How much is too much in terms of asking Qs at CBs?

(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: 273108
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

How much is too much in terms of asking Qs at CBs?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 25, 2011 4:58 pm

I wonder--during a CB, is it ok to ask a question that might require a detailed answer? For example, if I asked something like "In X practice, I notice you do Y. How is such a problem approached and can you give me an example?" (something like that).

Would that just be too much of a question to ask in an interview?

User avatar
bjsesq
TLS Poet Laureate
Posts: 13383
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2010 3:02 am

Re: How much is too much in terms of asking Qs at CBs?

Postby bjsesq » Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I wonder--during a CB, is it ok to ask a question that might require a detailed answer? For example, if I asked something like "In X practice, I notice you do Y. How is such a problem approached and can you give me an example?" (something like that).

Would that just be too much of a question to ask in an interview?

'
I'm confused. Are you considering asking a question about nuts and bolts legal practice and strategy?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273108
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How much is too much in terms of asking Qs at CBs?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:06 pm

OP: Yeah, basically, something pretty detailed, not extremely, but to answer it the interviewer would have to give more than a general answer. Would have to say something like, "oh well for example we worked on this case involving X and X and...". So, rather than a general question of "What is so great about your corporate practice?"

It would be more something like "Your corporate practice sounds great, I was interested in government challenges to mergers and was wondering if you could give me an example of what that entails?"

User avatar
Helmholtz
Posts: 4394
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2008 1:48 pm

Re: How much is too much in terms of asking Qs at CBs?

Postby Helmholtz » Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP: Yeah, basically, something pretty detailed, not extremely, but to answer it the interviewer would have to give more than a general answer. Would have to say something like, "oh well for example we worked on this case involving X and X and...". So, rather than a general question of "What is so great about your corporate practice?"

It would be more something like "Your corporate practice sounds great, I was interested in government challenges to mergers and was wondering if you could give me an example of what that entails?"


Is this something with which you have related work experience? It seems oddly specific to me.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273108
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How much is too much in terms of asking Qs at CBs?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:11 pm

OP: It is, and I also have a lot of interest in the practice area. What I posted isn't actually the question or even the practice area I'm thinking about.

Alright, so generally what I'm getting here is that being too specific is not a good thing?

User avatar
MrKappus
Posts: 1685
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:46 am

Re: How much is too much in terms of asking Qs at CBs?

Postby MrKappus » Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP: It is, and I also have a lot of interest in the practice area. What I posted isn't actually the question or even the practice area I'm thinking about.

Alright, so generally what I'm getting here is that being too specific is not a good thing?


Asking a question about how to practice law is not appropriate for an interview. Shows a lack of awareness re: time and place.

User avatar
monkey85
Posts: 394
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2009 7:07 pm

Re: How much is too much in terms of asking Qs at CBs?

Postby monkey85 » Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:13 pm

I can see how on a high-stakes CB you want every aspect to go smoothly . . . but the Qs come at the end and, (un)fortunately, the interviewer has already decided whether (s)he likes you WAY before then.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273108
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How much is too much in terms of asking Qs at CBs?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:14 pm

OP: Thanks, that's good advice. Will strike out those questions. So what questions are appropriate? How far can I go about asking about a practice without getting too specific or too general?

Also, would it be OK to bring up a recent case the firm won, a big case, and ask questions about it?

I really want to make a huge impression on this CB. I've got the experience and I'm extremely enthusiastic about this position, but it's not like other people haven't interviewed for the basically 4 spots they have. Really want to nail this one.

User avatar
MrKappus
Posts: 1685
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:46 am

Re: How much is too much in terms of asking Qs at CBs?

Postby MrKappus » Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:18 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP: Thanks, that's good advice. Will strike out those questions. So what questions are appropriate? How far can I go about asking about a practice without getting too specific or too general?

Also, would it be OK to bring up a recent case the firm won, a big case, and ask questions about it?


All I can talk about, of course, is what seemed to go OK when I tried it. Questions about firm environment, work assignment, practice-area choice, city where firm's located, "type" of applicant that succeeds at firm, general "advice for a 2L?"-type questions, and anything else that's about the firm, the interviewer, or you, generally worked pretty well.

Best tip I got, which seems obvious but I didn't take into account until a few days into OCI: try out questions and ask the ones that "work" of every interviewer! They don't know you're repeating questions, and its silly to try out risky ones when a few "go-to's" work fine.

User avatar
Helmholtz
Posts: 4394
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2008 1:48 pm

Re: How much is too much in terms of asking Qs at CBs?

Postby Helmholtz » Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Also, would it be OK to bring up a recent case the firm won, a big case, and ask questions about it?


Ask the practical things: How was this case staffed? How many partners/associates? If a partner had a hand in choosing who worked on the case, how did he choose them? For the people he did choose (and assuming an existing relationship with them), how has his professional relationship with those people evolved throughout both of their times at the firm? How did the different practice groups in the firm work together on this?

Pick a starting point, and then figure ways to ask follow-up questions or switch gears seamlessly. You want to appear like you're trying to get an idea of what it's like to work at the firm. Don't bother trying to get into the minutia of legal arguments, etc.

This strategy worked quite well for me at the callback stage.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273108
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How much is too much in terms of asking Qs at CBs?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:22 pm

^ OP: Thank you. The thing is, this is an extremely specialized firm. They basically have two major practice areas that they are industry leaders in, and everything else is just secondary. So that's why I felt that I need to be specific- I mean how far can I get with just asking "What's this practice area like?" or something? What do you think, does it matter that 90% of the firms attorneys work in one or two practice areas, should I tailor my questions to be specific to those?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273108
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How much is too much in terms of asking Qs at CBs?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:25 pm

OP here: Also, one of the partners I'm interviewing with is the person who screened me. She's great and we had a good connection. I'm wondering if I get the chance to ask her questions, would it be appropriate to ask her about the Pro Bono program she chairs? Or is that also too specific?

imchuckbass58
Posts: 1245
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 3:24 pm

Re: How much is too much in terms of asking Qs at CBs?

Postby imchuckbass58 » Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:25 pm

MrKappus wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP: Thanks, that's good advice. Will strike out those questions. So what questions are appropriate? How far can I go about asking about a practice without getting too specific or too general?

Also, would it be OK to bring up a recent case the firm won, a big case, and ask questions about it?


All I can talk about, of course, is what seemed to go OK when I tried it. Questions about firm environment, work assignment, practice-area choice, city where firm's located, "type" of applicant that succeeds at firm, general "advice for a 2L?"-type questions, and anything else that's about the firm, the interviewer, or you, generally worked pretty well.

Best tip I got, which seems obvious but I didn't take into account until a few days into OCI: try out questions and ask the ones that "work" of every interviewer! They don't know you're repeating questions, and its silly to try out risky ones when a few "go-to's" work fine.


The flipside of this is everyone knows what the stock questions are. While they're not going to be upset that you're asking them, it's not like you're going to impress anyone with "type of applicant who succeeds here" or "advice for a 2L." At some level it makes you roll your eyes the 10th time you've heard that question.

I feel the best possible situation is if you can customize your question based on your conversation. In virtually every interview I had, I asked a question that was related to something we talked about earlier in the interview. It makes it seem like you're actually paying attention to the conversation and are genuinely interested in what you're asking, since there's no way to make such a specific question up on the spot.

Sure, you should probably go in with a couple of stock backups, but I would only use them if nothing else comes up in the course of the interview.

User avatar
Helmholtz
Posts: 4394
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2008 1:48 pm

Re: How much is too much in terms of asking Qs at CBs?

Postby Helmholtz » Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:^ OP: Thank you. The thing is, this is an extremely specialized firm. They basically have two major practice areas that they are industry leaders in, and everything else is just secondary. So that's why I felt that I need to be specific- I mean how far can I get with just asking "What's this practice area like?" or something? What do you think, does it matter that 90% of the firms attorneys work in one or two practice areas, should I tailor my questions to be specific to those?


In my opinion and judging by my experience, a lot of firms look for general enthusiasm for the law. They don't care as much if you've done X or Y work in the past. However (and this really needs to be stressed), don't go in acting like you know more than you actually know. If you get too specific, you really run the risk of a partner "pushing back," which could end up being really embarrassing.

User avatar
MrKappus
Posts: 1685
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:46 am

Re: How much is too much in terms of asking Qs at CBs?

Postby MrKappus » Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:28 pm

imchuckbass58 wrote:
MrKappus wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP: Thanks, that's good advice. Will strike out those questions. So what questions are appropriate? How far can I go about asking about a practice without getting too specific or too general?

Also, would it be OK to bring up a recent case the firm won, a big case, and ask questions about it?


All I can talk about, of course, is what seemed to go OK when I tried it. Questions about firm environment, work assignment, practice-area choice, city where firm's located, "type" of applicant that succeeds at firm, general "advice for a 2L?"-type questions, and anything else that's about the firm, the interviewer, or you, generally worked pretty well.

Best tip I got, which seems obvious but I didn't take into account until a few days into OCI: try out questions and ask the ones that "work" of every interviewer! They don't know you're repeating questions, and its silly to try out risky ones when a few "go-to's" work fine.


The flipside of this is everyone knows what the stock questions are. While they're not going to be upset that you're asking them, it's not like you're going to impress anyone with "type of applicant who succeeds here" or "advice for a 2L." At some level it makes you roll your eyes the 10th time you've heard that question.

I feel the best possible situation is if you can customize your question based on your conversation. In virtually every interview I had, I asked a question that was related to something we talked about earlier in the interview. It makes it seem like you're actually paying attention to the conversation and are genuinely interested in what you're asking, since there's no way to make such a specific question up on the spot.

Sure, you should probably go in with a couple of stock backups, but I would only use them if nothing else comes up in the course of the interview.


Extremely good points all around. Just to clarify, my "applicant who succeeds here" and "advice to 2L" questions usually incorporated something I was involved in, or some specific aspect of my resume. For example, "I had a chance to work with _____'s in ______ industry. I see you did too. Did you find that helpful to your practice?" If you just asked "What kind of person succeeds here?" you'd deserve the :roll: .

User avatar
Helmholtz
Posts: 4394
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2008 1:48 pm

Re: How much is too much in terms of asking Qs at CBs?

Postby Helmholtz » Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:29 pm

imchuckbass58 wrote:
MrKappus wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP: Thanks, that's good advice. Will strike out those questions. So what questions are appropriate? How far can I go about asking about a practice without getting too specific or too general?

Also, would it be OK to bring up a recent case the firm won, a big case, and ask questions about it?


All I can talk about, of course, is what seemed to go OK when I tried it. Questions about firm environment, work assignment, practice-area choice, city where firm's located, "type" of applicant that succeeds at firm, general "advice for a 2L?"-type questions, and anything else that's about the firm, the interviewer, or you, generally worked pretty well.

Best tip I got, which seems obvious but I didn't take into account until a few days into OCI: try out questions and ask the ones that "work" of every interviewer! They don't know you're repeating questions, and its silly to try out risky ones when a few "go-to's" work fine.


The flipside of this is everyone knows what the stock questions are. While they're not going to be upset that you're asking them, it's not like you're going to impress anyone with "type of applicant who succeeds here" or "advice for a 2L." At some level it makes you roll your eyes the 10th time you've heard that question.

I feel the best possible situation is if you can customize your question based on your conversation. In virtually every interview I had, I asked a question that was related to something we talked about earlier in the interview. It makes it seem like you're actually paying attention to the conversation and are genuinely interested in what you're asking, since there's no way to make such a specific question up on the spot.

Sure, you should probably go in with a couple of stock backups, but I would only use them if nothing else comes up in the course of the interview.


Agree with the above.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273108
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How much is too much in terms of asking Qs at CBs?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 25, 2011 6:14 pm

OP Here: Thanks guys, can't tell you how helpful all of this is. Yay for TLS!

One more question- OP here one of the partners I'm interviewing with is the person who screened me. She's great and we had a good connection. I'm wondering if I get the chance to ask her questions, would it be appropriate to ask her about the Pro Bono program she chairs? Or is that also too specific?

jb9
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2011 11:03 am

Re: How much is too much in terms of asking Qs at CBs?

Postby jb9 » Sun Sep 25, 2011 6:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I wonder--during a CB, is it ok to ask a question that might require a detailed answer? For example, if I asked something like "In X practice, I notice you do Y. How is such a problem approached and can you give me an example?" (something like that).

Would that just be too much of a question to ask in an interview?

dont do that

Anonymous User
Posts: 273108
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How much is too much in terms of asking Qs at CBs?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 25, 2011 6:32 pm

OP: One more question- OP here one of the partners I'm interviewing with is the person who screened me. She's great and we had a good connection. I'm wondering if I get the chance to ask her questions, would it be appropriate to ask her about the Pro Bono program she chairs? Or is that also too specific?

User avatar
snailio
Posts: 209
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2011 2:40 am

Re: How much is too much in terms of asking Qs at CBs?

Postby snailio » Sun Sep 25, 2011 6:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP: One more question- OP here one of the partners I'm interviewing with is the person who screened me. She's great and we had a good connection. I'm wondering if I get the chance to ask her questions, would it be appropriate to ask her about the Pro Bono program she chairs? Or is that also too specific?





Yes it's fine, if you've already established a rapport with her, just don't make it a centerpiece of the interview. Stay focused on the other advice above from Helmholtz and others. In fact if you got her aside it would be totally appropriate.

User avatar
FlightoftheEarls
Posts: 857
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 5:50 pm

Re: How much is too much in terms of asking Qs at CBs?

Postby FlightoftheEarls » Sun Sep 25, 2011 6:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP: One more question- OP here one of the partners I'm interviewing with is the person who screened me. She's great and we had a good connection. I'm wondering if I get the chance to ask her questions, would it be appropriate to ask her about the Pro Bono program she chairs? Or is that also too specific?

If she chairs the program, I would certainly go for it. As a general rule, I normally avoided pro bono questions since I didn't want to inadvertently give the impression that I wasn't interested in working hard for their normal clients. But if the partner is one of the few that is particularly active on the pro bono front, it's likely because she thinks it's very important for the firm to be engaged in the community. Questions along the lines of "how did you become involved in this particular program?" and "do summers ever get the opportunity to assist on a pro bono matter?" (they typically do, and some firms even require it - I worked on two myself) would probably go over rather well, especially if she already liked you enough to call you back to the firm.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.