Father is a federal judge - would firms want to know?

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Father is a federal judge - would firms want to know?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:39 am

My father is a federal judge in a market where I am not applying for jobs. In interviews in my chosen market, however, I am always unsure of whether or not I should tell the attorneys this. Sometimes when they ask about my background or "why law?" it would be easy to say something regarding his status, however, I never know if this information will effect me negatively or positively. I don't want them to think that I have gotten as far as I have because of family connections, or that his sitting on a federal bench may at some point pose a conflict of interest for the firm. At the same time, it is an accolade that could potentially look good for the firm, or it may show that I have potential to go places that would also be good for the firm. Because I'm never sure what the reaction will be, I usually never mention it. What are the collective thoughts on this?

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Re: Father is a federal judge - would firms want to know?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:06 pm

I think it depends a little. If, for example, you went to a T50 law school in the town in which your dad is a judge, people might wonder. On the other hand, I don't think people are likely to think that you got any direct unfair advantage if your dad is an AL-graduate fed dct judge in Birmingham and you went to Harvard. There are also certain law school experiences you could have that might appear to be the result of your dad. If you're at a second-tier school but somehow scored a top judicial externship your 1L summer, people will probably assume your dad had something to do with it even if it's not true. The more distant the connection is between your achievements and anything your dad could have possibly done to help, the less likely it is that this will be an issue. So, if the strength of your application is your grades, your recs, and other factors that wouldn't be influenced by your connection, you have less to worry about; but if the strength of your application is a series of impressive jobs or experiences you've landed, disclosing your dad's position could diminish the positive impact of these impressive accomplishments.

My instinct would be not to bring it up yourself, but also not avoid it -- so if you're asked a "why law" question and you have an anecdote involving your dad, I'd share it.

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Re: Father is a federal judge - would firms want to know?

Postby gaddockteeg » Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:

My instinct would be not to bring it up yourself, but also not avoid it -- so if you're asked a "why law" question and you have an anecdote involving your dad, I'd share it.


+1

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Re: Father is a federal judge - would firms want to know?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:22 pm

gaddockteeg wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:

My instinct would be not to bring it up yourself, but also not avoid it -- so if you're asked a "why law" question and you have an anecdote involving your dad, I'd share it.


+1


+1 as well. Attorneys are likely to be fascinated by that but I'd extremely careful to sound humble about it and not make it the focus of any interview. If it was me and I had a callback with several interviews I'd try to avoid bringing it up in more than 1 or 2 so that when they discuss you afterwards everyone doesn't share that same fact and feel like that was how you presented yourself.

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Re: Father is a federal judge - would firms want to know?

Postby lawhopeful100 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 2:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
gaddockteeg wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:

My instinct would be not to bring it up yourself, but also not avoid it -- so if you're asked a "why law" question and you have an anecdote involving your dad, I'd share it.


+1


+1 as well. Attorneys are likely to be fascinated by that but I'd extremely careful to sound humble about it and not make it the focus of any interview. If it was me and I had a callback with several interviews I'd try to avoid bringing it up in more than 1 or 2 so that when they discuss you afterwards everyone doesn't share that same fact and feel like that was how you presented yourself.

Yea, one way you might be able to do it, is when asked why law, say your father is an attorney. When they follow up by asking where / what does he practice, you say he practiced at X but now he’s a judge at Y. I think that might come off better than just saying your dad is a judge to a why law question.

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Re: Father is a federal judge - would firms want to know?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 28, 2018 2:33 pm

lawhopeful100 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
gaddockteeg wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:

My instinct would be not to bring it up yourself, but also not avoid it -- so if you're asked a "why law" question and you have an anecdote involving your dad, I'd share it.


+1


+1 as well. Attorneys are likely to be fascinated by that but I'd extremely careful to sound humble about it and not make it the focus of any interview. If it was me and I had a callback with several interviews I'd try to avoid bringing it up in more than 1 or 2 so that when they discuss you afterwards everyone doesn't share that same fact and feel like that was how you presented yourself.

Yea, one way you might be able to do it, is when asked why law, say your father is an attorney. When they follow up by asking where / what does he practice, you say he practiced at X but now he’s a judge at Y. I think that might come off better than just saying your dad is a judge to a why law question.



Not to derail too much, but how do you all feel about answering the "why law" question with a response around a parent? My dad is a lawyer and seeing the type of work and thinking involved was certainly influential on my decision to go into law, but now that I'm on the other side interviewing people, it sometimes comes off as childish or maybe a tad naive, especially if they are a K-JD candidate. The better of the responses I've heard mention it quickly to say why they were initially interested, but then pivot to what they did to find out more/get more experience, while the worst responses are more like "my parent is a lawyer so obviously I know all of the law." I think it's important the interviewer comes away thinking you chose to be lawyer because you thought it would be the best use of your talents and interests, rather than because it was the path of least resistance or your family pressured you.

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Re: Father is a federal judge - would firms want to know?

Postby Sacred Cow » Wed Feb 28, 2018 3:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Not to derail too much, but how do you all feel about answering the "why law" question with a response around a parent? My dad is a lawyer and seeing the type of work and thinking involved was certainly influential on my decision to go into law, but now that I'm on the other side interviewing people, it sometimes comes off as childish or maybe a tad naive, especially if they are a K-JD candidate. The better of the responses I've heard mention it quickly to say why they were initially interested, but then pivot to what they did to find out more/get more experience, while the worst responses are more like "my parent is a lawyer so obviously I know all of the law." I think it's important the interviewer comes away thinking you chose to be lawyer because you thought it would be the best use of your talents and interests, rather than because it was the path of least resistance or your family pressured you.


You probably don't want it to be the only reason you went into law, but I think it's a fine point of initial interest. I think it can also show that you have some idea of what you're getting into, i.e., that you aren't naive about the hours or what kind of work lawyers do.

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Re: Father is a federal judge - would firms want to know?

Postby lawhopeful100 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 4:10 pm

Sacred Cow wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Not to derail too much, but how do you all feel about answering the "why law" question with a response around a parent? My dad is a lawyer and seeing the type of work and thinking involved was certainly influential on my decision to go into law, but now that I'm on the other side interviewing people, it sometimes comes off as childish or maybe a tad naive, especially if they are a K-JD candidate. The better of the responses I've heard mention it quickly to say why they were initially interested, but then pivot to what they did to find out more/get more experience, while the worst responses are more like "my parent is a lawyer so obviously I know all of the law." I think it's important the interviewer comes away thinking you chose to be lawyer because you thought it would be the best use of your talents and interests, rather than because it was the path of least resistance or your family pressured you.


You probably don't want it to be the only reason you went into law, but I think it's a fine point of initial interest. I think it can also show that you have some idea of what you're getting into, i.e., that you aren't naive about the hours or what kind of work lawyers do.

I've been practicing for about a year and half, but haven't actually interviewed anyone. That said, I went to law school since I thought it would allow me to make more money than most alternatives. Accordingly, I don't think I would read much into anyone's answer to "why law." I would probably just think they are like me and are doing it for the money, but know they can't say that, and thus need to spin some b.s. answer.

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Re: Father is a federal judge - would firms want to know?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 28, 2018 4:53 pm

lawhopeful100 wrote:
Sacred Cow wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Not to derail too much, but how do you all feel about answering the "why law" question with a response around a parent? My dad is a lawyer and seeing the type of work and thinking involved was certainly influential on my decision to go into law, but now that I'm on the other side interviewing people, it sometimes comes off as childish or maybe a tad naive, especially if they are a K-JD candidate. The better of the responses I've heard mention it quickly to say why they were initially interested, but then pivot to what they did to find out more/get more experience, while the worst responses are more like "my parent is a lawyer so obviously I know all of the law." I think it's important the interviewer comes away thinking you chose to be lawyer because you thought it would be the best use of your talents and interests, rather than because it was the path of least resistance or your family pressured you.


You probably don't want it to be the only reason you went into law, but I think it's a fine point of initial interest. I think it can also show that you have some idea of what you're getting into, i.e., that you aren't naive about the hours or what kind of work lawyers do.

I've been practicing for about a year and half, but haven't actually interviewed anyone. That said, I went to law school since I thought it would allow me to make more money than most alternatives. Accordingly, I don't think I would read much into anyone's answer to "why law." I would probably just think they are like me and are doing it for the money, but know they can't say that, and thus need to spin some b.s. answer.


Agreed that it's a pretty B.S. question unless it's public interest position or you have a background in something completely unrelated. Then again, the interview process is pretty b.s. too. All I'm ever trying to discern when interviewing someone is: 1. Would you be nice to work with? 2. Are you lazy? and 3. Do you actually want this job (we want to give offers to people who will accept them, if only for our egos and to get through recruiting season quickly)? Unfortunately, they won't let me just ask those questions, so I'm stuck asking what your favorite classes have been and why.

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Re: Father is a federal judge - would firms want to know?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:13 pm

I'm practicing now, but have a father who is a federal judge in a market different from where I ended up. That said, I did some interviews in that market because it's a strong secondary market and where I grew up. My interviewers in that market knew who I was from the get go, so I didn't even have to bring it up. A lot of the partners even said something along the lines of, "Tell your father I say hello."

In the other market (where I ended up), I typically responded to "Why law school?" with the fact that both my parents are lawyers and so I had an initial interest, and then talked about how that framed my post-undergrad job experience (a paralegal), which led me to law school. But I never flat out said, "My father's a judge." At the same time, if asked what my parents do now, I was honest and mentioned it. You have to walk a fine line between coming across as entitled and coming across as faux-humble. It's like when you meet someone from an Ivy and they either tell you immediately where they went to school or it's like playing 20 questions because they're trying to be humble. Don't do either.

Anecdotally, when I was a paralegal, my firm didn't know the connection to my father at first and, once they found out, they had to wall me off from a bunch of stuff. So I also wouldn't just keep it from them forever, either.



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