"Why do you want to do White Collar Defense?"

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Anonymous User
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"Why do you want to do White Collar Defense?"

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 24, 2014 12:10 pm

I am going to be interviewing for a position at a firm with their white collar group. I'm wondering what to say about "why I want to do white collar." Really, I'm interested because I am interested after the firm in being an AUSA, and I want to get experience. My resume doesn't have any hard business experience, although I worked after graduation. My resume also doesn't have any PI stuff from the law school.

Anyone got advice for good responses to this question?

edit: I mean, are there really people coming out of law school that are like "all of these rich people are being unjustly persecuted" or whatever?

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KD35
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Re: "Why do you want to do White Collar Defense?"

Postby KD35 » Wed Dec 24, 2014 12:27 pm

I don't know a ton about white collar but can't you say you are interested because the cases seem interesting? Or at least some of the issues are intriguing to you and then say certain examples.

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cookiejar1
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Re: "Why do you want to do White Collar Defense?"

Postby cookiejar1 » Wed Dec 24, 2014 12:30 pm

Some firms fold in their FCPA practice into the White Collar umbrella so if this is true for that firm you can talk about how you're interested in international work generally and looking at things through a global perspective in particular (did you study abroad? If you did then those were the most impactful 6 mo./year of your entire life).

Investigations are also a big part of White Collar Defense. Talk about your love for fact development and getting into the weeds. Getting the full picture. Developing a story. Pull from your past to construct a decent narrative.

You're gonna be doing a lot of doc review so subtly hint at the fact that you're willing to grind it out baby.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: "Why do you want to do White Collar Defense?"

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Wed Dec 24, 2014 12:49 pm

Yup; interest in fact-intensive work and investigations is key.

Comparatively little white collar work, at least at large firms, is actually representing individuals in criminal proceedings. Most of it is working for companies being investigated by the government. So you should try to lose the notion that it has anything to do with helping rich people beat the rap or whatever.

mw115
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Re: "Why do you want to do White Collar Defense?"

Postby mw115 » Sat Dec 27, 2014 6:48 pm

A lot of the attorney's practicing white collar are former AUSAs and understand the nature of the work. So telling them that getting experience in what AUSA's do isn't a bad answer.

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Elston Gunn
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Re: "Why do you want to do White Collar Defense?"

Postby Elston Gunn » Sat Dec 27, 2014 6:55 pm

cookiejar1 wrote:Investigations are also a big part of White Collar Defense. Talk about your love for fact development and getting into the weeds. Getting the full picture. Developing a story. Pull from your past to construct a decent narrative.

This. And as much as possible, try to really understand what white collar lawyers do. I'm not an expert, but I think the way you're framing it in the OP reflects a misguided view of what the work is. As others have said, it seems to have more to do with internal investigations--which include a lot of reviewing employee emails and doing witness interviews--than actual litigation.

I wouldn't talk about your desire to be an AUSA. It's not like they'll mind that you have that goal (they probably once did/still do as well), but it would look bad imo to say that in an interview.

Cogburn87
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Re: "Why do you want to do White Collar Defense?"

Postby Cogburn87 » Sat Dec 27, 2014 7:04 pm

Be blunt: just say you have a burning passion for doc review and writing memos about the tolling provisions for various statutes of limitation. That's mostly what the work is anyway.

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nothingtosee
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Re: "Why do you want to do White Collar Defense?"

Postby nothingtosee » Sun Dec 28, 2014 5:03 pm

Cogburn87 wrote:Be blunt: just say you have a burning passion for doc review and writing memos about the tolling provisions for various statutes of limitation. That's mostly what the work is anyway.



Is white collar really that bad?
Or at least worse than other lit?

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Dafaq
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Re: "Why do you want to do White Collar Defense?"

Postby Dafaq » Sun Dec 28, 2014 5:14 pm

The firms already know why you’d want to do WCC. It’s the $. They just need to know if you’d be any good at it. Why wouldn’t you be?

Cogburn87
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Re: "Why do you want to do White Collar Defense?"

Postby Cogburn87 » Sun Dec 28, 2014 5:36 pm

nothingtosee wrote:Is white collar really that bad?

Yes.

nothingtosee wrote:Or at least worse than other lit?

This is like asking if having Hepatitis B is worse than having Hepatitis C. The answer's not entirely clear, but in any event you'd rather not have either.

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nothingtosee
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Re: "Why do you want to do White Collar Defense?"

Postby nothingtosee » Sun Dec 28, 2014 5:47 pm

Cogburn87 wrote:
nothingtosee wrote:Is white collar really that bad?

Yes.

nothingtosee wrote:Or at least worse than other lit?

This is like asking if having Hepatitis B is worse than having Hepatitis C. The answer's not entirely clear, but in any event you'd rather not have either.


TBF tho, u think being a lawyer is always the worst
Last edited by nothingtosee on Sun Dec 28, 2014 5:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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fats provolone
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Re: "Why do you want to do White Collar Defense?"

Postby fats provolone » Sun Dec 28, 2014 5:49 pm

tbf tho

Cogburn87
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Re: "Why do you want to do White Collar Defense?"

Postby Cogburn87 » Sun Dec 28, 2014 5:50 pm

No. I believe being a lawyer is an awful outcome—not that it's "always the worst."

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cookiejar1
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Re: "Why do you want to do White Collar Defense?"

Postby cookiejar1 » Sun Dec 28, 2014 7:52 pm

I actually was really interested in FCPA work because of my international background. The key problem I saw with white collar was how insulated the practice area was - if you end up hating it, it might be difficult to get out of that field because you don't really develop any transferrable skills. For example, instead of "litigating" per se you end up writing extensive presentations to the SEC/DOJ. Full disclosure - I am still in law school. My experience with FCPA/White Collar departments is limited to my shopping most of the top FCPA firms during callbacks and my impressions made there so who knows if this is even right.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: "Why do you want to do White Collar Defense?"

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sun Dec 28, 2014 11:30 pm

White collar work is "worse" than civil lit in the sense that the junior level work is much more granular fact work. That means doc review, drafting interview outlines and summaries, etc. There is comparatively less legal research and writing to go around. Some people like that but most probably don't, on balance. If you can get on smaller matters, it seems to mitigate some of the b.s.

Most big law work involves, to some extent, devoting an unreasonable amount of time and energy to covering your ass on every last contingency. White collar work is especially like that, more than most.

It can be interesting too, though, especially if you like piecing a story together.




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