Reneging on Offer

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Anonymous User
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Re: Reneging on Offer

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 02, 2013 2:15 pm

OP here. One more question. Perhaps I should start another thread for this, but I'm still not sure if I'm going to renege or not. I am leaning towards doing so and will decide by Monday. My question is this: if I end up keeping the public defender job for the summer, will I still have a decent shot at 3L OCI or no?

Stats are: transfer from low ranked school to lower t14. Got a 4.0 first semester and am ed board on a secondary journal. If I get 3.7+ GPA in the spring semester will I have a good shot at 3L OCI even if I work at the public defender office this summer? I understand it won't be as good as if I worked at a firm and got an offer, but I'm just trying to see if I will have a decent shot even without the firm.

Caveat: I understand that 3L OCI is a long shot in general, but I'm just trying to get a rough idea of my chances with public defender job this summer and my stats.

the lantern
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Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 8:47 am

Re: Reneging on Offer

Postby the lantern » Sat Mar 02, 2013 2:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. One more question. Perhaps I should start another thread for this, but I'm still not sure if I'm going to renege or not. I am leaning towards doing so and will decide by Monday. My question is this: if I end up keeping the public defender job for the summer, will I still have a decent shot at 3L OCI or no?

Stats are: transfer from low ranked school to lower t14. Got a 4.0 first semester and am ed board on a secondary journal. If I get 3.7+ GPA in the spring semester will I have a good shot at 3L OCI even if I work at the public defender office this summer? I understand it won't be as good as if I worked at a firm and got an offer, but I'm just trying to see if I will have a decent shot even without the firm.

Caveat: I understand that 3L OCI is a long shot in general, but I'm just trying to get a rough idea of my chances with public defender job this summer and my stats.


So I kinda did what you did. I worked as a PD prior to OCI, had good grades, am editor on L Rev, etc. I got selected for interviews with like 80% of the big firms that came to campus. The problem was these interviews were almost hostile. They looked at my resume and one interviewer flat out asked me, "...so I see all this public interest stuff on your resume... honestly, why are you even interviewing with us?" I then spent the remaining 19 minutes of my interview trying to explain why I wanted to work for a big firm, and I'm fairly certain I failed miserably. Honestly, how can you explain your passion for helping rich people/massive corporations fight over money? Of course, I didn't say that, but yeah.... just be ready for hostile interviewers if you have a public interest/PD resume-- that would be my main concern. They don't want do gooders or people who are just 'smart' or 'hardworking'-- they want corporate sharecroppers who will chomp at the bit to make every dollar possible. If you really want to make a push for a big firm after working at the PD/doing do gooder work, you need a compelling story (and the work experience) to back it up.

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somewhatwayward
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Re: Reneging on Offer

Postby somewhatwayward » Sat Mar 02, 2013 2:48 pm

the lantern wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here. One more question. Perhaps I should start another thread for this, but I'm still not sure if I'm going to renege or not. I am leaning towards doing so and will decide by Monday. My question is this: if I end up keeping the public defender job for the summer, will I still have a decent shot at 3L OCI or no?

Stats are: transfer from low ranked school to lower t14. Got a 4.0 first semester and am ed board on a secondary journal. If I get 3.7+ GPA in the spring semester will I have a good shot at 3L OCI even if I work at the public defender office this summer? I understand it won't be as good as if I worked at a firm and got an offer, but I'm just trying to see if I will have a decent shot even without the firm.

Caveat: I understand that 3L OCI is a long shot in general, but I'm just trying to get a rough idea of my chances with public defender job this summer and my stats.


So I kinda did what you did. I worked as a PD prior to OCI, had good grades, am editor on L Rev, etc. I got selected for interviews with like 80% of the big firms that came to campus. The problem was these interviews were almost hostile. They looked at my resume and one interviewer flat out asked me, "...so I see all this public interest stuff on your resume... honestly, why are you even interviewing with us?" I then spent the remaining 19 minutes of my interview trying to explain why I wanted to work for a big firm, and I'm fairly certain I failed miserably. Honestly, how can you explain your passion for helping rich people/massive corporations fight over money? Of course, I didn't say that, but yeah.... just be ready for hostile interviewers if you have a public interest/PD resume-- that would be my main concern. They don't want do gooders or people who are just 'smart' or 'hardworking'-- they want corporate sharecroppers who will chomp at the bit to make every dollar possible. If you really want to make a push for a big firm after working at the PD/doing do gooder work, you need a compelling story (and the work experience) to back it up.


Was this 2L OCI or 3L OCI? At 2L OCI, firms understand that it is hard to get work in the private sector for your 1L summer. They also understand that many law students graduated college into a terrible economy and had to take whatever job they could find between college and law school, whether it was "do-gooder" or in the private sector. My resume screamed public interest at 2L OCI (lots of community service in college, worked at a non-profit before law school, on the public interest law group board, ran two pro bono projects, and worked at Legal Aid my 1L summer) and I had no problem getting CBs and offers. No one was hostile. I am kind of wondering if your attitude ("soulless corporate bloodsucker", etc) was coming through in subtle ways in these interviews. I can see how an interview could turn hostile in which the interviewee believed the interviewer was soulless and intent on screwing people over for the sake of evil corporations....even if you didn't say any of these things, I can imagine this attitude may have come through.

If you're talking about 3L OCI, that's a little different because there is more opportunity to work in the private sector during your 2L summer, so if you don't, you have to explain why that happened. I expect that it would be sufficient to explain that your first choice the year before was to land an SA but that that didn't happen because hiring was meager, so you had to seek other legal work, but I'm not sure. Regardless, I can't see this ordinarily turning hostile.

The one other thing I will say about moving from big law into PI is that my boss at Legal Aid was a staff atty there who had been working there for ten years ever since she graduated from CCN. She told me she wished she had done big law first and then transferred into legal aid. I told her I had heard that PI employers didn't like to see big law experience, and she said that was not her experience. Her boss had done three or four years at Paul Weiss and then entered Legal Aid at a higher position than my boss who had ten years of experience. I had been on the fence about participating in OCI but her advice convinced me.

ETA: You are really setting up a false dichotomy. People can simultaneously have a desire to help other people and also want to do what they believe is best for their career (ie, big law) or even just want to make money. They are not mutually exclusive.

the lantern
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Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 8:47 am

Re: Reneging on Offer

Postby the lantern » Sat Mar 02, 2013 3:04 pm

ETA: You are really setting up a false dichotomy. People can simultaneously have a desire to help other people and also want to do what they believe is best for their career (ie, big law) or even just want to make money. They are not mutually exclusive.


I never said that they couldn't. I certainly had the dual intent of doing both, so I'm not sure how you could even make that statement based on my post. All I'm saying is that it can possibly hurt you have a history of PI work and then seek big firm work. These firms may be skeptical. I don't even understand how this is a controversy. If you want to work in big law, then the best thing to do is work in big law all through law school and take all coursework related to big law type stuff. If you don't do that, there is a potential that these firms will be skeptical that you're willing to put in the necessary hours, find the work fulfilling, etc. I don't understand how anyone can possibly disagree that you're a better candidate if your resume is consistent and shows a clear post-grad goal.

I'm saying that when I was interviewed by big firms, they specifically questioned me about: (1) volunteer work I did in Latin America; (2) working at the public defender; (3) being president of liberal/do gooder student organizations, etc.

I worked in the private sector my 2L summer for a medium sized firm (30 attorneys or so) that is widely known (and recognized as) the top firm in our region in its practice area.

I'm not going to go into it because you're just speculating (and it is warranted), but my "attitude" about big law did not come through. I studied all these firms, knew everything about their practice areas, major cases, etc., and I was able to articulate with specificity the type of tasks they do that I would really enjoy.

When I say they were "hostile," I don't mean that they were mean or confrontational. I just mean that they asked me questions that they most certainly did not ask my friends-- i.e. a portion of my interviews were devoted to some of my past volunteer/advocacy experiences where they mostly talked about their legal experience and their interests.

And moving from big law to PI isn't at all unreasonable. The skills (and connections) you get in big law (not to mention the salary) will be incredibly useful in public interest work. Not many of us PDs are going to get experience doing big, class-action type suits or do any sort of complex litigation.

I would, however, say that the opposite is not reasonable (moving from PI to big law, absent special circumstances/esp prestigious PI work).

All I wanted to say was that doing public interest/PD work CAN POSSIBLY be detrimental when applying for work at big firms, and, based on my experience, that is something I would recommend that the poster factor into his analysis when making this decision. Personally, I think I would have had much more success with big firms if my entire resume (including my pre-law school career, activist/volunteer work during undergrad, etc.) didn't scream PI/do gooder. I just wanted to warn the person who asked the question that, in my personal experience, I think that doing PI stuff hindered my ability to get work in big law (at least to some extent). If he/she is facing a choice between PI/firm work this summer, and he/she wants big law above and beyond everything else, this is a factor he/she should consider.




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