The Why Our Firm Question

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a5L
Posts: 23
Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:42 pm

The Why Our Firm Question

Postby a5L » Tue Sep 20, 2011 7:52 pm

What separates the good answers from the great ones with this question?
The firm Im interviewing with is just a very standard firm in my home market and I want to give the best answer possible.
I could not find any hugely notable cases or school alums to contact.

kahechsof
Posts: 332
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2011 7:26 pm

Re: The Why Our Firm Question

Postby kahechsof » Tue Sep 20, 2011 7:55 pm

a5L wrote:What separates the good answers from the great ones with this question?
The firm Im interviewing with is just a very standard firm in my home market and I want to give the best answer possible.
I could not find any hugely notable cases or school alums to contact.


Contact someone. If there are no alums, find an undergrad alum. If not that either, just randomly email someone.

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tfer2222
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Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:20 pm

Re: The Why Our Firm Question

Postby tfer2222 » Tue Sep 20, 2011 7:59 pm

Explain exactly why you want to be in that particular market, why the size of the office fits your preference (small=more collegiality, etc), why they have respectable practice areas that you're interested in. I think a lot of it is also in the delivery. You've got to feel genuinely excited to be there and explain why you'd love to work there with a lot of (genuine) enthusiasm.

There's also got to be something you can look up/learn and point out, like work distribution, the alleged collegiality and friendships among attorneys, their reputation in the market, early responsibility as young associate, etc.

itbdvorm
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Re: The Why Our Firm Question

Postby itbdvorm » Tue Sep 20, 2011 8:13 pm

tfer2222 wrote:Explain exactly why you want to be in that particular market, why the size of the office fits your preference (small=more collegiality, etc), why they have respectable practice areas that you're interested in. I think a lot of it is also in the delivery. You've got to feel genuinely excited to be there and explain why you'd love to work there with a lot of (genuine) enthusiasm.

There's also got to be something you can look up/learn and point out, like work distribution, the alleged collegiality and friendships among attorneys, their reputation in the market, early responsibility as young associate, etc.


+1

No firm is so generic that there aren't a few things you can say. Practice areas, specialties, reputation, work distribution, geographic scope...

Anonymous User
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Re: The Why Our Firm Question

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 20, 2011 8:23 pm

There are very few individual characteristics or attributes that separate one firm from the next. But the firm might have a combination of factors that appeal to you. Sure, lots of firms offer early responsibility to associates (or at least claim to), but not every firm combines that early responsibility with renowned training programs that lead to comprehensive development of new associates. So you take 2 or 3 things that aren't necessarily unique to that firm, and combine them with other factors to explain why that firm is the best fit. It is rarely, if ever, going to be because of one factor alone that you are interested in the firm.

Anonymous User
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Re: The Why Our Firm Question

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 20, 2011 8:44 pm

Case or Alumni? You are going to tell the interviewer you want to be at his/her firm because of reasons completely independent of them? No beuno.

"Because I want to do the best work in X market and service the best clients in X market. {Your firm] is a leader in this market- and on top of that has a reputation among the people I've spoken to as having a collegial atmosphere- extremely talented lawyers who care about the people they work with. That is what I am looking for." Then example of a place/event where having a collegial atmosphere has helped you succeed.

Anonymous User
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Re: The Why Our Firm Question

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 20, 2011 10:23 pm

If things like diversity or pro bono are important to you, and the firm is strong in those areas, you can point to those as your closing (probably not opening) comments - you can cite to awards they've won. Also, go on the website and check their "recognition" section - see what they have won awards for, etc.

enibs
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Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:28 am

Re: The Why Our Firm Question

Postby enibs » Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:50 am

There once was a time when firms thought it was their responsibility to persuade you that you wanted to work at their firm, rather than your responsibility to persuade them that you wanted to work at their firm. But times have changed, so it is good to arrive with some generic BS prepared about how they're a leader in their market, you want to work for the best, you've heard they're collegial, etc. They'll have heard it before, and it will sound hollow, but at least you'll have an answer.

A few tips for potentially better results:

1. In your first interview, when they ask if you have any questions, ask what attracted them to the firm and what keeps them there. Then parrot the answer back to any subsequent "why our firm" questions.

2. If you're going to cite a specific practice area as a reason for choosing them, make sure they actually have a substantial practice in that practice area, and be able to cite at least one matter in that practice area in which you know the firm was involved.

3. If someone at your school was a summer associate at the firm, try to have a brief conversation with said someone before your interview. Then you can say that said someone told you what a fantastic firm it was. (One caveat: best to try to ascertain whether said someone got an offer before dropping said someone's name.)

4. Do not say that you're interested in them because of their pro bono work (perhaps unless you're talking to the pro bono coordinator, but even then you should tread with caution). In case you didn't know, firms do not make money on their pro bono work. Therefore, they don't hire associates for their pro bono work. They may tolerate pro bono work, and even tout it to make themselves look and/or feel good, but if they think that's your primary interest, you won't get an offer.

Anonymous User
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Re: The Why Our Firm Question

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:36 pm

^^^^^^ is all great advice. I did all of these things, and had great results.

Remember to say it all with a genuine, engaging smile

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

Re: The Why Our Firm Question

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:28 pm

I keep it real with them and say that I want [practice area of interest], but the marketing people for all the firms sell everything the same, and that I want to get in the interview room to get a sense of the people, because that is what is most important.

I will be splitting my summer in Dallas in 2012. Take it how you will.




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