how to address why you're not returning to a prior firm

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Anonymous User
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how to address why you're not returning to a prior firm

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:10 pm

I worked for 2+ years at a well known firm prior to law school. I loved my experience and have several stellar references there. However, I'm not returning because of staff departmental politics (head of my department actively discourages HR from rehiring past members of my dept, gossips with partners about anyone who is rehired). How do I address this without badmouthing my old firm or making it sound like I'm not returning for performance-based reasons? Can I say I'm not returning for personal reasons or does that raise red flags? Thanks.

09042014
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Re: how to address why you're not returning to a prior firm

Postby 09042014 » Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I worked for 2+ years at a well known firm prior to law school. I loved my experience and have several stellar references there. However, I'm not returning because of staff departmental politics (head of my department actively discourages HR from rehiring past members of my dept, gossips with partners about anyone who is rehired). How do I address this without badmouthing my old firm or making it sound like I'm not returning for performance-based reasons? Can I say I'm not returning for personal reasons or does that raise red flags? Thanks.


Is there really an expectation that you'd return?

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Re: how to address why you're not returning to a prior firm

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:18 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I worked for 2+ years at a well known firm prior to law school. I loved my experience and have several stellar references there. However, I'm not returning because of staff departmental politics (head of my department actively discourages HR from rehiring past members of my dept, gossips with partners about anyone who is rehired). How do I address this without badmouthing my old firm or making it sound like I'm not returning for performance-based reasons? Can I say I'm not returning for personal reasons or does that raise red flags? Thanks.


Is there really an expectation that you'd return?


I didn't think so but several interviewers have asked. I was surprised they'd ask that.

anon168
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Re: how to address why you're not returning to a prior firm

Postby anon168 » Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I worked for 2+ years at a well known firm prior to law school. I loved my experience and have several stellar references there. However, I'm not returning because of staff departmental politics (head of my department actively discourages HR from rehiring past members of my dept, gossips with partners about anyone who is rehired). How do I address this without badmouthing my old firm or making it sound like I'm not returning for performance-based reasons? Can I say I'm not returning for personal reasons or does that raise red flags? Thanks.


The better question might be, "why would you return?"

You were probably, what, a file clerk? Some paralegal? Or legal assistant?

If I was a paralegal or file clerk at Davis Polk before going to law school, why would anyone interviewing me at Clearly have any sort of expectation that I would go back to DPW as either a SA or full time associate?

In other words, dude, it's a total non-issue.

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Re: how to address why you're not returning to a prior firm

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:23 pm

anon168 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I worked for 2+ years at a well known firm prior to law school. I loved my experience and have several stellar references there. However, I'm not returning because of staff departmental politics (head of my department actively discourages HR from rehiring past members of my dept, gossips with partners about anyone who is rehired). How do I address this without badmouthing my old firm or making it sound like I'm not returning for performance-based reasons? Can I say I'm not returning for personal reasons or does that raise red flags? Thanks.


The better question might be, "why would you return?"

You were probably, what, a file clerk? Some paralegal? Or legal assistant?

If I was a paralegal or file clerk at Davis Polk before going to law school, why would anyone interviewing me at Clearly have any sort of expectation that I would go back to DPW as either a SA or full time associate?

In other words, dude, it's a total non-issue.


OP here. I was a legal assistant and thought it was a non-issue as well until several interviewers asked me why I'm not returning.

anon168
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Re: how to address why you're not returning to a prior firm

Postby anon168 » Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
anon168 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I worked for 2+ years at a well known firm prior to law school. I loved my experience and have several stellar references there. However, I'm not returning because of staff departmental politics (head of my department actively discourages HR from rehiring past members of my dept, gossips with partners about anyone who is rehired). How do I address this without badmouthing my old firm or making it sound like I'm not returning for performance-based reasons? Can I say I'm not returning for personal reasons or does that raise red flags? Thanks.


The better question might be, "why would you return?"

You were probably, what, a file clerk? Some paralegal? Or legal assistant?

If I was a paralegal or file clerk at Davis Polk before going to law school, why would anyone interviewing me at Clearly have any sort of expectation that I would go back to DPW as either a SA or full time associate?

In other words, dude, it's a total non-issue.


OP here. I was a legal assistant and thought it was a non-issue as well until several interviewers asked me why I'm not returning.


Just say it's an issue of "fit" and that you would feel awkward now -- as an associate -- working with legal assistants that were once your peers.

09042014
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Re: how to address why you're not returning to a prior firm

Postby 09042014 » Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:37 pm

anon168 wrote:
Just say it's an issue of "fit" and that you would feel awkward now -- as an associate -- working with legal assistants that were once your peers.


I wouldn't say "fit." That could mean you are weird, want to slack or are a complainer. The second part is more credited. "I've been warned that coming back after being an paralegal was not a good way to start a career."

Generally, I'd treat it like a "Why this firm" question. You are looking for a firm with a strong practice in X and Y. You are looking in this market.

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sunynp
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Re: how to address why you're not returning to a prior firm

Postby sunynp » Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:39 pm

They want to make sure you dont have any issues with your old firm relating to your work. I would tell them that you got great reviews and left on great terms but the department you worked in has an unofficial policy of not hiring people back.

Or think of some other reason- just be sure to mention that your work was highly regarded and that everyone liked you.

I wouldn't say fit either- it makes it sound like you have a problem working with certain people. It puts too much on you and not the old firm.

Anonymous User
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Re: how to address why you're not returning to a prior firm

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:31 pm

OP here. Thanks all for your helpful advice!




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