Saw this in the CLS thread and thought I'd share.
1) If other firms are like mine, they will try to match you with at least some CLS folks. The CLS folks you interview with, especially the younger ones, WANT to give you a good rating. So just don't f*ck it up.
2) Most of you are not good interviewers. I wasn't either.
3) So since most of you aren't going to win a charisma contest (we are all, in the end, folks who decided to go to law school), and your interviewer probably isn't super charismatic, either, get it out of your head that you're going to dazzle folks. Don't monologue. For the love of god, don't have obviously scripted answers. Is kiss of death.*
*that being said, if your résumé begs an obvious question, I assume you have a prepared response and if it seems like you don't, I'll take off a (metaphorical) point. But the art of it is in delivering a canned answer without seeming scripted. Is not easy. But is necessary.
4) Speaking personally, I make a judgement within about 2 minutes as to whether you are a nut job. I view identifying the crazies as my main job. I then want to test your common sense - are you "professional" - meaning, are your answers uncontroversial and conservative? Again, don't wow me, just show the ability to shoot shit smoothly for 30 min. That takes another 5-10 min or so. After that, Ive made my call and I'm more worried about recruiting you - the tables are turned.
5) you'd be stunned how many people are incompetent at the aspects of being an associate other than the brains. People flake out, or can't be trusted, or play games. I don't really care if I like you, and I don't really care if I can be up in your business at 3AM, because frankly, if we're working at 3AM, you will be in your office and me in mine. What I want to answer is - if its Friday at 9PM and shit comes in, and I email you, will you pretend to not hear your BB? Will you hope the other first year on the email answers first, and sandbag the response? Will you do a crappy job to get it off your plate so you can go to frying pan on Saturday? If the answer to any of those is yes, that's a real bad thing - and frankly, for most people the answer is yes. Most sane people, anyways. But to be a good associate you need to be more than a little crazy, and at least at the interview, if you can't at least reasonably convince me that you have that craziness in you, you've failed to show common sense and failed #4 above.
6) if I think you want to clock 3 years, pay off your debt and bail, that's not a good thing. If I see lots of social justice type stuff on your resume, or lots of pro bono, that's something i am going to press you on. pro bono/social justice is not inherently a negative point, and some of the lawyers i respect the most at my firm are big on it, but you have to be very careful to build a narrative as someone enthusiastic about "core" biglaw work.
7) if you tell me you are seriously considering an inferior firm because of culture or fit, I will ding you because you are an idiot. For saying it, and for thinking it. I generally won't ask about that, but some partners will. Some interviewees volunteer it, which is insanity. Happened to me twice last week.