Alcohol at Dinner Night Before Callback

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Anonymous User
Posts: 327333
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Alcohol at Dinner Night Before Callback

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 12, 2016 11:43 pm

So I was lucky enough to get a CB with one of the major firms in Atl. The firm is my first choice, and I really like everyone I have met at the firm. I am scheduled to go out to dinner with at least one partner the night before my interviews. I have read that students should "follow the attorneys lead" when ordering alcoholic drinks. My problem is this: I don't drink for religious reasons, and I genuinely don't like the taste of alcohol.

How would it look if the attorney(s) all ordered alcohol and I'm sitting over there drinking water? I know this isn't a huge deal, but during the screener interview, the interviewer (the one I'm eating dinner with) said "we're looking for smart, normal people who we wouldn't mind sharing a beer with after work."

So, with that in mind, how much of a detriment would it be to me to not order any alcoholic drink? I don't want the attorney to think I'm better than him or a holy roller, but I also really don't want to drink anything.

Best solutions? Be up front? Order a beer and take 2 small sips? Any advice y'all have is greatly appreciated.

r6_philly

Diamond
Posts: 10731
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2009 4:32 pm

Re: Alcohol at Dinner Night Before Callback

Postby r6_philly » Fri Aug 12, 2016 11:49 pm

I frequently say I don't trust lawyers (and business people) who don't drink. A large portion of my business started at happy hours/cocktail parties. That said, I do understand there are many people out there who don't drink for a variety of great reasons.

I don't think you would have a problem if you don't order a drink. I would say, entirely my personal opinion, that I would notice it even more if someone I was with ordered a drink and did not drink it (as opposed to not drinking it). I say it is fairly reasonable for you to not drink the night before the interview ... if you are not that adventurous as to not order anything, why don't you order a fruity mixed drink where you can drink much of it without really ingesting much alcohol and don't have to taste it much. There are some drinks which are sweet/fruity with alcohol which doesn't have much of a taste (rum or vodka).

Anonymous User
Posts: 327333
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Alcohol at Dinner Night Before Callback

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 12, 2016 11:50 pm

I'm a law student, and I don't drink for religious reasons either. At lunches/dinners I've been to with attorneys, I've always just had water or sparkling water and no one has seemed to notice or care. Being the type of person that they could "have a beer with" doesn't literally mean drink alcohol, it just means that you're someone that is pleasant to be around. I wouldn't compromise my beliefs to try and impress a firm.

lavarman84

Platinum
Posts: 7726
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: Alcohol at Dinner Night Before Callback

Postby lavarman84 » Fri Aug 12, 2016 11:52 pm

If you don't drink for religious reasons then don't drink. The attorneys might notice. But it won't make or break you. And they won't quiz you on it.

r6_philly

Diamond
Posts: 10731
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2009 4:32 pm

Re: Alcohol at Dinner Night Before Callback

Postby r6_philly » Fri Aug 12, 2016 11:56 pm

Having been to a dinner before CB in Atlanta, I wouldn't go as far as they wouldn't notice or care. The dinner before CB thing in the south is special if you haven't done it. It is a part of the interview (unlike the normal callback lunch/dinner which is more social).

Anonymous User
Posts: 327333
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Alcohol at Dinner Night Before Callback

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 12, 2016 11:59 pm

r6_philly wrote:Having been to a dinner before CB in Atlanta, I wouldn't go as far as they wouldn't notice or care. The dinner before CB thing in the south is special if you haven't done it. It is a part of the interview (unlike the normal callback lunch/dinner which is more social).


Assuming they do notice and do care, (which seems messed up to me) how much of an affect would this have on landing an offer?

r6_philly

Diamond
Posts: 10731
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2009 4:32 pm

Re: Alcohol at Dinner Night Before Callback

Postby r6_philly » Sat Aug 13, 2016 12:15 am

Anonymous User wrote:
r6_philly wrote:Having been to a dinner before CB in Atlanta, I wouldn't go as far as they wouldn't notice or care. The dinner before CB thing in the south is special if you haven't done it. It is a part of the interview (unlike the normal callback lunch/dinner which is more social).


Assuming they do notice and do care, (which seems messed up to me) how much of an affect would this have on landing an offer?


Depends on who notices it. Unfortunately to land an offer probably everyone who you come across have to say "yes." So if by chance you get someone who cared you may be in trouble. But biglaw is inherently unfair ... one of my friends got talked to this week by a partner because he wore a patterned shirt to work (on a day where he is not seeing a client) because the pattern was too busy. So if you got an old timer who (unfairly) care about drinking ...

User avatar
Johann

Diamond
Posts: 19704
Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2014 4:25 pm

Re: Alcohol at Dinner Night Before Callback

Postby Johann » Sat Aug 13, 2016 1:46 am

people arent going to care.

people understand that some dont drink for religious reasons or other reasons. order a sparkling water with lemon or iced tea and have a good time and be yourself.

GreenEggs

Gold
Posts: 3593
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2014 11:55 pm

Re: Alcohol at Dinner Night Before Callback

Postby GreenEggs » Sat Aug 13, 2016 1:54 am

I've been told a good rule of thumb if you don't really like to drink (or want to that night), is just politely say no the first time, but if a waiter or someone at the table brings it up a second time then just order a cheap drink and play with it, but don't really drink it if you don't want. Someone saying three times "hey why aren't you drinking?" attracts attention, but just having a drink in front of you without drinking it doesn't really draw attention.
Last edited by GreenEggs on Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Winter is Coming

Bronze
Posts: 404
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2013 9:51 am

Re: Alcohol at Dinner Night Before Callback

Postby Winter is Coming » Sat Aug 13, 2016 2:11 am

JohannDeMann wrote:people arent going to care.

people understand that some dont drink for religious reasons or other reasons. order a sparkling water with lemon or iced tea and have a good time and be yourself.


+1 on this.

User avatar
Sprout

Silver
Posts: 774
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2015 4:46 pm

Re: Alcohol at Dinner Night Before Callback

Postby Sprout » Sat Aug 13, 2016 2:44 am

lawman84 wrote:If you don't drink for religious reasons then don't drink. The attorneys might notice. But it won't make or break you. And they won't quiz you on it.

This. Just order a soda or a soda water with lime, something. DONT order a beer and have a few sips -- that is way weirder. If you want to tell them you don't drink for religious reasons, go for it, but say it casually with a smile and shrug it off. Or don't say anything. They won't ask questions. Just be friendly and normal. What they meant when they said they want someone who they could grab a beer with is just they want a non-weirdo, social, friendly person. Be those things; you don't need the alcohol and it'll be no big deal. Gl

edit: basically scooped. agree completely with what Winter & JohannDeMann said.
Last edited by Sprout on Sat Aug 13, 2016 2:53 am, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Sprout

Silver
Posts: 774
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2015 4:46 pm

Re: Alcohol at Dinner Night Before Callback

Postby Sprout » Sat Aug 13, 2016 2:46 am

DCfilterDC wrote:I've been told a good rule of thumb if you don't really like to drink (or want to that night), is just politely say no the first time, but if a waiter or someone at the table brings it up a second time then just order a cheap drink and play with it, but don't really drink it if you don't want. Someone saying three times "hey why aren't you drinking?" attracts attention, but just having a drink in front of you without drinking it doesn't really draw attention.

Personally, I disagree with this advice and esp bolded. Just my opinion obv, but I wouldn't go this route.

lavarman84

Platinum
Posts: 7726
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: Alcohol at Dinner Night Before Callback

Postby lavarman84 » Sat Aug 13, 2016 2:54 am

r6_philly wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
r6_philly wrote:Having been to a dinner before CB in Atlanta, I wouldn't go as far as they wouldn't notice or care. The dinner before CB thing in the south is special if you haven't done it. It is a part of the interview (unlike the normal callback lunch/dinner which is more social).


Assuming they do notice and do care, (which seems messed up to me) how much of an affect would this have on landing an offer?


Depends on who notices it. Unfortunately to land an offer probably everyone who you come across have to say "yes." So if by chance you get someone who cared you may be in trouble. But biglaw is inherently unfair ... one of my friends got talked to this week by a partner because he wore a patterned shirt to work (on a day where he is not seeing a client) because the pattern was too busy. So if you got an old timer who (unfairly) care about drinking ...


I highly doubt anyone will care to the extent that it will sink a person's chances. If you're otherwise normal, sociable, and capable of having a conversation, it won't kill your chances. If you're not sociable, it will be another factor used against you. FWIW, I also interviewed for firms in markets in the Southeast (including Atlanta) and SA'd at a firm in one of those markets (not in Atlanta).

I do agree that some attorneys will notice and draw inferences from it.(the inference being that you don't drink)

But don't sip on your drink or order one and not drink it. That will look worse imo.

dixiecupdrinking

Gold
Posts: 3440
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 2:39 pm

Re: Alcohol at Dinner Night Before Callback

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sat Aug 13, 2016 7:54 am

Absolutely do not order alcohol and not drink it. You need to be projecting confidence and poise. Own your goddamn background, don't tiptoe around it to fit in. If I found out a candidate didn't drink but tried to hide that, I'd think (1) that's weird, (2) what else is the candidate hiding or lying about to tell us what we want to hear, and (3) it's insulting that you'd think we would judge you for a religious observation.

nick417

Bronze
Posts: 208
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2012 11:09 am

Re: Alcohol at Dinner Night Before Callback

Postby nick417 » Sat Aug 13, 2016 8:45 am

This question is asked every year.

It amazes how illogical people are when it comes to this question. We are all adults. If everyone is ordering drinks, and you want a drink, order a drink. Simple as that. There are no ninja mind games being played with you. If you don't drink, don't order a drink. How hard is this concept? Be your own person and make your own decisions.

User avatar
Pneumonia

Gold
Posts: 1934
Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: Alcohol at Dinner Night Before Callback

Postby Pneumonia » Sat Aug 13, 2016 8:55 am

dixiecupdrinking wrote:Absolutely do not order alcohol and not drink it. You need to be projecting confidence and poise. Own your goddamn background, don't tiptoe around it to fit in. If I found out a candidate didn't drink but tried to hide that, I'd think (1) that's weird, (2) what else is the candidate hiding or lying about to tell us what we want to hear, and (3) it's insulting that you'd think we would judge you for a religious observation.

All of this. Ordering a drink and not drinking it is the worst route you could go here.

Law firms are looking to hire competent adults to be their colleagues, not easily-manipulable children to be their interns. And there are also lots of mormons etc. in big law. If someone pointedly mentions that you're not drinking, calmly and kindly tell them that you don't drink for religious reasons. If you're going to work in biglaw, you need to get used to having this conversation with people who are more senior than you. (As an aside, the kinds of people that would press you on your convictions are not likely to be the same ones that firms send on callback dinners.)

Hopefully you'll feel comfortable declining a drink outright. If not, order soda or tonic with lime. In no circumstance should you order any kind of alcohol that you do not intend to drink. Here are a few more reasons: (1) it will not cross anyone's mind that you may have opted to go this route (because why would you), so once you have a drink in front of you, they'll ask why you aren't drinking it, (2) once drinking is on the table, some crazy guy might order shots or something (this has happened to me at more than one callback in the South), (3) if you end up getting offered at the firm, you don't want to spend your first week explaining your dumb decision.

Instead, take this as an opportunity to project the kinds of qualities that firms are interested in. Dixie mentioned confidence and poise. Those are paramount. In my opinion, one of the first things firms screen for is adulthood. Adults who don't drink alcohol don't order it either.

smallfirmassociate

Bronze
Posts: 400
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 5:47 pm

Re: Alcohol at Dinner Night Before Callback

Postby smallfirmassociate » Mon Aug 15, 2016 12:23 pm

I hate to be that guy, but there ARE people who will hold this against you. I know this because I talk to these types of people regularly. It's not so much that they have a problem with people who don't drink, and it's actually not so much that they are bad people. It's simply that they hold an affirmative preference to hire someone just like them. Analogize it to talking sports. It's not like a sports-loving partner has some deep moral conflict with people who don't follow sports, but he would prefer to hire someone who does.

More to the point, however, this is out of your control and you can't stress about it. All you can do is decide how to minimize your risk. I'd order a sparkling water if it's on the menu (like Perrier) or else a soda with lime. That is the best you can do, as a symbolic gesture of, "Hey, I don't drink, but I don't oppose it and I like to party--because this has bubbles and shit."

Good luck. I don't envy you, but at the same time I don't think a law firm would make the self-destructive decision of refusing to hire a great candidate over something so minor.



Return to “Legal Employment�

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.