public-interest background...why biglaw?

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Anonymous User
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public-interest background...why biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:41 pm

dreaded interview question:
You have such an extensive public-interest background, why suddenly interested in a firm?

i would say something of the sort: i want to work on sophisticated, highly complex commercial litigation, but that begs the question: where the hell did this interest in commercial/corporate stuff come from? the rest of your resume is all rainbows and ponies...

thoughts on how to tackle this one?

thanks!

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ilovesf
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Re: public-interest background...why biglaw?

Postby ilovesf » Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:47 pm

I had similar worries, but no one asked me about it during OCI. I got "why law" and why litigation, but nothing bad about my background. They actually thought it was interesting.

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thesealocust
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Re: public-interest background...why biglaw?

Postby thesealocust » Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:53 pm

You don't have to do much BSing. The people I know who got biglaw had a few things in common: (1) passable to good grades from passable to good schools and (2) decent enough personalities.

Amongst that group are artists, die-hard public interesty types, business majors and former investment bankers, professors, EMTs, etc.

If you get asked 'why biglaw' you need to avoid the landmine of the honest answer (bigass paycheck and training before I leave to go get the job I actually want). It's actually OK to believe that in your heart, you just have to parrot some BS in the interview without bursting into laughter or tears.

Keep in mind that the person across the table from you is an adult with bills. It isn't going to shock them that you want to earn a good living.

Anonymous User
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Re: public-interest background...why biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:19 pm

thanks for the replies, and perhaps the likelihood of them asking that is slim, but if they DO ask that...if they ask, "well where did this sudden interest in doing highly sophisticated commercial work come from? i don't see anything about you that would indicate interest in the corporate world"...what could I say? just that it randomly somehow fascinates me intellectually and I want to learn something new? sounds weird.

thanks again

the thing is, i know my answer to "why big law" it's just if they push further. if they ask, "well okay you want to get involved with high profile corporate stuff, but where did that interest even come from" i feel like i will just be stuck

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: public-interest background...why biglaw?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:21 pm

What's the real answer? That's a starting point. 100% honesty is a bad idea here, but tailoring your actual rationale to a palatable interview response is the best way to go.

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Re: public-interest background...why biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:23 pm

What about the other way around?

Interviewing for public interest but has nothing in the resume backing PI?

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ilovesf
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Re: public-interest background...why biglaw?

Postby ilovesf » Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:What about the other way around?

Interviewing for public interest but has nothing in the resume backing PI?

I actually think that's more difficult.

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thesealocust
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Re: public-interest background...why biglaw?

Postby thesealocust » Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:25 pm

They're almost certainly not going to ask something that pointed. If they do, I'd go with something like:

"My background prior to law school includes the some things I find interesting, and I intend to maintain those [activities/interests/hobbies] on the side while practicing law - but I came to law school to get a job. I developed an interest in the law because [plausible personal reason] and my time in law school has confirmed that it was the right path to take. [firm] seems to be an amazing place to start a legal career, and [practice area] seems especially intriguing because [reason that doesn't have to be "deep intellectual passion"]."

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thesealocust
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Re: public-interest background...why biglaw?

Postby thesealocust » Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:26 pm

ilovesf wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What about the other way around?

Interviewing for public interest but has nothing in the resume backing PI?

I actually think that's more difficult.


Possibly impossible, actually. PI budgets are in a bad spot and they seem deeply skeptical of people who aren't lifelong members of Team Helping People

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: public-interest background...why biglaw?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:43 pm

thesealocust wrote:They're almost certainly not going to ask something that pointed. If they do, I'd go with something like:

"My background prior to law school includes the some things I find interesting, and I intend to maintain those [activities/interests/hobbies] on the side while practicing law - but I came to law school to get a job. I developed an interest in the law because [plausible personal reason] and my time in law school has confirmed that it was the right path to take. [firm] seems to be an amazing place to start a legal career, and [practice area] seems especially intriguing because [reason that doesn't have to be "deep intellectual passion"]."

Another way to go is, "I went to law school to change directions in my career, after realizing that I wanted to be on a professional track more directed toward business."

Or, and this worked for me, "After my 1L summer doing [save the world law], I realized that the lack of resources and the constant fire drills involved in that kind of practice would prevent me from doing the kind of quality work I'd like to do. I want to work at Evil Bastards LLP because I think it will be more satisfying, and better for my professional development, to work in an environment where attorneys are expected to do the best work they possibly can for their clients."

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ben4847
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Re: public-interest background...why biglaw?

Postby ben4847 » Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:02 am

"I want to make lots of money. I'm sick of all this fairy dust garbage."

Try that.




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