Interviewing with a small firm.

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bigbobbybass
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:04 pm

Interviewing with a small firm.

Postby bigbobbybass » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:01 pm

I'm interviewing with a small firm (~10 attorneys) for a summer associate position. Does anyone have any tips for such an interview? Did you treat your interview any differently than one with a big law firm? Do you have any questions that you would suggest asking that might be better suited for a small firm?

bigbobbybass
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:04 pm

Re: Interviewing with a small firm.

Postby bigbobbybass » Thu Nov 21, 2013 11:14 am

Bump. Anyone? I really could use some advice, anything at all.

bdubs
Posts: 3729
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 2:23 pm

Re: Interviewing with a small firm.

Postby bdubs » Thu Nov 21, 2013 11:31 am

Try even harder to make a personal connection with people. A small firm looks for exactly the same things as a big firm, it's just that at a small firm you have to work with everyone while you can largely avoid people at a big firm. Try to find something in common with your interviewers without being too forced about it.

bigbobbybass
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:04 pm

Re: Interviewing with a small firm.

Postby bigbobbybass » Thu Nov 21, 2013 11:42 am

bdubs wrote:Try even harder to make a personal connection with people. A small firm looks for exactly the same things as a big firm, it's just that at a small firm you have to work with everyone while you can largely avoid people at a big firm. Try to find something in common with your interviewers without being too forced about it.


This is great, thank you. Do you have any questions I should specifically ask during the interview? I imagine if I get the position, I'll have to do more grunt work than I would at a big firm. I'm not opposed to this, but how should I broach the subject?

daveaa
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2012 4:12 pm

Re: Interviewing with a small firm.

Postby daveaa » Thu Nov 21, 2013 12:52 pm

I had a successful interview with a small firm that resulted in a call back interview and then an offer. I echo the advice to try to make a connection. But don't force it. If you're a fit for the firm, it shouldn't be too hard to show that there's a connection between yourself personally and the kind of work they're going to do.

If it's a small firm, I'd guess you'll be working more closely with a smaller number of attorneys. Maybe ask specifically what kind of work they'll have you do. They probably have a fairly detailed answer beyond the generic big-law answers.

If you've got experience working in a smaller office, even if not legal work, I'd mention it. That seemed to come across well in my interview.

But of course it's all going to depend on your interviewer. Maybe they'll take to you. Maybe they won't like the way your hair looks. Who knows?

Good luck!

whatsyourdeal
Posts: 97
Joined: Thu Sep 19, 2013 5:25 pm

Re: Interviewing with a small firm.

Postby whatsyourdeal » Thu Nov 21, 2013 1:14 pm

All the above advice is absolutely correct.

I'd also add that you should research the firm to explain what about the firm interests you.

Questions to ask: what are the day to day responsibilities of the position; what are the billable reqs; what is the compensation structure; what advancement opps are there; what assignment are typically given to a similar associate.

Also, responsibilities at small firms are (generally) significantly different from big firms. At a small firm, associates are thrown into the big boy pool and expected to learn how to swim immediately. Expect that you will be doing more than just doc review, since small firms typically dont have time to hand hold.

Good luck!

bigbobbybass
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:04 pm

Re: Interviewing with a small firm.

Postby bigbobbybass » Thu Nov 21, 2013 1:17 pm

These responses have all been incredibly helpful. Thank you so much!

blsingindisguise
Posts: 1296
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:08 am

Re: Interviewing with a small firm.

Postby blsingindisguise » Sun Dec 22, 2013 1:04 am

"Fit" is very important in a small firm, but one of the hardest lessons to learn is that you just can't force "fit" no matter what you do. If you seem like their kind of guy/gal, it will probably come through in spite of your nervousness, and if not, you probably can't fake it. A year after I was hired, a staffer told me "I knew right away they were going to hire you." And it makes sense -- I'm similar to a lot of the other associates in certain ways. But in the interview I felt like everything went terribly and I was so awkward. It didn't matter.

the_phoenix612
Posts: 116
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 2:47 pm

Re: Interviewing with a small firm.

Postby the_phoenix612 » Sun Dec 22, 2013 10:31 pm

I worked with a firm of 19 last summer for a few weeks, and the interview was super informal and very focused on fit. I did enough research to know what industry most of their work comes from (it was a litigation firm) and then just tried to have a good conversation at lunch. We ended up talking about soccer, World War II, and chemical weapons research. And I got the job.

Don't force anything, try to be yourself (come across as a real person that has a personality outside the law), and have fun. If you do all 3 of those things, you'll be golden.




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