So what's this I hear about firms not hiring older graduates

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LateBloomer81
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So what's this I hear about firms not hiring older graduates

Postby LateBloomer81 » Fri Mar 08, 2013 6:15 pm

I was talking to my friend who's been out of law school a few years, he was 29 when he graduated and says that most firms didn't want anything to do with him since he wasn't very young in relation to others, apparently the younger the better,

My main interest is to hang my own shingle seeing as I have a prime space in Manhattan which will be rent free. That being said, I like having options and it is kind of annoying if what my friend says is true.

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Objection
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Re: So what's this I hear about firms not hiring older graduates

Postby Objection » Fri Mar 08, 2013 6:22 pm

I have no personal experience with this, but I would imagine it depends on the type of place.

Some reasons (legit or not) I could see for firms not wanting older graduates...no idea if they're accurate, but they came to mind:

- Family...firms don't want someone who might have or start a family at a time when they're supposed to be billing 2500 hours on tasks no one wants to do.

- Stability...younger grads often don't have much experience to go on, so it will be awhile before they develop or even look for exit opportunities. Older graduates might be looking for exit opportunities sooner.

- Moldability...firms want a raw lump of clay they can mold into a subservient and mindless member of the hive. Easier to do with a younger, inexperienced mind.

LateBloomer81
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Re: So what's this I hear about firms not hiring older graduates

Postby LateBloomer81 » Fri Mar 08, 2013 6:26 pm

Objection wrote:I have no personal experience with this, but I would imagine it depends on the type of place.

Some reasons (legit or not) I could see for firms not wanting older graduates...no idea if they're accurate, but they came to mind:

- Family...firms don't want someone who might have or start a family at a time when they're supposed to be billing 2500 hours on tasks no one wants to do.

- Stability...younger grads often don't have much experience to go on, so it will be awhile before they develop or even look for exit opportunities. Older graduates might be looking for exit opportunities sooner.

- Moldability...firms want a raw lump of clay they can mold into a subservient and mindless member of the hive. Easier to do with a younger, inexperienced mind.


All valid reason, and similar to the way I was looking at it.

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Samara
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Re: So what's this I hear about firms not hiring older graduates

Postby Samara » Fri Mar 08, 2013 6:47 pm

Varies from firm to firm, but generally not as big of a problem as some people make it out to be. The consensus from the interviewing associates I've seen post on here is that it's only a problem if you make it one. Basically, make it clear that your age is not going to prevent you from putting in the hours and that you aren't going to have any issues taking orders from more senior associates younger than you.

Maybe it's just my school, but I don't think graduating at 29 is considered all that old. I know someone even older that was not dinged for it at all.

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Re: So what's this I hear about firms not hiring older graduates

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:02 pm

Firms don't like hiring older graduates... but older graduates are 39, not 29. The average entering age for a law student is 25, which would make the average graduate 28. Certainly there isn't systematic bias against the 40+% of all recent grads who are 29 or older.

And the main reason firms dislike hiring older graduates (older, again, meaning 35+) is because they'll be noticeably older than a lot of the mid-level associates whom they will be working under, and many older graduates are not very good at taking orders from people 5-10 years their junior.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: So what's this I hear about firms not hiring older graduates

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:02 pm

Yes, some of what I'm going to say repeats what others have, but:

It will vary by the firm and your age. I know lots of late 20s/early 30s people in firm jobs. My sense is that biglaw may tend to prefer younger associates, for a few reasons:

- they believe older associates won't have the energy to handle 80 hour weeks
- they believe older associates won't be willing to put in 80 hour weeks (especially if you have a spouse/family)
- they believe shiny newbies are malleable and can be trained to do things exactly the way the firms like, rather than having actual ideas of their own
- they believe older associates will have a hard time taking orders from people who are younger, but further up the firm hierarchy, than they are

But then, I don't think 29 even really counts as "old" in this scenario. (Full disclosure: I was 39 when I started law school.) TBH, if a 29-year-old can't find a firm job I'd chalk it up to something other than age.

Personally, the issue I've most run into is the last - am I really willing to do the grunt work of a newbie lawyer? Can I handle young 'uns giving me orders? (My previous WE doesn't help with this because I was in a position of some responsibility by the time I changed careers.) However, while I can't guarantee some employers won't ditch your application based on this, it's more of a presumption that can be overcome - you just need to know how to signal you're willing to start at the bottom.

I do think that as you start getting further into your 40s, 50s, etc., it's much harder to get firm jobs - but then, that's kinda true of anyone trying to make a career change at that age; it's pretty hard (I don't get the impression this describes you, but thought I'd throw it out there).

Also, the flip side is that a lot of employers like to hire people who've at least had a full time job before (see K-JD concerns about not being as competitive as experienced classmates). So again, it depends on the employer.

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Re: So what's this I hear about firms not hiring older graduates

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:06 pm

Your friend should've gotten better grades, been a better interviewer, etc, because using the age of 29 as an excuse is insulting. I'm 29 with kids, at a T30, and dominated offers in multiple major markets. Age never phased me as an even remotely possible issue of concern in interviews. On the other hand, I think there are a lot of advantages to being a couple of years more mature than the average grad.

keg411
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Re: So what's this I hear about firms not hiring older graduates

Postby keg411 » Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Your friend should've gotten better grades, been a better interviewer, etc, because using the age of 29 as an excuse is insulting. I'm 29 with kids, at a T30, and dominated offers in multiple major markets. Age never phased me as an even remotely possible issue of concern in interviews. On the other hand, I think there are a lot of advantages to being a couple of years more mature than the average grad.


Agree with this. Blaming age is stupid and 90% of my interviewers said my age/WE was a good thing (will be 31 at graduation; current 3L with a firm job). And I'm female, so it's not like they have some bias against older women either.

LateBloomer81
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Re: So what's this I hear about firms not hiring older graduates

Postby LateBloomer81 » Sat Mar 09, 2013 12:12 am

I'm 32 and if I take the lsat in Oct I will enter at 33, and graduate at 36. From what some of you have said, I'm in the middle between just right and too old.

either way, my goal is to open my own practice since my overhead will be very very small, and I have always worked for myself. I wouldn't just have a problem taking orders from q 29 year old,I would have a problem taking orders from anyone.

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Re: So what's this I hear about firms not hiring older graduates

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 09, 2013 12:23 am

C/o 2013, T1, will graduate at 31, five offers at OCI (and I canceled half my callbacks). Post-grad I'll be starting at what is generally considered one of the top two firms in my secondary city.

A couple of older (40+) non-trads on my law review had similar OCI results.

My sense was that some firms shy away from older candidates while other firms have a strong interest in older candidates. Kind of balances out in the end.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: So what's this I hear about firms not hiring older graduates

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Mar 09, 2013 12:54 am

LateBloomer81 wrote:I'm 32 and if I take the lsat in Oct I will enter at 33, and graduate at 36. From what some of you have said, I'm in the middle between just right and too old.

either way, my goal is to open my own practice since my overhead will be very very small, and I have always worked for myself. I wouldn't just have a problem taking orders from q 29 year old,I would have a problem taking orders from anyone.

Yeah, my impression is that's not going to fly for most biglaw (or lots of entry-level lawyer jobs, actually). But since you want to work for yourself, I guess it's not that big a deal. (I have never wanted to work for myself; I would make a terrible boss.)

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Re: So what's this I hear about firms not hiring older graduates

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 09, 2013 9:29 am

29 is not old. It would not surprise me if some hiring committees are hesitant to select students over 40, because new associates will likely be taking orders from associates and partners in their 20s and 30s, but the two 40+ law students I met both ended up at great firms.

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Re: So what's this I hear about firms not hiring older graduates

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 09, 2013 11:58 am

29 at OCI, will be 31 at graduation, multiple offers out of OCI. I think grades are the biggest factor, anything else is secondary. We have multiple people in their mid 30's on the Law Review at my CCN, and they all cleaned up at OCI just as well as those in their early/mid 20's

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Re: So what's this I hear about firms not hiring older graduates

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Sat Mar 09, 2013 4:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:29 at OCI, will be 31 at graduation, multiple offers out of OCI. I think grades are the biggest factor, anything else is secondary. We have multiple people in their mid 30's on the Law Review at my CCN, and they all cleaned up at OCI just as well as those in their early/mid 20's


Yep. I'm familiar with most of the prestigious law firms in my area and I can't think of a single one that doesn't have a good chunk of older associates running shit and doing good work. I think the "younger is better" flame is unique to TLS and cliques of 21-year-old law students trying to make themselves feel special.

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Re: So what's this I hear about firms not hiring older graduates

Postby Lwoods » Sat Mar 09, 2013 5:29 pm

keg411 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Your friend should've gotten better grades, been a better interviewer, etc, because using the age of 29 as an excuse is insulting. I'm 29 with kids, at a T30, and dominated offers in multiple major markets. Age never phased me as an even remotely possible issue of concern in interviews. On the other hand, I think there are a lot of advantages to being a couple of years more mature than the average grad.


Agree with this. Blaming age is stupid and 90% of my interviewers said my age/WE was a good thing (will be 31 at graduation; current 3L with a firm job). And I'm female, so it's not like they have some bias against older women either.


+1. Will be 30 at graduation, and I outperformed my GPA during interview season thanks to work experience.

There have been good reasons stated in here why firms may have a problem with older recent graduates, but those tend to be the 40+ range, not 29. Even then, if a person had an established career in another field before law school, s/he may likely be a really attractive candidate to legal employers in that field (e.g. an accountant in tax law or an engineer in IP).

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Re: So what's this I hear about firms not hiring older graduates

Postby Renzo » Sun Mar 10, 2013 4:41 pm

Lwoods wrote:[

+1. Will be 30 at graduation, and I outperformed my GPA during interview season thanks to work experience.

There have been good reasons stated in here why firms may have a problem with older recent graduates, but those tend to be the 40+ range, not 29. Even then, if a person had an established career in another field before law school, s/he may likely be a really attractive candidate to legal employers in that field (e.g. an accountant in tax law or an engineer in IP).


This was my experience, and the experience of all of my "older" friends in law school. It was an unmitigated positive. I would agree that when you get up to the 40+ range things may be different and there may be more discrimination (intentional and unintentional), but late 20's to mid 30's is not too old.

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Re: So what's this I hear about firms not hiring older graduates

Postby Magnifique1908 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 5:47 pm

Same here. 28, will be 31 at graduation. Work experience and "maturity" was a common topic in my interviews. Ended up with two top firm SA offers in my market for 1L summer at a time when 1L SA offers are scarce.

I've heard the "older graduate" bias theory, but as others have said, it varies by firm and it's certainly does not pertain to late 20's and early 30's, more so the 40+ crowd.

YMMV

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Re: So what's this I hear about firms not hiring older graduates

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 10, 2013 7:42 pm

I'm a female and will be 29 when I graduate. Ropes and Gray hired me. They even like older students and didn't even give screening interviews to many top students who went straight through.

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Re: So what's this I hear about firms not hiring older graduates

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:36 pm

I think it sort of varies by firm, but I don't think there is any bright line rule with respect to age. I know plenty of people who are over 30 who landed big law positions. Some places may favor older employees. However, I do know some people think hiring younger people is favorable because they have less experience and are more malleable/may not know any better in terms of what a good employment situation is like. It really depends, but I can assure you that your friend being 29 did not prevent him from getting a job.

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Re: So what's this I hear about firms not hiring older graduates

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:04 am

The idea that 29 is too old but 26 or 27 is fine is absurd.

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androstan
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Re: So what's this I hear about firms not hiring older graduates

Postby androstan » Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:14 pm

I will be thirty two months after I graduate. No problems here.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: So what's this I hear about firms not hiring older graduates

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:27 pm

Wormfather wrote:I'll be 36 when I graduate, this thread scares me. I'm gonna go find my special snowflake costume.

Nah, don't freak. I graduated at 41 and it's fine. Just don't be this guy, and you'll be fine.

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Samara
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Re: So what's this I hear about firms not hiring older graduates

Postby Samara » Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:32 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Wormfather wrote:I'll be 36 when I graduate, this thread scares me. I'm gonna go find my special snowflake costume.

Nah, don't freak. I graduated at 41 and it's fine. Just don't be this guy, and you'll be fine.

That story is one of my favorites of all time.

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Re: So what's this I hear about firms not hiring older graduates

Postby Renzo » Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:54 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Wormfather wrote:I'll be 36 when I graduate, this thread scares me. I'm gonna go find my special snowflake costume.

Nah, don't freak. I graduated at 41 and it's fine. Just don't be this guy, and you'll be fine.


Right.

The "bias" against older students is generally related to the idea that they will have trouble answering to some 26 year old who is "senior" to them, that they will be too old to be pulling all-nighters for no better reason than poor planning, etc.

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Robert Paulson
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Re: So what's this I hear about firms not hiring older graduates

Postby Robert Paulson » Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:24 pm

Sorry to hijack your thread, but I was curious if it is possible to be too young? Is someone graduating law school at 22 going to be disadvantaged?




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