Questions to Ask in a Lateral Interview

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Questions to Ask in a Lateral Interview

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:54 pm

I'm a 2nd year corporate associate starting to interview for lateral positions. I'm currently at a highly regarded regional firm & will be interviewing at mostly V50-100 firms. I already know my billable hours requirement will be higher if I move, but I'm trying to figure out the right questions to ask during an interview that will give me a sense of the work-life expectations. (i.e. frequency of weekend work, responsiveness on vacations, etc.) Any recommendations for what to ask?

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Yea All Right

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Re: Questions to Ask in a Lateral Interview

Postby Yea All Right » Sun Apr 14, 2019 1:03 am

A few questions you could consider asking:

How are attorneys staffed on matters (free-market, central assignment system, etc)?
What kinds of responsibilities do attorneys at my level have?
How often do attorneys work with colleagues from other offices?
What types of matters/transactions is the group particularly strong in?

Asking good questions can be hard because you want to show that you’re thoughtful without asking something that might offend the interview (for example, a particularly sensitive interview might interpret that last question as suggesting the firm isn’t as strong in other areas).

Good luck!

Edit: Just realized you were asking about work/life questions specifically. In that case, I’d suggest not bringing up such questions if you truly want this job. Interviewers don’t wanna hear them because it makes you sound undedicated to your work. If you must ask them, at least wait until after getting an offer.

texas1100

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Re: Questions to Ask in a Lateral Interview

Postby texas1100 » Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:15 am

Just lateraled, here's what I asked (it's all in your delivery):

- When do people typically show up/be in the office?
- Do people ever work remote?
- In terms of hitting bonus hours, are people generally busy and able to?
- What kind of events are there for the SA's this summer?
- Biz dev opportunities? Are associates ever roped into such opportunities with partners and their clients?

All of these shed some implied light on work life and expectations inside/outside of the office. Most of it is reading how they react/respond, as they likely won't be 100% honest.

Edit: I asked these in my callback. It all depends on your current situation/leverage. If you desperately need the job, maybe suck it up and don't ask some of these questions yet and take the risk. If you have the ability to be more picky, I went in with the mentality that I'd rather them know I'm thinking about these questions and gauge their reactions on the spot and if not meant to be, so be it.

Gluck!

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Re: Questions to Ask in a Lateral Interview

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:19 pm

Questions I wish I had asked when I was a lateral:

1. What type of work is available to [year] associates? — look for substantive work; don’t get stuck with only grunt work for the next two years

2. Is working across practice groups encouraged? — in case you want to try your hand at certain practices, knowing you have the mobility is helpful

3. What are some of the currently active deals/ cases? — listen for niches you can fill, then discuss how you can fill them as follow up

QContinuum

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Re: Questions to Ask in a Lateral Interview

Postby QContinuum » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:30 pm

texas1100 wrote:- What kind of events are there for the SA's this summer?
...
All of these shed some implied light on work life and expectations inside/outside of the office. Most of it is reading how they react/respond, as they likely won't be 100% honest.

Maybe I'm being obtuse, but how does info on SA events shed light on work life/expectations for a full-time associate? Not to attack/criticize at all, just honestly confused. AFAIK, plenty of firms that treat full-time associates badly or not great have very solid summer programs.

texas1100

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Re: Questions to Ask in a Lateral Interview

Postby texas1100 » Mon Apr 15, 2019 11:11 pm

I've found that the chiller the SA events (I.e. Mostly casual dinners or receptions vs large over the top events) correlate to firm culture which in turn correlates to work life balance. In my experience so far, firms that have chill dinners as their top SA events, typically care more about family time and leaving the office at a decent hour/respecting the weekends to the extent they can.

This is just my experience interviewing and working at two diff firms. YMMV



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