Language Skills + Biglaw SA ?

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
ysp1025
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2012 5:52 pm

Language Skills + Biglaw SA ?

Postby ysp1025 » Thu Nov 29, 2012 2:34 am

.
Last edited by ysp1025 on Wed Nov 20, 2013 5:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
cinephile
Posts: 3469
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 3:50 pm

Re: Language Skills + Biglaw SA ?

Postby cinephile » Thu Nov 29, 2012 2:59 am

I'm fluent in a couple of foreign languages and the only employer who cared at all was the military. Really, no one else even remarked on it except to say "we don't have an international practice, so I don't think you'd be happy here." As you can see, it (spending significant portions of your adult life overseas) could end up working against you.

MinEMorris
Posts: 228
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:26 am

Re: Language Skills + Biglaw SA ?

Postby MinEMorris » Thu Nov 29, 2012 1:31 pm

man, I just wrote a really long post and accidentally went back on my browser. For the short answer:

If it's not an Asian language, it won't help you.

Even if it is an Asian language (and it sounds like yours is), it likely won't help you. It will probably only help you if you're willing to live there (indeed, often the most important part of language skills is that it shows you're familiar with the culture and are probably serious when you say you're willing to live there), and if you can read high level/technical documents (the nature of biglaw is that the partners negotiate the deals and interact with the clients, and you do grunt work-- your conversational skills maybe nice for greeting clients when they come in to see a partner or ordering coffee, but it would be many years of work there before you're negotiating on behalf of a client) so that you can do doc review. Even then, because there are so many students at top law schools with strong language skills in the main Asian languages (Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean), some of whom have even spent time living there and thus can easily demonstrate a ready willingness to work there, it's really not going to be a big leg up for you.

If you want to PM me and disclose which language it is, and what kind of schools you're looking at, I can give you more direct advice. GL to you in either case.

ysp1025
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2012 5:52 pm

Re: Language Skills + Biglaw SA ?

Postby ysp1025 » Thu Nov 29, 2012 6:48 pm

Thank you for these replies so far. These kinds of feedback are exactly what I needed and I appreciate it. Hopefully, I can be on the side of giving advice one day.

Another broad question. I am aiming to land a 1L summer position at an elite East Asian law firm (one with several hundred lawyers).

Would this kind of 1L summer be a good boost at OCI?

Come to think of it - what kind of position is considered an 'average' 1L summer versus a 'good/great' 1L summer that gives a good boost at OCI?

User avatar
cinephile
Posts: 3469
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 3:50 pm

Re: Language Skills + Biglaw SA ?

Postby cinephile » Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:13 pm

ysp1025 wrote:Thank you for these replies so far. These kinds of feedback are exactly what I needed and I appreciate it. Hopefully, I can be on the side of giving advice one day.

Another broad question. I am aiming to land a 1L summer position at an elite East Asian law firm (one with several hundred lawyers).

Would this kind of 1L summer be a good boost at OCI?

Come to think of it - what kind of position is considered an 'average' 1L summer versus a 'good/great' 1L summer that gives a good boost at OCI?


I just want to repeat what I said above. If you're Asian law firm or bust for the long run, then go ahead and take it this summer. But if you're interested in potentially working at a firm in the US be cautious about how this will look on your resume. If there other factors pointing toward your interest in working abroad, this may cause American firms with negligible/non-existent international practice groups to dismiss you from consideration since they don't do the kind of work you seem to be interested in. Seriously, I got that response many times during OCI. At best, split your summer and do something else for 6 weeks in the US so that you can tailor your resume and leave the Asian firm position off your resume for certain firms or markets.

ysp1025
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2012 5:52 pm

Re: Language Skills + Biglaw SA ?

Postby ysp1025 » Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:42 pm

That's a really good point. I want to go for NYC biglaw, or DC in the future. Would be willing to go to international office but would prefer staying here mostly. From reading about the firms on vault, i took for granted this idea that any biglaw firm hovering around 700 lawyers+ were 'international'.

Damn. What biglaw firms are u talking about that actually actively dismiss or hold it against someone for doing 1L summer overseas?

RPK34
Posts: 522
Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2010 6:31 pm

Re: Language Skills + Biglaw SA ?

Postby RPK34 » Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:49 pm

Completely disagree regarding the Asian language thing. SullCrom was very interested in my Spanish speaking skills because of their targeting South American countries (BTW, this was from the head of recruiting, not some associate to make me feel better). Several law firms were interested in other languages I spoke and asked me how I would feel working with certain regions where that language was spoken.

And several interviewers were interested in languages I spoke just as a matter of curiosity. I feel like having language skills was an overall plus

User avatar
Lwoods
Posts: 1484
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2010 7:27 am

Re: Language Skills + Biglaw SA ?

Postby Lwoods » Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:02 pm

I do not speak any other languages, but an alumna from my school who's an associate at a V50 in New York said they pretty much require a foreign language for new associates these days. She's in M&A, not an international group.

I could see it hurting you with smaller, more regional firms or offices (guessing those may have been the type cinephile had trouble with?).

ysp1025
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2012 5:52 pm

Re: Language Skills + Biglaw SA ?

Postby ysp1025 » Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:13 pm

So is a 1L summer at a east asian biglaw firm with several hundred lawyers a pretty good plus on resume for v50 firms at oci? - how's that stand comparatively to other types 1L summer jobs?

User avatar
ph14
Posts: 3224
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:15 pm

Re: Language Skills + Biglaw SA ?

Postby ph14 » Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:20 pm

ysp1025 wrote:So is a 1L summer at a east asian biglaw firm with several hundred lawyers a pretty good plus on resume for v50 firms at oci? - how's that stand comparatively to other types 1L summer jobs?


Yes, it's very good. A 1L summer associate position is one of the best positions you can get for your 1L summer (depending on your career goals). It will be helpful at OCI just to give some conversation material. Getting an offer there though will be nice and take some of the pressure off OCI. OCI is mostly going to turn on your grades though, and for the most part, 1L summer jobs do not matter at all, as long as its a legal position.




Return to “Ask a Law Student / Graduate”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: hogscienceavatarlost and 4 guests