Meeting with practice group chair for drinks after cold email

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Meeting with practice group chair for drinks after cold email

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:03 am

cold emailed senior partner and practice group chair re joining the firm. I graduated in '16. I've been in gov't work since last October and want to transition. Partner says he's happy to put my application through the "official process" but wants to meet informally first, maybe alongside a few colleagues. Fwiw, there aren't any current openings in his area listed on the firm site (but he did not mention this)

apart from relevant work experience and cool summer work, I'm a shit candidate who graduated bottom third at our shared t20. My resume is deceiving so I figure he assumes I graduated higher in my class

What's the best I can hope for??
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

Hutz_and_Goodman

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Re: Meeting with practice group chair for drinks after cold email

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:29 am

If they like you and think you'd be good to work with your grades probably won't matter.

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Re: Meeting with practice group chair for drinks after cold email

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:30 am

Hutz_and_Goodman wrote:If they like you and think you'd be good to work with your grades probably won't matter.


A NJL 250 not caring about grades 1.5 years out?

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Re: Meeting with practice group chair for drinks after cold email

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 24, 2017 11:11 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Hutz_and_Goodman wrote:If they like you and think you'd be good to work with your grades probably won't matter.


A NJL 250 not caring about grades 1.5 years out?


Not sure if this response is from OP, but if you seem smart and competent, they may be willing to overlook grades. Don't sell yourself short at this stage. They're interest in talking. Make a good impression and go from there.

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Re: Meeting with practice group chair for drinks after cold email

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:12 pm

Bump

lolwat

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Re: Meeting with practice group chair for drinks after cold email

Postby lolwat » Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:21 pm

What more is there to say, really? Lawyers--especially partners--don't waste their times, nor that of their colleagues, meeting some random recent graduate who specifically asked about joining the firm, unless they have some genuine interest in that candidate. Maybe your application still needs to go through the "official process," but if you leave a good impression with the partner(s) you meet, that official process might be more of a formality.

It might have been different if you just cold e-mailed these people asking if they'd be willing to grab coffee to talk about their practice or whatever, but the original post suggests you specifically inquired about a job.

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Re: Meeting with practice group chair for drinks after cold email

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:30 pm

lolwat wrote:What more is there to say, really? Lawyers--especially partners--don't waste their times, nor that of their colleagues, meeting some random recent graduate who specifically asked about joining the firm, unless they have some genuine interest in that candidate. Maybe your application still needs to go through the "official process," but if you leave a good impression with the partner(s) you meet, that official process might be more of a formality.

It might have been different if you just cold e-mailed these people asking if they'd be willing to grab coffee to talk about their practice or whatever, but the original post suggests you specifically inquired about a job.


Yes, my initial email said I want to work in his practice, and I attached my resume and a WS relevant to that very niche area

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Re: Meeting with practice group chair for drinks after cold email

Postby lolwat » Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
lolwat wrote:What more is there to say, really? Lawyers--especially partners--don't waste their times, nor that of their colleagues, meeting some random recent graduate who specifically asked about joining the firm, unless they have some genuine interest in that candidate. Maybe your application still needs to go through the "official process," but if you leave a good impression with the partner(s) you meet, that official process might be more of a formality.

It might have been different if you just cold e-mailed these people asking if they'd be willing to grab coffee to talk about their practice or whatever, but the original post suggests you specifically inquired about a job.


Yes, my initial email said I want to work in his practice, and I attached my resume and a WS relevant to that very niche area


Yeah, so he's basically responding directly to an application. It's basically a screener.

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Re: Meeting with practice group chair for drinks after cold email

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:51 pm

lolwat wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
lolwat wrote:What more is there to say, really? Lawyers--especially partners--don't waste their times, nor that of their colleagues, meeting some random recent graduate who specifically asked about joining the firm, unless they have some genuine interest in that candidate. Maybe your application still needs to go through the "official process," but if you leave a good impression with the partner(s) you meet, that official process might be more of a formality.

It might have been different if you just cold e-mailed these people asking if they'd be willing to grab coffee to talk about their practice or whatever, but the original post suggests you specifically inquired about a job.


Yes, my initial email said I want to work in his practice, and I attached my resume and a WS relevant to that very niche area


Yeah, so he's basically responding directly to an application. It's basically a screener.


I never applied to firms while in school, so while I can figure out what "screener" means, I don't know what could happen next

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Re: Meeting with practice group chair for drinks after cold email

Postby lolwat » Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:59 pm

The most likely "next" is:

a) You meet them, they like you, and your application goes to the next step of a callback interview
b) You meet them, they don't like you enough, and your application is dead

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Re: Meeting with practice group chair for drinks after cold email

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 24, 2017 6:03 pm

lolwat wrote:The most likely "next" is:

a) You meet them, they like you, and your application goes to the next step of a callback interview
b) You meet them, they don't like you enough, and your application is dead


Thanks for your help. I told the partner that I couldn't start until next spring because of an ongoing project, but I guess he doesn't care that much. We can both afford to be patient

When would he ask for a transcript?

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Re: Meeting with practice group chair for drinks after cold email

Postby RaceJudicata » Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
lolwat wrote:The most likely "next" is:

a) You meet them, they like you, and your application goes to the next step of a callback interview
b) You meet them, they don't like you enough, and your application is dead


Thanks for your help. I told the partner that I couldn't start until next spring because of an ongoing project, but I guess he doesn't care that much. We can both afford to be patient

When would he ask for a transcript?


How on earth did your start date reqs come up - naturally - in this ex exchange? Also, if u really want this job, fuck the ongoing project (if this gets to offer stage).

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Re: Meeting with practice group chair for drinks after cold email

Postby rpupkin » Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:57 pm

lolwat wrote:What more is there to say, really? Lawyers--especially partners--don't waste their times, nor that of their colleagues, meeting some random recent graduate who specifically asked about joining the firm, unless they have some genuine interest in that candidate.

Agreed.

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Re: Meeting with practice group chair for drinks after cold email

Postby rpupkin » Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:58 pm

RaceJudicata wrote:Also, if u really want this job, fuck the ongoing project (if this gets to offer stage).

Agree with this as well.

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Re: Meeting with practice group chair for drinks after cold email

Postby Johann » Tue Oct 24, 2017 11:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Hutz_and_Goodman wrote:If they like you and think you'd be good to work with your grades probably won't matter.


A NJL 250 not caring about grades 1.5 years out?

yes that is how things work. grades stop mattering once practice comes into play. if he likes you, HR might ask for a transcript to make sure you graduated/for the callback stages. but no one will give a shit.

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Re: Meeting with practice group chair for drinks after cold email

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:10 am

OP here

This is all very encouraging. Thanks everyone.

I'm wondering whether this partner could create an opening when one doesn't otherwise exist. Say: We meet, it goes well, but oops no openings so I'm just in their file cabinet for years. If a group chair wants another warm body, can they demand it?

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Re: Meeting with practice group chair for drinks after cold email

Postby nealric » Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:47 am

Anonymous User wrote:OP here

This is all very encouraging. Thanks everyone.

I'm wondering whether this partner could create an opening when one doesn't otherwise exist. Say: We meet, it goes well, but oops no openings so I'm just in their file cabinet for years. If a group chair wants another warm body, can they demand it?


It depends how much "juice" the partner has. If the partner is a rainmaker who generates plenty of work to pawn off on a new associate, he can pretty much hire who he wants at most firms (barring nepotism or manifestly unqualified candidates). A young service partner would have to lobby to create a new associate opening, and would be much less likely to be successful. Given that this is the practice group chair, it's highly likely he can hire you if he wants.

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Re: Meeting with practice group chair for drinks after cold email

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:42 am

Anonymous User wrote:OP here

This is all very encouraging. Thanks everyone.

I'm wondering whether this partner could create an opening when one doesn't otherwise exist. Say: We meet, it goes well, but oops no openings so I'm just in their file cabinet for years. If a group chair wants another warm body, can they demand it?


I very recently had a practice group chair create a position for me out of thin air. It took him a couple weeks, but they have enough sway that if they tell the partnership "we need this person" then they will normally get what they want.

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Re: Meeting with practice group chair for drinks after cold email

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 26, 2017 3:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here

This is all very encouraging. Thanks everyone.

I'm wondering whether this partner could create an opening when one doesn't otherwise exist. Say: We meet, it goes well, but oops no openings so I'm just in their file cabinet for years. If a group chair wants another warm body, can they demand it?


I very recently had a practice group chair create a position for me out of thin air. It took him a couple weeks, but they have enough sway that if they tell the partnership "we need this person" then they will normally get what they want.


How'd you do it?

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Re: Meeting with practice group chair for drinks after cold email

Postby lolwat » Thu Oct 26, 2017 4:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here

This is all very encouraging. Thanks everyone.

I'm wondering whether this partner could create an opening when one doesn't otherwise exist. Say: We meet, it goes well, but oops no openings so I'm just in their file cabinet for years. If a group chair wants another warm body, can they demand it?


I very recently had a practice group chair create a position for me out of thin air. It took him a couple weeks, but they have enough sway that if they tell the partnership "we need this person" then they will normally get what they want.


How'd you do it?


?

You convince the partner that they really want to have you working for them.

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Re: Meeting with practice group chair for drinks after cold email

Postby rpupkin » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here

This is all very encouraging. Thanks everyone.

I'm wondering whether this partner could create an opening when one doesn't otherwise exist. Say: We meet, it goes well, but oops no openings so I'm just in their file cabinet for years. If a group chair wants another warm body, can they demand it?

Law firms generally don't have "openings" in the traditional sense--at least not for associate hiring. Each hiring season, firms and practice groups have targets for the number of new associates they want to bring on board. Rarely does a firm hit their target exactly--they'll usually be a little over or a little under, depending on various circumstances.

Although big law hiring generally follows a predictable schedule for summer-associate and post-clerkship candiates, lateral hiring is more fluid. If a practice group ends up busier than expected and/or associate attrition is unusually high, they'll put extra focus on finding lateral candidates. But the targets are often soft--e.g., "we're aiming to bring on two or three new associates this spring," or "we have a budget for two new associates, but if there are three we really like we'll hire all three." As others have indicated, the amount of flexibility any partner might have will depend on his or her power and influence at the firm. Depending on the firm's culture and the partner's influence, he may have close to absolute autonomy to hire anyone at anytime.

So here's the thing: because law-firm hiring (and especially lateral hiring) is so soft and fluid, it's important to make yourself available immediately if the firm is interested now. If you say "I'm interested but don't want to start until the spring," you run the risk that the firm will have hired someone else by then. Or maybe the firm gets to the spring and decides that they don't want to take on another associate after all. This doesn't mean that you have to make yourself available to start at the firm tomorrow, but you should make clear that you're ready to start in what could reasonably be described as "the present" (say within two to four weeks) if the firm is interested.

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Re: Meeting with practice group chair for drinks after cold email

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 21, 2017 1:20 pm

Bumping because we're meeting soon and I want to set my expectations right

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Re: Meeting with practice group chair for drinks after cold email

Postby run26.2 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:15 pm

Johann wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Hutz_and_Goodman wrote:If they like you and think you'd be good to work with your grades probably won't matter.


A NJL 250 not caring about grades 1.5 years out?

yes that is how things work. grades stop mattering once practice comes into play. if he likes you, HR might ask for a transcript to make sure you graduated/for the callback stages. but no one will give a shit.

This depends on firm. There are plenty where grades still matter, even after you have been practicing. It may or may not be the case at the firm OP is interviewing at. Of course, exceptions are made based on partner's clout, firm need, relevance of lateral's practice, etc.

Re about leading up to the meeting, be yourself. The right biglaw firm is probably one at which you get along well with the personalities at the firm. They're going to be evaluating you this way as well. On the can't start until later point, it is fine that you said that. It shows that you are being utilized at your current job. But I wouldn't press the point that you have to remain where you are for some months before starting. Lateral hiring is more focused on current needs than 2L OCI. They probably would plan for you to join within about a month. Something to keep in mind when discussing your availability. Good luck.

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Re: Meeting with practice group chair for drinks after cold email

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 24, 2017 1:09 pm

One last bump for the over-stuffed crowd who'd rather day post than spend one more day around family

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Re: Meeting with practice group chair for drinks after cold email

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 24, 2017 3:49 pm

Dude. Chill. It's a job interview. Go get the job.



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