3L interviewing for a firm; advice needed

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3L interviewing for a firm; advice needed

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 26, 2015 2:42 am

Hi, I'm hoping to get some thoughts on how to approach an upcoming interview, especially on how to explain my GPA.

I'm a 3L with an unimpressive GPA: 3.26. The average GPA for those getting OCI callback is around 3.55. The median for 2-3L classes in our school is 3.2. I transferred after my first year, and I blew my 2L year (GPA 3.0) largely due to a family crisis. I know this could come across as a lame excuse, but I'm in a particular situation having my parents live abroad, and I started to care for my sister as I began 2L year. I overestimated myself thinking I could handle both, but obviously I was wrong. I made adjustments over my 2L summer and I got a 3.8 for my 3L fall semester. The 10% mark is around 3.75 for my school.

To be clear, I got this interview through networking as I happened to run into a old friend from high school, and his father is a big client for this firm (general counsel).

So I'm sure that this interview could just be for show to the client, and it may be the case that they don't even have any openings. In any event, I want to do well and I'm getting mixed opinions on how I should deal with my 2L history.

If they never bring it up, should I still talk about it highlighting my significantly better performance last semester? I know that it's usually a better idea to focus on showing good character and personality. But they may not bring it up because they've made assumption, and I may be able to change their mind by explaining what I've went through during my second year.

I would appreciate any thoughts on this matter. Thanks!
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Desert Fox
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Re: 3L interviewing at V80; advice needed

Postby Desert Fox » Thu Feb 26, 2015 2:47 am

egregious bryan cave trolling

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Re: 3L interviewing at V80; advice needed

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 26, 2015 2:53 am

Desert Fox wrote:egregious bryan cave trolling



What kind of joke is this?

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Re: 3L interviewing at V80; advice needed

Postby baal hadad » Thu Feb 26, 2015 2:59 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:egregious bryan cave trolling



What kind of joke is this?

People who get interviews at V70s and above would have got that

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Re: 3L interviewing at V80; advice needed

Postby rpupkin » Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:05 am

baal hadad wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:egregious bryan cave trolling



What kind of joke is this?

People who get interviews at V70s and above would have got that

As would people who go to a better school than a "T15"

OP, I know you're trying, and I know you don't mean any harm, but drop the T15/V80 stuff. It's lame. Unless you're trolling, in which case: 167

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Re: 3L interviewing at V80; advice needed

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:12 am

rpupkin wrote:
baal hadad wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:egregious bryan cave trolling



What kind of joke is this?

People who get interviews at V70s and above would have got that

As would people who go to a better school than a "T15"

OP, I know you're trying, and I know you don't mean any harm, but drop the T15/V80 stuff. It's lame. Unless you're trolling, in which case: 167




I see. My first time leaving a post here - didn't mean to come across that way.

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Re: 3L interviewing at V80; advice needed

Postby baal hadad » Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:14 am

Anonymous User wrote:Hi, I'm hoping to get some thoughts on how to approach an upcoming interview, especially on how to explain my GPA.

I'm a 3L at T15 with an unimpressive GPA: 3.26. The average GPA for those getting OCI callback is around 3.55. The median for 2-3L classes in our school is 3.2. I transferred after my first year, and I blew my 2L year (GPA 3.0) largely due to a family crisis. I know this could come across as a lame excuse, but I'm in a particular situation having my parents live abroad, and I started to care for my sister as I began 2L year. I overestimated myself thinking I could handle both, but obviously I was wrong. I made adjustments over my 2L summer and I got a 3.8 for my 3L fall semester. The 10% mark is around 3.75 for my school.

To be clear, I got this interview through networking as I happened to run into a old friend from high school, and his father is a big client for this firm (general counsel).

So I'm sure that this interview could just be for show to the client, and it may be the case that they don't even have any openings. In any event, I want to do well and I'm getting mixed opinions on how I should deal with my 2L history.

If they never bring it up, should I still talk about it highlighting my significantly better performance last semester? I know that it's usually a better idea to focus on showing good character and personality. But they may not bring it up because they've made assumption, and I may be able to change their mind by explaining what I've went through during my second year.

I would appreciate any thoughts on this matter. Thanks!

srs advice

you are looking for reasons to ding yourself. don't do do that that is a terrible attitude

they are unlikely to bring up grades so if they don't you don't

if they do bring it up (they won't) come up with a decent answer that turns the subject to and highlights the shit youre actually good at

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Re: 3L interviewing for a firm; advice needed

Postby rpupkin » Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:21 am

I see. My first time leaving a post here - didn't mean to come across that way.

No worries. As for your specific interview situation, my advice is not to dwell on your grades. They've already seen your transcript, right? If they're calling you in for an interview, then they probably have already decided that your grades are good enough. There's a decent chance that your grades won't come up at all.

If your grades do come up, briefly explain your family situation. Don't act dramatic; don't exaggerate. Just explain the circumstances, explain what you did to address the situation before your 3L year, and then move on. Remember, the interviewers want to get to know you and want to figure out if you would be a good fit for the firm. They're not interested in spending 10 minutes talking about why you got a B- in Corporations.

Good luck, OP.

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Re: 3L interviewing for a firm; advice needed

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:33 am

rpupkin wrote:
I see. My first time leaving a post here - didn't mean to come across that way.

No worries. As for your specific interview situation, my advice is not to dwell on your grades. They've already seen your transcript, right? If they're calling you in for an interview, then they probably have already decided that your grades are good enough. There's a decent chance that your grades won't come up at all.

If your grades do come up, briefly explain your family situation. Don't act dramatic; don't exaggerate. Just explain the circumstances, explain what you did to address the situation before your 3L year, and then move on. Remember, the interviewers want to get to know you and want to figure out if you would be a good fit for the firm. They're not interested in spending 10 minutes talking about why you got a B- in Corporations.

Good luck, OP.


hadad - Thanks for the advice.

rpupkin - Thanks - I often tend be to be too apologetic on these matters so this is really helpful.

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Re: 3L interviewing for a firm; advice needed

Postby YibanRen » Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:42 am

OP:

I beg you, no implore you. Please, please, please don't mention grades or family situation or anything in your upcoming interview. Don't appear desperate. TLS and law school are echo chambers. This is probably more good than bad. However, the common wisdom you find here (T15, 30%, cut offs, yield protect, etc., veil of tears) is really right like 80% of the time.

If you are being interviewed, you have a chance regardless of grades. The interviewer will most likely base their choice on how much they like you and how good of a fit you seem to them. Your only job is to get them to like you. I just did a round of interviews at my job. Eventually some cursory discussion came up regarding candidate qualifications. However, we axed those we didn't like first. This was the first step. If you can survive until the callback stage, you actually can get the job.

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Re: 3L interviewing for a firm; advice needed

Postby mr.hands » Thu Feb 26, 2015 10:42 am

YibanRen wrote:OP:

I beg you, no implore you. Please, please, please don't mention grades or family situation or anything in your upcoming interview. Don't appear desperate. TLS and law school are echo chambers. This is probably more good than bad. However, the common wisdom you find here (T15, 30%, cut offs, yield protect, etc., veil of tears) is really right like 80% of the time.

If you are being interviewed, you have a chance regardless of grades. The interviewer will most likely base their choice on how much they like you and how good of a fit you seem to them. Your only job is to get them to like you. I just did a round of interviews at my job. Eventually some cursory discussion came up regarding candidate qualifications. However, we axed those we didn't like first. This was the first step. If you can survive until the callback stage, you actually can get the job.

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Re: 3L interviewing for a firm; advice needed

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:42 pm

it's stupid to discuss grades even if they're good. grades are boring, so boring. i had good grades and interesting work experience, and generally got dinged when asked about it because i was honest and bored. whenever i was asked about my interests i got good results. if possible steer the convo to mutual interests or something that excites you so your personality can show.

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Re: 3L interviewing for a firm; advice needed

Postby racheltessa » Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:18 pm

["I transferred after my first year, and I blew my 2L year (GPA 3.0) largely due to a family crisis. I know this could come across as a lame excuse, but I'm in a particular situation having my parents live abroad, and I started to care for my sister as I began 2L year. I overestimated myself thinking I could handle both, but obviously I was wrong. I made adjustments over my 2L summer and I got a 3.8 for my 3L fall semester. The 10% mark is around 3.75 for my school."]


I conduct OCI "screener" interviews and longer call back interviews all the time for my firm, and I have to tell you, if you were interviewing with me, I would be very interested in hearing your story about taking on the familial burden while in law school after having transferred. Rather than focusing on the grades aspect, how about the personal story behind it, it is nothing to be ashamed of. It is unique, shows character, and frankly, would keep me interested more than talk of grades, percentages, etc. You have to accept who you are, what got you to this moment and run with it. I am interested to hear how it goes. PM me for more personal advice. Good luck to you.

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Re: 3L interviewing for a firm; advice needed

Postby unlicensedpotato » Thu Feb 26, 2015 5:15 pm

racheltessa wrote:["I transferred after my first year, and I blew my 2L year (GPA 3.0) largely due to a family crisis. I know this could come across as a lame excuse, but I'm in a particular situation having my parents live abroad, and I started to care for my sister as I began 2L year. I overestimated myself thinking I could handle both, but obviously I was wrong. I made adjustments over my 2L summer and I got a 3.8 for my 3L fall semester. The 10% mark is around 3.75 for my school."]


I conduct OCI "screener" interviews and longer call back interviews all the time for my firm, and I have to tell you, if you were interviewing with me, I would be very interested in hearing your story about taking on the familial burden while in law school after having transferred. Rather than focusing on the grades aspect, how about the personal story behind it, it is nothing to be ashamed of. It is unique, shows character, and frankly, would keep me interested more than talk of grades, percentages, etc. You have to accept who you are, what got you to this moment and run with it. I am interested to hear how it goes. PM me for more personal advice. Good luck to you.


I'm a 3L and you should certainly listen to a practicing attorney who conducts these interviews. I wanted to potentially distinguish these two situations though. If you had this story and were going through 20-30 OCI screeners you should feel comfortable with it and explain it every time. Some people won't be interested, but lots will and something like that will make them go to bat for you.

But, it sounds like in your position, this is your hail mary to land a nice job. That means, you say ANYTHING that you think that one person in the room wants to hear and is responding to. I would be prepared to talk about your personal situation but this has to be all about selling yourself. Lots of times for screeners, your qualifications are only discussed briefly and then it's the interviewer gauging whether you would be a good fit. I try and let the interviewer steer the conversation, then interject brief comments to demonstrate that you're generally smart and personable. Particularly when you're interviewing as a 3L, a lot of the attorneys are more like: Why are you interviewing now? What are you looking for? Is this a city you want to be in? What interests you about our firm?, and then it's basically over.

Definitely talk about how you rocked 3L. If other grades come up, explain it. I understand though that you're in a difficult position where they might not ask you about grades because they're trying to be polite or whatever. TLDR - You're trying to get the job, not convince them that you're a smart student. Sell fairly hard in whatever way seems to be paying off.

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Re: 3L interviewing for a firm; advice needed

Postby rpupkin » Thu Feb 26, 2015 5:20 pm

unlicensedpotato wrote:Definitely talk about how you rocked 3L.

No, No, No. This would be even worse than talking about your 2L grades.

As others are suggesting here, you shouldn't bring up grades at all. You should be prepared to say something about them if asked, but don't go into this interview focusing on your grades. And definitely don't promote yourself as having rocked one semester of 3L. If I'm your interviewer, that's just going to make me immediately think about much you didn't "rock" two semesters of 2L.

Your academic performance is not going to get you the job here. So don't focus on it.

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Re: 3L interviewing for a firm; advice needed

Postby unlicensedpotato » Thu Feb 26, 2015 5:27 pm

rpupkin wrote:
unlicensedpotato wrote:Definitely talk about how you rocked 3L.

No, No, No. This would be even worse than talking about your 2L grades.

As others are suggesting here, you shouldn't bring up grades at all. You should be prepared to say something about them if asked, but don't go into this interview focusing on your grades. And definitely don't promote yourself as having rocked one semester of 3L. If I'm your interviewer, that's just going to make me immediately think about much you didn't "rock" two semesters of 2L.

Your academic performance is not going to get you the job here. So don't focus on it.


Fair enough, and I agree with your broader point that academic performance won't get OP the job. But if it were me, and I was going into an interview with grades significantly below their hiring criteria and around median, I would try and at least get one sentence in highlighting the fact that in the most recent semester I earned a GPA that was so much higher than my average and their hiring line (obviously this wouldn't apply if you had a particularly easy schedule).

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Re: 3L interviewing for a firm; advice needed

Postby rpupkin » Thu Feb 26, 2015 5:34 pm

unlicensedpotato wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
unlicensedpotato wrote:Definitely talk about how you rocked 3L.

No, No, No. This would be even worse than talking about your 2L grades.

As others are suggesting here, you shouldn't bring up grades at all. You should be prepared to say something about them if asked, but don't go into this interview focusing on your grades. And definitely don't promote yourself as having rocked one semester of 3L. If I'm your interviewer, that's just going to make me immediately think about much you didn't "rock" two semesters of 2L.

Your academic performance is not going to get you the job here. So don't focus on it.


Fair enough, and I agree with your broader point that academic performance won't get OP the job. But if it were me, and I was going into an interview with grades significantly below their hiring criteria and around median, I would try and at least get one sentence in highlighting the fact that in the most recent semester I earned a GPA that was so much higher than my average and their hiring line (obviously this wouldn't apply if you had a particularly easy schedule).

But the interviewer can see the better grades by looking at the OP's transcript; the OP doesn't need to tell the interviewer about them. And if the interviewer is just ignoring grades for whatever reason, that's a good thing, not a problem to address proactively.

Yeah, it's definitely possible that an interviewer will ask why the first semester of 3L went better than the previous two semesters. For that reason, the OP should have a spiel prepared in advance. But if the interviewers don't bring up grades, the OP shouldn't either. It seems like all downside to me.

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Re: 3L interviewing for a firm; advice needed

Postby baal hadad » Thu Feb 26, 2015 5:41 pm

rpupkin wrote:
unlicensedpotato wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
unlicensedpotato wrote:Definitely talk about how you rocked 3L.

No, No, No. This would be even worse than talking about your 2L grades.

As others are suggesting here, you shouldn't bring up grades at all. You should be prepared to say something about them if asked, but don't go into this interview focusing on your grades. And definitely don't promote yourself as having rocked one semester of 3L. If I'm your interviewer, that's just going to make me immediately think about much you didn't "rock" two semesters of 2L.

Your academic performance is not going to get you the job here. So don't focus on it.


Fair enough, and I agree with your broader point that academic performance won't get OP the job. But if it were me, and I was going into an interview with grades significantly below their hiring criteria and around median, I would try and at least get one sentence in highlighting the fact that in the most recent semester I earned a GPA that was so much higher than my average and their hiring line (obviously this wouldn't apply if you had a particularly easy schedule).

But the interviewer can see the better grades by looking at the OP's transcript; the OP doesn't need to tell the interviewer about them. And if the interviewer is just ignoring grades for whatever reason, that's a good thing, not a problem to address proactively.

Yeah, it's definitely possible that an interviewer will ask why the first semester of 3L went better than the previous two semesters. For that reason, the OP should have a spiel prepared in advance. But if the interviewers don't bring up grades, the OP shouldn't either. It seems like all downside to me.

This right here

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Re: 3L interviewing for a firm; advice needed

Postby unlicensedpotato » Thu Feb 26, 2015 5:55 pm

Alright this is my last comment (trying to avoid journal work), and again, I don't disagree with you but I've ended up on the other side of the issue. I'm not sure when the last time you saw a 3L transcript was, but at this point when you have 5 semesters of grades and 6 semesters of classes, the interviewer would have to really study it to actually perceive a trend or notice one semester that stood out (and at my school at least it lists each semester off to the side with its GPA right next to it). I think at most, the interviewer glances at the transcript, sees the 3.26, and assumes the semesters are around a 3.26. My experience in 3L interviews was that the firms never asked about grades. So, in your mind this is a good thing. I'm just saying that under your strategy it may play out like this: OP has grades well below their cutoff, walks in, interviewer sees OP has grades well below the cutoff, they have a pleasant conversation in which grades aren't mentioned and OP is dinged.

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Re: 3L interviewing for a firm; advice needed

Postby rpupkin » Thu Feb 26, 2015 6:05 pm

unlicensedpotato wrote:Alright this is my last comment (trying to avoid journal work), and again, I don't disagree with you but I've ended up on the other side of the issue. I'm not sure when the last time you saw a 3L transcript was, but at this point when you have 5 semesters of grades and 6 semesters of classes,

I see transcripts with six semesters worth of grades all the time because my firm mostly interviews clerks. If an applicant is called in for a full interview, we don't look at the grades anymore. And if an interviewee spontaneously volunteered that one semester's worth of grades was particularly awesome, it would be fucking weird. Like, auto-ding weird.

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Re: 3L interviewing for a firm; advice needed

Postby Shaggier1 » Thu Feb 26, 2015 6:13 pm

If you are being interviewed, you have a chance regardless of grades. The interviewer will most likely base their choice on how much they like you and how good of a fit you seem to them. Your only job is to get them to like you.

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Re: 3L interviewing for a firm; advice needed

Postby unlicensedpotato » Thu Feb 26, 2015 6:14 pm

rpupkin wrote:
unlicensedpotato wrote:Alright this is my last comment (trying to avoid journal work), and again, I don't disagree with you but I've ended up on the other side of the issue. I'm not sure when the last time you saw a 3L transcript was, but at this point when you have 5 semesters of grades and 6 semesters of classes,

I see transcripts with six semesters worth of grades all the time because my firm mostly interviews clerks. If an applicant is called in for a full interview, we don't look at the grades anymore. And if an interviewee spontaneously volunteered that one semester's worth of grades was particularly awesome, it would be fucking weird. Like, auto-ding weird.


Makes sense, OP should definitely listen to actual attorney over me, thanks for being on here and commenting.

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Re: 3L interviewing for a firm; advice needed

Postby k5220 » Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:25 am

I think it's like any time you talk about a weakness in an interview. Being honest about what happened could be really good, but I'd close with something quick about how it made you learn how to juggle multiple things at once or something like that, just to make it clear that it's a problem that's behind you now.

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Re: 3L interviewing for a firm; advice needed

Postby YibanRen » Fri Feb 27, 2015 3:36 am

k5220 wrote:I think it's like any time you talk about a weakness in an interview. Being honest about what happened could be really good, but I'd close with something quick about how it made you learn how to juggle multiple things at once or something like that, just to make it clear that it's a problem that's behind you now.


You and the potato bro need to forget this advice ASAP.

These interviews are nothing like law school personal statements. Seriously, don't talk about grades ever. Don't provide excuses ever. The second you look weak to them at all you are done. It is like dating--it is all about appearances for a long time until you have kids and a dog and you can carry on a boring conversation while they pee in front of you without batting an eye.

Interviewers want to bring someone back to the hiring partners that looks good on paper, they want to bring someone back that their coworkers won't think is an aspie loser, and also want to bring back someone that makes work a little less crappy. Any of these can be the overriding driver, depending upon the interviewer and firm/company. However, the onlything that destroys all three of these criteria is being weird. Unless this is like Susman Godfrey or Keker or Kirkland or Cravath or Wachtell or X appellate group of V100, or some firm that actually has a hard cut off for entry levels, the most your grades can be limiting is a member of the hiring committee scanning your transcript for like five seconds on a callback.

There are plenty of ways you can destroy yourself--you give them a look that makes you seem like a perv, or you say something really awkward, or maybe you are too plain, or not plain enough, or are too proud of something they don't like ideologically, or maybe you remind them of someone else at the firm they hate. Usually, it isn't that they hate you, it is just that they don't like you like you--in that way it is a lot like speed dating--10 people may be good enough, but maybe only one clicked. In conclusion, there are any number of reasons that you can autodinged before you even open your little mouth. However, PLEASE, I IMPLORE YOU, DON'T GIVE THEM ANOTHER REASON BY DISCUSSING GRADES UNLESS SPECIFICALLY, AND UNEQUIVOCALLY ASKED, THIS WILL TIP THEM OFF THAT YOU ARE EITHER PRIDEFUL OR CLUELESS.

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Re: 3L interviewing for a firm; advice needed

Postby k5220 » Fri Feb 27, 2015 6:05 pm

YibanRen wrote:
k5220 wrote:I think it's like any time you talk about a weakness in an interview. Being honest about what happened could be really good, but I'd close with something quick about how it made you learn how to juggle multiple things at once or something like that, just to make it clear that it's a problem that's behind you now.


You and the potato bro need to forget this advice ASAP.

These interviews are nothing like law school personal statements. Seriously, don't talk about grades ever. Don't provide excuses ever. The second you look weak to them at all you are done. It is like dating--it is all about appearances for a long time until you have kids and a dog and you can carry on a boring conversation while they pee in front of you without batting an eye.

Interviewers want to bring someone back to the hiring partners that looks good on paper, they want to bring someone back that their coworkers won't think is an aspie loser, and also want to bring back someone that makes work a little less crappy. Any of these can be the overriding driver, depending upon the interviewer and firm/company. However, the onlything that destroys all three of these criteria is being weird. Unless this is like Susman Godfrey or Keker or Kirkland or Cravath or Wachtell or X appellate group of V100, or some firm that actually has a hard cut off for entry levels, the most your grades can be limiting is a member of the hiring committee scanning your transcript for like five seconds on a callback.

There are plenty of ways you can destroy yourself--you give them a look that makes you seem like a perv, or you say something really awkward, or maybe you are too plain, or not plain enough, or are too proud of something they don't like ideologically, or maybe you remind them of someone else at the firm they hate. Usually, it isn't that they hate you, it is just that they don't like you like you--in that way it is a lot like speed dating--10 people may be good enough, but maybe only one clicked. In conclusion, there are any number of reasons that you can autodinged before you even open your little mouth. However, PLEASE, I IMPLORE YOU, DON'T GIVE THEM ANOTHER REASON BY DISCUSSING GRADES UNLESS SPECIFICALLY, AND UNEQUIVOCALLY ASKED, THIS WILL TIP THEM OFF THAT YOU ARE EITHER PRIDEFUL OR CLUELESS.

I didn't mean OP should discuss their personal issues unless it was prompted / relevant to the discussion. I just meant that if it did come up, they should be sure to follow it with "and this is why it's no longer a problem."




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