Reaching out to alums before a CB?

(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: 273252
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Reaching out to alums before a CB?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:13 pm

I've got an interview next week with a firm that I had mass mailed over the summer.

Does anybody have any thoughts on the propriety of reaching out to alums at the firm and asking for their advice re: my upcoming interview there?

Previously, all of my callbacks had come from OCI or networking, so I already had contact(s) with people at the firm other than Human Resources Lady. At this point, I have not had contact with a single attorney at this firm. Not sure if reaching out to alums there now would be wise, or would be more like cheating.

dixiecupdrinking
Posts: 3139
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 2:39 pm

Re: Reaching out to alums before a CB?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:20 pm

I wouldn't ask for "advice" to use on your interview. Your interview will be the same as all your other interviews; you don't need advice from someone at the firm. It will sound like you are making a thinly veiled request for them to go to bat for you, which would be pretty inappropriate.

If you have legitimate, specific questions about what it's like to work there, then go for it.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273252
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Reaching out to alums before a CB?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:30 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:I wouldn't ask for "advice" to use on your interview. Your interview will be the same as all your other interviews; you don't need advice from someone at the firm. It will sound like you are making a thinly veiled request for them to go to bat for you, which would be pretty inappropriate.

If you have legitimate, specific questions about what it's like to work there, then go for it.


OP here...

Yeah, that was kind of what I was thinking. Because you're exactly right, I don't actually need advice, I want them to go to bat for me (unless there really is some weird quirk to this firm's interviews, but I've been reading lots about the firm and I've yet to see mention of anything idiosyncratic about their interviews).

What if I sent a quick email asking if I could poke my head in their office and introduce myself when I'm there for my CB? Better, or still too thinly veiled?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273252
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Reaching out to alums before a CB?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:46 pm

Of course this is a thinly veiled attempt to show someone in the firm that you have some tenuous connection with that you are interested, and of course you are doing it to increase your own chances (this is basically what "networking" means). Everyone involved knows that. That doesn't make it inappropriate, as long as you are polite, respectful, and aren't demanding anything.

What alum is going to be offended that someone from their school wants to work at the same firm? Ask for advice on your interview, if you want. Better yet, try to figure out the culture of the firm from someone who hasn't been told by HR to sell the firm to you. This is a good way to see if it'd be a good fit for you, and to give you things outside of what's on the website to talk about at your CB.

dixiecupdrinking
Posts: 3139
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 2:39 pm

Re: Reaching out to alums before a CB?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:54 pm

I don't know, I just don't see why they would care to meet you. Maybe if your school is extremely lightly represented at the firm.

The key to networking effectively is to make contacts in advance of when you will need their assistance with something. You don't have a relationship with these people and they will know you're only using them to try to get a leg up.

Now, if you want, you can contact alums and ask questions about their experience at the firm. Put the ball in their court. If you impress them and they happen to be people who can pull strings, then great. But I would stay away from asking for interview advice, or offering to drop by to speak to someone you've never had any connection to.

I generally err on the side of not bothering people, so take this advice accordingly with a grain of salt.

User avatar
Glock
Posts: 395
Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2011 6:48 pm

Re: Reaching out to alums before a CB?

Postby Glock » Fri Sep 30, 2011 3:02 pm

Ask them specific questions about what it is like to work there, why the chose that firm, what their favorite part of the firm is, etc. Being interested in the firm is a plus and it might open up a possibility of them liking you in a way that helps you. Then you might get some valuable intel.

If you just balls-out ask them to pull for you or help you manipulate their coworkers and bosses that is going to go poorly. They owe you nothing and presumptuous people suck to worth with.

This is like dating. Play the right game and advance at the right speed at the beginning and it might pay off. Ask for the results up front and it is going to backfire.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273252
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Reaching out to alums before a CB?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 30, 2011 3:55 pm

okay seriously guys, I know this is TLS/law school, but no one should be socially awkward enough to email a stranger and ask them to pull for you.

But asking general, non-offensive questions? I have been asked by people who do hiring whether I know someone who went to my school and is now applying for a job. I have been emailed by people who went to my school and want to know more about a job. I have never thought, "oh fuck this person for wanting a leg up." People are often happy to answer your questions, and happy to take 2 seconds to pop by HR and be like, "this person went to my school and I had a quick convo with them, FYI. let me know if you want more info." The reputation of my school affects my reputation too, and I want to see the students from there succeed.

Just don't be a) presumptive, b) a douchebag, or c) awkward.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273252
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Reaching out to alums before a CB?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 30, 2011 4:09 pm

I reach out to alums for a lot of my CBs and everyone has been super helpful and responsive. I usually try to ask for an in-person coffee or phone chat. It's really a good way to learn more about the firm you are interested in and a way to get to know people who work there. Alums are really willing to help out! The way I think about it, I would totally pay it forward and help law students or anyone considering law as a career.

Good luck and go for it! :)

User avatar
RMstratosphere
Posts: 443
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2009 2:25 pm

Re: Reaching out to alums before a CB?

Postby RMstratosphere » Fri Sep 30, 2011 4:14 pm

Politely engaging your school's alumni that work at a firm you're interviewing with is always credited.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273252
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Reaching out to alums before a CB?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 30, 2011 5:30 pm

i did this for a couple of firms before my screener. some people ignore the email, but some are enthusiastic about meeting up. the way i see it, there's no harm done. if they ignore your email, i doubt they will tell HR that they were so annoyed by you that you shouldn't be hired. i would just genuinely be interested about the firm - ask for INFORMATION (about practice areas, culture, etc.), not necessarily advice.

User avatar
MBZags
Posts: 552
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:21 pm

Re: Reaching out to alums before a CB?

Postby MBZags » Fri Sep 30, 2011 6:13 pm

Our Career Services had a panel with three hiring partners from Chicago. All three thought reaching out to alumni was a great idea. One even thought it would be bad form not to do so. As always, a caveat: apparently some firms (I have no idea which ones) frown pretty heavily upon this.

Personally, I found it useful to reach out to an alum before a callback, ask some questions about the firm, and show my genuine interest. At the conclusion of the call, the alum said that she would put in a good word for me.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.