V15 Partner/OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

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Anonymous User
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Re: V15 OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 18, 2011 6:34 pm

How important are the receptions that firms host during OCI (usually the evening of the day they interviewed)? Clearly the ones that are selective about which candidates they invite are important, but what about those that invite EVERYONE on the interview schedule? Is it taken as a sign of serious disinterest if you can't make it to the event?

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Re: V15 OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 18, 2011 6:43 pm

How are your firms (or Vault firms in general) reacting to the recent economic turmoil? Any signs of hesitating in hiring full summer classes, talk of deferring associates, deals ceasing, etc.? Should c/o 2014ers feel comfortable expecting the same level of success as c/o 2013ers, more or less?

(I know you don't have a crystal ball, but I figured that someone "on the inside" might have some more well-reasoned/informed thoughts than the average panicky law student!)

memo2partner
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Re: V15 OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby memo2partner » Thu Aug 18, 2011 6:45 pm

Just to clarify, not sending a thank you letter is acceptable for callbacks? The firm I interviewed with treated me to an expensive lunch and I met with about 6 partners for almost half the day (plus the firm paid for my transportation/hotel costs). Is not sending a thank you letter the standard protocol?

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Re: V15 OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 18, 2011 6:47 pm

From your experience screening candidates, do interviewers hint that they wont be calling back by saying "well, thanks for talking to us and good luck with your job search?" I know this sounds odd, but I had one (albeit at the end of the day) where the interviewer said this and I got the sense he/she may have been implying "thanks but no thanks". My numbers/quals are highly competitive and I tend to be good with people/conversation, but this statement gave me pause.

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Re: V15 OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 18, 2011 6:56 pm

itbdvorm wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What made you pick your firm over the others in the v15?


Without getting too specific, practice groups, geography, and people (most important). If relatively equal, quality of people makes all the difference in the world.


How can you tell though? I don't believe all the nice-guy stuff about some firms...

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Re: V15 OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:07 pm

When you look at a transcript, do you calculate the GPA out to the exact value (or have someone do it for you)?

If not, do you just estimate it in your head?

Do you have official rank numbers from the school, or does someone estimate those using a normal curve?

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Re: V15 OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:16 pm

Thanks for answering questions, question about callbacks, do they actually come in waves like the best people first then trickling down to lesser candidates or is it all at once or is it different firm to firm?

edit: basically at what point should i start panicking? haha

johndhi
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Re: V15 OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby johndhi » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:50 pm

My resume is entirely West Coast, tech except for the fact that I go to law school on the East Coast (not NY). Do you think this would pose a significant problem in getting callbacks at NYC firms? My grades are top 5%, secondary journal, at a lower top 14, but I got a feeling the New Yorkers weren't having any of me. Sound reasonable?

Secondly, you might not be able to answer this, but would a firm who typically hires from significantly lower in the class (say just above median) would avoid giving a callback to me for any reason? Have heard yes from the more selective firms but nothing from the less selective firms.

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Re: V15 OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:08 pm

johndhi wrote:My resume is entirely West Coast, tech except for the fact that I go to law school on the East Coast (not NY). Do you think this would pose a significant problem in getting callbacks at NYC firms? My grades are top 5%, secondary journal, at a lower top 14, but I got a feeling the New Yorkers weren't having any of me. Sound reasonable?

Secondly, you might not be able to answer this, but would a firm who typically hires from significantly lower in the class (say just above median) would avoid giving a callback to me for any reason? Have heard yes from the more selective firms but nothing from the less selective firms.


I had somewhat worse grades at similar school, go to school in the Midwest, affirmatively said I'd never even spent much time in NYC and was only going there for the work, and I still got callbacks. NYC firms need bodies, they don't care much about whether you like the city.

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Re: V15 OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:19 pm

before you spoke about call back thank you letters - Was there no time that you called back someone that you screened after remembering their name because of a thank you email?

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Re: V15 OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 18, 2011 10:28 pm

itbdvorm wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:what do you think about sending thank you e-mails after a callback to all the partners/associates who interviewed you? i had a callback yesterday, and i haven't sent thank you e-mails, and now i am wondering if i should have and if it is too late to do so.....do you view them as annoying in a callback context? expected?


It's a neutral. I've had one e-mail ever that was good enough to potentially change our ultimate decision, and even that one didn't actually do so.

Just read more closely and realized you were referring to callback rather than OCI. Could be slightly more beneficial there as your interviewer probably isn't lumping you into a giant pool. I'd do it quickly though because by T+2 you've probably been judged already or forgotten entirely


For an OCI screener, what are your thoughts on having a well-known professor that came up in the interview email the interviewing partner?

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Re: V15 OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 18, 2011 10:56 pm

itbdvorm wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Why are grades the most important factor in firm recruiting? Law exams test a very narrow subset of skills that are only questionably related to the work environment at a law firm, and are mitigated very much by things like typing speed and subjective grading methods. One ridiculous and inexperienced professor can ruin your entire GPA.

Can people with demonstrated leadership experience and work experience for Biglaw clients in the field of law they want to work in overcome grade cutoffs?

It seems to me from my experience so far that only average performance (median grades) on typing race exams completly overrides everything else you've ever done in your life, even if you go to an upper-level T1 school, i.e. firms won't even look at other attributes on your resume that would eventually help out at a law firm (sales skills, leadership positions, corporate work team experience, knowing exactly what field you want to practice in, knowing you want to do biglaw for as long as you can and not just bounce after three years, etc.). I know that's the way things often work, but I would think real-world experience is more predictive of future success than "performance" in the bubble of academia.


Well, maybe.

But, speaking from my personal experience, I want (and often get) both. The fact is that I get two things out of an interview that I can judge "fairly" based upon my (and my firm's) experiences - your grades and how you come across in my 20 minute snapshot of you. How do I know what skills you really have in your past lives? If your skills were so great and you were so successful, why are you taking 3 years off to go to school instead of sticking with it? How do I know how you got your impressive-sounding past job anyway? How do I know that you're telling the truth about what you want to do at a law firm? You bounced from your prior job to go to law school, how do I know you're not going to bounce from mine?

We hire the best of the best. That's our goal. Are we perfect with our standards? Of course not - there are plenty of extraordinarily successful people (in law firms and otherwise) who didn't do well enough to get hired by us. I saw a former Supreme Court clerk who wouldn't have made our grade cut first year (shocking, I know). But standards help us ensure that, of the pool we're choosing from, we're more likely to choose a better group.

It's possible to wow me and get me to try to seek an exception. But it's not easy. And having been on the other side of the law school exam paper as a TA I'll say this - there were substantial differences that I saw in people's exams. Maybe not every one every time in every class falls into that category (I'm proof of that given my own grades) but I was not surprised about where some of my former students ended up (good and bad).


Thanks. I figure a V15 firm would get the privilege of asking for both. What kinds of exceptions are we talking about here? Getting a note published? Moot court success? Raw persistence (is maintaining contact with the firm after not getting an interview stalker behavior, or does it show true interest)? Reference from your 1L job? Asking for informational interviews?

I am fairly sure I will never get top grades on a law exam simply because I think at a steady, methodical pace. I studied with people both below median and in the top 5%. Just from daily discussions and going through the results of joint practice tests, I understood and applied the material as well as anyone. I spotted all the same issues. The only difference was that I had half as many words. I knew it way better than the other people at median when going over practice problems...basically helping others understand the tough concepts. I was at school 15 hours a day between class and studying. I got an LSAT scholarship. I had my professors review practice exams during office hours and they all basically told me I was in great shape and that I would do great. Maybe they were just blowing smoke up my ass, but law schools and firms like yours make it very hard for people to stand out if you can't type fast under artificially severe time constraints. I seems it would be mutually beneficial for your firm and for students if firms like yours would start requesting that law schools assess their students' abilities through a more diverse and valid set of exams. Grades could definitely be made more meaningful. I keep hearing that associate turnover is a problem, so it makes me think the current system isn't working. But maybe law firms' business model is to just hire a bunch of people quickly and let the situation sort itself out.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Aug 18, 2011 11:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: V15 OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 18, 2011 11:27 pm

How would you or your firm view a candidate who was already admitted to practice law in the state he or she was interviewing in (by virtue of having a foreign law degree but then choosing to pursue a JD)? Would this be viewed suspiciously or as a benefit?

Thanks very much for answering questions!

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Re: V15 OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 19, 2011 4:10 am

Have you ever recommended a callback for a candidate with a noteworthy GPA drop their second semester -- a drop that took them from well within your firm's range to below it? If so, what helped them overcome their grades? If not, is there anything that might help you to overlook the grade drop? Assume there was not a medical reason or anything similar.

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Re: V15 OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby itbdvorm » Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
itbdvorm wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What made you pick your firm over the others in the v15?


Without getting too specific, practice groups, geography, and people (most important). If relatively equal, quality of people makes all the difference in the world.


Do you have any suggestions about questions to ask/things to pay attention to in terms of trying to gauge the true work culture/employee satisfaction of a firm at the callback stage?


It's usually pretty clear in my mind. Check out partner/associate interactions, random people walking by in the halls, etc. Big differences

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Re: V15 OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby itbdvorm » Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:How important are the receptions that firms host during OCI (usually the evening of the day they interviewed)? Clearly the ones that are selective about which candidates they invite are important, but what about those that invite EVERYONE on the interview schedule? Is it taken as a sign of serious disinterest if you can't make it to the event?


I don't think so, though I'd send an apologetic email to recruiting if I couldn't make it. I think those events you can either wow or destroy yourself, but not much in between.

itbdvorm
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Re: V15 OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby itbdvorm » Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:How are your firms (or Vault firms in general) reacting to the recent economic turmoil? Any signs of hesitating in hiring full summer classes, talk of deferring associates, deals ceasing, etc.? Should c/o 2014ers feel comfortable expecting the same level of success as c/o 2013ers, more or less?

(I know you don't have a crystal ball, but I figured that someone "on the inside" might have some more well-reasoned/informed thoughts than the average panicky law student!)


Not too much happening on that front here. This turmoil seems more like a hiccup than a true economic crisis a la 2008. I'm not overly worried (yet). Though deals are going on hold a bunch as people wait and see what's happening.

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Re: V15 OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby itbdvorm » Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:18 pm

memo2partner wrote:Just to clarify, not sending a thank you letter is acceptable for callbacks? The firm I interviewed with treated me to an expensive lunch and I met with about 6 partners for almost half the day (plus the firm paid for my transportation/hotel costs). Is not sending a thank you letter the standard protocol?


Again, I don't care. Others may. But a thank you letter / email to me is almost certainly coming after I've made my decision anyway

itbdvorm
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Re: V15 OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby itbdvorm » Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:From your experience screening candidates, do interviewers hint that they wont be calling back by saying "well, thanks for talking to us and good luck with your job search?" I know this sounds odd, but I had one (albeit at the end of the day) where the interviewer said this and I got the sense he/she may have been implying "thanks but no thanks". My numbers/quals are highly competitive and I tend to be good with people/conversation, but this statement gave me pause.


I say good luck sometimes at the end (and sometimes not) - rarely means anything.

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Re: V15 OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby itbdvorm » Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
itbdvorm wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What made you pick your firm over the others in the v15?


Without getting too specific, practice groups, geography, and people (most important). If relatively equal, quality of people makes all the difference in the world.


How can you tell though? I don't believe all the nice-guy stuff about some firms...


You can really tell. For real. Talk to someone (anyone) a couple of years out. There are huge differences in culture (perceived and/or real) between different firms. I have immediate mental reactions to the culture of effectively every V15 firm out there and I'm sure I'm not alone

itbdvorm
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Re: V15 OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby itbdvorm » Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:When you look at a transcript, do you calculate the GPA out to the exact value (or have someone do it for you)?

If not, do you just estimate it in your head?

Do you have official rank numbers from the school, or does someone estimate those using a normal curve?


We have someone do it for us (exact value). Some schools rank, others don't. We have cutoffs based upon past experience with that school and our yields

itbdvorm
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Re: V15 OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby itbdvorm » Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:before you spoke about call back thank you letters - Was there no time that you called back someone that you screened after remembering their name because of a thank you email?


Never.

itbdvorm
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Re: V15 OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby itbdvorm » Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for answering questions, question about callbacks, do they actually come in waves like the best people first then trickling down to lesser candidates or is it all at once or is it different firm to firm?

edit: basically at what point should i start panicking? haha


Tough call on this one. Definitely different firm to firm. I think we have had "waitlists" in the past but I don't think we do this year, but others certainly may still. I suspect some less-selective firms may be doing things. Don't panic, but do be realistic, talk to career services, consider other markets, and move quickly. Don't stick your head in the sand and pray.

itbdvorm
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Re: V15 OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby itbdvorm » Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:29 pm

johndhi wrote:My resume is entirely West Coast, tech except for the fact that I go to law school on the East Coast (not NY). Do you think this would pose a significant problem in getting callbacks at NYC firms? My grades are top 5%, secondary journal, at a lower top 14, but I got a feeling the New Yorkers weren't having any of me. Sound reasonable?

Secondly, you might not be able to answer this, but would a firm who typically hires from significantly lower in the class (say just above median) would avoid giving a callback to me for any reason? Have heard yes from the more selective firms but nothing from the less selective firms.


I generally agree w/the anonymous poster that followed you - NY is such a big market, and so many firms have such huge classes, that I don't think a lack of prior NY experience is much of a detriment. Depends I guess on interviewer/firm/you, but shouldn't be the true cause. Might be another reason (do you seem to want to do tech stuff and they do it? too public interest-y?)

On the second point...maybe. Do you not seem interested in them? If a firm only has X number of callback slots available they may not want to waste one on you if it's too obvious they're a "safety" choice. This is actually one of the rare scenarios that I'll take back my "no point to a thank you" - if you're a seemingly "overqualified" candidate but with real interest it could be a good move to send your interviewer a "great speaking with you, really liked learning about blah blah, would love the opportunity to meet more of your colleagues and discuss your preeminent blah blah practice" or something to that effect

itbdvorm
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Re: V15 OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby itbdvorm » Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
itbdvorm wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:what do you think about sending thank you e-mails after a callback to all the partners/associates who interviewed you? i had a callback yesterday, and i haven't sent thank you e-mails, and now i am wondering if i should have and if it is too late to do so.....do you view them as annoying in a callback context? expected?


It's a neutral. I've had one e-mail ever that was good enough to potentially change our ultimate decision, and even that one didn't actually do so.

Just read more closely and realized you were referring to callback rather than OCI. Could be slightly more beneficial there as your interviewer probably isn't lumping you into a giant pool. I'd do it quickly though because by T+2 you've probably been judged already or forgotten entirely


For an OCI screener, what are your thoughts on having a well-known professor that came up in the interview email the interviewing partner?


Sounds a bit weird. Is this a professsor that the interviewer knows (personally, not by reputation)? What would professor email about?




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