V100 Hiring Partner Taking Questions

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Renzo
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Re: V100 Hiring Partner Taking Questions

Postby Renzo » Fri Jan 03, 2014 12:34 am

I have a question from a potential someday lateral, if you don't mind.

I have vague thoughts about leaving NYC to practice in my hometown, but only for the right job. It's a large regional city, but there are probably only a dozen or so firms doing the kind of work I would be happy with.

Given that the list of firms who would have me (and that I would have) is relatively small, is there an advantage or disadvantage to working with a headhunter in my situation? Are firms more or less likely to hire someone who comes through a recruiter?

Anonymous User
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Re: V100 Hiring Partner Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 03, 2014 12:42 am

Thank you for taking questions, it's rare to have an opportunity to ask candid questions of a hiring partner.

My questions is about how much of a shot (or any shot) a 3L with my background has at landing a Biglaw job practicing litigation. I am currently clerking for a small plaintiff's side firm where I spent 2L summer. I have already accepted an offer for full-time employment with the firm.

I clerked for the plaintiff's firm Fall 3L semester and am scheduled to continue clerking with them next semester. My problem with the firm is that I have basically zero chance of having a good mentor. The pay is fine, roughly $110k. The associates (there are only several) are heavily overworked, and I can't see either of them taking the time to help train in some of the basics of litigation (e.g., strategy for when to take each step in the litigation process and when must you do things to preserve error, etc.). The only partner is never in the office, and although I would learn some by observing him, I feel like I'll miss out on learning from someone who has an actual interest in my success.

As far as stats go, I attend a top 50 school in a major market, am ranked in the top 5%, LR exec board, moot court/mock trial wins, published, etc. I struck out at 2L OCI while I was ranked in the top 15%. I think I generally have a difficult time connecting with interviewers. I don't think it's that bad, but I'm not very good at showing my personality during interviews. Making small talk rather than discussing why I would be good at the job has always felt awkward.

Do you think it's worth it or a wise idea to apply to firms again? I would be targeting the litigation side of roughly forty midsize to large firms in the local market, some of which rejected me after screeners during 2L OCI.

Anonymous User
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Re: V100 Hiring Partner Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 03, 2014 1:09 am

I assume that it's only natural that you extend offers to some 2Ls who don't exactly "wow" you in interviews (exceptional grades acting to compensate).
Do you find that these students tend to do more poorly as SAs or junior associates? Do you think that there's any correlation between interview performance and performance at the firm?

911 crisis actor
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Re: V100 Hiring Partner Taking Questions

Postby 911 crisis actor » Fri Jan 03, 2014 7:25 am

AnotherYearOlder wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
I'd say that the interview with the hiring partner is slightly more important, as the hiring partner may very well meet with all of the candidates. Also, if the hiring partner feels strongly about you (one way or the other) other members of the recruiting team will tend to give deference (but not always). After that, things tend to even out, although seniority/experience still carries weight. I don't know any firms that weight interview evaluations differently -- I'd suspect they were over-thinking the process. We try to have the same core group of people do the lion's share of the interviews.


How much weight does the hiring partner have compared to, say, a senior partner who's somewhat of a Big Deal at the firm in the hiring process? What if the two were to come out on opposite ends on a candidate?

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Re: V100 Hiring Partner Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 03, 2014 10:45 am

For 1L SA hiring, can you give me a ballpark estimate of number of resumes received, number of candidates given screening interviews, number of call back interviews given, and number of SA offers given? How much do those numbers hold for 2Ls and OCI? Just trying to get a sense for the numbers. Thanks.

AnotherYearOlder
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Re: V100 Hiring Partner Taking Questions

Postby AnotherYearOlder » Fri Jan 03, 2014 10:55 am

Renzo wrote:I have a question from a potential someday lateral, if you don't mind.

I have vague thoughts about leaving NYC to practice in my hometown, but only for the right job. It's a large regional city, but there are probably only a dozen or so firms doing the kind of work I would be happy with.

Given that the list of firms who would have me (and that I would have) is relatively small, is there an advantage or disadvantage to working with a headhunter in my situation? Are firms more or less likely to hire someone who comes through a recruiter?


If there is only a small number of firms that you'd be happy with, I'd recommend going it alone, especially since you don't appear to be in a hurry to make a move and can mine your network at your own pace.

The upside of a headhunter is that they have existing contacts and can do all of the legwork for you. This is beneficial if you absolutely need to make a move in a hurry or to a market that you're not familiar with.

The downside is that headhunters are expensive (for the firm -- the HH is paid a percentage of your salary as commission) so many firms shy away from using them. Also, they get paid regardless of whether there's a good fit for you or not -- their incentive is to get you a position, not the right position, so you'll still have to do some work on your own, and you might not get a straight answer from the headhunter. Finally, picking a good headhunter is almost as important as picking the right job, as some headhunters have different reputations in the market than others.

AnotherYearOlder
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Re: V100 Hiring Partner Taking Questions

Postby AnotherYearOlder » Fri Jan 03, 2014 11:08 am

Anonymous User wrote:Thank you for taking questions, it's rare to have an opportunity to ask candid questions of a hiring partner.

My questions is about how much of a shot (or any shot) a 3L with my background has at landing a Biglaw job practicing litigation. I am currently clerking for a small plaintiff's side firm where I spent 2L summer. I have already accepted an offer for full-time employment with the firm.

I clerked for the plaintiff's firm Fall 3L semester and am scheduled to continue clerking with them next semester. My problem with the firm is that I have basically zero chance of having a good mentor. The pay is fine, roughly $110k. The associates (there are only several) are heavily overworked, and I can't see either of them taking the time to help train in some of the basics of litigation (e.g., strategy for when to take each step in the litigation process and when must you do things to preserve error, etc.). The only partner is never in the office, and although I would learn some by observing him, I feel like I'll miss out on learning from someone who has an actual interest in my success.

As far as stats go, I attend a top 50 school in a major market, am ranked in the top 5%, LR exec board, moot court/mock trial wins, published, etc. I struck out at 2L OCI while I was ranked in the top 15%. I think I generally have a difficult time connecting with interviewers. I don't think it's that bad, but I'm not very good at showing my personality during interviews. Making small talk rather than discussing why I would be good at the job has always felt awkward.

Do you think it's worth it or a wise idea to apply to firms again? I would be targeting the litigation side of roughly forty midsize to large firms in the local market, some of which rejected me after screeners during 2L OCI.


I mentioned this earlier, but a lot of times, things change at firms after New Year's day. Hiring goals and forecasts may be one of them. If you're still looking for a job, it's not a bad time to reenter the market, even if some of the firms have turned you down previously (you may have been right on the cusp of getting a job).

With respect to your interview skills, I'd recommend practicing with your friends, CSO, faculty, etc. Your rapport with the interviewer is going to depend on your ability to carry a conversation.

Also, you might think about whether or not BigLaw is the environment that suits you. BigLaw doesn't guaranty you excellent mentoring at all. Folks at BigLaw get overworked, tired and cranky just like the folks at the firm you're working at now. I'm not saying that it's not for you, but don't just take for granted that there is an unlimited supply of time and resources just because of the size of the firm.

BigLaw_Lit
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Re: V100 Hiring Partner Taking Questions

Postby BigLaw_Lit » Fri Jan 03, 2014 11:18 am

Thanks for taking questions. How do you view applicants without work experience? Do you have any advice about the best way to present yourself? Does some other aspect become more important?

AnotherYearOlder
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Re: V100 Hiring Partner Taking Questions

Postby AnotherYearOlder » Fri Jan 03, 2014 11:25 am

Anonymous User wrote:I assume that it's only natural that you extend offers to some 2Ls who don't exactly "wow" you in interviews (exceptional grades acting to compensate).
Do you find that these students tend to do more poorly as SAs or junior associates? Do you think that there's any correlation between interview performance and performance at the firm?


Let's say there's a hypothetical student who is in the top 10% of her class at a top 5 school. Her undergrad grades are impeccable, she's won all sorts of awards for academics and she looks great on paper. If she can't hold a conversation when she gets to our office, she's not going to get a job. We'll take a hit on the academic side to find people who fit well with the firm's culture, who we'll be comfortable working with and who we can put in front of clients.

Now, let's say this same person comes in and is "okay" but isn't necessarily the best interview we've seen. In that case, we'd probably let her academics keep her in the hunt and overtake some people who might have been better in the interview, but not as good on paper. To do that, though, we'd also be looking at other accomplishments, leadership roles, evidence of a willingness to take risks, etc. on her resume.

Not to put too fine a point on it but, as you all know, it's a buyer's market out there. We're not typically school snobs or grade snobs, but we can afford to wait an make sure we get almost exactly what we're looking for, if that makes sense.

AnotherYearOlder
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Re: V100 Hiring Partner Taking Questions

Postby AnotherYearOlder » Fri Jan 03, 2014 11:30 am

911 crisis actor wrote:
AnotherYearOlder wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
I'd say that the interview with the hiring partner is slightly more important, as the hiring partner may very well meet with all of the candidates. Also, if the hiring partner feels strongly about you (one way or the other) other members of the recruiting team will tend to give deference (but not always). After that, things tend to even out, although seniority/experience still carries weight. I don't know any firms that weight interview evaluations differently -- I'd suspect they were over-thinking the process. We try to have the same core group of people do the lion's share of the interviews.


How much weight does the hiring partner have compared to, say, a senior partner who's somewhat of a Big Deal at the firm in the hiring process? What if the two were to come out on opposite ends on a candidate?


Guess it depends on the hiring partner and how they run the ship. We get a lot of deference, even from the Big Deals. A Big Deal might be very high on someone, but we might have spotted something that makes them a questionable candidate and at the end of the day, everything else being equal, we'll get the benefit of the doubt.

If a Big Deal is interested in a candidate, however, it's likely because the candidate is associated with a good client. In that case, it starts to depend on the candidate. If the candidate is a complete disaster, we'll make that know. It's much easier to deal with the CEO's son at this point than to hire him and have to fire him later on. Those instances are pretty rare though.

AnotherYearOlder
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Re: V100 Hiring Partner Taking Questions

Postby AnotherYearOlder » Fri Jan 03, 2014 11:34 am

Anonymous User wrote:For 1L SA hiring, can you give me a ballpark estimate of number of resumes received, number of candidates given screening interviews, number of call back interviews given, and number of SA offers given? How much do those numbers hold for 2Ls and OCI? Just trying to get a sense for the numbers. Thanks.



Last year:

1Ls: 1,800 resumes received; ~150 phone screeners (we don't track all of them); 75 in office; 20 1L summer associates.
2Ls: 2,500 received; (don't know how many OCI -- 22 schools' worth); 120 call backs; 45 2L summer associates.

AnotherYearOlder
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Re: V100 Hiring Partner Taking Questions

Postby AnotherYearOlder » Fri Jan 03, 2014 11:43 am

BigLaw_Lit wrote:Thanks for taking questions. How do you view applicants without work experience? Do you have any advice about the best way to present yourself? Does some other aspect become more important?


I assume you mean "legal" work experience. It's a plus, but at this point (I'm going to assume you're a 1L, but if not, let me know) it's not mandatory. Even if you've had a couple sales jobs in college, you can spin that into something good. It's high pressure, you have to have good inter-personal skills, etc. Also, show how what you've done academically or as a volunteer has given you a skill set that is going to be beneficial.

Best advice I can give is that you should think of your resume as a list of things that you've done. Think of it as a "story" of what you've done and how you're prepared to go to work. Make good use of your headings because, often, resumes get scanned very, very quickly. Put glitter in the envelope.* Make sure you've proofread your cover letter and resume, set them aside for a day or two, then proofread them again. Put some skills and interests at the bottom of your resume, but don't over think them (trust me, "18th Century French Philosophy" might seem like a good idea, but it isn't going to be the conversation starter that "cooking" is).

*Totally kidding about the glitter. For the love of god, please don't put glitter in the envelope.

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jrthor10
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Re: V100 Hiring Partner Taking Questions

Postby jrthor10 » Mon Jan 06, 2014 10:06 am

Do you have any interview advice specifically for 1Ls?

I have a few interviews set up with firms over break and I am a bit nervous. Although I worked for three years prior to law school, these interviews are my first law-related interviews.

Any specific questions to be be on the lookout for? 1L offers are so rare these days I'd prefer not to muck it up.

Also, some of the firms I sent cover letters and resumes to have yet to respond at all. Is it worth following up with grades once they become available, or if they haven't responded at all, are they probably not interested/not hiring 1Ls?

Thanks for your time.

AnotherYearOlder
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Re: V100 Hiring Partner Taking Questions

Postby AnotherYearOlder » Mon Jan 06, 2014 1:22 pm

jrthor10 wrote:Do you have any interview advice specifically for 1Ls?

I have a few interviews set up with firms over break and I am a bit nervous. Although I worked for three years prior to law school, these interviews are my first law-related interviews.


Most of the people who are interviewing are brand new to the interview process, so don't let that psych you out. Be personable, convince the interviewer that you're someone that they're going to want to work with. Show that you're driven and ready to learn and work. Be prepared to tell your story about why your experience leading up to this point makes you a great candidate. Have some pre-prepared questions to ask your interviewer if the interview bogs down. Research your interviewer so you can ask specific questions (the firm will be happy to give you a list of interviewers a few days out). Avoid being: the boring person, the incessant talker, the politician, the used-car salesman, the privileged kid, the joker, the high school debater, the academic, the Perry Mason wanna-be, and the eerie intense guy.

Any specific questions to be be on the lookout for? 1L offers are so rare these days I'd prefer not to muck it up.


Be prepared to answer questions about your resume and how your experience ties in with your interest in law school and the practice of law.

Don't punt the "what are you interested in question". This happens way to often and is often fatal when combined with the "well, it just always seemed like law school was a good idea, so I went" or it's cousin "I just love the law" answers. It makes you seem like you have no direction. Lot's of people think they're leaving their options open, but firms are looking for people that are devoted to an interest.

That's not to say that you can't hedge a bit. For instance, you can explain how your prior work experience at a bank gave you an interest in corporate finance and that's what has drawn you to the profession but, you recognize that there are many fields that you haven't been exposed to that may draw on you skill set and you'd like to work with a large firm because you'll have an opportunity to explore.

Also, some of the firms I sent cover letters and resumes to have yet to respond at all. Is it worth following up with grades once they become available, or if they haven't responded at all, are they probably not interested/not hiring 1Ls?


If you haven't heard anything yet, feel free to follow up once you get your grades. Update your resume, send it along and follow up with a phone call to the recruiter. Nothing wrong with that at all.

Anonymous User
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Re: V100 Hiring Partner Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:00 pm

Thanks for answering our questions!

I'm a 3L who has accepted an offer at a V10 and will be starting this fall. I'm trying to decide what classes to take, and I was wondering if I should take classes that are related to my planned practice area (tax, bankruptcy, reorg) or if I should take easy classes and keep the GPA high? I know that as an SA, no one expected me to know substantive law really. But as an incoming associate, is there more of an expectation that I have a better knowledge base and know more about my planned practice area? Is it really true that you learn everything in practice and it doesn't really matter what you take?

AnotherYearOlder
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Re: V100 Hiring Partner Taking Questions

Postby AnotherYearOlder » Mon Jan 06, 2014 10:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for answering our questions!

I'm a 3L who has accepted an offer at a V10 and will be starting this fall. I'm trying to decide what classes to take, and I was wondering if I should take classes that are related to my planned practice area (tax, bankruptcy, reorg) or if I should take easy classes and keep the GPA high? I know that as an SA, no one expected me to know substantive law really. But as an incoming associate, is there more of an expectation that I have a better knowledge base and know more about my planned practice area? Is it really true that you learn everything in practice and it doesn't really matter what you take?


I'd start taking classes that are going to be on the bar exam (makes studying more efficient), then just take classes you enjoy (either because the subject matter is interesting or because there's no final).

So long as the classes you have taken give you a foundation for your target area and you've learned the vocabulary, I think every firm teaches you how to apply what you've learned a little differently and emphasizes certain nuances. I wouldn't waste your time trying to anticipate.

I don't think you learn everything in practice, but that saying isn't far off. It makes life a lot easier, however, if you've learned the underlying vocabulary. For instance, I never took bankruptcy because I didn't think it would apply much to my practice. Turns out, it applied enough that, until I taught myself some of the concepts, I felt a step behind in digesting information I was given.

Anonymous User
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Re: V100 Hiring Partner Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 27, 2014 1:23 pm

Hoping you're still around...

I am 1L who received an offer for the summer from a NLJ 250 firm in my hometown market (secondary market). I am currently 20/80 on wanting to end up in this market vs. trying to be somewhere else (notably Chicago or DC). My grades put me close to median at MVP.

Question is, do I hurt my chances of going to one of these other markets by taking the position in my hometown market this summer? Specifically, would a PI or other non-paying job in one of the markets I more likely want to end up in be better than going home for the summer?

Thanks

Anonymous User
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Re: V100 Hiring Partner Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 28, 2014 4:28 pm

Along the lines of the last question you answered, how important are grades for lateraling/going in-house? I'm a 3L at a T14 with a firm position lined up, but I have other things I want to do in life this semester rather than gun as hard as I did in 1L. My grades are decent, and no matter how I perform this semester would not be noticeably outstanding or noticeably terrible. Is slacking now going to hurt me down the road, or should I just enjoy my final months before BigLaw?

Anonymous User
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Re: V100 Hiring Partner Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 28, 2014 4:51 pm

I'm in a unique position and I'd like your take. I graduated law school in 2009, did contract work for a few years, and I am currently clerking for a federal district court judge. Even though I am technically a 4th year attorney based on my graduation date, I am really a 2nd year for most big firms given my experience level.

(1) Would I be competitive for a big or mid-law firm with the judicial clerkship? Former law clerks with my judge ended up at decent big law and boutique firms. Plus I got some interviews during OCI way back when, but got no-offered by a firm due to economic reasons.

(2) How should I go about applying to firms? Do I need to address the fact that I am willing to take a 2nd year associate position or should I just be silent on that point?

(3) If I applied to your firm, how would you view my application? Would you consider me along with your first year associates or would I be considered more of a latera?

(4) Should I consider using a recruiter?

Thanks in advance!

Anonymous User
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Re: V100 Hiring Partner Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 28, 2014 5:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Along the lines of the last question you answered, how important are grades for lateraling/going in-house? I'm a 3L at a T14 with a firm position lined up, but I have other things I want to do in life this semester rather than gun as hard as I did in 1L. My grades are decent, and no matter how I perform this semester would not be noticeably outstanding or noticeably terrible. Is slacking now going to hurt me down the road, or should I just enjoy my final months before BigLaw?

I'm in the opposite position --doing IP (patent) summer in-house 2L after doing smaller firm summer after 1L. I'm wondering for 3l hiring what kind of experiences you'd like to hear a candidate talk about from their in-house time? Or does in-house look bad no matter how involved I get if I'm looking to get back to a firm? I'm thinking I'll probably be drafting some applications, writing office actions, and doing some lit research




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