How to express that a firm is your top choice?

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How to express that a firm is your top choice?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 17, 2016 7:15 pm

What's the least awkward way (after a CB) to express to a firm that they're your top choice? NYC, big firm. Career Services told me to email recruiting but that seems awkward as I've never met the recruiting director or anything, just people who work in the recruiting department. I didn't say anything directly to my interviewers because I didn't want to stilt the conversation, but I did send thank you notes reaffirming my interest etc. Is that enough? Thanks for any advice.

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Re: How to express that a firm is your top choice?

Postby Genius » Wed Aug 17, 2016 10:19 pm

Id asvise against this unless you have good GPA within or above this range. I did this to my reach firms and no offered after callbacks.

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Re: How to express that a firm is your top choice?

Postby 20181989 » Wed Aug 17, 2016 11:11 pm

I think the above post is too harsh. I think there's nothing wrong with something like the following, in an e-mail to an associate or partner with whom you connected:

"Hi [ __ ] --

Thanks again for taking the time to chat on [ __ ]. I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed getting to know you and your colleagues at [ name of firm ]. At this point, I can't think of a better fit for my interests and [ _whatever_ ]. If [ name of firm ] offers me a summer position, I plan to accept.

Thanks again. Please don't hesitate to reach out if there's anything else that you need from me."

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Re: How to express that a firm is your top choice?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 18, 2016 12:11 am

Interviewer for a V-10 firm here (and firm ranking is irrelevant to this) and in the middle of a week of interviews.

Don't do this. You can show your interest by knowing the firm and it's strengths well, but anyone saying we are their first choice or even hinting that they would accept an offer would receive an immediate recommendation of no offer from me. Short of bringing in a copy of an offer letter from a peer firm, there is nothing you could do to convince me that you are not just desperate. Just my view, but I think it is shared by others in my shoes.

If you can get offers from peer firms of your top choice then your career will not likely be much different regardless of which one you end up with. If not, telling a firm they are your top choice won't push you over the top. Just let your interview preparation do the talking for you and you will be fine.

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Re: How to express that a firm is your top choice?

Postby lavarman84 » Thu Aug 18, 2016 12:16 am

I don't see this as being useful. JMO. The firm will hire you if you're their top choice for the spot. Them being your top choice doesn't really factor into that equation.

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Re: How to express that a firm is your top choice?

Postby rpupkin » Thu Aug 18, 2016 12:17 am

Anonymous User wrote:Interviewer for a V-10 firm here (and firm ranking is irrelevant to this) and in the middle of a week of interviews.

Don't do this. You can show your interest by knowing the firm and it's strengths well, but anyone saying we are their first choice or even hinting that they would accept an offer would receive an immediate recommendation of no offer from me.

Wow. You seem insane.

OP: Although telling a firm that it is your top choice will not help you get an offer, it won't hurt. If you really want to let the firm know, send a follow-up message to the recruiter.

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Re: How to express that a firm is your top choice?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 18, 2016 12:40 am

I have done this and it hasn't seemed to hurt me, but I generally say "firm X is a top choice of mine" rather than saying they are my top, top choice. Good luck!

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Re: How to express that a firm is your top choice?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 18, 2016 12:42 am

Anonymous User wrote:Interviewer for a V-10 firm here (and firm ranking is irrelevant to this) and in the middle of a week of interviews.

Don't do this. You can show your interest by knowing the firm and it's strengths well, but anyone saying we are their first choice or even hinting that they would accept an offer would receive an immediate recommendation of no offer from me. Short of bringing in a copy of an offer letter from a peer firm, there is nothing you could do to convince me that you are not just desperate. Just my view, but I think it is shared by others in my shoes.

If you can get offers from peer firms of your top choice then your career will not likely be much different regardless of which one you end up with. If not, telling a firm they are your top choice won't push you over the top. Just let your interview preparation do the talking for you and you will be fine.


If during a CB an interviewer asked you about your other callbacks and you expressed that their firm was your first choice, is that still weird?

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Re: How to express that a firm is your top choice?

Postby oblig.lawl.ref » Thu Aug 18, 2016 1:16 am

rpupkin wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Interviewer for a V-10 firm here (and firm ranking is irrelevant to this) and in the middle of a week of interviews.

Don't do this. You can show your interest by knowing the firm and it's strengths well, but anyone saying we are their first choice or even hinting that they would accept an offer would receive an immediate recommendation of no offer from me.

Wow. You seem insane.

OP: Although telling a firm that it is your top choice will not help you get an offer, it won't hurt. If you really want to let the firm know, send a follow-up message to the recruiter.


Totally insane. If someone told me this I would probably take it under consideration but not think too much about it. I feel like that's the normal thing to do.

(I'm pretty sure I'm working across from this V-10 interviewer currently)

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Re: How to express that a firm is your top choice?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 18, 2016 1:24 am

How to answer the question on a CB: "what other firms are you having CBs at?'' when I only have the 1 CB..

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Re: How to express that a firm is your top choice?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Thu Aug 18, 2016 8:54 am

rpupkin wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Interviewer for a V-10 firm here (and firm ranking is irrelevant to this) and in the middle of a week of interviews.

Don't do this. You can show your interest by knowing the firm and it's strengths well, but anyone saying we are their first choice or even hinting that they would accept an offer would receive an immediate recommendation of no offer from me.

Wow. You seem insane.

OP: Although telling a firm that it is your top choice will not help you get an offer, it won't hurt. If you really want to let the firm know, send a follow-up message to the recruiter.

I dunno, I think the V10 person is overreacting but I generally don't like it when people say my firm is their top choice. It is a little desperate but, more to the point, it can come off a bit naive. You'd better have REALLY good reasons to have such a strong opinion of my firm or else it comes off like you don't really know what you're getting into. It's like when people talk about "dream" law schools or "dream" firms -- trust me, no firm will be that great, including mine. And I like my firm, but when I was deciding where to go, I weighed the pros and cons of each of my options and made a decision that inevitably felt like a compromise in some ways. IMO that's how adults make decisions about things. I never would have made the unequivocal statement that it was my "top choice" (even though it probably was).

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Re: How to express that a firm is your top choice?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 18, 2016 10:03 am

I did this during a post-CB debriefing with the recruiting director of a V10, and I got an offer the next day. Not saying it helped, but it certainly didn't lead to an auto-ding.

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Re: How to express that a firm is your top choice?

Postby Mullens » Thu Aug 18, 2016 10:26 am

Doing this on a CB at a natural point in the conversation, like when asked about where else you're interviewing isn't that weird. Especially if you have other offers because then it looks like you are really interested in that firm.

Doing it after your CB when the firm has almost certainly already made a decision just reeks of desperation and I don't see how it would make any positive difference.

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Re: How to express that a firm is your top choice?

Postby RaceJudicata » Thu Aug 18, 2016 10:33 am

Anonymous User wrote:How to answer the question on a CB: "what other firms are you having CBs at?'' when I only have the 1 CB..


Lie. Absolutely freakin lie. But don't make it seem like you have a whole bunch...cause they might yield protect.

ETA: and if you are going to lie, make sure they are peer firms -- don't want to make it seem like you have all these top notch interviews and would never accept the current call back.

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Re: How to express that a firm is your top choice?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 18, 2016 11:01 am

Anonymous User wrote:Interviewer for a V-10 firm here (and firm ranking is irrelevant to this) and in the middle of a week of interviews.

Don't do this. You can show your interest by knowing the firm and it's strengths well, but anyone saying we are their first choice or even hinting that they would accept an offer would receive an immediate recommendation of no offer from me. Short of bringing in a copy of an offer letter from a peer firm, there is nothing you could do to convince me that you are not just desperate. Just my view, but I think it is shared by others in my shoes.

If you can get offers from peer firms of your top choice then your career will not likely be much different regardless of which one you end up with. If not, telling a firm they are your top choice won't push you over the top. Just let your interview preparation do the talking for you and you will be fine.


If the firm is big on fit, I think you can do it--but gracefully. For example, I told [a V10 known for their huge emphasis on culture fit] flat out they were my first choice because they were. They took me out to dinner and offered me at CB, and I accepted.

Apparently they didn't think I was desperate, but it was already at CB stage and after their secret screener dinner and stuff so I actually had reason to love the firm and "know" by that point. They really liked how into them I was because that's part of their culture, and I could tell. Feel it out. I think it's also way better to convey in person. The way I did it was by sheepishly saying I had vowed not to get attached to firms before getting a job at one but [firm] had made it impossible for me to stick with that plan--and it was true!

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Re: How to express that a firm is your top choice?

Postby iteachtenthgrade » Thu Aug 18, 2016 11:04 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Interviewer for a V-10 firm here (and firm ranking is irrelevant to this) and in the middle of a week of interviews.

Don't do this. You can show your interest by knowing the firm and it's strengths well, but anyone saying we are their first choice or even hinting that they would accept an offer would receive an immediate recommendation of no offer from me. Short of bringing in a copy of an offer letter from a peer firm, there is nothing you could do to convince me that you are not just desperate. Just my view, but I think it is shared by others in my shoes.

If you can get offers from peer firms of your top choice then your career will not likely be much different regardless of which one you end up with. If not, telling a firm they are your top choice won't push you over the top. Just let your interview preparation do the talking for you and you will be fine.


If the firm is big on fit, I think you can do it--but gracefully. For example, I told [a V10 known for their huge emphasis on culture fit] flat out they were my first choice because they were. They took me out to dinner and offered me at CB, and I accepted.

Apparently they didn't think I was desperate, but it was already at CB stage and after their secret screener dinner and stuff so I actually had reason to love the firm and "know" by that point. They really liked how into them I was because that's part of their culture, and I could tell. Feel it out. I think it's also way better to convey in person. The way I did it was by sheepishly saying I had vowed not to get attached to firms before getting a job at one but [firm] had made it impossible for me to stick with that plan--and it was true!


Guess no reason to keep this anon. It's me, hi.

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Re: How to express that a firm is your top choice?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 18, 2016 11:34 am

Anonymous User wrote:Interviewer for a V-10 firm here (and firm ranking is irrelevant to this) and in the middle of a week of interviews.

Don't do this. You can show your interest by knowing the firm and it's strengths well, but anyone saying we are their first choice or even hinting that they would accept an offer would receive an immediate recommendation of no offer from me. Short of bringing in a copy of an offer letter from a peer firm, there is nothing you could do to convince me that you are not just desperate. Just my view, but I think it is shared by others in my shoes.

If you can get offers from peer firms of your top choice then your career will not likely be much different regardless of which one you end up with. If not, telling a firm they are your top choice won't push you over the top. Just let your interview preparation do the talking for you and you will be fine.


Also a V-10 interviewer and the above is not at all how I feel (in fact, the sentiment is flat out foreign to me). Absolutely agree that you can show enthusiasm by knowing the firm and expressing a genuine interest in what the firm does (asking thoughtful questions, etc.), and I absolutely think there is a wrong way to express that a firm is your top choice, but I wouldn't think it desperate to tactfully and naturally work into the conversation that the firm is your top choice for well researched and thought out reasons. When I interview, I don't view the candidate as the enemy and I am not trying to ferret out how "desperate" or sincere a candidate is (news flash: You're all unemployed and want a job.)--if you have a genuine interest and you can communicate it well, it can only help you to tell me about it.

I take more of an issue, however, with the statement that one's career will be largely the same at any peer firm. I disagree completely and my biggest piece of advice for candidates is to go back for second looks---firms all seem the same on paper, but the people and the cultures are not. The people you work with will largely determine whether you hate your job, like it or love it. Ask to meet with junior associates and mid-level associates, those will be the people you work for when you start (when they are then mid-level and senior associates, respectively). I've lateraled once in my career, and might have started where I am now (happily I should add) had I not made the mistake of thinking all of the firms were the same when I was in your shoes.

Just my two cents.

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Re: How to express that a firm is your top choice?

Postby gk101 » Thu Aug 18, 2016 11:47 am

For me, it doesn't really change my opinion much if someone mentions that we are their top choice. Definitely don't see it as a deal breaker or whatever. Only things that have made me write off candidates immediately so far have been i) failing to answer the question I asked and instead just turning the question around and ii) not having a somewhat coherent answer to the really obvious interview questions (grades, something mentioned in your interests etc.)

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Re: How to express that a firm is your top choice?

Postby nonever » Thu Aug 18, 2016 12:17 pm

RaceJudicata wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:How to answer the question on a CB: "what other firms are you having CBs at?'' when I only have the 1 CB..


Lie. Absolutely freakin lie. But don't make it seem like you have a whole bunch...cause they might yield protect.

ETA: and if you are going to lie, make sure they are peer firms -- don't want to make it seem like you have all these top notch interviews and would never accept the current call back.


JFC, do not lie about this. Just say "I've enjoyed interviewing at a lot of firms around here, and I'm really glad to be interviewing here today. You know, I keep hearing from attorneys that callback season is getting earlier and earlier each year. Is that true?" If the person presses, I think it's fine to say "you know, I don't really feel comfortable discussing that, but I'd be very interested in hearing more about your work on x." (And if they're pressing on this, they're pretty rude.)

Obfuscate and redirect. Do not lie.

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Re: How to express that a firm is your top choice?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Thu Aug 18, 2016 12:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Interviewer for a V-10 firm here (and firm ranking is irrelevant to this) and in the middle of a week of interviews.

Don't do this. You can show your interest by knowing the firm and it's strengths well, but anyone saying we are their first choice or even hinting that they would accept an offer would receive an immediate recommendation of no offer from me. Short of bringing in a copy of an offer letter from a peer firm, there is nothing you could do to convince me that you are not just desperate. Just my view, but I think it is shared by others in my shoes.

If you can get offers from peer firms of your top choice then your career will not likely be much different regardless of which one you end up with. If not, telling a firm they are your top choice won't push you over the top. Just let your interview preparation do the talking for you and you will be fine.


People like you are why I hate this fucking profession.

"He's qualified for the job, but he wants the job too much, DING!"

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Re: How to express that a firm is your top choice?

Postby iteachtenthgrade » Thu Aug 18, 2016 12:43 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Interviewer for a V-10 firm here (and firm ranking is irrelevant to this) and in the middle of a week of interviews.

Don't do this. You can show your interest by knowing the firm and it's strengths well, but anyone saying we are their first choice or even hinting that they would accept an offer would receive an immediate recommendation of no offer from me. Short of bringing in a copy of an offer letter from a peer firm, there is nothing you could do to convince me that you are not just desperate. Just my view, but I think it is shared by others in my shoes.

If you can get offers from peer firms of your top choice then your career will not likely be much different regardless of which one you end up with. If not, telling a firm they are your top choice won't push you over the top. Just let your interview preparation do the talking for you and you will be fine.


+1

People like you are why I hate this fucking profession.

"He's qualified for the job, but he wants the job too much, DING!"

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Re: How to express that a firm is your top choice?

Postby zot1 » Thu Aug 18, 2016 12:53 pm

Please do not email them to say that.

Thank you notes would have been the last chance, I think. Now it's out of your hands.

Keep in mind firms offer to students who want to go anywhere else all the time.

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Re: How to express that a firm is your top choice?

Postby RaceJudicata » Thu Aug 18, 2016 12:56 pm

nonever wrote:
RaceJudicata wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:How to answer the question on a CB: "what other firms are you having CBs at?'' when I only have the 1 CB..


Lie. Absolutely freakin lie. But don't make it seem like you have a whole bunch...cause they might yield protect.

ETA: and if you are going to lie, make sure they are peer firms -- don't want to make it seem like you have all these top notch interviews and would never accept the current call back.


JFC, do not lie about this. Just say "I've enjoyed interviewing at a lot of firms around here, and I'm really glad to be interviewing here today. You know, I keep hearing from attorneys that callback season is getting earlier and earlier each year. Is that true?" If the person presses, I think it's fine to say "you know, I don't really feel comfortable discussing that, but I'd be very interested in hearing more about your work on x." (And if they're pressing on this, they're pretty rude.)

Obfuscate and redirect. Do not lie.


Ya...I'd still lie. Might not be ethical/correct/etc., but if a firm hears that you have zero call backs and are considering no other firms they will likely 1) think there is something wrong (why should we hire him/her if no one else will so much as give him/her a look), and 2) see you as desperate. Again, I don't think firms making these assumptions is a nice or appropriate thing to do, but it is reality.

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Re: How to express that a firm is your top choice?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 18, 2016 1:01 pm

It makes sense for some firms, but not for others. There are some generic firms where I would have felt like an idiot doing this, but for a firm like the one mentioned above (very proud of their legitimately "unique" attributes or firm structure) it makes some sense. I did this after a screener in a thank-you and got a callback, so it's not an auto-ding everywhere.

In other words, if you're doing this at Jones Day because they're "one firm" you're going to sound like a bit of a dolt.

If you're doing this at Susman Godfrey because you want to be at an excellent litigation boutique where you will have a say in firm management from day one, maybe it won't sound as naive.

(I don't know that much about Susman so forgive me if that's dumb, but you get the idea).

Also, disclaimer, I'm not an interviewer or anything.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Aug 18, 2016 1:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How to express that a firm is your top choice?

Postby fxb3 » Thu Aug 18, 2016 1:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Interviewer for a V-10 firm here (and firm ranking is irrelevant to this) and in the middle of a week of interviews.

Don't do this. You can show your interest by knowing the firm and it's strengths well, but anyone saying we are their first choice or even hinting that they would accept an offer would receive an immediate recommendation of no offer from me. Short of bringing in a copy of an offer letter from a peer firm, there is nothing you could do to convince me that you are not just desperate. Just my view, but I think it is shared by others in my shoes.

If you can get offers from peer firms of your top choice then your career will not likely be much different regardless of which one you end up with. If not, telling a firm they are your top choice won't push you over the top. Just let your interview preparation do the talking for you and you will be fine.


Also a V-10 interviewer and the above is not at all how I feel (in fact, the sentiment is flat out foreign to me). Absolutely agree that you can show enthusiasm by knowing the firm and expressing a genuine interest in what the firm does (asking thoughtful questions, etc.), and I absolutely think there is a wrong way to express that a firm is your top choice, but I wouldn't think it desperate to tactfully and naturally work into the conversation that the firm is your top choice for well researched and thought out reasons. When I interview, I don't view the candidate as the enemy and I am not trying to ferret out how "desperate" or sincere a candidate is (news flash: You're all unemployed and want a job.)--if you have a genuine interest and you can communicate it well, it can only help you to tell me about it.

I take more of an issue, however, with the statement that one's career will be largely the same at any peer firm. I disagree completely and my biggest piece of advice for candidates is to go back for second looks---firms all seem the same on paper, but the people and the cultures are not. The people you work with will largely determine whether you hate your job, like it or love it. Ask to meet with junior associates and mid-level associates, those will be the people you work for when you start (when they are then mid-level and senior associates, respectively). I've lateraled once in my career, and might have started where I am now (happily I should add) had I not made the mistake of thinking all of the firms were the same when I was in your shoes.

Just my two cents.


Also a V10 (well, V20) interviewer. I much more agree with the second guy than the interviewer who would ding you for saying you like the firm.

But my advice is to "show, don't tell." Telling me that we are your top choice doesn't really move me one way or the other. Neither does saying that you'll accept an offer. (I mean, it's not really any skin off our back whether you do or you don't.) But asking intelligent firm-specific questions, asking questions that show you've talked to former summers of ours at your school, following up on things that make us unique, all of those show that you're interested in the firm in a real, concrete way and that you're the kind of person that does diligence and homework.

Be the guy who does diligence and homework. Don't be the guy who tells all the girls that he's never met anyone so special before even when he can't remember their names. We firms have been around a while, we don't fall for that.



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