Feedback? Firm Interviews

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Anonymous User
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Feedback? Firm Interviews

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 06, 2011 1:42 pm

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Last edited by Anonymous User on Sun Aug 07, 2011 5:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Cupidity
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Re: Feedback? Firm Interviews

Postby Cupidity » Sat Aug 06, 2011 2:02 pm

1. The health law, wrong office thing, was totally a misstep on your part, and you shouldn't blame the interviewer for your failure to adequately prepare.

2. This sounded pretty strange, totally her fault.

3. He was probably just trying to get a chat going, I wouldn't sweat it.

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Grizz
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Re: Feedback? Firm Interviews

Postby Grizz » Sat Aug 06, 2011 2:11 pm

Cupidity wrote:1. The health law, wrong office thing, was totally a misstep on your part, and you shouldn't blame the interviewer for your failure to adequately prepare.

2. This sounded pretty strange, totally her fault.

3. He was probably just trying to get a chat going, I wouldn't sweat it.

Agree with this assessment. Learn from your experience in re #1. That wa entirely your fault. When she asked if that was what you were interested exclusively, that was you chance to save yourself.

TooOld4This
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Re: Feedback? Firm Interviews

Postby TooOld4This » Sat Aug 06, 2011 4:50 pm


I told one interviewer I was really interested in health care law, and how I saw on their website they had a practice area dealing with the type of healthcare specialties that I have experience in (federal regulations, medicaid, etc.). So she asked me, "Are you completely sure that is what you want to do?" So of course I reply, "Yes, I am really interested in it." I couldn't believe the next thing she said: "oh well, our office in X (not the one I applied for) handles that. Perhaps this isn't a good fit." Basically, she set me up. Instead of telling me upfront, "our office in Y doesn't handle that, are you open to other practice areas?" she didn't give me a chance, and it seemed intentional, like a trap! BY the way, I do have an interest in other practice areas, it's just that I just finished 1L and only have my current internship to inform my interests. I'm genuinely open to learning about other fields. I have extensive experience in other fields from before law school.


This was a major misstep on your part. If you state that you have a niche interest, you need to be very sure that the firm and office you are applying for actually has substantive work in that field. When she asked if you were sure that is what you wanted to do, that was your clue that you needed to broaden your interests.

In a way it was a "trap" -- but a fair one. You are looking for a job -- pretty much any job, it sounds like. Firms are looking for people that are interested in working for them. They have way too many candidates for the spots they have available. One way to weed through them is to find out who is really interested in what they do. Spoon feeding you the answers isn't going accomplish what they need it to accomplish. You put yourself out there that you wanted to practice X. They asked if you were sure you wanted to practice X. You said yes. They don't do X where you applied. That means you aren't a good fit, or at least are not as good of a fit as other candidates.

If you don't really care about practicing X, then don't hang your hat on it. It can backfire, as you have learned (unfortunately the hard way). However, if that is what you really do want to practice, then you need to dig a little deeper and find out what firms and offices really do what you want to do. In the long-run, finding a firm you fit well with is good for you too.

Anonymous User wrote:Also, she mentioned she was chair of diversity committee and went on about what she does in that role. I personally don't really care about that sort of thing. But, I asked her how her firm stacks up in terms of its diversity, just because it seemed like a good topic since she was really into it. She says, well any firm will tell you the same thing, but you really need to be on site to truly know how diverse a firm is. What the heck?!?!? I am not in a position to be on site--she, however, is. That is why I asked her.


Without all the context, I'm not sure what to make of this. Based upon the above, and the fact that you said you don't really care about this sort of thing, I'm guessing the interviewer had written you off already. It is also possible that your question and her response are not quite the way you have portrayed them. Assuming she wasn't actually intending to be hostile, I'm guessing that you asked a question about numbers (stacking up) and she was trying to let you know that rankings/numbers doesn't really capture how a firm handles diversity issues. My guess is that she was trying to say that while her firm may not have the top numbers, the culture is a good one and that you would get that sense if you visited or were a summer associate. In other words, she was probably trying to draw a distinction between tangible and intangible measurements.

Anonymous User wrote:At another interview, the interviewer asked me which class was my favorite, and I replied conlaw (I got a very high grade in this as well). He started asking me (IMO) questions about obscure current events involving conlaw. I felt uninformed, having to say I haven't heard of either one, but asking him to tell me about it. To the contrary, I always keep up with the news, listening to NPR on my iphone, reading Washington Post online, etc.


A couple of possibilities:
1. The events aren't as obscure as you think.
2. He was working on/recently read about such issues and was just making conversation.
3. He was trying to see how you handle tough questions.

The best response to any of these scenarios would have simply been to say you weren't familiar with those issues but that they sounded interesting and make you wish that your conlaw class had focused more on current issues. The fact that you felt uninformed is a redflag -- you need to accept pretty quickly that you don't know much about anything legal. Don't over-reach when you answer questions and don't worry when you are asked something you don't know. Part of getting more senior attorneys to trust you is demonstrating to them that you know when you are out of your depth. Some attorneys "test" for this sort of thing in interviews.

Don't let these interviews rattle you. It is entirely possible that you will get callbacks from both of these and not get one from an interview you are sure you nailed. Learn from your mistakes and keep plugging away.

Good luck.

Anonymous User
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Re: Feedback? Firm Interviews

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 06, 2011 7:12 pm

Thanks for the replies. The site doesn't say which office handles which practice area, so I am not really sure how I could have prepared other than calling or emailing ahead of time. But I definitely should have been more cautious in how I stated my interest.

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YourCaptain
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Re: Feedback? Firm Interviews

Postby YourCaptain » Sat Aug 06, 2011 7:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for the replies. The site doesn't say which office handles which practice area, so I am not really sure how I could have prepared other than calling or emailing ahead of time. But I definitely should have been more cautious in how I stated my interest.


NALP is your friend for this stuff. Also, pro-tip: NPR is best between 7:30-9am for hearing about weird legal news - did they talk about the Vermont nuclear reactors or something like that?

TooOld4This
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Re: Feedback? Firm Interviews

Postby TooOld4This » Sat Aug 06, 2011 7:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for the replies. The site doesn't say which office handles which practice area, so I am not really sure how I could have prepared other than calling or emailing ahead of time. But I definitely should have been more cautious in how I stated my interest.


It's actually not that hard. NALP very often breaks it down. If it doesn't, the firm's own website will generally list partners that practice in a specialty. Their information will tell you what office they are in.

And if you are really that interested in a niche area, you should be contacting the firm directly and asking about it. This is part of the networking and groundwork that should be done 1L year.

If mentioning a niche isn't really because you are passionate about the niche, but to try get a "hook" into the firm, then, as you have learned, you need to proceed with caution. If you aren't really committed to a particular practice area then you should hedge when mentioning it -- say that it, among other practice areas interest you. Not only can you wind up mentioning the wrong practice group for an office, you can also mention one that is thriving, but is not looking to add new associates.




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