Small Firm Interviews

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kalvano
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Small Firm Interviews

Postby kalvano » Thu Sep 29, 2011 7:12 pm

At what point in interviewing with a smaller firm is it appropriate to inquire about compensation? I'm talking non-NALP firms that don't publish anything about it.

I don't want to be rude, but I don't want to waste their time either.

PirateCap'n
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Re: Small Firm Interviews

Postby PirateCap'n » Thu Sep 29, 2011 7:19 pm

kalvano wrote:At what point in interviewing with a smaller firm is it appropriate to inquire about compensation? I'm talking non-NALP firms that don't publish anything about it.

I don't want to be rude, but I don't want to waste their time either.


If you're already in the interview, I wouldn't ask about it. Either ask beforehand so that you don't waste your time with the interview or ask after you get the offer. Otherwise, asking during the interview won't really save you any time, though it might save them time in the sense that they won't need to consider you if the compensation isn't agreeable.

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kalvano
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Re: Small Firm Interviews

Postby kalvano » Thu Sep 29, 2011 7:21 pm

Well, I would think it's not right to ask beforehand or during an initial "screening" interview. Just seems rude at such an early stage. But if they ask you back for a second round of interviews, is that a good time? Or should I wait for an offer first and then ask to discuss the specifics of the offer?

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Re: Small Firm Interviews

Postby PirateCap'n » Thu Sep 29, 2011 7:30 pm

kalvano wrote:Well, I would think it's not right to ask beforehand or during an initial "screening" interview. Just seems rude at such an early stage. But if they ask you back for a second round of interviews, is that a good time? Or should I wait for an offer first and then ask to discuss the specifics of the offer?


Sorry. I thought you were referring to a screening interview in your original post, and, in that case, my first advice stands. I definitely wouldn't ask about it during a screener. Either do it beforehand if it's that big of a deal or just wait until you get a CB or an offer. Since you're talking about a CB, I would suggest that you'll leave a better impression if you just don't mention it until you get an offer. If you don't want to waste their time by taking a CB if you think you wouldn't accept due the to pay, I would just ask what their general terms of employment are (i.e. length, compensation, etc.) when they call to offer you the CB. I don't think they'll have a problem with that. Either way, I think a lot of this really just depends on where you are in the interview process, and, if there's a time when you feel comfortable asking it, go for it.

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kalvano
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Re: Small Firm Interviews

Postby kalvano » Thu Sep 29, 2011 7:36 pm

Thanks. The problem is I have absolutely no idea what they pay at all. I'm assuming it's not bad, but there is no way to find out short of asking.

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Re: Small Firm Interviews

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 29, 2011 7:43 pm

kalvano wrote:Thanks. The problem is I have absolutely no idea what they pay at all. I'm assuming it's not bad, but there is no way to find out short of asking.


Job interview etiquette 101: never ask about compensation prior to an offer. Just don't do it. Find out if you can from 3rd parties, but do not ask the employer. Just because biglaw/NALP is lockstep many never-employed law students think they are entitled to know about compensation.

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kalvano
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Re: Small Firm Interviews

Postby kalvano » Thu Sep 29, 2011 7:45 pm

I guess that's my question. Is it appropriate to ask about compensation at the offer level? I'm used to being able to just run over to NALP and see what a firm pays.

More importantly, if the pay is shit, is it OK to turn it down?

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Re: Small Firm Interviews

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 29, 2011 7:49 pm

kalvano wrote:I guess that's my question. Is it appropriate to ask about compensation at the offer level? I'm used to being able to just run over to NALP and see what a firm pays.

More importantly, if the pay is shit, is it OK to turn it down?


Do what you do re: turning down an offer if the pay is low. It is never ever ever appropriate to ask about compensation before the offer level. At the offer level, it's fine.

PirateCap'n
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Re: Small Firm Interviews

Postby PirateCap'n » Thu Sep 29, 2011 7:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
kalvano wrote:I guess that's my question. Is it appropriate to ask about compensation at the offer level? I'm used to being able to just run over to NALP and see what a firm pays.

More importantly, if the pay is shit, is it OK to turn it down?


Do what you do re: turning down an offer if the pay is low. It is never ever ever appropriate to ask about compensation before the offer level. At the offer level, it's fine.


Agreed. Most firms I've interviewed with, even the really small ones, automatically tell you what the compensation is when they make the offer. If they don't, there's absolutely nothing wrong with asking how much they are offering.

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kalvano
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Re: Small Firm Interviews

Postby kalvano » Thu Sep 29, 2011 7:57 pm

Cool. I have visions of really liking the firm and then being told they pay summers $10/hour.

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Re: Small Firm Interviews

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 29, 2011 7:59 pm

kalvano wrote:Cool. I have visions of really liking the firm and then being told they pay summers $10/hour.


Many would kill for that

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Re: Small Firm Interviews

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 29, 2011 8:17 pm

This bears repeating:
Job interview etiquette 101: never ask about compensation prior to an offer. Just don't do it. Find out if you can from 3rd parties, but do not ask the employer. Just because biglaw/NALP is lockstep many never-employed law students think they are entitled to know about compensation.


kalvano wrote:I guess that's my question. Is it appropriate to ask about compensation at the offer level? I'm used to being able to just run over to NALP and see what a firm pays.

Well yeah. How else would you know if the compensation is sufficient, if you can't even ask after the offer?

More importantly, if the pay is shit, is it OK to turn it down?

No. I think you should take any job you are offered regardless of compensation. ;-) OF COURSE it is OK to turn an offer down for salary reasons (or literally any reason under the sun, though you are not required to share that reason with the employer, and in some cases it's best not to).

But before you reflexively turn something down, consider negotiating if their offer is close to the minimum compensation you are willing to live with. It would be a good idea to start figuring out that minimum right now.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Sep 29, 2011 8:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: Small Firm Interviews

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 29, 2011 8:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
kalvano wrote:Cool. I have visions of really liking the firm and then being told they pay summers $10/hour.


Many would kill for that


seriously. reading TLS too much makes people (well, me at least) lose sight of how lucky one is to get any (paid) offer, even if it is (god forbid) outside of the V5 in NYC.

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kalvano
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Re: Small Firm Interviews

Postby kalvano » Thu Sep 29, 2011 9:00 pm

I don't mean it to be bitchy when I say $10/hour. But I can get a non-legal job that pays a decent bit more, and $10/hour with gas and tolls would mean I pay them to go to work.

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: Small Firm Interviews

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Fri Sep 30, 2011 3:18 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
kalvano wrote:Cool. I have visions of really liking the firm and then being told they pay summers $10/hour.


Many would kill for that


seriously. reading TLS too much makes people (well, me at least) lose sight of how lucky one is to get any (paid) offer, even if it is (god forbid) outside of the V5 in NYC.


There's a difference between complaining about not getting a V5 (when you landed something else) and just wanting a summer gig that actually pays something close to market. The fact that many would kill for 10/hour doesn't mean that it's a great opportunity, it just means there is a lot of desperate people out there. (If the firm regularly extends offers to all its summers, that could make this a different story.)


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Glock
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Re: Small Firm Interviews

Postby Glock » Fri Sep 30, 2011 3:53 pm

Ask your career services. If yours doesnt have it ask the CSO at the law school nearest the firm in question.

Never ask about pay, benefits, or time off before you have an offer. Ever.

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Re: Small Firm Interviews

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Oct 01, 2011 2:42 am

Where are they, roughly? You might be able to ask around here and get an idea. How small is small? How many attorneys/offices/support workers?

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kalvano
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Re: Small Firm Interviews

Postby kalvano » Sat Oct 01, 2011 10:52 am

A 25-ish attorney boutique firm in Dallas. I went for a second interview and they indicated it's a real summer program with split summers and all, so I think they will pay decently well.

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Re: Small Firm Interviews

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Oct 01, 2011 4:48 pm

I would be VERY surprised if they didn't pay pretty well. There is a good chance they pay market depending on the use of the word "boutique" here. Unless you are set on maximizing your pay and comparing every penny, I would move forward with the assumption that the pay is fine, even if it is somewhat less than market. See if you like the place first, then you'll get a chance to figure out about compensation soon enough if it gets to that point. It's not like making $85k at a place you like is worse than making $110k (or whatever; I don't know market down there) at a place you don't really like.

sdcallaw
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Re: Small Firm Interviews

Postby sdcallaw » Sat Oct 01, 2011 4:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
kalvano wrote:I guess that's my question. Is it appropriate to ask about compensation at the offer level? I'm used to being able to just run over to NALP and see what a firm pays.

More importantly, if the pay is shit, is it OK to turn it down?


Do what you do re: turning down an offer if the pay is low. It is never ever ever appropriate to ask about compensation before the offer level. At the offer level, it's fine.


Absolutely agreed.

de5igual
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Re: Small Firm Interviews

Postby de5igual » Sun Oct 02, 2011 2:06 am

kalvano wrote:A 25-ish attorney boutique firm in Dallas. I went for a second interview and they indicated it's a real summer program with split summers and all, so I think they will pay decently well.


so you already went on your callback or is there a third round of interviews at this place?

kahechsof
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Re: Small Firm Interviews

Postby kahechsof » Sun Oct 02, 2011 3:06 am

I'm surprised they don't volunteer the information during the interviews. I would.

Aqualibrium
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Re: Small Firm Interviews

Postby Aqualibrium » Sun Oct 02, 2011 4:33 am

I think it's a well understood rule that you dont ask about summer compensation until an offer. One thing I've found odd though is that asking for entry level compensation seems to be taboo at every stage. When it is talked about, it seems to be in hushed conversations with young associates. IMO, firms that don't list salary, or list a range, should tell you at the summer offer stage what their current entry level pay is...

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kalvano
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Re: Small Firm Interviews

Postby kalvano » Sun Oct 02, 2011 2:15 pm

f0bolous wrote:
kalvano wrote:A 25-ish attorney boutique firm in Dallas. I went for a second interview and they indicated it's a real summer program with split summers and all, so I think they will pay decently well.


so you already went on your callback or is there a third round of interviews at this place?



3rd round sometime in the next 3 weeks. You interview with one of the managing partners from the office that is interested in you, and if he/she likes you, you interview with another, and then if that works out, then another.

It's weird, but oh well. Possible job, so no complaints.




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