Law Firm Recruitment

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ms9

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Law Firm Recruitment

Postby ms9 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:56 am

Hi all,

I am speaking next Thursday at a conference of hiring partners, primarily (although not exclusively) BigLaw. Would anyone like to share what firms have done, in communication, interviews, marketing -- any interaction basically -- that has impressed you? Stories, anecdotes and observations would be very helpful. Many, many thanks!

-Mike

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Re: Law Firm Recruitment

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 24, 2017 8:38 am

At OCI, I liked the firms that made up their minds quickly. One firm in particular called me less than an hour after my screener, which I was impressed with. It made me feel a bit more important than I did with firms who would call a day or two later, and I definitely liked them more than firms who called days/weeks after I knew callbacks had been made.

I also liked firms who had recruiters make callbacks instead of the interviewer--it felt like the firm had a more streamlined and official process. It's easy to feel like an afterthought when the calls trickle in days later from a partner who would rather be doing anything but calling law students.

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zhenders

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Re: Law Firm Recruitment

Postby zhenders » Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:42 am

Firms whose hiring processes feel focused and intentional impressed me personally. The many firms that stressed that summers and 1st years didn't have to commit to a practice group early on, and that said it was fine to have no idea what one wants to do, felt off-putting to me. On the one hand flexibility is nice, but it felt much more honest and professional to be told the firm expects people to have a pretty clear idea of what they hope to do at the firm.

I'm probably an outlier here; I think it takes all kinds of forms, and some might say the opposite. For me though, the "we actually do have expectations" model felt much more honest, and I was powerfully drawn to it.

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Re: Law Firm Recruitment

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:58 am

After my callback, my OCI screener contacted me twice to let me know where the firm was in the hiring process and roughly where I stood--e.g. still in consideration. Even though the update, essentially, kept me in a holding pattern, I still appreciated to communication. I chose this firm, partly based on the communication, over a peer firm that went: callback-->radio silence-->offer.

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Re: Law Firm Recruitment

Postby RaceJudicata » Fri Feb 24, 2017 10:21 am

Partners doing screeners. I know its not feasible for all firms to do this, but I think it has some major benefits. First, they know the firm/office's practice, rather than some junior, and can effectively screen people for the SA roles. Sometimes I felt the associates - particularly the more junior ones - were holding a popularity contest and picking folks they liked rather than people that would be a goo fit for the practice.

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Re: Law Firm Recruitment

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 24, 2017 11:23 am

RaceJudicata wrote:Partners doing screeners. I know its not feasible for all firms to do this, but I think it has some major benefits. First, they know the firm/office's practice, rather than some junior, and can effectively screen people for the SA roles. Sometimes I felt the associates - particularly the more junior ones - were holding a popularity contest and picking folks they liked rather than people that would be a goo fit for the practice.


This is an excellent point. As a third year associate involved in recruitment, I too have observed instances in which certain highly qualified paralegal or associate candidates were given really unjustifiably poor ratings by peer interviewers, sometimes over silly reasons. It was hard for me not to suspect the interviewing paralegal or associate didn't want to hire someone who made them look bad. I think the partners are more likely to pick a person who is good for the business and the practice, while associates might be more concerned about how they stack up against a peer.

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Re: Law Firm Recruitment

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 24, 2017 2:35 pm

In LA (I realize this is not possible in NY), some firms would make sure to only schedule one callback at a time, or at least stagger them slightly so you weren't sitting in the lobby with 15 other candidates. I thought that made the experience feel more personal.

I actually liked the firms that stressed that you could take the summer to try out different assignments and decide which practice group you'd like to join. I think it's stressful to be forced to make a decision with only 1L under your belt. However, this only works if the firm is actually going to be giving offers in every practice group. It's disingenuous to let a summer try everything out and then funnel them into a practice group without their input (this happened to several friends of mine). I'd prefer honesty in that situation.

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Re: Law Firm Recruitment

Postby Easterbork » Fri Feb 24, 2017 3:56 pm

Speed throughout the entire process. Quick callback, quick scheduling of the callback, quick offer if they want to make an offer. The feeling of relief when you get your first offer is very powerful.

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Re: Law Firm Recruitment

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 24, 2017 4:04 pm

This might defeat the purpose of pre OCI interviewing, but I do think firms should be more open with students if they are starting to look at apps the summer before OCI. One firm mentioned they were starting to interview applicants at a summer event they held for 2Ls, which was great to know. They didn't do postings about it, but I think something as simple as just letting students know at a summer recruiting event they're holding makes the whole pre OCI process less frantic. It was really frustrating to find out after the fact that some firms had done pre OCI and gave out enough offers that by the time they came to my school's OCI they only had a few spots, if any, left.

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ms9

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Re: Law Firm Recruitment

Postby ms9 » Fri Feb 24, 2017 8:53 pm

The are very incredibly helpful. Many thanks, please keep them coming!

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Re: Law Firm Recruitment

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 25, 2017 12:16 am

I really appreciated firms that had great recruitment staff and clearly had planned out their recruiting process because that really set the tone for me on the firm as a whole before and after meeting with their attorneys.

For example:
Firm A offered a callback but the recruiter was very slow to set up travel arrangements, and slow to reply to my emails. I later declined their offer even though the attorneys were fairly good just because of this poor experience.
Firm B offered a callback, answered my phone calls and emails promptly, set up travel arrangements immediately, and made an offer within 24 hours of my callback. To me, this showed a lot about the organization as a whole and their ability to handle even simple matters.

These were both V40 firms that interviewed numerous candidates the same day I had callbacks. The best analogy I can give is going on vacation where the vacation is great but checking in and out of the hotel was a pain because of poor staff.

Also, I really appreciated firms where there was a partner conducting the screening interview. Other posters above have explained why.

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Re: Law Firm Recruitment

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 25, 2017 12:43 am

Easterbork wrote:Speed throughout the entire process. Quick callback, quick scheduling of the callback, quick offer if they want to make an offer. The feeling of relief when you get your first offer is very powerful.

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Re: Law Firm Recruitment

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 25, 2017 4:35 am

Anonymous User wrote:At OCI, I liked the firms that made up their minds quickly.


Agree.

Anonymous User wrote:I also liked firms who had recruiters make callbacks instead of the interviewer

Disagree.

Easterbork wrote:
Speed throughout the entire process.


This.

As naive as it sounds, the polish that a firm's recruiting department put on callbacks really stood out to me. Some had one associate escort you from interview to interview (eh, felt like another interview). Some had a recruiter/assistant/paralegal do the same (probably still interview-y but nice to get to know the admin staff). Some did the ever-so-awkward "I'll walk you to your next interview" bit where you have to thank your previous interviewer in front of your next interviewer. At one firm my screener interviewer came to say hi while I was waiting (thought this was a very nice gesture).

One firm gave out a folder at the start of the call back with a full schedule, the head of the recruiting department's business card, and a firm-branded $5 Starbucks gift card. Was the gift card necessary? Of course not. But, I thought it showed a real understanding of how the process works, i.e. show up near the office at least 30 minutes early and find a coffee shop to prep/fix your tie in.

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Re: Law Firm Recruitment

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 25, 2017 8:31 am

Full disclosure that I'm a 1L applying for SA positions and I realize the 2L process is a bit more structured, but I had a couple of opinions.

First, I have been way more impressed with the firms that are transparent in their hiring process. I have dealt with a couple firms that tell me that "they haven't made any decisions and will be in touch shortly" when I know full well that my classmates have had callbacks and/or offers from that firm. Do they not realize that we talk to each other?

I would also second the firms that move quickly once they show interest. Waiting multiple weeks between screeners, callbacks, and offers is really a turn off when considering where you want to work. I feel like a firm shows that you are a priority when they are more expedient with their decision-making.

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Re: Law Firm Recruitment

Postby jarofsoup » Sat Feb 25, 2017 9:51 am

Send people rejections if rejected. Don't invite candidates to interview then go dark.

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Re: Law Firm Recruitment

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:23 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:Hi all,

I am speaking next Thursday at a conference of hiring partners, primarily (although not exclusively) BigLaw. Would anyone like to share what firms have done, in communication, interviews, marketing -- any interaction basically -- that has impressed you? Stories, anecdotes and observations would be very helpful. Many, many thanks!

-Mike


Well, I guess your conference is over, but if you're a hiring partner, I have one more thing to add that might help you:

Do not have "problem partners" interview candidates. They will scare decent candidates away.

For the 2nd time in my legal career, I interviewed with a partner I just really hated. He was so rude to me (won't give details, don't wanna raise the questions he asked or they might out me) and seemed little clueless about who I was, when simply glancing down at my resume would have revealed the answers to the questions he had about me. I was left with an extremely bad taste in my mouth, and reminded of a time years ago when I interviewed at another firm and met another strange partner who was rude (albeit in a different way - let's just say I spent most of the interview talking to her scalp and not her face).

I have an offer already from a peer firm, so encountering that strange/rude partner has really deterred me from accepting an offer with the firm, even if I receive one.

Moral of story: Put nice people in front of your candidates. Your firm's reputation depends on it.

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MCFC

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Re: Law Firm Recruitment

Postby MCFC » Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:16 pm

Obviously you were there and had a better read on the situation than I do, but this bit seems pretty typical.

seemed little clueless about who I was, when simply glancing down at my resume would have revealed the answers to the questions he had about me.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Law Firm Recruitment

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:54 pm

MCFC wrote:Obviously you were there and had a better read on the situation than I do, but this bit seems pretty typical.

seemed little clueless about who I was, when simply glancing down at my resume would have revealed the answers to the questions he had about me.

Some interviewers do this on purpose, just to see how the candidate will react.

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Re: Law Firm Recruitment

Postby bk1 » Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Do not have "problem partners" interview candidates. They will scare decent candidates away.

Moral of story: Put nice people in front of your candidates. Your firm's reputation depends on it.

I don't think any firm is unaware of this, it's just that sometimes either: (1) the nice people don't want to or don't have the time to interview, (2) they don't realize that he/she acts like an asshole during interviews, and/or (3) the asshole has clout at the firm and nobody can/wants to say no to him/her.



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