Why "Why"?

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Rose789
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Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:07 pm

Why "Why"?

Postby Rose789 » Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:46 pm

(I know this question has been asked before, and I tried to find a thread on it via search, but couldn't locate anything. Apologies for beating a dead horse here.)

When I'm talking to attorneys and they ask, Why do you want to do X - I mean, what are they really looking for?

My issue is that I want to just be honest. "Look, I really am not sure. I just think it's cool. It's fun and interesting, but I can't really say why I feel that way." So I say it - and then things get awkward. Conversation goes from the person treating me as if I'm of equal intelligence to them, to being spoken to like the village idiot, in about 2 seconds flat. And, in line with the stupidity I already seem to emanate, let me ask a stupid question here, because I genuinely have no clue and really want to know: how can I spare myself from this awkwardness? Is there some golden language that I can use to get my point across in English? Some magic of which I am simply not aware?

Any help would be really, really appreciated. TIA.

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eandy
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Re: Why "Why"?

Postby eandy » Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:49 pm

You really should state what the "x" is that you want to do. Some of those do have specific answers that they want to hear and specific answers that they do NOT want to hear. We can't help you without knowing X.

Rose789
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Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:07 pm

Re: Why "Why"?

Postby Rose789 » Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:56 pm

You're right. Can we do both "transactional work" and "litigation" here for the sake of being well-rounded, and in case anyone besides me is curious?

For me specifically - M&A.

Also, securities law, enforcement side. Maybe securities lit (so, why can't I choose between transactional and litigation sides on this?). Maybe antitrust as well, but I think of it as alongside M&A, not really as something separate that I would want to solely practice.

rad lulz
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Re: Why "Why"?

Postby rad lulz » Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:58 pm

How about you research the practice areas and tie in the things you find interesting or special about them to your previous life experience/character traits.

Use common sense.

Rose789
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Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:07 pm

Re: Why "Why"?

Postby Rose789 » Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:22 pm

Yeah. Gotcha. I know I need to do the legwork as I've come to expect the question.

Semi-related question: if the legwork is done, and I give the most honest and educated answer that I can, what if it just doesn't "click" with the person with whom I am speaking? I.e., they have a differing view of what that area of law is all about?

I've encountered situations where I have given honest and educated answers to an older attorney regarding various questions, and he/she and I just did not click. I couldn't tell if it was a personality thing, or if I somehow gave an answer that this person viewed as "wrong." It felt like I had said the wrong thing, or that we did not see eye-to-eye.

Can you bounce back from this, or is it just a matter of accepting the fact that you may just not click with this other individual, and it's okay to just walk away, and be cordial from there on out as an acquaintance, at a distance?

If you feel like you could plausibly use humor with an older attorney, should you try? Or is it inappropriate to get too informal too soon? (If they are being informal and quirky - is that a go-ahead for a subordinate to follow suit, or do younger attorneys have to earn their wings before they can be a little more informal?)

rad lulz
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Re: Why "Why"?

Postby rad lulz » Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:04 pm

Rose789 wrote:Yeah. Gotcha. I know I need to do the legwork as I've come to expect the question.

Semi-related question: if the legwork is done, and I give the most honest and educated answer that I can, what if it just doesn't "click" with the person with whom I am speaking? I.e., they have a differing view of what that area of law is all about?

I've encountered situations where I have given honest and educated answers to an older attorney regarding various questions, and he/she and I just did not click. I couldn't tell if it was a personality thing, or if I somehow gave an answer that this person viewed as "wrong." It felt like I had said the wrong thing, or that we did not see eye-to-eye.

Can you bounce back from this, or is it just a matter of accepting the fact that you may just not click with this other individual, and it's okay to just walk away, and be cordial from there on out as an acquaintance, at a distance?

If you feel like you could plausibly use humor with an older attorney, should you try? Or is it inappropriate to get too informal too soon? (If they are being informal and quirky - is that a go-ahead for a subordinate to follow suit, or do younger attorneys have to earn their wings before they can be a little more informal?)


I'm beginning to think you seriously don't know how to interact with people.

Rose789
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Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:07 pm

Re: Why "Why"?

Postby Rose789 » Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:47 pm

I seriously don't :( That's what happens when you're born and raised in Boca Raton.

rad lulz
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Re: Why "Why"?

Postby rad lulz » Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:13 pm

Cliffs notes. You won't click with everyone, and that's unavoidable. That's some of the luck inherent in OCI.

Yes, be funny. People like funny people. If they're not laughing at your jokes, stop making them.

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AreJay711
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Re: Why "Why"?

Postby AreJay711 » Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:17 pm

There is some reason to like every firm. What they want to know is "why X" not "why X over any other firm" though it is great if you have an answer to that. Think why you would be excited to accept the offer from that firm and show up all bright eyed and bushy tailed that first day.

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bk1
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Re: Why "Why"?

Postby bk1 » Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:38 pm

Also: interviewers know that you've only a completed a year which had fuck-all to do with transactional work. They don't expect you to have more than a cursory understanding of it. I would hazard trying to appear too knowledgeable about it since all your information will be second hand compared to the interviewer's first hand knowledge.

Being wrong isn't necessarily the end of the world either. I've said things in interviews where the interviewer responds with "that's not entirely accurate" or something along those lines and still done fine. Remember you're trying to get a job, you shouldn't be throwing out controversial statements or completely disagreeing with your interviewer.

Rose789
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Re: Why "Why"?

Postby Rose789 » Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:53 pm

That's the mental block I have with answering the question - that I don't know how anything works in reality (and I've heard attorneys out 2, 3, 4 years are still learning, especially in transactional work), and that they know I don't know. So why do they ask?

rad lulz
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Re: Why "Why"?

Postby rad lulz » Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:57 pm

Rose789 wrote:That's the mental block I have with answering the question - that I don't know how anything works in reality (and I've heard attorneys out 2, 3, 4 years are still learning, especially in transactional work), and that they know I don't know. So why do they ask?

To see what you say, to see if you can not sound like a complete and utter asspie

Shit I was talking to someone who had been asked "do you have any friends?" and "if you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?" just bc the attys wanted to fuck with people.

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sundance95
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Re: Why "Why"?

Postby sundance95 » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:10 pm

saw this thread title and immediately thought:

Image

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AZN MegaPoaster
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Re: Why "Why"?

Postby AZN MegaPoaster » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:11 pm

Becuase they want to know that you did your homework and aren't an assclown

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ilovesf
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Re: Why "Why"?

Postby ilovesf » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:14 pm

It's pretty simple to say "I'm interested in transactional work but I haven't had any exposure to it. I hope next summer I'll be able to gain some experience." I don't know why you feel like you have to say more, most people don't expect you to know it already. In fact, saying something really specific can work against you. At a recruiting event someone said they wanted to do a specific type of IP, and a partner said, "we don't do any of that here, you would not be happy at this firm" or something along that line. If that guy really wants to do that work, that was a helpful comment, but if he was just saying that to look interesting, then whoops.




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