ITT you help me come up with a kick ass answer to why x firm

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ITT you help me come up with a kick ass answer to why x firm

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 29, 2011 11:45 pm

Firm really emphasizes a "client oriented approach" a number of times on the website. I know most firms say that but it seems like its this firms really big selling point. So i want to say that it's one of the things i like about the firm but idk how to work in the why really. any ideas?

tlstlstls73
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Re: ITT you help me come up with a kick ass answer to why x firm

Postby tlstlstls73 » Thu Sep 29, 2011 11:47 pm

Uhhh. If that is your starting point, you are in a world of pain. Need more details on the firm. Vault range, litigation/transactional, geographic area, etc. The answer to this question is never universal, it depends on the firm and your fit with the firm. I guarantee you if you tell them you want them because of their "client oriented approach" they will laugh you out of the room.

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Re: ITT you help me come up with a kick ass answer to why x firm

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 29, 2011 11:52 pm

tlstlstls73 wrote:Uhhh. If that is your starting point, you are in a world of pain. Need more details on the firm. Vault range, litigation/transactional, geographic area, etc. The answer to this question is never universal, it depends on the firm and your fit with the firm. I guarantee you if you tell them you want them because of their "client oriented approach" they will laugh you out of the room.


not a starting point at all; more an ending point for something that i noticed doing some last minute prep. I already have what I think is a pretty good answer to why x firm besides that, just wanted to see if there was a good way to work it in. Not vault ranked, big firm though upstate new york, firm is more focused on transactional work but does a fair amount of litigation as well.

tlstlstls73
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Re: ITT you help me come up with a kick ass answer to why x firm

Postby tlstlstls73 » Thu Sep 29, 2011 11:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
tlstlstls73 wrote:Uhhh. If that is your starting point, you are in a world of pain. Need more details on the firm. Vault range, litigation/transactional, geographic area, etc. The answer to this question is never universal, it depends on the firm and your fit with the firm. I guarantee you if you tell them you want them because of their "client oriented approach" they will laugh you out of the room.


not a starting point at all; more an ending point for something that i noticed doing some last minute prep. I already have what I think is a pretty good answer to why x firm besides that, just wanted to see if there was a good way to work it in. Not vault ranked, big firm though upstate new york, firm is more focused on transactional work but does a fair amount of litigation as well.


OK well I guess you already have it figured out, and are just wondering how to work in client stuff? I think the best way to do that, if you really want, is to talk about your prior work experience in business which gave you valuable insight into clients' perspectives and you like that the firm values that. That's the 180 way, IMO. Of course, it assumes you have prior business WE.

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Re: ITT you help me come up with a kick ass answer to why x firm

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 29, 2011 11:58 pm

tlstlstls73 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
tlstlstls73 wrote:Uhhh. If that is your starting point, you are in a world of pain. Need more details on the firm. Vault range, litigation/transactional, geographic area, etc. The answer to this question is never universal, it depends on the firm and your fit with the firm. I guarantee you if you tell them you want them because of their "client oriented approach" they will laugh you out of the room.


not a starting point at all; more an ending point for something that i noticed doing some last minute prep. I already have what I think is a pretty good answer to why x firm besides that, just wanted to see if there was a good way to work it in. Not vault ranked, big firm though upstate new york, firm is more focused on transactional work but does a fair amount of litigation as well.


OK well I guess you already have it figured out, and are just wondering how to work in client stuff? I think the best way to do that, if you really want, is to talk about your prior work experience in business which gave you valuable insight into clients' perspectives and you like that the firm values that. That's the 180 way, IMO. Of course, it assumes you have prior business WE.


OP--> Yeah sorry, I should have been more clearer. The fact that I don't have any prior WE, how does this play in? Any other ways to bring it in, or am i shooting myself in the foot by attempting it?

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Re: ITT you help me come up with a kick ass answer to why x firm

Postby tlstlstls73 » Fri Sep 30, 2011 12:08 am

Yea, then I'm stumped. You could maybe just say most firms aren't sensitive to business needs and you like this firm because they break the mold? I noticed during my callbacks that all lawyers (especially partners) love to hear about how other lawyers are business brain-dead and work against client interests in many cases rather than for them. So, you could say you like this firm because it is responding faster to changing market conditions and client requirements?

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Re: ITT you help me come up with a kick ass answer to why x firm

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 30, 2011 1:04 am

my best screener ever was at a firm that had my last name in its name, and the interviewer seemed really nice so when she asked why i wanted the firm, i straight up said, "well... my name... is on the building, clearly we're mfeo..." and she laughed, and then i gave my real answer. i wouldn't recommend this approach, although i did get a callback.

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Re: ITT you help me come up with a kick ass answer to why x firm

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 30, 2011 1:31 am

The firm says they are client-oriented, so that is what you want to get the interviewer talking about.

So, I would say your answer should be something about the *kind* of firm you want, that you feel they are. Talk about how you went into law because you wanted to work with people/for people. You like working with a variety of different groups with different needs. Or something. I think the key is to answer that kind of question with an answer like "this is the type of firm I want to work with, and I think you fit this"-- then you get the interviewer to talk for awhile about why they fit that type, and everyone is happy.

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Re: ITT you help me come up with a kick ass answer to why x firm

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 30, 2011 8:38 am

OP--> Thank you everyone for the great advice.

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Re: ITT you help me come up with a kick ass answer to why x firm

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 30, 2011 12:05 pm

Works with a wide variety of clients and has a great reputation. Generic as hell, but it seemed to work for me.

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Re: ITT you help me come up with a kick ass answer to why x firm

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Oct 01, 2011 1:22 am

Anonymous User wrote:my best screener ever was at a firm that had my last name in its name, and the interviewer seemed really nice so when she asked why i wanted the firm, i straight up said, "well... my name... is on the building, clearly we're mfeo..." and she laughed, and then i gave my real answer. i wouldn't recommend this approach, although i did get a callback.


Ha, I did exactly this as well. Pulled it again on the callback and got dinged, though not not necessarily because of that.

But seriously, there is no answer for why firm X. I boot basically every question except this one. You need to tailor your enthusiasm for the individual firm, according to practice groups, partners you'd want to work for, relevance to prior experience, demonstrable interests, basically anything they have that you can plausibly sell an interest in. It varies from firm to firm on the basis of the firm's specialties. Check Chambers, Vault, firm website for practice area breakdown, etc. Do your diligence and sell your interest at the nexus of your experience and firm specialties and needs. And don't half ass your pitch. That's a sure way to a ding. That's why I'm on the USSW. HTH.

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Re: ITT you help me come up with a kick ass answer to why x firm

Postby sebastian0622 » Sat Oct 01, 2011 1:55 am

I've had mixed results, judging by callback status and the body language of interviewers.

The best responses I have received were from interviewers for the two relatively small firms that have brought me in for a callback. At the screener, I answered the question almost like I was conceding the fact that what I liked about their firm was simply--or at least or primarily--location. Then I talked about my connections (without using the word "connections") to the area and why I wanted to be there. I think it was the answer they were looking for. More than needing their ego stroked like a lot of the biglaw interviewers, it was more important for them to hear that the interviewee might stick around if hired.

With most bigger firms I've never really hit a home run with it. I think the best reception I received was when I mentioned that I was interested in one particular practice area. I had information that they are looking to expand that area of their practice, and I really was interested in it.

Otherwise, the "why us" question is basically the "how good of a bullshitter are you" question. I think that's what they're testing. Can you have little information and sound sincere while you spout bullshit? Because that's apparently an important skill for attorneys.

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Re: ITT you help me come up with a kick ass answer to why x firm

Postby Grizz » Sat Oct 01, 2011 2:06 am

Anonymous User wrote:my best screener ever was at a firm that had my last name in its name, and the interviewer seemed really nice so when she asked why i wanted the firm, i straight up said, "well... my name... is on the building, clearly we're mfeo..." and she laughed, and then i gave my real answer. i wouldn't recommend this approach, although i did get a callback.

On a related note, if they ask you what your biggest weakness is, be sure to say "My mile time" for some easy lulz

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Re: ITT you help me come up with a kick ass answer to why x firm

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Oct 01, 2011 2:14 am

Just imho,

You, and a lot of the posts you received are thinking about this the wrong way. You know what the firm emphasizes, client interaction/satisfaction. Okay, great. Drill down and ask yourself what skills are necessary to do that at an outstanding level?

Being able to turn around at 8PM because a client is calling and head back to the office. Being able to effectively communicate ideas and conclusions in a way that leaves people happy, even if it's not the answer they're hoping for. Being able to manage relationships or generate relationships with individuals and businesses. Being able to look beyond the current scenario towards long-term development. Patience. Ability to relate complicated ideas through analogies or to a lay person. If you nail all of these things down correctly, they'll make the logical inference that you're a perfect fit for the firm because you'll make the clients happy.

Spin it aggressively into what and who you're looking for. In the who sense, focus on what motivates you as an individual. Making people happy, working long hours to make sure that the business or individual you're working for gets the product that they deserve and reflects well on the firm. But then take it to the next step, by saying that the reason you were drawn to the firm was evident from the website, from the profiles, from the screener, from everyone/anyone you've met... they are uniquely similar to you because they're also drawn drawn to the profession because they want to make the people they're crafting solutions for happy. "I like building solutions, working through problems to create an answer, and then communicating an answer effectively"... "I just talked to partner xx and it was incredible because he/she was on the same exact page, heck, he/she described it a lot better than me, but what it boils down to is making the client happy."

But of course, on this message you have to be smart. Realize the exigent circumstances and that at least in the short term, that your client is going to be a) the partner you're working for and b) the firm itself. Boom, you understand. AND THEN ALWAYS SPIN IT. "and I cannot wait to move towards the client development side once I've really built out my legal tool belt... it's one thing to work as an apprentice, and another to land your own construction jobs, and I look forward to mastering skills so I can take that step in years 5-10 and develop my own book of business, and hey, knock on wood *literally do this*, maybe be lucky enough to make partner, haha, but at the moment I just am looking forward to building a skill set and hopefully taking that next step towards bringing in the business. " Boom, you're going to be around for awhile. Boom you have a personality. boom your humble. Boom this kid is motivated. Boom. This was easy for me because it was the truth, I was genuine, but I was effective in communicating it as well. Boom. And these messages are always changing depending upon the demeanor of the partner/associate, the context of the question and the feel of the conversation.

Then, hammer it home every chance you get. You'll get some kind of question about law school. "I love law school, but to be honest, the only real downside is that I'm not working to solve problems for real people or businesses, and again, that's what my future will be at your firm. Don't get me wrong, I love working through and picking up the skills to be a great researcher, writer, and thinker, but a lawyer with those skills can only go so far. There's a ceiling, and without the ability to really serve your clients... and it can be easy to lose track of how important that is at law school" That last sentence is key because you're just demonstrated a highly analytic point of view that they will necessarily sympathize with because it's true, and it will be an observation that most others don't make/cannot realize.

Keep doing this. Whatever you did this summer, unless it was classes, focus on that: e.g., instead of emphasizing how much you loved working on xx case for judge xx, instead focus on how the judge communicated messages that left parties satisfied? "It wasn't just that the judge had the right answer, it was that he/she communicated in a way..." How did they manage the jury? What was it about a lay person that the judge had to address when giving instructions? NOBODY DOES THIS, and it is probably a much better answer to begin with. Anyone can talk about researching and writing. Correctly identifying how a judge effectively communicates? Manages their courtroom? Supervises? You should care about these things just as much and communicate them effectively in a way that the interviewer either hasn't heard, or doesn't hear that often, and it essentially identifying everything the firm is actually looking for.

All this is credited anyways because most candidates haven't figured out what is really important in the legal industry. Received offers from top firms at a very atypical early date. Tell the truth, show them you know what it takes to succeed and that you're very motivated and enthusiastic about not only getting there but making friends along the way because you're easy to be around and everything else falls away and it won't matter how personalized your answer is because you can easily craft a substantive message around what your strengths are as an individual.

And honestly, you'll pick up a lot of what firms are looking for as you move through this process. For that reason alone, I'm thankful that my top firms were last in terms of callbacks, because by that point my narratives were full of catchphrases, anecdotes, ideas, and narratives that all drove towards exactly the above thinking.

IMHO. And EDIT: you have to have the personality to do this, and do it well. You'll have to be a judge of this, not me.




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