What to do now?

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Anonymous User
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What to do now?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 25, 2009 5:02 pm

I am top 20% at a T-10 school. Totally struck out at OCIs. 15 interviews, 1 callback, 0 offers. Anyone have thoughts on what the best option is now? Mass mail? Government? Tax LLM? Grad degree? Academics? Are firms done hiring for next summer? My career services office has tried to help, but I don't feel they are too experienced with jobs outside of biglaw. Their advice has been mass mail and networking. I have no idea where to even start with networking, I don't know very many people at all in the legal industry. Also, is it a good idea to go for the regional firms in smaller markets. I'm not set on biglaw, but I have never been set on working for a firm and figured the best way to pay off loans is to do biglaw for a few years and then do something else. If I go to a smaller firm I will have to stay for longer before I can be out of debt.

shadowfish
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Re: What to do now?

Postby shadowfish » Fri Sep 25, 2009 5:08 pm

Go for gov't - depending on deadlines, there could be some (low-)paying positions still around. There are also some firms still extending interviews, both screening and callback. Depending on your school's LRAP, you might be better off in PI/gov't than small law as far as paying off loans.

cpunch
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Re: What to do now?

Postby cpunch » Fri Sep 25, 2009 5:12 pm

I can't help you, but just out of curiosity.. would you attribute your lack of callbacks to a poor bidding strategy, poor interview skills, or neither?

I'm just curious because I thought top 20% at T10 was supposed to be safe, even ITE.

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lsatsurvivor
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Re: What to do now?

Postby lsatsurvivor » Fri Sep 25, 2009 5:36 pm

cpunch wrote:I can't help you, but just out of curiosity.. would you attribute your lack of callbacks to a poor bidding strategy, poor interview skills, or neither?

I'm just curious because I thought top 20% at T10 was supposed to be safe, even ITE.


Yes, please answer this question. Scariness.

Anonymous User
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Re: What to do now?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 25, 2009 6:00 pm

That's what I thought too. I am not sure exactly what happened. I am not a great interviewer, but I'm not bad (I have done mock interviews with CS office and they say I am not bad at least). I think bidding strategy was a big part of it. I grew up in a small town and really don't have good connections to anywhere. Also, I am a little bit overweight. Do you think that had anything to do with it? I really have no idea what went wrong and I am a little frustrated. I worked hard last year, and I would hate to have to settle for a job that I don't want and am overqualified for.

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Matthies
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Re: What to do now?

Postby Matthies » Fri Sep 25, 2009 6:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Their advice has been mass mail and networking. I have no idea where to even start with networking, I don't know very many people at all in the legal industry.



Here are some suggestions to get you started on networking:

Here is some advice I posted on another board a few years ago for those striking out at OCI. The simple truth is most law students won’t find jobs from OCI/. The single best method for finding a good job out of law school is networking and making contacts so that you know enough people by 3L and that you have lots of people recommending you for a job. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Some advice on how to start networking from day one:

•Become a student member of the ABA, your state and local bar associations. This can range from free to $50 for a year. Be sure to sign up for any e-mail newsletters they have. DO THIS. Look to see if they have a job listever so you can track who is hiring for what in your market. This data will be valuable later on.

•Find local CLE (Continuing Legal Education classes) for lawyers in your town. This is usually by practice area, it helps if you have a practice area you like, but if you don’t then go to several it’s a good way to see what lawyers actually do in that practice area. These are usually around noon and include lunch; student rates are often free to $10-25 bucks and includes the food. TALK TO PEOPLE THERE. Some lawyers, just like some posters on TLS, love to give advice - these are the folks you want to search out. Students are welcome at CLEs, and you will likely be the only one there – use it to your advantage. People will want to talk to you if you just talk to them first. Not everyone is going to be your mentor, but you won’t find the ones that will if you DON”T TRY and KEEP TRYING. Going each month is a way to see the same people and keep in contact.

•See if the local bar association has any lawyer functions you like, mine has both a kayaking and dodge ball group, join, students are welcome but never go, you already have something in common with these folks to talk about. Go and meet people, real live lawyers and judges, imagine that.

•Focus some of your little free time on meeting lawyers and judges in the community. Joining every student group under the sun is great, but that’s not networking. Those people are your competition for jobs. Being VP of some group as a line on your resume does not beat knowing a judge so well you have his home phone number in your cell. Being the leader of a student group is impressive; knowing someone who knows the person interviewing you who is willing to call them and put a good word in for you is more impressive. (I’m not saying don’t join groups, just make time for outside the school stuff as well- again avoid putting all your eggs in one basket).

•Understand that the legal community in your city is much smaller and more tight nit then you think now. Everybody knows everyone else, if you have a large enough network somebody you know will know or know of the person you are interviewing with or someone high up at the firm you want a job at. BELIEVE ME. I could write an entire post about how just asking my network of lawyers and judges about a certain firm or judge turned into a phone call that got me an interview. Lawyers know other lawyers and judges. Knowing people is how the law gets done. Understand that now, and start meeting people, as a 1L and you will have a HUGE advantage over your classmates who don’t.

•Check the American Inns of Court for an Inn of Court in your town. Contact its recruiting officer and ask to join. (Some may not take students, or only take 2 or 3L, but if they do respond saying that say you’re very interested and would like to join as a 1L if possible). Inns are GREAT. They meet once a month and have up to 200 lawyers and judges as members, and the whole point of Inns is to mentor young lawyers so the folks that join WANT to help.

•Go to networking functions your school puts on. Don’t be a wallflower, TALK TO PEOPLE. Talk to lawyers not other law students. The lawyers and judges who go to these things have volunteered to be mentors. MEET THEM. Moreover, keep in contact with them. Taking their card is NOT ENOUGH. You need to contact them again and again to build a relationship, build up your relationship credits BEFORE you need them then when you do they will WANT TO HELP YOU. Find reasons to talk to them again. Can you shadow them one day at the office or court? Can you e-mail them about elective courses? Ask them to lunch, offer to pay (most time they will end up picking up the bill, but offer). The point is you need to work to stay in contact, that’s networking. Collecting cards and sitting on them is NOT networking. It will be aqward at first, but after a few meetings if you two click it will becomes second nature and you will becomes friends. I know have more friends who are judges and lawyers than I have friends who are classmates.

•If you’re invited by a judge or lawyer to go to some legal event outside of school GO. Just do it. This is a gesture you should not turn down unless you have an exam the next day.

•Volunteer at local bar association charity events, whatever it is, e-mail the person setting up and offer your help. You will meet tons of lawyers this way, and the people you meet are the types that like to give back to the community so they are often good mentors.

•Get this book: Guerrilla Tactics for Getting the Legal Job of Your Dreams, 2d --LinkRemoved-- ... y_b_text_b. I dare say it’s the best prep you can do for law school and the only thing that might actually pay off in the end. I’m not going to say I agree with everything in there, but it’s a great start to understanding how the legal job search works, it would take me 100s of post to explain what is laid out in this book. Just read it and you’ll be far above the majority of your classmates when it come to job searching.

•Put your activities with the local bar association on your resume. Why? Law firms like lawyers who are involved in the community it makes the firm look good and it’s how you meet clients. By year four of your firm career you will be expected to bring clients in, showing you have learned networking and meeting people skills in law school is a bonus.

•Be creative in how you meet lawyers or judges. Always be prepared to strike up a conversation when the opportunity presents its self. On more than one occasion, I have had someone comment on my law school sweatshirt out in public that turned out to be alumni. Don’t be shy, suck it up, it’s better to take the chance you might embarrass yourself for a fleeting second than to give up what might have been an excellent networking contact.

•Ask the lawyers and judges you meet to introduce you to their friends. This seems basic, but people like to introduce people to other people, this is how you build your network.

•Do just some of these and your life in law school will be easier than most, your job search will be easier and you will have better success regardless of your grades, ranking or law school you go to.

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lsatsurvivor
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Re: What to do now?

Postby lsatsurvivor » Fri Sep 25, 2009 6:07 pm

Maybe the top 20% of the T10 just isn't immune to the economy anymore. Don't take it too personally. After graduating from a very respectable UG and spending a year overseas, I came back to the US to find no work for 9 months. I finally gave up looking, cuz I was living with my fiance and busy planning the wedding, studying for the LSAT, etc. I was briefly hired at a law firm after volunteering for 6 months, but it only lasted until phones stopped ringing. I've basically been out of work for a year. Even McDonald's and Target wouldn't hire me, because I was overqualified. But I was competing with old people for good entry-level work that they were getting cuz they'd been doing it for 30 years. Long story short, it's not just you. I hope things turn around for you- especially if you have loans to pay back.

USAIRS
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Re: What to do now?

Postby USAIRS » Fri Sep 25, 2009 6:10 pm

OP, Anonymous User: Please feel free to PM me to discuss federal gov't options, and even LLMs, since I have experience with both. I will give one peice of advice here, just because it is something I've noticed generally as problematic in law schools. You should try to be pretty open about your situation and who you are and what has happened. You need for people who know what they are doing, and who care about you, to be able to discuss your obstacles with you, and you need to know theirs to find out what they are doing differently that works. This dance of shame and secrecy is not helping any of you, although I know it is awkward to broach these topics.

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ggocat
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Re: What to do now?

Postby ggocat » Fri Sep 25, 2009 6:43 pm

Life is not over because you struck out at OCI during 2L. You have more than two years to go before you are a licensed attorney. You will likely find a job before then, even if it isn't biglaw (which it probably won't be). Keep things in perspective.

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TTT-LS
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Re: What to do now?

Postby TTT-LS » Fri Sep 25, 2009 7:22 pm

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Last edited by TTT-LS on Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: What to do now?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 25, 2009 7:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I am top 20% at a T-10 school. Totally struck out at OCIs. 15 interviews, 1 callback, 0 offers. Anyone have thoughts on what the best option is now? Mass mail? Government? Tax LLM? Grad degree? Academics? Are firms done hiring for next summer? My career services office has tried to help, but I don't feel they are too experienced with jobs outside of biglaw. Their advice has been mass mail and networking. I have no idea where to even start with networking, I don't know very many people at all in the legal industry. Also, is it a good idea to go for the regional firms in smaller markets. I'm not set on biglaw, but I have never been set on working for a firm and figured the best way to pay off loans is to do biglaw for a few years and then do something else. If I go to a smaller firm I will have to stay for longer before I can be out of debt.

Similar predicament, but slightly worse stats. Top 25%-ish at a T14. 15-20 interviews, 2 callbacks, 0 offers (haven't heard back from either yet, and it has now been a couple of weeks). Not a great interviewer (though I'd be willing to bet a substantial percentage of my classmates are worse), but that was actually the appeal of going to a T14 with reasonably good OCI; I figured that if I ended up with the GPA I did, I'd be able to get something. Given my interviewing weakness and this economy, my bidding was quite conservative, but that doesn't seem to have helped much. Also considered transferring to CCN, though it's doubtful that would have helped much this year (though I would have got more screening interviews and possibly more callbacks for proximity reasons, which probably would have improved my interviewing skills). Thinking of dropping out or taking a leave of absence, but I'll probably spam every near-market-paying firm out there and see if anything shakes out before I do that.

TTT's clerkship recommendation is probably the best alternative right now, though I'm guessing even that will be hugely competitive for the class of 2011, and I don't have any ties to less competitive geographical regions.

Pretty depressing when you see MVP top third crushing it and getting V10... I'm obviously not what people are looking for right now.

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TTT-LS
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Re: What to do now?

Postby TTT-LS » Fri Sep 25, 2009 8:37 pm

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Last edited by TTT-LS on Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Merrill
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Re: What to do now?

Postby Merrill » Fri Sep 25, 2009 8:50 pm

TTT-LS wrote:To the T14, top 25% person -- you are more competitive for D. Ct. and magistrate clerkships than you think, provided you apply very broadly. There are plenty of people with those stats (plus secondary journal) getting D. Ct. interviews at Northwestern this year. Not that it is raining offers for those guys, but you still absolutely have a legit shot.


(Probably a dumb question, but) if you decide to go the clerkship route because you struck out out 2L OCI, what do you do your 2L summer? Research or extern?

Anonymous User
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Re: What to do now?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 26, 2009 12:03 am

I have very similar stats as OP, except LR. The only thing I can think of is that I'm overweight (and not that much, but noticeable in a suit). I think I am a pretty good interviewer (at least that's what CS tells me). There can be no other reason.

Anonymous User
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Re: What to do now?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 26, 2009 1:42 am

I'm overweight (female), but I wouldn't consider myself obese. How overweight do you think a woman has to be for it to affect her ability to interview? Are there different standards for men and women in terms of attractiveness and OCI?

Anonymous User
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Re: What to do now?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 26, 2009 2:22 am

TTT-LS wrote:To the T14, top 25% person -- you are more competitive for D. Ct. and magistrate clerkships than you think, provided you apply very broadly. There are plenty of people with those stats (plus secondary journal) getting D. Ct. interviews at Northwestern this year. Not that it is raining offers for those guys, but you still absolutely have a legit shot.

I know you put a lot of individual effort and research into off-plan hiring, but are there any tips you'd be willing to share with the forum (or via PM)? I'm also moderately hopeful I can raise my GPA this year if I take course that play my my strengths (and word-dumping on finals isn't one of them, unfortunately), but I didn't do the write-on for a variety of reasons, and can only get LR if I note on.

Anonymous User
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Re: What to do now?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 26, 2009 2:54 am

Anonymous User wrote:I'm overweight (female), but I wouldn't consider myself obese. How overweight do you think a woman has to be for it to affect her ability to interview? Are there different standards for men and women in terms of attractiveness and OCI?


How overweight do you think a woman has to be for it to affect her ability to interview?
In my opinion, to be seriously discriminated against, you have to be at least 30% or more overweight for your height. I think some interviewers may pass judgement if you are simply "overweight" but not obese, but I can't see that as being the ONLY basis they reject you on. Also, to fail on both counts of weight and looks would be equally as bad as obese. I mean, if you were chubby and hideous, that may be an issue. The most important thing is personality though. How you carry yourself when you walk into the room, how you respond to questions, your mannerisms when talking (do you wave your hands, do you make eye contact, etc), confidence level, intellect - these are the things that can really change things one way or another.

That being said, the good news is that beauty is something you can a) work for and b) buy. So if you are really concerned, you need to hit the gym hard, start eating healthy, go tanning, get your hair done, consult a makeup artist, buy fashionable wardrobe, etc. If you are seriously interested in this and need advice on a makeover, let me know. I can guide you, in the past year I've helped 5 or 6 people drastically change their physical appearances (and maybe lives) after I changed mine.

The bad news is that a great personality is what really matters but it takes a long time to develop and you certainly cannot buy it. My advice is to have a great outlook on life, actively try to be a better person every day (when confronted with a decision, ask yourself, "what would a better me do in this situation?"). Also, physical health is a big contributor to your mental health, work out and eat healthy.

Are there different standards for men and women in terms of attractiveness and OCI?
yeah, I feel like the standards for men are lower for lawyers...maybe it's assumed most will be white and nerdy. Men aren't supposed to look good but women are?

gollymolly
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Re: What to do now?

Postby gollymolly » Sat Sep 26, 2009 12:40 pm

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Last edited by gollymolly on Sat Aug 10, 2013 9:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: What to do now?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 26, 2009 4:02 pm

Not the OP, but I need advice on a makeover. Not overweight - but I need help with hair/makeup/wardrobe. It sucks, but these things seem to matter more than I thought.

Anonymous User
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Re: What to do now?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 26, 2009 4:18 pm

Indoor tanning = Being part of the next class action lawsuit wave as a plaintiff as a career alternative. No thanks.

Looks don't matter. Being a (female) knockout obviously helps and being an blatant slob hurts, but anything in between isn't going to give you a .2 boost in your GPA, make up for not doing a journal or explain no summer job.

I don't buy the social awkwardness thing either. If you've actually talked to most corporate lawyers or gone to a "party" with T1 law students, you'll see that 80% or so are awkward by any conventional standard. Of course, they're also all two or three standard deviations more intelligent so they literally are different from normal people, but that's a different story.

The only things that might be a problem are (a) weak English language conversational skills in the case of non-LLM foreign students (not that that will EVER be admitted by any firm) or (b) Aspergers because of the eye contact and unusual visual tracking. Tim Geithner is a good example here. He looks a little bit different and his mannerisms in an interview are just weird. See also any law professor that went to Yale.

It's obviously not a deal-killer because people with those traits become Treasury Secretaries, the head of Goldman Sachs, law professors and probably most of the commercial finance attorneys in New York and Chicago. But it probably is some sort of uncanney valley issue.

FrankReynolds
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Re: What to do now?

Postby FrankReynolds » Sat Sep 26, 2009 4:55 pm

doubt that your looks are going to hurt you too much (maybe with one person but not with all six interviewers or whatever).

except one interviewer often has power to give you the boot if they really don't like you.

I don't buy the social awkwardness thing either. If you've actually talked to most corporate lawyers or gone to a "party" with T1 law students, you'll see that 80% or so are awkward by any conventional standard.

except firms do not send the awkward people to interview you. they send the cooler, sociable ones...so being socially awkward still is going to hurt you; anyone who says otherwise is clueless

Anonymous User
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Re: What to do now?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 26, 2009 4:57 pm

I don't buy the social awkwardness thing either. If you've actually talked to most corporate lawyers or gone to a "party" with T1 law students, you'll see that 80% or so are awkward by any conventional standard. Of course, they're also all two or three standard deviations more intelligent so they literally are different from normal people, but that's a different story.


I agree with this, but I read it a bit differently. I think if you're not awkward in the right way, depending on the firm, that can hurt you.

Anonymous User
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Re: What to do now?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 26, 2009 5:11 pm

FrankReynolds wrote:except firms do not send the awkward people to interview you. they send the cooler, sociable ones...so being socially awkward still is going to hurt you; anyone who says otherwise is clueless


How is it going to hurt you when it's the norm? The % of social normals or extroverts is small in quality law schools to begin with and that's before considering the profile of people who get consistently high grades to credibly do OCI in the first place. It's simply not what is selected for. In most cases, it's actively selected against.

The number of jobs won and lost on the social factor alone has to be tiny.

FrankReynolds
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Re: What to do now?

Postby FrankReynolds » Sat Sep 26, 2009 5:40 pm

ARE YOU IN THE TWILIGHT ZONE?

mr.undroppable
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Re: What to do now?

Postby mr.undroppable » Sat Sep 26, 2009 5:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:The number of jobs won and lost on the social factor alone has to be tiny.


This is ridiculous, every single job offer comes down to the social factor (on some level). Nobody here is arguing the chick riding bottom 1/4 is going to out-interview the valedictorian and land a spot at Wachtell. What people are saying is that, all other things being equal, the social, normal, reasonably well put together person is going to get the job offer. I don't think you could possibly dispute that. The weirder someone is the more willing a firm might be to find someone with a somewhat less stellar resume who they could actually put in front of a client someday.




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