Why our firm?

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Yuuup
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Why our firm?

Postby Yuuup » Sat Aug 10, 2013 3:11 pm

When asked why you want to work for a specific firm in OCI, what is the best way to go about answering the question? Do you need to be able to say something really specific about that individual firm? Or is it alright to talk about something generic like how it would provide the opportunity to explore multiple practice areas that you are interested in and work and learn from individuals at the top of their field?

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Why our firm?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Sat Aug 10, 2013 3:25 pm

Yuuup wrote:When asked why you want to work for a specific firm in OCI, what is the best way to go about answering the question? Do you need to be able to say something really specific about that individual firm? Or is it alright to talk about something generic like how it would provide the opportunity to explore multiple practice areas that you are interested in and work and learn from individuals at the top of their field?

Depending on your interests that generic answer may not be all that generic. If a firm lets you try assignments from different areas during the summer (or early on as an associate) and is highly regarded in the areas of interest to you that's a great answer.

Anonymous User
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Re: Why our firm?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 10, 2013 3:57 pm

I know people tend to shy away from practice groups, but I think mentioning some of their areas of expertise and how it connects to your background is a good idea. I think so because all firms are kind of the same, and it's their expertise that often distinguishes them. Your answer could be, "I am really interested in corporate work, and your private equity/investment management/life sciences groups interest me given my background." Of course, if you see anything else that is interesting about the firm, you could also mention that, too. I'd also talk to attorneys/summers at the firm to see what the firm is proud of.

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Loose Seal
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Re: Why our firm?

Postby Loose Seal » Sun Aug 11, 2013 6:20 pm

I work for a smaller office of a big firm, and we are looking for specific answers to that question indicating that we won't be wasting our limited resources calling you back. It may be different for big NYC offices.

law321
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Re: Why our firm?

Postby law321 » Sun Aug 11, 2013 6:33 pm

I look for a fairly specific answer to this question. A strong answer to this question can go a long way.

Anonymous User
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Re: Why our firm?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 11, 2013 6:55 pm

law321 wrote:I look for a fairly specific answer to this question. A strong answer to this question can go a long way.


Can you give an example of a specific or strong answer?

rad lulz
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Re: Why our firm?

Postby rad lulz » Sun Aug 11, 2013 7:03 pm

I normally hit on 3 things

1) desire to work in the region and why
2) firm size and why I want to work in a firm that size
3) reputation for the practice areas I am interested in

Then I usually will hit on anything else I like about the firm. Like if the firm really pushes its free marker system or whatever I'll say why I'd enjoy that environment or whatever. Or if it's a boutique or whatever why I want to work for a boutique. You get the idea.

You gotta do your research though otherwise you sound like a fucking dumbass

Anonymous User
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Re: Why our firm?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 11, 2013 7:07 pm

rad lulz wrote:I normally hit on 3 things

1) desire to work in the region and why
2) firm size and why I want to work in a firm that size
3) reputation for the practice areas I am interested in

Then I usually will hit on anything else I like about the firm. Like if the firm really pushes its free marker system or whatever I'll say why I'd enjoy that environment or whatever. Or if it's a boutique or whatever why I want to work for a boutique. You get the idea.

You gotta do your research though otherwise you sound like a fucking dumbass


Good stuff. But what if I don't know what practice area I'm interested in. I have an answer to the litigation vs. transactional question, but beyond that I just don't know enough to say.

law321
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Re: Why our firm?

Postby law321 » Sun Aug 11, 2013 7:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
law321 wrote:I look for a fairly specific answer to this question. A strong answer to this question can go a long way.


Can you give an example of a specific or strong answer?


Sure. I like an answer that addresses several issues: (i) the market; (ii) firm culture or reputation; (iii) specific practice area(s) of interest; (iv) firm specific characteristics you find attractive.

Example: "I am interested in XYZ firm for several reasons. First, I am particularly interested in the [city] office because I [have ties to the region, lived here during college and planned ever since to return, etc]. Second, I have read/heard your firm has a wonderful culture of collegiality/an excellent reputation as an industry leader. Third, I hope to pursue [practice area] and firm XYZ has a very strong practice in this area. Finally, I am attracted to XYZ because your [has a free market system, allows one to focus in one areas, has a smaller summer class where I won't get lost in the crowd, etc.].

law321
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Re: Why our firm?

Postby law321 » Sun Aug 11, 2013 7:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
rad lulz wrote:I normally hit on 3 things

1) desire to work in the region and why
2) firm size and why I want to work in a firm that size
3) reputation for the practice areas I am interested in

Then I usually will hit on anything else I like about the firm. Like if the firm really pushes its free marker system or whatever I'll say why I'd enjoy that environment or whatever. Or if it's a boutique or whatever why I want to work for a boutique. You get the idea.

You gotta do your research though otherwise you sound like a fucking dumbass


Good stuff. But what if I don't know what practice area I'm interested in. I have an answer to the litigation vs. transactional question, but beyond that I just don't know enough to say.


Rad Lulz is spot-on.

law321
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Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 11:34 am

Re: Why our firm?

Postby law321 » Sun Aug 11, 2013 7:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
rad lulz wrote:I normally hit on 3 things

1) desire to work in the region and why
2) firm size and why I want to work in a firm that size
3) reputation for the practice areas I am interested in

Then I usually will hit on anything else I like about the firm. Like if the firm really pushes its free marker system or whatever I'll say why I'd enjoy that environment or whatever. Or if it's a boutique or whatever why I want to work for a boutique. You get the idea.

You gotta do your research though otherwise you sound like a fucking dumbass


Good stuff. But what if I don't know what practice area I'm interested in. I have an answer to the litigation vs. transactional question, but beyond that I just don't know enough to say.


That is fine, and very normal. Just indicate you are leaning in a certain direction for specific reasons (i.e., litigation preference because enjoy reading cases and writing, or transactional because I would enjoy counseling companies on business-related projects in a less contentious/more collaborative context).

rad lulz
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Re: Why our firm?

Postby rad lulz » Sun Aug 11, 2013 7:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
rad lulz wrote:I normally hit on 3 things

1) desire to work in the region and why
2) firm size and why I want to work in a firm that size
3) reputation for the practice areas I am interested in

Then I usually will hit on anything else I like about the firm. Like if the firm really pushes its free marker system or whatever I'll say why I'd enjoy that environment or whatever. Or if it's a boutique or whatever why I want to work for a boutique. You get the idea.

You gotta do your research though otherwise you sound like a fucking dumbass


Good stuff. But what if I don't know what practice area I'm interested in. I have an answer to the litigation vs. transactional question, but beyond that I just don't know enough to say.

I've never had a problem as a 2L with just saying that I really wanted to do litigation. Then I'd usually say something like "I'm interested in your firm because it has [whatever strong lit groups]. i like that your summer program gives summers the opportunity to work in several different groups so I can get a better feeling for each type of work" or something like that

aces
Posts: 157
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2012 9:06 pm

Re: Why our firm?

Postby aces » Mon Aug 12, 2013 1:39 am

The more specific, the better, especially if you're not interviewing at a Skadden-esque megafirm (this applies even in NYC). City, size, practice area is a decent generic response and a fine starting point, but a more specific or personalized answer would be ideal. Expressing real, informed interest in a practice area in which the firm specializes would probably be the most promising avenue. Generally, you actually have to talk to lawyers to learn about the nuts and bolts of various practice areas, though, and it's tough to do so just by reading TLS. Hopefully you hustled and talked to enough folks to develop a list of interesting, informed talking points for each firm.

lolwat
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Re: Why our firm?

Postby lolwat » Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:26 am

In general, the more specificity, the better. Be a little careful in being too specific about any given practice area--that group might not be hiring (or might be downsizing, though you should already know this if you've done research) after all. OTOH, if you know that the group is understaffed and needs people, then hit on it HARD. You're likely to be able to eventually weasel your way out of the group once you get there if you really don't like it anyway.

Basically, hit on the 3 things that rad lulz talked about, give reasons why those three things are important to you, and tie those 3 things in to the firm (or, well, at least #2 and #3).

aces
Posts: 157
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2012 9:06 pm

Re: Why our firm?

Postby aces » Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:59 am

I also think quality of response is better than quantity. I'd rather have one or two thought-out, personalized reasons than a list of six generic factors (the firm is so collegial! I want to try out different practice areas this summer! X practice group is top-rated! I just love NYC!). Every interviewer is going to hear the standard Vault/Chambers talking points from most of their interviewees. If you can give intelligent reasons why a firm is great which (a) resonates with the interviewer (again, networking is important for this-- why do the attorneys in the firm like working there?) and (b) is a little different from the standard drivel, you'll really stand out. This is the kind of stuff interviewers want when they say "impress me."




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