Nepotism in Legal Hiring?

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Anonymous User
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Nepotism in Legal Hiring?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 12, 2013 1:04 pm

Hi All,

I realize that this may seem like a dumb question to some of you but I'm really unaware of how widespread nepotism is in legal hiring. I know that some people say it is all about who you know, whereas others claim that nepotism is becoming a thing of the past.

The reason I ask the question is because I have a couple of "connections" at prestigious firms. Rather than bluntly ask these connections, I am wondering how much stock/emphasis I should put into using these connections when it comes to Summer Associate/First Year Associate hiring.

Both of these connections are at Vault Top 50 firms. One of them is a cousin who is a 4th Year Associate, partner track. The other is a retired Senior Partner who still serves as Counsel and is in the office 3-4 days a week. In addition to his Counselship at the firm, he also teaches law at a T20 law school as an Adjunct Professor.

My questions are:
1) How much of an impact could a phone call/referral from one of these connections have in SA/First Year Hiring?
2) If they do have any impact, is that isolated to their regional office or would it still carry weight in one of the firms other offices across the country? (I don't plan to live/work in either of the cities that these attorneys practice in, but both firms have large offices in the city I hope to live in).

Any and all input is much appreciated! Thanks in advance!

bdubs
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Re: Nepotism in Legal Hiring?

Postby bdubs » Sat Jan 12, 2013 1:20 pm

Your associate connection will get you absolutely nothing. Big firms have set hiring processes in which individual associates have little influence. If s/he was on the hiring committee (some firms have associates on this) they would probably be expected to recuse themselves from the evaluation of your application.

The "Of Counsel" might have some more sway, but it's probably still pretty limited.

Most "nepotism" that i've heard of in law is influence by large decision makers at major clients. Those kind of people can make a call and get someone anything from a courtesy interview to a full-time offer, depending on how big the account is and how hard they press.

Anonymous User
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Re: Nepotism in Legal Hiring?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 12, 2013 1:22 pm

bdubs wrote:Your associate connection will get you absolutely nothing. Big firms have set hiring processes in which individual associates have little influence. If s/he was on the hiring committee (some firms have associates on this) they would probably be expected to recuse themselves from the evaluation of your application.

The "Of Counsel" might have some more sway, but it's probably still pretty limited.

Most "nepotism" that i've heard of in law is influence by large decision makers at major clients. Those kind of people can make a call and get someone anything from a courtesy interview to a full-time offer, depending on how big the account is and how hard they press.


Really? That's actually pretty encouraging, I had no idea. I have another cousin who is President at a MAJOR global asset management/investment firm who has told me he works very closely with a few BigLaw firms and that he would be happy to put in a good word for me. Should I focus more on that route?

bdubs
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Re: Nepotism in Legal Hiring?

Postby bdubs » Sat Jan 12, 2013 1:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
bdubs wrote:Your associate connection will get you absolutely nothing. Big firms have set hiring processes in which individual associates have little influence. If s/he was on the hiring committee (some firms have associates on this) they would probably be expected to recuse themselves from the evaluation of your application.

The "Of Counsel" might have some more sway, but it's probably still pretty limited.

Most "nepotism" that i've heard of in law is influence by large decision makers at major clients. Those kind of people can make a call and get someone anything from a courtesy interview to a full-time offer, depending on how big the account is and how hard they press.


Really? That's actually pretty encouraging, I had no idea. I have another cousin who is President at a MAJOR global asset management/investment firm who has told me he works very closely with a few BigLaw firms and that he would be happy to put in a good word for me. Should I focus more on that route?


Yes but a "good word" might not be enough. It really depends on how big the client is and how worried the firm is about appeasing them/losing them.

Anonymous User
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Re: Nepotism in Legal Hiring?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:20 pm

I slightly disagree with the above regarding the ability of your associate cousin to help. Certainly he has no actual say in the process and if your credentials would not normally be considered you're probably SOL regardless. However, if he is willing to help, he could quite possibly get your resume pulled from the stack and given the hard look. After that, it's up to you. But getting pulled from the stack can be quite an important step. If he is close with someone on the hiring committee he could put in a word to have your application pulled etc. This may or may not work but is definitely worth a try.

I found an alum of my law school at a firm I was targeting, sent him an email out of the blue and ended up having lunch with him. He was something near a third year associate and was not on the hiring committee. Based on that lunch, he forwarded my materials to the powers that be with some really kind words and I got an interview. Sometimes that's all it takes.

Good luck.

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yeast master
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Re: Nepotism in Legal Hiring?

Postby yeast master » Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I slightly disagree with the above regarding the ability of your associate cousin to help. Certainly he has no actual say in the process and if your credentials would not normally be considered you're probably SOL regardless. However, if he is willing to help, he could quite possibly get your resume pulled from the stack and given the hard look. After that, it's up to you. But getting pulled from the stack can be quite an important step. If he is close with someone on the hiring committee he could put in a word to have your application pulled etc. This may or may not work but is definitely worth a try.

I found an alum of my law school at a firm I was targeting, sent him an email out of the blue and ended up having lunch with him. He was something near a third year associate and was not on the hiring committee. Based on that lunch, he forwarded my materials to the powers that be with some really kind words and I got an interview. Sometimes that's all it takes.

Good luck.


Exactly right. A very similar thing led to the job offer that I ultimately accepted. I don't think the associate that helped me had any influence over the ultimate decision, but he got my resume noticed. I took it from there.

Anonymous User
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Re: Nepotism in Legal Hiring?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:55 pm

yeast master wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I slightly disagree with the above regarding the ability of your associate cousin to help. Certainly he has no actual say in the process and if your credentials would not normally be considered you're probably SOL regardless. However, if he is willing to help, he could quite possibly get your resume pulled from the stack and given the hard look. After that, it's up to you. But getting pulled from the stack can be quite an important step. If he is close with someone on the hiring committee he could put in a word to have your application pulled etc. This may or may not work but is definitely worth a try.

I found an alum of my law school at a firm I was targeting, sent him an email out of the blue and ended up having lunch with him. He was something near a third year associate and was not on the hiring committee. Based on that lunch, he forwarded my materials to the powers that be with some really kind words and I got an interview. Sometimes that's all it takes.

Good luck.


Exactly right. A very similar thing led to the job offer that I ultimately accepted. I don't think the associate that helped me had any influence over the ultimate decision, but he got my resume noticed. I took it from there.



OP here. Thanks guys, all encouraging news! I'll be sure to call on all of my potential connections!

bdubs
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Re: Nepotism in Legal Hiring?

Postby bdubs » Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I slightly disagree with the above regarding the ability of your associate cousin to help. Certainly he has no actual say in the process and if your credentials would not normally be considered you're probably SOL regardless. However, if he is willing to help, he could quite possibly get your resume pulled from the stack and given the hard look. After that, it's up to you. But getting pulled from the stack can be quite an important step. If he is close with someone on the hiring committee he could put in a word to have your application pulled etc. This may or may not work but is definitely worth a try.

I found an alum of my law school at a firm I was targeting, sent him an email out of the blue and ended up having lunch with him. He was something near a third year associate and was not on the hiring committee. Based on that lunch, he forwarded my materials to the powers that be with some really kind words and I got an interview. Sometimes that's all it takes.

Good luck.


Getting an interview is not nepotism. Getting a job (or an interview in some cases) for which you would otherwise be unqualified is. I was talking about the latter.

Anonymous User
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Re: Nepotism in Legal Hiring?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:40 pm

bdubs wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I slightly disagree with the above regarding the ability of your associate cousin to help. Certainly he has no actual say in the process and if your credentials would not normally be considered you're probably SOL regardless. However, if he is willing to help, he could quite possibly get your resume pulled from the stack and given the hard look. After that, it's up to you. But getting pulled from the stack can be quite an important step. If he is close with someone on the hiring committee he could put in a word to have your application pulled etc. This may or may not work but is definitely worth a try.

I found an alum of my law school at a firm I was targeting, sent him an email out of the blue and ended up having lunch with him. He was something near a third year associate and was not on the hiring committee. Based on that lunch, he forwarded my materials to the powers that be with some really kind words and I got an interview. Sometimes that's all it takes.

Good luck.


Getting an interview is not nepotism. Getting a job (or an interview in some cases) for which you would otherwise be unqualified is. I was talking about the latter.


OP. Sorry for the confusion. I meant a job that I would be fully qualified for, how much would it help. I wouldn't expect many connections would be helpful if you are fully unqualified for a position.

Anonymous User
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Re: Nepotism in Legal Hiring?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:47 pm

FWIW, I did noticeably better in interviewes where I mentioned that I knew somebody at the firm and told the interviewer that their positive experiences influenced my decision to apply to that firm. That's not nepotism per se, but my experiences during on campus recruiting suggest that knowing somebody at the firm can make a difference.

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bk1
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Re: Nepotism in Legal Hiring?

Postby bk1 » Sat Jan 12, 2013 4:02 pm

Reminder: there is an announcement in ALL CAPS at the top of the Legal Employment forum that tells 0Ls that the forum is not for them. Let me know if I need to put it in 100000 point font for 0Ls to see it and read it. Thread moved.

TheGreatFish
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Re: Nepotism in Legal Hiring?

Postby TheGreatFish » Tue Jan 15, 2013 7:15 am

Anonymous User wrote:I slightly disagree with the above regarding the ability of your associate cousin to help. Certainly he has no actual say in the process and if your credentials would not normally be considered you're probably SOL regardless. However, if he is willing to help, he could quite possibly get your resume pulled from the stack and given the hard look.


That's been my experience. Connections help you get your foot in the door, but it's up to you to land the job. When a firm is receiving thousands of applications, having a cousin who can at least make sure your resume gets looked at can be a huge help.

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reasonable_man
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Re: Nepotism in Legal Hiring?

Postby reasonable_man » Tue Jan 15, 2013 8:23 am

bk1 wrote:Reminder: there is an announcement in ALL CAPS at the top of the Legal Employment forum that tells 0Ls that the forum is not for them. Let me know if I need to put it in 100000 point font for 0Ls to see it and read it. Thread moved.


LOLZ - Can old people like me hang out?

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dingbat
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Re: Nepotism in Legal Hiring?

Postby dingbat » Tue Jan 15, 2013 8:52 am

My understanding is that many firms have anti-nepotism rules, but having connections helps. What this translates to is that if you have a connection, your resume goes to the top of the pile, but you still need the grades. (keep in mind that I don't know his prevalent this is)
To put things in perspective, I've had my resume given to a hiring manager by the head of the practice group at 2 different firms, (as a 1L) and the only advantage I noticed was a faster turnaround time (to be told they're full, or for a grade request)

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h_jane_w
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Re: Nepotism in Legal Hiring?

Postby h_jane_w » Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:27 am

bdubs wrote:Your associate connection will get you absolutely nothing. Big firms have set hiring processes in which individual associates have little influence. If s/he was on the hiring committee (some firms have associates on this) they would probably be expected to recuse themselves from the evaluation of your application.

The "Of Counsel" might have some more sway, but it's probably still pretty limited.

Most "nepotism" that i've heard of in law is influence by large decision makers at major clients. Those kind of people can make a call and get someone anything from a courtesy interview to a full-time offer, depending on how big the account is and how hard they press.


Agreed. I got a summer internship at a firm because one of the firm's CLIENTS (not anyone in the firm), a family member of mine, placed a call.

andythefir
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Re: Nepotism in Legal Hiring?

Postby andythefir » Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:52 am

If the firm (1) comes to your school's OCI and (2) you have the grades for that firm then knowing someone may or may not help. In almost every other situation it is essentially required to know someone in the firm to at least some extent. Without absurd credentials most applications to small firms go straight from the mail to the trash. Any other system would be completely unworkable with the thousands of unemployed JDs.
For small firms find someone there who went to your school (law school, undergrad, high school, anything) or you have some other connection with and reach out to them, most lawyers want to help out the next generation. Then once they know you they can take your resume to the people who can look at it, and those people may actually look at it instead of sending it directly to the shredder.




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