i apparently suck at interviewing / kirkland advice

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Anonymous User
Posts: 273601
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

i apparently suck at interviewing / kirkland advice

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 12:31 pm

so i'm at nyu, and i had A LOT of screeners through eiw. my gpa isn't awesome, but it's above median by a bit, and many of the firms i interviewed with were definitely within target. i ended up with 4 callbacks, 2 of which are now rejections. i've already done the other two, and although i feel they went well, their class sizes aren't that large. i think i'm in danger of striking out.

that all said, i'm trying to figure out what's gone wrong with my interviews. aside from a couple interviews where i just couldn't get a rhythm going, overall none of them were awkward. they were normal conversations, mostly based on my resume. i always have questions prepared and (i think) i've been successful in keeping that part conversational, too.

i'm not sure what's tripping me up, but i think it might be one or more of the following:
- i majored in an artistic field. that background naturally led me to law, and i answer the "why law" question honestly, but i'm not sure if i should be spinning this in a different way.
- i am a few years out of undergrad, and what i did in between has nothing to do with art or law. it makes for interesting conversation, but i'm not sure if it's also hurting me.
- my resume otherwise looks very public-interesty, and i have been asked flat out why i am not pursuing a public interest position. what does one say to this, other than it is not my primary interest, and i am much more interested in private practice for x, y, and z reasons?
- maybe i need to be more aggressive in selling myself. i have always been told to take the interviewer's lead, which is what i've been doing. i do try to throw it bits about my experience, but i feel like i can only do this o a point without making it weird. maybe i need to do it anyway?
- ??? maybe i just suck.

when i got my second post-cb rejection letter yesterday, i basically went into freak out mode. i've already managed to land another screener with kirkland, and i feel like i REALLY need to nail it. it's starting to get late in the game, but i'm not ready to give up hope yet. anyone have any advice about how to overcome the above points or any other thoughts on why i might be bombing? anything geared towards kirkland specifically would be very much appreciated.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273601
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: i apparently suck at interviewing / kirkland advice

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 12:42 pm

I e-mailed somebody that rejected me at an OCI screener and asked him how I could improve my interview skills. He wound up calling me and giving me constructive criticism for almost an hour. I'd highly recommend it.

User avatar
Aberzombie1892
Posts: 1907
Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2009 10:56 am

Re: i apparently suck at interviewing / kirkland advice

Postby Aberzombie1892 » Wed Sep 14, 2011 12:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I e-mailed somebody that rejected me at an OCI screener and asked him how I could improve my interview skills. He wound up calling me and giving me constructive criticism for almost an hour. I'd highly recommend it.


+100

Anonymous User
Posts: 273601
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: i apparently suck at interviewing / kirkland advice

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 12:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:so i'm at nyu, and i had A LOT of screeners through eiw. my gpa isn't awesome, but it's above median by a bit, and many of the firms i interviewed with were definitely within target. i ended up with 4 callbacks, 2 of which are now rejections. i've already done the other two, and although i feel they went well, their class sizes aren't that large. i think i'm in danger of striking out.

that all said, i'm trying to figure out what's gone wrong with my interviews. aside from a couple interviews where i just couldn't get a rhythm going, overall none of them were awkward. they were normal conversations, mostly based on my resume. i always have questions prepared and (i think) i've been successful in keeping that part conversational, too.

i'm not sure what's tripping me up, but i think it might be one or more of the following:
- i majored in an artistic field. that background naturally led me to law, and i answer the "why law" question honestly, but i'm not sure if i should be spinning this in a different way.
- i am a few years out of undergrad, and what i did in between has nothing to do with art or law. it makes for interesting conversation, but i'm not sure if it's also hurting me.
- my resume otherwise looks very public-interesty, and i have been asked flat out why i am not pursuing a public interest position. what does one say to this, other than it is not my primary interest, and i am much more interested in private practice for x, y, and z reasons?
- maybe i need to be more aggressive in selling myself. i have always been told to take the interviewer's lead, which is what i've been doing. i do try to throw it bits about my experience, but i feel like i can only do this o a point without making it weird. maybe i need to do it anyway?
- ??? maybe i just suck.

when i got my second post-cb rejection letter yesterday, i basically went into freak out mode. i've already managed to land another screener with kirkland, and i feel like i REALLY need to nail it. it's starting to get late in the game, but i'm not ready to give up hope yet. anyone have any advice about how to overcome the above points or any other thoughts on why i might be bombing? anything geared towards kirkland specifically would be very much appreciated.


I have an offer outstanding at a kirkland office on the west coast, fwiw. From speaking with their attorneys (I have a few friends there), they're looking for someone who expresses a genuine interest in their work, and who isn't afraid to put in the hours. It's a free market system, so if you aren't proactive and going out and getting work, you won't have any work to do. I'd talk about how the free-market approach is appealing, as that's one thing that's (relatively) unique about them.

Other than that, Kirkland typically has a pretty conservative (read: stuffy) reputation, which is only somewhat deserved. However, I don't know how this translates to NY, since I'm out on the west coast and a lot of the firms out here are more casual than their NY counterparts.

I don't think you can walk into an interview and try to force anything. I think if you're getting public interest questions, find something to say about how you find private practice appealing (challenging cases, cutting edge clients, etc) and how that's been your focus throughout law school, etc.

Good luck and relax! you'll get something.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273601
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: i apparently suck at interviewing / kirkland advice

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:02 pm

I am also at NYU and have had a similar experience, and I think a perceived public interest orientation/general do-gooder background has harmed me no matter how I've tried to disclaim it. Sorry I don't have much advice but just a little commiseration. You might want to run your spiel by the OCS folks and see what they think, in terms of whether you're giving credible reasons for private practice. I have found them very helpful, in contrast to the stuff you hear about a lot of schools' OCS staffs.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273601
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: i apparently suck at interviewing / kirkland advice

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:04 pm

i had a late screener interview at kirkland as well and landed a cb. obviously it depends on who you meet with, but after doing a good job of answering the questions they ask of you, i'd try and ask some kirkland specific questions. i met only with partners, but i asked them about their transition from law school to associate life, how they felt the free-market system shaped their interests/practice, the pros and cons of the system, etc. once i asked one of those questions it opened it up and pretty soon we were talking about non-k&e topics.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273601
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: i apparently suck at interviewing / kirkland advice

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:49 pm

How'd you manage to land another screener?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273601
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: i apparently suck at interviewing / kirkland advice

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 4:16 pm

nyu as well. a part of the reason i went to law school, which i tell my interviewers, is because i wanted to do education policy work. If they then ask why big law, i start talking about my interests in public interest make it imperative that i go to a firm that has a strong pro bono practice (they love this) and that i feel like a big law firm provides the best of both worlds (pro bono and the ability to practice at an extremely high level.)

Anonymous User
Posts: 273601
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: i apparently suck at interviewing / kirkland advice

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 4:42 pm

Hi fellow NYUer!

Firstly, how many screeners is a lot? If a lot of them were in a secondary market or something that could partially explain away what looks like a low callback to screener ratio. They say that for a lot of secondary markets it's going to be the same 10-20 people in your class who get all the callbacks at the firms from that city, so that could create a whole batch of rejections for you that were about grades or ties instead of interviewing skills.

I have a public interest-y background too and I was really worried about it, but interviewers haven't seemed too put off - I've definitely never been asked why I'm not going after PI instead of private practice. The major thing I do to disassociate myself is explain, as soon as I have the opportunity to talk about that stuff on my resume, why that career path was wrong for me for the same reasons that law is right. I've also said a couple times that I realized you don't have to devote your life to a do-gooder career in order to do good, which seems to go down well (probably for fairly obvious psychological reasons).

Anonymous User
Posts: 273601
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: i apparently suck at interviewing / kirkland advice

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 5:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Hi fellow NYUer!

Firstly, how many screeners is a lot? If a lot of them were in a secondary market or something that could partially explain away what looks like a low callback to screener ratio. They say that for a lot of secondary markets it's going to be the same 10-20 people in your class who get all the callbacks at the firms from that city, so that could create a whole batch of rejections for you that were about grades or ties instead of interviewing skills.

I have a public interest-y background too and I was really worried about it, but interviewers haven't seemed too put off - I've definitely never been asked why I'm not going after PI instead of private practice. The major thing I do to disassociate myself is explain, as soon as I have the opportunity to talk about that stuff on my resume, why that career path was wrong for me for the same reasons that law is right. I've also said a couple times that I realized you don't have to devote your life to a do-gooder career in order to do good, which seems to go down well (probably for fairly obvious psychological reasons).


+1

the last part in particular is a great response. i actually got this question for the first time at a CB today and think i answered it pretty well (as i have been prepared for it based on the extensive public service work on my resume), but it would've been nice to have thrown something like that in my answer, as well.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273601
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: i apparently suck at interviewing / kirkland advice

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 5:43 pm

FWIW, I suspect that my public interest-heavy resume has seriously crippled my legal job search too. I'm at a T2, so obviously my options were never anywhere near as good as OP, but I'm top 10%, on a journal, and have pretty good work experience (but I'm not an elderly person or anything-still under 30).

Long story short, I applied for screeners at about 25 firms, and only got screening interviews at 5 of them. (in a 100% preselect system.) I see plenty of my colleagues with far lower GPAs, no journal, and fresh out of undergrad getting 10-15 screeners. There are no typos or grammatical errors in my application materials.

I think I'm just too much of a commie on paper.

User avatar
YourCaptain
Posts: 719
Joined: Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:26 pm

Re: i apparently suck at interviewing / kirkland advice

Postby YourCaptain » Wed Sep 14, 2011 5:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:nyu as well. a part of the reason i went to law school, which i tell my interviewers, is because i wanted to do education policy work. If they then ask why big law, i start talking about my interests in public interest make it imperative that i go to a firm that has a strong pro bono practice (they love this) and that i feel like a big law firm provides the best of both worlds (pro bono and the ability to practice at an extremely high level.)


No, they really don't.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273601
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: i apparently suck at interviewing / kirkland advice

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 5:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I e-mailed somebody that rejected me at an OCI screener and asked him how I could improve my interview skills. He wound up calling me and giving me constructive criticism for almost an hour. I'd highly recommend it.


I would also recommend this. The interviewer I talked with more or less told me this:

Anonymous User wrote:maybe i need to be more aggressive in selling myself. i have always been told to take the interviewer's lead, which is what i've been doing. i do try to throw it bits about my experience, but i feel like i can only do this o a point without making it weird. maybe i need to do it anyway?

User avatar
Heartford
Posts: 430
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 9:02 pm

Re: i apparently suck at interviewing / kirkland advice

Postby Heartford » Wed Sep 14, 2011 5:52 pm

YourCaptain wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:nyu as well. a part of the reason i went to law school, which i tell my interviewers, is because i wanted to do education policy work. If they then ask why big law, i start talking about my interests in public interest make it imperative that i go to a firm that has a strong pro bono practice (they love this) and that i feel like a big law firm provides the best of both worlds (pro bono and the ability to practice at an extremely high level.)


No, they really don't.


+1. This goes against what I've heard too- mentioning Pro Bono can be a serious red flag.

While some people hear you say "I am very interested in Pro Bono work," others hear, "I want to work here not because of your strong, flagship practice area or your firm culture, but because I'm interested in the kind of work this firm just sort of does on the side, when it has time."

User avatar
rayiner
Posts: 6184
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2008 11:43 am

Re: i apparently suck at interviewing / kirkland advice

Postby rayiner » Wed Sep 14, 2011 6:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I e-mailed somebody that rejected me at an OCI screener and asked him how I could improve my interview skills. He wound up calling me and giving me constructive criticism for almost an hour. I'd highly recommend it.


I would also recommend this. The interviewer I talked with more or less told me this:

Anonymous User wrote:maybe i need to be more aggressive in selling myself. i have always been told to take the interviewer's lead, which is what i've been doing. i do try to throw it bits about my experience, but i feel like i can only do this o a point without making it weird. maybe i need to do it anyway?


Particularly with Kirkland, you need to come across as polite-smiling-aggressive.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273601
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: i apparently suck at interviewing / kirkland advice

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 6:03 pm

YourCaptain wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:nyu as well. a part of the reason i went to law school, which i tell my interviewers, is because i wanted to do education policy work. If they then ask why big law, i start talking about my interests in public interest make it imperative that i go to a firm that has a strong pro bono practice (they love this) and that i feel like a big law firm provides the best of both worlds (pro bono and the ability to practice at an extremely high level.)


No, they really don't.

Lol. Indeed. I was surprised to read the bolded stuff as well. Friend of mine with stellar credentials (ranked 1st at T2, superlative higher ed achievement, significant WE) and a million offers told me that this one v10 firm was absolutely thrilled to discuss pro bono and really prided itself on it, with partners bragging about how much probono work they did, etc. He got an offer from them, so obviously they didn't mind his intense interest in the matter. For the rest of us mere mortals, I suggest you keep the topic to a minimum. Firms want the probono reputation, but they are hiring you to bill your every waking moment to paying clients, not to save the world on their dime.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273601
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: i apparently suck at interviewing / kirkland advice

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 6:27 pm

rayiner wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I e-mailed somebody that rejected me at an OCI screener and asked him how I could improve my interview skills. He wound up calling me and giving me constructive criticism for almost an hour. I'd highly recommend it.


I would also recommend this. The interviewer I talked with more or less told me this:

Anonymous User wrote:maybe i need to be more aggressive in selling myself. i have always been told to take the interviewer's lead, which is what i've been doing. i do try to throw it bits about my experience, but i feel like i can only do this o a point without making it weird. maybe i need to do it anyway?


Particularly with Kirkland, you need to come across as polite-smiling-aggressive.


the best kind; at least theyre straight with you

Anonymous User
Posts: 273601
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: i apparently suck at interviewing / kirkland advice

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
YourCaptain wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:nyu as well. a part of the reason i went to law school, which i tell my interviewers, is because i wanted to do education policy work. If they then ask why big law, i start talking about my interests in public interest make it imperative that i go to a firm that has a strong pro bono practice (they love this) and that i feel like a big law firm provides the best of both worlds (pro bono and the ability to practice at an extremely high level.)


No, they really don't.

Lol. Indeed. I was surprised to read the bolded stuff as well. Friend of mine with stellar credentials (ranked 1st at T2, superlative higher ed achievement, significant WE) and a million offers told me that this one v10 firm was absolutely thrilled to discuss pro bono and really prided itself on it, with partners bragging about how much probono work they did, etc. He got an offer from them, so obviously they didn't mind his intense interest in the matter. For the rest of us mere mortals, I suggest you keep the topic to a minimum. Firms want the probono reputation, but they are hiring you to bill your every waking moment to paying clients, not to save the world on their dime.


OP from the "they love this." I've never ran into any problems with it and have done well. Granted that may be for other reasons (credentials, etc.) I should also clarify that I've been mentioning pro bono for two reasons. One, because of my interest in pro bono work. Two, because it's a great way of gaining early experience. I think the latter point is one that you should emphasize because then it eases the concerns voiced above.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273601
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: i apparently suck at interviewing / kirkland advice

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
YourCaptain wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:nyu as well. a part of the reason i went to law school, which i tell my interviewers, is because i wanted to do education policy work. If they then ask why big law, i start talking about my interests in public interest make it imperative that i go to a firm that has a strong pro bono practice (they love this) and that i feel like a big law firm provides the best of both worlds (pro bono and the ability to practice at an extremely high level.)


No, they really don't.

Lol. Indeed. I was surprised to read the bolded stuff as well. Friend of mine with stellar credentials (ranked 1st at T2, superlative higher ed achievement, significant WE) and a million offers told me that this one v10 firm was absolutely thrilled to discuss pro bono and really prided itself on it, with partners bragging about how much probono work they did, etc. He got an offer from them, so obviously they didn't mind his intense interest in the matter. For the rest of us mere mortals, I suggest you keep the topic to a minimum. Firms want the probono reputation, but they are hiring you to bill your every waking moment to paying clients, not to save the world on their dime.


OP from the "they love this." I've never ran into any problems with it and have done well. Granted that may be for other reasons (credentials, etc.) I should also clarify that I've been mentioning pro bono for two reasons. One, because of my interest in pro bono work. Two, because it's a great way of gaining early experience. I think the latter point is one that you should emphasize because then it eases the concerns voiced above.

Yes, I have also had some success in highlighting the experiential aspect of pro bono. I have done it only in places that seem to have a genuine commitment (check Chambers Associate for an idea of how to identify those who walk the walk on pro bono; there aren't that many of them).

I think potentially appropriate ways to highlight pro bono are: Way to get early experience; a way to stay active in a particular area of public interest law you have an obvious demonstrated interest in while really putting your heart and soul into private practice; important to you to use some of your resources to help those without them (this is the professional commitment that law firms are supposed to be honoring by doing pro bono).
Bad ways to highlight pro bono: I think I can do more good with a law firm's resources than in a PI organization; I can do public interest work this way on a $160,000 salary.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273601
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: i apparently suck at interviewing / kirkland advice

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:51 pm

As someone with a PI background, you need a coherent narrative to sell your entire resume.

Try to outline a common thread throughout all of your experiences. Is it client contact? Is it problem solving? Is it business strategy? Is it strong writing? Is it analytical thinking? You should have, not just an elevator speech, but a common thread about you came to law school - to do x stuff because it is a continuation of those experiences. Basically not "I have 4 jobs, 7 interests, please hire me" but "I have one set of skills (strong writing) - common to all of my previous work and law school career so far. This is reflected by the practice area interest as well. It is a strength of your firm and that's why I want to work here."

Anonymous User
Posts: 273601
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: i apparently suck at interviewing / kirkland advice

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:03 pm

OP here. thanks for all the advice, guys. i feel a little sick from how dangerously close i am to striking out, but i'm putting some of this to good use and hopefully i'll pull through.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273601
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: i apparently suck at interviewing / kirkland advice

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:10 pm

I know for a fact that your career services told you not to ask about pro bono, and not to talk about it unless it was brought up.

Anonymous User wrote:As someone with a PI background, you need a coherent narrative to sell your entire resume.

Try to outline a common thread throughout all of your experiences. Is it client contact? Is it problem solving? Is it business strategy? Is it strong writing? Is it analytical thinking? You should have, not just an elevator speech, but a common thread about you came to law school - to do x stuff because it is a continuation of those experiences. Basically not "I have 4 jobs, 7 interests, please hire me" but "I have one set of skills (strong writing) - common to all of my previous work and law school career so far. This is reflected by the practice area interest as well. It is a strength of your firm and that's why I want to work here."


this is really good advice. Work your "why law" into a statement that shows you have skills that would be helpful to a lawyer.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.