Anonymous User wrote:It it even worth signing up for "open slot" interviews with firms that you know are not within your GPA?
Define "know." I "knew" S&C wasn't in my range, since I was at best at the very bottom of the range and have no special qualities, but I ended up with an offer. Are you completely outside the range, e.g., a 3.0 picking up Cravath? Then don't waste your own energy and time, or the firm's. Do you have a 3.6 and want to apply to Paul Weiss? Give it a shot, if you want.
Anonymous User wrote:So pardon if this is a dumb question but...
What does it mean when people say "research the firm?" I get we are likely going to get the question "why here?" but... what is a good response? All of these firms seem VERY similar to me. Knowing which practice groups are their strengths? Ok... maybe? but wtf else? What should we know and how should we even answer that question?
I'm probably the only one having this struggle, but the struggle is real.
Yes, research the firm's competencies/ strong practice areas. This is the most important. Research your interviewer. This is more valuable than anything else
Research structural differences such as lockstep vs merit based compensation (e.g. Cleary, Debevoise, Cravath are true lockstep- that has a huge influence on culture and those three really stress it), free market vs rotations vs central assignments (don't actually talk about this, it doesn't actually make a difference for the most part, but you should know Cravath uses a rotation system), international presence vs. two offices (unless you mean specifically London, don't tell Cravath you love their international profile. Likewise, don't tell White & Case that you love how focused on US domestic work they are).
If there are particular people that you would love to work for, and have a good reason to, that can count too (e.g. you want to do patent litigation and you're interviewing at WilmerHale in Boston, saying you want to work for Bill Lee. More dangerous the more famous they are).
Major clients or matters is another thing you should be aware of, especially current ones (probably a good idea to start reading NYTimes DealBook and WSJ LawBlog for the remaining time).
The best resources for the above stuff are:Vault firm profiles: https://johnson.library.cornell.edu/databases/vault
Decent cultural description, quick and dirty. Don't take it that seriously.Chambers Associate http://www.chambers-associate.com/home
Solid overview, covers the basics of structure and the cultural points the firm wants to stress and overall competencies. Best resource, really, as the information is almost entirely PR puff from the firms themselves- which means it says what they think is important about themselves.Chambers & Partners: http://www.chambersandpartners.com/guide/usa/5
More accurate subject area competencies, including highlights of standout partners.
Major business news, skews toward law relevant coverage or explicitly law news.WSJ LawBlog