Wedding Ring & Law Firm Interviews

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Wedding Ring & Law Firm Interviews

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 28, 2017 11:24 pm

I'm a 30 year old woman and engaged. I'm worried interviewers will implicitly assume given my age and marital status that I'm only a couple years out from having a bunch of kids and working less hours. That's not the case - my fiancée will be mainly in charge of taking care of any kids we may have - but I don't want to discribe my entire family planning strategy to a stranger. There isn't anything I can do about my age and gender; so is it worth it to leave the ring at home?

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Re: Wedding Ring & Law Firm Interviews

Postby rpupkin » Wed Jun 28, 2017 11:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:is it worth it to leave the ring at home?

No.

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Re: Wedding Ring & Law Firm Interviews

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 28, 2017 11:35 pm

Do as you please, your thoughts aren't completely unfounded.

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Re: Wedding Ring & Law Firm Interviews

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 29, 2017 12:13 am

Anonymous User wrote:I'm a 30 year old woman and engaged. I'm worried interviewers will implicitly assume given my age and marital status that I'm only a couple years out from having a bunch of kids and working less hours. That's not the case - my fiancée will be mainly in charge of taking care of any kids we may have - but I don't want to discribe my entire family planning strategy to a stranger. There isn't anything I can do about my age and gender; so is it worth it to leave the ring at home?


I think it depends on where you are interviewing/you can mention that "Oh, I'm also interested in this area because this is where me and my fiance are from" type of thing.

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Re: Wedding Ring & Law Firm Interviews

Postby ChildWithADove » Thu Jun 29, 2017 12:22 am

Anonymous User wrote:I'm worried interviewers will implicitly assume given my age and marital status that I'm only a couple years out from having a bunch of kids and working less hours.


FWIW--assuming your fears are well-founded (they are not), I would not want to work at a place that had this mentality. Interviews work both ways. You are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you.

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Re: Wedding Ring & Law Firm Interviews

Postby shock259 » Thu Jun 29, 2017 1:48 am

Anonymous User wrote:Do as you please, your thoughts aren't completely unfounded.


This. Everyone here is going to tell you that people won't care, that it's your right, blah blah. I wish it wasn't this way, but some people will assume things. It probably won't make a difference, but it might.

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Re: Wedding Ring & Law Firm Interviews

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 29, 2017 1:55 am

It also depends on how big the ring is. I know people are going to say it doesn't matter, but as a fellow engaged woman I get you. Candid discussions I've had allude to if it's a huge diamond it can make you seem like a flight risk once you have kids because in older more conservative partners minds huge diamond=money=stay at home mom.

I about rolled my eyes out of my head when I heard this but I'm not suprised. It really depends. I wear my ring when I need to use it to make a connection since I flipped markers completely and fiancé was my only tie. In my home market I did not when interviewing.

Do what you're most comfortable with. It's one of those damned if you do damned if you dont kind of things.

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Re: Wedding Ring & Law Firm Interviews

Postby rpupkin » Thu Jun 29, 2017 1:57 am

shock259 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Do as you please, your thoughts aren't completely unfounded.


This. Everyone here is going to tell you that people won't care, that it's your right, blah blah. I wish it wasn't this way, but some people will assume things.

What will people assume if the OP doesn't have a wedding/engagement ring? Please explain how those assumptions will work in the OP's favor.

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Re: Wedding Ring & Law Firm Interviews

Postby shock259 » Thu Jun 29, 2017 2:03 am

No ring = less likely to get pregnant in the near term and go out on maternity leave for 6 months.
Ring = more likely to get pregnant in the near term and go out on maternity leave for 6 months.

If it's a small group and the firm is hiring for a specific need, it could be an unspoken point against someone. My group has been ravaged with maternity/paternity leave lately, and it can really take a toll on the rest of the group. We've had some brutal months recently. I'm not saying we shouldn't let people do it, and maybe I'm more sensitive to it because of recent experiences, but I think it can take a toll.

If this is in the context of an OCI interview for some mega corporate group, probably doesn't matter.

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Re: Wedding Ring & Law Firm Interviews

Postby rpupkin » Thu Jun 29, 2017 2:09 am

shock259 wrote:No ring = less likely to get pregnant in the near term and go out on maternity leave for 6 months.
Ring = more likely to get pregnant in the near term and go out on maternity leave for 6 months.

If it's a small group and the firm is hiring for a specific need, it could be an unspoken point against someone. My group has been ravaged with maternity/paternity leave lately, and it can really take a toll on the rest of the group. We've had some brutal months recently. I'm not saying we shouldn't let people do it, and maybe I'm more sensitive to it because of recent experiences, but I think it can take a toll.

If this is in the context of an OCI interview for some mega corporate group, probably doesn't matter.

I think that's fair. And I agree with your last sentence's qualification.

I also agree with ChildWithADove's post above: if a firm doesn't want to hire a married woman who might get pregnant, why would OP want to work there?

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Re: Wedding Ring & Law Firm Interviews

Postby cron1834 » Thu Jun 29, 2017 2:50 am

This comes up on TLS from time to time, and what I don't understand is this: if any particular firm is sexist/discriminates against women they think might have kids, then what exactly is supposed to magically change when you show up for day 1 of associate work with a ring? Like, I'm assuming you're not going to keep up the ruse that you're single forever. Plus you're an at-will employee. Any firm that would refuse to hire you because you might theoretically have kids some day is certainly not above icing you out of work and excluding you from the back-slapping boys' club once you put a ring on. If you think firms actually discriminate against the engaged, why not get the discrimination over with up front, instead of when you're a vulnerable first year (or whatever)? You're not going to somehow insulate yourself forever from discrimination because you trick people during a callback, and this way at least you'll know what kind of firm you're at.

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Re: Wedding Ring & Law Firm Interviews

Postby landshoes » Thu Jun 29, 2017 6:52 am

Not getting an initial job is much more devastating than being frozen out and having to move
Firms that might refuse to hire you might not be firms that will actually treat you poorly when you get there
You might interview with people who aren't the people you end up working with

Etc. etc. etc.

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Re: Wedding Ring & Law Firm Interviews

Postby Pokemon » Thu Jun 29, 2017 7:26 am

Anonymous User wrote:Do as you please, your thoughts aren't completely unfounded.


Tcr.

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Re: Wedding Ring & Law Firm Interviews

Postby Pokemon » Thu Jun 29, 2017 7:33 am

cron1834 wrote:This comes up on TLS from time to time, and what I don't understand is this: if any particular firm is sexist/discriminates against women they think might have kids, then what exactly is supposed to magically change when you show up for day 1 of associate work with a ring? Like, I'm assuming you're not going to keep up the ruse that you're single forever. Plus you're an at-will employee. Any firm that would refuse to hire you because you might theoretically have kids some day is certainly not above icing you out of work and excluding you from the back-slapping boys' club once you put a ring on. If you think firms actually discriminate against the engaged, why not get the discrimination over with up front, instead of when you're a vulnerable first year (or whatever)? You're not going to somehow insulate yourself forever from discrimination because you trick people during a callback, and this way at least you'll know what kind of firm you're at.



This is genuinely terrible advice in my opinion. People are sticky once they are hired and show their worth, but during the callback stage, where partners are interviewing hundreds of students and go through an elimination procedure for hiring purposes, they can very be easily discriminated against.

I am a dude and have not experienced this out there personally, but there are too many articles out there about such bias in hiring decisions for this not to be a concern. Obviously, op should do what they are comfortable and if they do not want to be at a firm where the interviewing partner is biased against such women, then they should wear the ring.

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Re: Wedding Ring & Law Firm Interviews

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 29, 2017 7:46 am

OP here -

I'm not concerned that a hiring partner is an old school sexist, shaking his fists at feminists because they told him he couldn't slap his secretary's ass. I don't even think this is something that would be said aloud in hiring discussions.

In an interviewing setting, there are so few factors you have to base your decision on. Having been on the other side I realize how much of it comes down to your "gut." If your gut tells you "she's not worth the investment" and you don't ask yourself why you think that, I'm not getting hired.

I don't think people with sexists biases are terrible people - I know I have them and have to work to make sure they don't manifest. So If a bias-free workplace was a non-negotiable, there is nowhere I could work.

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Re: Wedding Ring & Law Firm Interviews

Postby elendinel » Thu Jun 29, 2017 9:45 am

landshoes wrote:Not getting an initial job is much more devastating than being frozen out and having to move
Firms that might refuse to hire you might not be firms that will actually treat you poorly when you get there
You might interview with people who aren't the people you end up working with

Etc. etc. etc.


Yeah the "Well why would you want to work there anyway" philosophy works when the bias you're battling is something that only a handful of people in the country will actually have (like people who will knock you because you wore a gray suit and not a navy suit). When you're dealing with a more systematic form of discrimination (like people who will knock a woman for wearing pants/being close to baby age/etc.), people susceptible to the bias don't really have the luxury of just interviewing somewhere else, because interviewers with those biases are everywhere.

And I'd agree that the fact that one interviewer knocked you for X doesn't mean the entire firm would be like that or would ice you out immediately once you got there. Even if the firm as a whole is that discriminatory, it's arguably better to be employed and looking for a new job than it is to be unemployed because you're trying to find the firm that won't care about _____.

My experience was that I was strongly warned against doing something during interviews with a conservative area of law, and I did it anyway. And I still got offers. I don't know what the interviewers thought about it. I then heard about another friend who did the same thing with one of the same places I interviewed, but heard through the grapevine that one of her interviewers had complained about it. She got a CB but no offer. She didn't have the same grades I did but she had more relevant experience with that particular organization. It's quite possible I just got lucky with my interviewers and she didn't.
Last edited by elendinel on Thu Jun 29, 2017 3:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Wedding Ring & Law Firm Interviews

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 29, 2017 10:02 am

In regards to the "well why would you want to work there anyways..."

Being nixed on an interview because of an engagement ring doesn't mean a firm is a horrible evil place you would hate. It means you are competing against 200 other highly qualified individuals and the interviewer needs to make a decision and they are grasping at straws for ways to distinguish who is going to benefit the firm the most. Its also *one* person making that decision...a decision that perhaps others in the firm would be very much against.

Its the reason women freak out about making sure everything we wear for interviews is perfect. Do I think its absurd that my clothing could break my chance at a callback or offer? Yep. But I'm not going to risk the chance of one dingbat interviewer's opinion preventing me from getting my foot in the door. So I suck it up and bought a skirt suit (I HATE skirts) and heels and took off my small ring and I'm at a firm I love and I have no idea if any of that made any difference whatsoever.

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Re: Wedding Ring & Law Firm Interviews

Postby imnottelling » Thu Jun 29, 2017 11:33 am

For what it is worth, I am in my 30s, female, and am married. I rarely wear my wedding ring, but I wore it to all of my OCI interviews. I had offers from 5 major DC Biglaw firms and 4 major NYC Biglaw firms. I also had stellar grades, seven years of work history in one industry/job, and great interviewing skills. I did not go to a T14. My resume reflected a career-driven person and included some of my hobbies, one of which is not considered kid friendly because most people think it is too dangerous. I have no idea whether the ring had any impact on my interviews or whether people thought I would rush off to get pregnant. Perhaps they thought I was too old and had already missed my window. I never shared that I think having kids would destroy my happiness in many ways but I do remember asking associates and partners about their children when they clearly had pictures of them in their offices. Nonetheless, I do think wearing the ring demonstrated a sort of stability. Plus, it gave me legitimacy when I mentioned my husband. I mention my husband without wearing my ring and people think I am weird (I am in the minority for not wearing a ring and being childfree, but that is besides the point). Interviews are friendly conversations. If you think you are going to talk about your fiancee, you might want to consider wearing it. If you think you can make up conversation without talking about him or just calling him your boyfriend, then don't. If you have the more important things that they are looking for, I don't think they will be too worried about it. Then again, I did not interview at any mid-law firms and I can offer no perspective on that.

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Re: Wedding Ring & Law Firm Interviews

Postby cron1834 » Thu Jun 29, 2017 1:00 pm

Pokemon wrote:
cron1834 wrote:This comes up on TLS from time to time, and what I don't understand is this: if any particular firm is sexist/discriminates against women they think might have kids, then what exactly is supposed to magically change when you show up for day 1 of associate work with a ring? Like, I'm assuming you're not going to keep up the ruse that you're single forever. Plus you're an at-will employee. Any firm that would refuse to hire you because you might theoretically have kids some day is certainly not above icing you out of work and excluding you from the back-slapping boys' club once you put a ring on. If you think firms actually discriminate against the engaged, why not get the discrimination over with up front, instead of when you're a vulnerable first year (or whatever)? You're not going to somehow insulate yourself forever from discrimination because you trick people during a callback, and this way at least you'll know what kind of firm you're at.



This is genuinely terrible advice in my opinion. People are sticky once they are hired and show their worth, but during the callback stage, where partners are interviewing hundreds of students and go through an elimination procedure for hiring purposes, they can very be easily discriminated against.

I am a dude and have not experienced this out there personally, but there are too many articles out there about such bias in hiring decisions for this not to be a concern. Obviously, op should do what they are comfortable and if they do not want to be at a firm where the interviewing partner is biased against such women, then they should wear the ring.

No. It isn't terrible.

I mean, consider the math, man. Women get hired into biglaw today at something CLOSE to their proportion of the population... but their odds of being successful seniors and making partner are way below that of men. There's every reason to think the true power of this sort of discrimination doesn't show up at callbacks, where people are basically fungible, but later on instead.

Not surprisingly, the married/engaged women I knew at my school did well at OCI. About as well as their grades would have predicted. So did the dozen or so women who got engaged during 2L/3L. It's not like firms don't know that's going to happen anyway. I'm sure this sort of latent bias exists, but the evidence we have suggests it shows up later on, more so than at callbacks.

Caveat - if OP is at a TT school where she only has access to a few screeners, then I'll concede your point. In that case every screener is truly precious and you need to max-out your chances with each one. But at a T14 without terrible grades, I would just act like a normal person.

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Re: Wedding Ring & Law Firm Interviews

Postby Phil Brooks » Thu Jun 29, 2017 1:10 pm

One of my girlfriend's sisters who worked for government got pregnant and then started interviewing to lateral to a big-law firm. Her express goal was to earn more money during the 9-month pregnancy, have the baby, take leave, and then go back to government.

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Re: Wedding Ring & Law Firm Interviews

Postby elendinel » Thu Jun 29, 2017 1:23 pm

All this said, I think if a person's going to assume you're going to have babies at some point because you're a lady, they're going to assume it's down the pipeline regardless of whether you're already married or not. I don't think whether or not you're actually married (or going to be married soon) is really going to make the difference between them dinging you or not as a "baby risk." So IMO you may as well wear it.

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Re: Wedding Ring & Law Firm Interviews

Postby lolwat » Thu Jun 29, 2017 2:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:In regards to the "well why would you want to work there anyways..."


I think this kind of thinking is often much more reasonable once you've already got an offer or are in practice... while someone is still interviewing I think it's too early to drop firms because of this kind of reasoning. Maybe it's because OCI at my school back in 2008-2009 was a total fucking bust, but my mentality has always been get the offers first no matter what -- and only then do you whittle down your options.

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Re: Wedding Ring & Law Firm Interviews

Postby rpupkin » Thu Jun 29, 2017 5:28 pm

cron1834 wrote:I mean, consider the math, man. Women get hired into biglaw today at something CLOSE to their proportion of the population... but their odds of being successful seniors and making partner are way below that of men. There's every reason to think the true power of this sort of discrimination doesn't show up at callbacks, where people are basically fungible, but later on instead.

Not surprisingly, the married/engaged women I knew at my school did well at OCI. About as well as their grades would have predicted. So did the dozen or so women who got engaged during 2L/3L. It's not like firms don't know that's going to happen anyway. I'm sure this sort of latent bias exists, but the evidence we have suggests it shows up later on, more so than at callbacks.

Caveat - if OP is at a TT school where she only has access to a few screeners, then I'll concede your point. In that case every screener is truly precious and you need to max-out your chances with each one. But at a T14 without terrible grades, I would just act like a normal person.

I agree with all of this. Just to pile on with my own anecdata, I've noticed—both during law school and as a lawyer at a firm—that married woman overperform relative to their law school/class rank. That is, married women tend to get more offers than single women and single men with similar stats. While it's true that attorneys who make hiring decisions may have stereotypical prejudices about married women, they may also have stereotypical prejudices about single women (e.g., depressed, unstable, more likely to quit). Some here are underestimating how often marriage is seen as a plus in the professional world.

Some of the other assumptions ITT also seem off to me. For example, we've hit on the hypothetical situation where an older partner with biases against married woman will ding you even though you wouldn't work with him if hired. But I don't think that hypothetical materializes very often. For one thing, why would such a partner care if you had to go on leave? It doesn't impact him. The situation you need to be concerned about is the one that shock259 noted above, where a small group has trouble treading water when an attorney takes leave for a few months. The folks most concerned about the possibility of you getting pregnant will be the junior partners and associates who will have to take up the slack while you're out. Fortunately for OP, junior attorneys generally can't veto hiring decisions at law firms.

So, OP, I think you should wear your ring. It could actually help you overall. And to the extent it could hurt you at certain firms, you're probably better off avoiding those firms anyway.

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Re: Wedding Ring & Law Firm Interviews

Postby stoopkid13 » Thu Jun 29, 2017 5:56 pm

rpupkin wrote:
cron1834 wrote:I mean, consider the math, man. Women get hired into biglaw today at something CLOSE to their proportion of the population... but their odds of being successful seniors and making partner are way below that of men. There's every reason to think the true power of this sort of discrimination doesn't show up at callbacks, where people are basically fungible, but later on instead.

Not surprisingly, the married/engaged women I knew at my school did well at OCI. About as well as their grades would have predicted. So did the dozen or so women who got engaged during 2L/3L. It's not like firms don't know that's going to happen anyway. I'm sure this sort of latent bias exists, but the evidence we have suggests it shows up later on, more so than at callbacks.

Caveat - if OP is at a TT school where she only has access to a few screeners, then I'll concede your point. In that case every screener is truly precious and you need to max-out your chances with each one. But at a T14 without terrible grades, I would just act like a normal person.

I agree with all of this. Just to pile on with my own anecdata, I've noticed—both during law school and as a lawyer at a firm—that married woman overperform relative to their law school/class rank. That is, married women tend to get more offers than single women and single men with similar stats. While it's true that attorneys who make hiring decisions may have stereotypical prejudices about married women, they may also have stereotypical prejudices about single women (e.g., depressed, unstable, more likely to quit). Some here are underestimating how often marriage is seen as a plus in the professional world.


+1. FWIW, one of the partners I spoke with at an offer dinner said asking about marital status was the one question he wishes he could ask, but can't. He felt that married associates were more mature, harder workers, and actually less likely to quit because they need money to support a family. Go figure.



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