Is there something wrong with me? Or just bad luck

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Is there something wrong with me? Or just bad luck

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 04, 2016 6:02 pm

I am top 25% non URM female at a T1 school ranked 40-50 in a small, insular slightly joke market. Won a intraschool moot court competition last year. No journal, but just found out I successfully argued on to an interschool moot court competition team (this was not on my resume during OCI as I didn't know yet, but the award was). I didn't want to do a journal if I didn't make law review because I knew I would enjoy moot court a lot more.

Originally from New York but spent the past eight years in this insular market (undergrad and post undergrad and first year of law school). Worked in the service industry and as a professional dancer my three years in between law school and undergrad. I always get asked about the dancing at interviews and I talk about some of my more interesting service work (worked on luxury yachts for the uber rich). Since all I have on my resume besides law school and my summer employment is this stuff, its on there (should I take it off?). I went to law school basically because I didn't know what else to do, thought I would be good at it (did really well on the LSATS and got a full ride to this school), and wanted to be able to have a professional career in this market that doesn't really have much in terms of professional jobs outside of doctor/lawyer/accountant. I have done mock interviews and have gotten good feedback, and have tried to improve with constructive criticism I have received (don't fidget, etc.), I think I have gotten MUCH better at interviewing throughout this whole OCI process. However, I have a pretty bad track record. I have had 15+ screeners throughout OCI (11 were pre-select, and the rest were lottery or things I scrounged up on my own by visiting hospitality suites and hustling). I have only had two callbacks. Rejected from one, still waiting to hear from the other. The one I have not been rejected from, however, is not a law firm job though but instead a competitive program at a government agency. I have three more interviews coming up, one with a firm in the insular market, the other with two government agencies, and have been mass mailing and following up with screeners I haven't heard from. I am targeting any and all markets except New York (I am from there and I really have no interest in ever living there again).

I am a slightly off beat person and I am wondering if these results are indicative of the fact that I am coming across like there is something wrong with me (like I am flaky, or not a serious law type, or maybe the whole professional dancer past makes me looks like a party girl-- I have danced for a pro sports teams and in large mardi gras parades and have been in a music video). I am definitely not aspie, and I can carry on a conversation well. People always tend to really like me in general and in life and I have a ton of friends from all walks of life, however, I am wondering if I should take the not-so-serious past experiences off my resume (the dancing and being a yacht stewardess). But then what do I tell people when they ask me what I did the three years before I went to law school? Are these results indicative of something being wrong with me and how I present myself, and if so is it appropriate to reach out to the callback that rejected me and ask for constructive criticism and feedback on my interviewing? I feel like the people I do mock interviews with in the CSO and the community are not giving me honest feedback if these are my results. I am really nice, I smile a lot, and I am well spoken. Is this, on the other hand, just a symptom of bad luck and not being a stand out candidate? So-so school, only top 25%, uninterested in working in NY (I am from there and I HATE it), no law review, and no serious work history? Any insight/advice would be appreciate, especially from interviewers.

Thanks.

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Re: Is there something wrong with me? Or just bad luck

Postby miro » Sun Sep 04, 2016 6:28 pm

Take this with a grain of salt, since I'm also a 2L who has just gone through the OCI process, but I have a somewhat similar background: I spent a few years working in media/entertainment after college, and one thing that I've learned from mock-interviews and OCI is that you really need a convincing, well-developed answer to the question "Why did you choose to go to law school/decide to become a lawyer?"

On my part, I tied my response to my experience working with lawyers, talking to lawyers about what their day-to-day was like, and taking pre-law courses. There are also other ways you could bring in your work experience, e.g., working in the service industry and as a dancer enabled you to learn how to interact with a variety of (potentially demanding) people, you worked closely with others, etc.

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Re: Is there something wrong with me? Or just bad luck

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 04, 2016 6:29 pm

This appears to simply be a symptom of being at your T40-50 school. Honestly, I'm quite surprised at the number of pre-selects you received, given your rank at said school. Of course, you want to convert more of those into callbacks. Keep hustling and don't close yourself off to the today of NYC, if you're interested in BigLaw. Don't think too hard about this. It would really help to know the market you're in.

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Re: Is there something wrong with me? Or just bad luck

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 04, 2016 6:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:This appears to simply be a symptom of being at your T40-50 school. Honestly, I'm quite surprised at the number of pre-selects you received, given your rank at said school. Of course, you want to convert more of those into callbacks. Keep hustling and don't close yourself off to the today of NYC, if you're interested in BigLaw. Don't think too hard about this. It would really help to know the market you're in.


^^^^Sorry for the anon

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Re: Is there something wrong with me? Or just bad luck

Postby BasilHallward » Sun Sep 04, 2016 6:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:This appears to simply be a symptom of being at your T40-50 school. Honestly, I'm quite surprised at the number of pre-selects you received, given your rank at said school. Of course, you want to convert more of those into callbacks. Keep hustling and don't close yourself off to the today of NYC, if you're interested in BigLaw. Don't think too hard about this. It would really help to know the market you're in.


^^^^Sorry for the anon

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Re: Is there something wrong with me? Or just bad luck

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 04, 2016 6:34 pm

I am in New Orleans at Tulane. I did my undergrad at Tulane as well. I know NOLA is a horrible market so I am casting a wide net. The only other market I have any ties to besides New York is S. Fl. where I worked on yachts and and Texas where I have some family.

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Re: Is there something wrong with me? Or just bad luck

Postby BasilHallward » Sun Sep 04, 2016 6:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I am in New Orleans at Tulane. I did my undergrad at Tulane as well. I know NOLA is a horrible market so I am casting a wide net. The only other market I have any ties to besides New York is S. Fl. where I worked on yachts and and Texas where I have some family.


Fair enough. Again, surprised you got so many pre-selects. Your resume is intriguing enough, so nobody is holding your prior work experience against you. Your answers to "why law school/lawyer" questions could be lacking. Who knows? Again, Tulane places terribly in BigLaw, but don't let that stop you from MM'ing the hell out of Houston. Tulane has some pull there. If you have family in Texas, this is your best bet. And also open yourself to the idea of NY. Again, if you must have BigLaw. It sounds like you want BigLaw, so disclosing NY from your options is ill advised. You cannot afford to be selective out of Tulane, if you want BigLaw.

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Re: Is there something wrong with me? Or just bad luck

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 04, 2016 6:44 pm

I was top 5% at a TT and transferred to a T10 school. Did 20 screeners; got 2 callbacks, dinged from everything. I, like you, also do not think I am weird, and people generally like me and enjoy talking with me. I have good work experience also.

I feel your pain in this process -- I'm starting to feel like there is something fundamentally wrong with me, since I have gotten so many rejections.

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Re: Is there something wrong with me? Or just bad luck

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 04, 2016 6:52 pm

This is not hugely helpful, but: I suspect much of this is a function of the market and school rank and your rank. Having gone to a school around that ranking and gone through OCI at a similar class rank, it's just not easy to get a 2L SA in a small market. At my similarly-ranked school, you weren't a lock for an SA unless you were around top 10%, and people with better ranks than mine struck out. I know in my own fairly insular market, a lot of the big firms mostly hired SAs who were from the area but were at T14-type schools. Our OCI was all pre-select, but I suspect firms interviewed people they didn't think they were super likely to hire to keep the law school happy - there were many more screeners than callbacks/offers.

I think what compounds this is that regional schools pose a huge dilemma when applying to other markets that aren't New York. The question is going to be why a random person from Tulane wants to work in their market. It's one thing to go to (say) HYSCCN (mostly random selection here) for the school, because the school is a clear draw. Going to Tulane is going to make it look like you want to stay in NOLA. As for your ties to other markets, S. Fl. is an incredibly small, difficult to break into market, and working the yachts probably isn't enough. Texas also like ties, so may again need convincing that someone who's spend UG and LS in New Orleans has any intention of working there. (I mean, I get that you'd go anywhere for a job, but employers don't think like that.)

(Also, does Tulane teach common law or civil? There might also be some concern about that, though that could be unfair.)

Again, none of this is super helpful, but I think it's more likely that it's a function of your market, school, and class rank, and not so much anything you're doing wrong in interviews. Honestly your work experience would be much more interesting than your typical K-JD. Unless, as someone suggests, you don't have a clear answer for why law school (it is a big shift from dancing).

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Re: Is there something wrong with me? Or just bad luck

Postby wiseowl » Sun Sep 04, 2016 9:20 pm

Do you really call working on yachts "service work"?

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Re: Is there something wrong with me? Or just bad luck

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 04, 2016 9:23 pm

Yes, given that you are "serving" the guests on the yacht (pouring wine, serving meals, decor, shopping for the boat according to the owners tastes and needs , maintenance), this is service work. I was not a deckhand, I was interior staff.

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Re: Is there something wrong with me? Or just bad luck

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 04, 2016 9:28 pm

And as far as common/civil law distinction goes Tulane teaches both. First semester is all common law for everyone, second semester is con law for everyone, and then you self select for contracts ii common or obligations (civil law contracts i) and property civil or common. I have done a mix of both (contracts I common law first semester, obligations second semester and civil law property... I plan on taking common law contracts ii next semester). I don't think firms necessarily care about this as I know civil law track people who have New York offers. You can always take the common law classes you missed at a later date and vice versa for civil law and those who decide later on they would like to stay in Louisiana.

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Re: Is there something wrong with me? Or just bad luck

Postby Eldon Tyrell » Sun Sep 04, 2016 10:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So-so school, only top 25%, uninterested in working in NY (I am from there and I HATE it), no law review, and no serious work history? Any insight/advice would be appreciate, especially from interviewers.


You have your answer right here. This likely has nothing to do with your personality.

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Re: Is there something wrong with me? Or just bad luck

Postby malibustacy » Mon Sep 05, 2016 12:08 am

Anonymous User wrote:I am in New Orleans at Tulane. I did my undergrad at Tulane as well. I know NOLA is a horrible market so I am casting a wide net. The only other market I have any ties to besides New York is S. Fl. where I worked on yachts and and Texas where I have some family.


That would explain it. The South is an absolute stickler for ties, and they have very small class sizes. South Florida is such a desirable market that HYS students regularly compete for jobs in that region.

I know you hate it, and it might be well too late, but you should start applying to NYC. You can lateral in a few years if you are lucky.

http://www.lstscorereports.com/schools/ ... yers/2015/

Tulane sent 13.7% of grads to Big Law, and some of those firms can hardly be called Big Law in the first place.

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Clearly

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Re: Is there something wrong with me? Or just bad luck

Postby Clearly » Mon Sep 05, 2016 1:10 am

You are NOT in the position to be turning down the biggest legal market while also expecting a job. Hustle your ass off for NYC, put in your two years and lateral to wherever if you want to, it's a much easier path than trying to get a respectable job after graduation.

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Re: Is there something wrong with me? Or just bad luck

Postby lavarman84 » Mon Sep 05, 2016 1:27 am

I'm going to offer you another path over working in NYC when you hate it. Don't go for biglaw. Go out there, network, and apply to mid-sized and small firms in markets you want to work in. Come up with a narrative for why you want to be there. You are on a full-ride scholarship. You don't need biglaw to service debt. Biglaw isn't easy to get from a lower T1 school. Don't think it's you. Keep that stuff on the resume. Especially if it makes your interviews more lively and entertaining.

My background is entirely in sports prior to law school. People ate that shit up. It was something that was entertaining to talk about during interviews.

Just make sure you have good answers for all of the questions you know you'll get. It's not you, it's just the function of your class rank and school. If I were you, I'd hustle for a job with the government or a job with a mid-sized or small firm.(fed. govt agency would be great) I'd take work-life balance with solid to good pay over great pay and no work-life balance.(and you can do this because you have no debt) But that's just me.

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Re: Is there something wrong with me? Or just bad luck

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 05, 2016 1:33 am

Thank you everyone for your insight. I am going to focus my search on more government agencies and mid sized firms and mass mail NY.

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Clearly

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Re: Is there something wrong with me? Or just bad luck

Postby Clearly » Mon Sep 05, 2016 3:06 am

lawman84 wrote:I'm going to offer you another path over working in NYC when you hate it. Don't go for biglaw. Go out there, network, and apply to mid-sized and small firms in markets you want to work in. Come up with a narrative for why you want to be there. You are on a full-ride scholarship. You don't need biglaw to service debt. Biglaw isn't easy to get from a lower T1 school. Don't think it's you. Keep that stuff on the resume. Especially if it makes your interviews more lively and entertaining.

My background is entirely in sports prior to law school. People ate that shit up. It was something that was entertaining to talk about during interviews.

Just make sure you have good answers for all of the questions you know you'll get. It's not you, it's just the function of your class rank and school. If I were you, I'd hustle for a job with the government or a job with a mid-sized or small firm.(fed. govt agency would be great) I'd take work-life balance with solid to good pay over great pay and no work-life balance.(and you can do this because you have no debt) But that's just me.

Eh I respectfully disagree. There's more to big law than servicing debt: training, career long resume line, opportunities to go in house easier etc. Additionally, there are many midlaw firms that amount to big law hours at much lower pay. Plus there are just more biglaw jobs to go around.

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Re: Is there something wrong with me? Or just bad luck

Postby lavarman84 » Mon Sep 05, 2016 3:18 am

Clearly wrote:
lawman84 wrote:I'm going to offer you another path over working in NYC when you hate it. Don't go for biglaw. Go out there, network, and apply to mid-sized and small firms in markets you want to work in. Come up with a narrative for why you want to be there. You are on a full-ride scholarship. You don't need biglaw to service debt. Biglaw isn't easy to get from a lower T1 school. Don't think it's you. Keep that stuff on the resume. Especially if it makes your interviews more lively and entertaining.

My background is entirely in sports prior to law school. People ate that shit up. It was something that was entertaining to talk about during interviews.

Just make sure you have good answers for all of the questions you know you'll get. It's not you, it's just the function of your class rank and school. If I were you, I'd hustle for a job with the government or a job with a mid-sized or small firm.(fed. govt agency would be great) I'd take work-life balance with solid to good pay over great pay and no work-life balance.(and you can do this because you have no debt) But that's just me.

Eh I respectfully disagree. There's more to big law than servicing debt: training, career long resume line, opportunities to go in house easier etc. Additionally, there are many midlaw firms that amount to big law hours at much lower pay. Plus there are just more biglaw jobs to go around.


Those things may or may not be valuable to the OP. Not everyone wants to go in-house. A line on the resume isn't really worth being miserable for a couple years. The training may not be in something you're interested in pursuing and may fail to train you at things that are actually important to what you want to pursue.

And yes, there are midlaw firms that amount to biglaw hours at lower pay. But these firms also often offer a light at the end of the tunnel for people who are interested in that sort of things.(partnership prospects) There are also mid-sized law firms and small law firms out there that give you some semblance of work-life balance.

I'm offering the OP an alternative if the OP doesn't want to work biglaw in New York. I know that biglaw in New York is entirely unappealing to me for many of the reasons I discussed.

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Re: Is there something wrong with me? Or just bad luck

Postby muskies970 » Mon Sep 05, 2016 11:01 am

Don't take the yacht work/dancing off your resume. IMO it isn't hurting you and if anything It probably is helping you.

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Re: Is there something wrong with me? Or just bad luck

Postby RaceJudicata » Mon Sep 05, 2016 11:36 am

As others have said, the issue is your school. Once you move outside the top 25 (or less) schools, location becomes significantly more important. For example, George Washington (Ranked 25 is us news) is going to have a MUCH tougher time in a city like Chicago where John Marshall, Kent, Loyola, Depaul students (much lower ranked schools) are going to do better. Same goes for just about every city -- once you move outside the top schools, decent regionals are going to have a better (although still slim) shot at the big law jobs.

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Re: Is there something wrong with me? Or just bad luck

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 05, 2016 6:34 pm

what's people's take on BC/ BU, do they belong to the general group of so-so schools that even top 20% students might be a meh?



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