word for money). I have the skill for [area], and I'm good at it. Now lets be honest here. When kids are 6, they dream about becoming astronauts, firefighters, or NBA/NFL/sports stars. When you get older, you may have a calling to defend the voiceless and poor, to protect the environment, or to run for office. Sure. But no one ever dreams about growing up to push papers to the USPTO or to audit thousands of receipts for the rest of their lives and figure out which of the billions of tax laws apply to them. I mean this is a broken question with only one answer - anyone who gives you some story about how this is their lifelong calling is full of BS. [insert concluding statements here - I can't really think of them specifically right now but they continue on with the same general idea]

Any thoughts on this as a response? Auto-ding? Impressed by your ability to see the broken question?


I've said stupider things in my day. Even on this site.

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Naked Dude
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Re: Interview response

Postby Naked Dude » Sun Jul 31, 2011 9:53 pm

We've got an aspie

Transferthrowaway
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Re: Interview response

Postby Transferthrowaway » Sun Jul 31, 2011 9:56 pm

.
Last edited by Transferthrowaway on Tue Oct 11, 2011 7:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Grizz
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Re: Interview response

Postby Grizz » Sun Jul 31, 2011 10:05 pm

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

traydeuce
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Re: Interview response

Postby traydeuce » Sun Jul 31, 2011 10:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here:
wow, chill out guys.
I'm just asking about a hypothetical response - no need for the personal attacks. I've never actually used that answer. Only reason I'm asking this is because I've heard some interesting, inspiring answers to "why do you want to do this job" for other fields. I mean I've heard stories about how people become nurses to help others, cops who had someone close die by a criminal and now want to protect people, and doctors to save lives. Within law, people want to do public interest work because they are inspired to better the community. They want to influence environmental law to preserve the future for our kids. I mean tax law is even motivating if you're applying for a position where you can potentially influence taxation policies and impact society, but what about firms who primarily just fine/audit/defend a company's taxes? I'm just thinking... there's no equivalent for some of the more mundane fields. "I want to be a tax lawyer here... so I can help your company save money by paying fewer taxes." I'm not saying those fields are boring as hell and I'm going to waste away the rest of my life at them, but they're just not as motivating as other fields to participate in, and people don't normally dream of doing a lot of the entailed work that you do in those fields. Yes, they're challenging/interesting and I'm good at it, and I actually use a good version of those as my response, but those are probably the only two answers. How many variations of those two answers can a recruiter hear without hearing them all? What else can you say? I've talked to many people in the field and most describe the work as "tedious." Knowing that, what else can you say to "why do you want to do this work (that is tedious)?" other than challenging/interesting/good at it? I don't have a moving, convicting story like my friend who wanted to be a cop, and an important (but not the only) motivation is money and the potential business opportunity and challenge of working up to a partner. Would you bring up money at all?


You're conflating a story that's moving, a story about doing good, with an answer that explains why you want to do tax. It's as if you think the only really valid reason to want to do something is to help people. None of these tax lawyers who interview you think that way, obviously, or they wouldn't be in tax, so they won't mind when you fail to come up with some crazy explanation about how you want to do tax law to help save puppies. Tell them why it interests you. You say a recruiter will have heard that a million times; quite so. But the goal isn't to distinguish yourself with every word you say - just to seem like a capable guy they'd like working with, for the most part. And if you give a good answer about why it interests you, you may distinguish yourself. If there's some particular nuance that you're especially into, talk about that.




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