ask about recession during callback/second look?

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ask about recession during callback/second look?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:23 pm

I've got a few callbacks coming up and a second look. ny/dc firms. Is it a bad idea to ask how/if the firm is preparing for a recession? Is there a more delicate way to word the question? Or is it a bad idea and I should just avoid asking?

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Re: ask about recession during callback/second look?

Post by Lacepiece23 » Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:50 pm

I’d probably avoid. What do you gain by asking this question? The firm will just lie to you. Maybe at the second look stage, but at the callback stage, absolutely not. Also, better to just look up old TLS posts on what firms did what in 2008. That’s likely a pretty good indicator about how firms feel about associates during bad times.

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Re: ask about recession during callback/second look?

Post by totesTheGoat » Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:00 pm

The question generates a bit of a visceral reaction in me. I guess it's because people have been sounding the recession horn since 2016, running around in a panic, and it all feels a bit presumptuous. Maybe this is the time that the pessimists get it right. Maybe not.

I'd avoid asking point blank about their recession plans. You're not going to get a good answer. You can ask about how partners select which junior gets the work and what sorts of things you could do from the start to make sure you're the one getting the work.


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Re: ask about recession during callback/second look?

Post by shock259 » Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:05 pm

I wouldn't. It has a pretty good chance of putting someone on the defensive. And realistically, odds are that you aren't going to get an answer that provides any meaningful information. They're just going to mention litigation and bankruptcy and other cyclical work, how they've weathered storms before, no one knows what is going to happen, etc.

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Re: ask about recession during callback/second look?

Post by The Lsat Airbender » Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:21 pm

Another reason this question is unhelpful: we've now gone ~10 years without a recession, so firms don't really have a ton of institutional knowledge about what they're going to do about the next one. Large swathes of partners were second-year associates or 1Ls during the Great Recession and have literally no relevant track record.

Like, fuck Latham for what they did last time around, but we're getting to the point where it's not worth extrapolating much from firms' words or actions.

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Re: ask about recession during callback/second look?

Post by inter-associate » Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:33 pm

I can’t see any good coming out of broaching this topic - I wouldn’t even ask partners I have a good relationship with about this as a senior associate. It would be even worse coming from a recruit trying to show interest in the firm.

Couple of issues - first, unlikely that anyone knows anything at this point. If a recession hits reactions will depend on how deep and prolonged it turns out to be, and how it impacts a particular firm.

Second, even if firms have preliminary plans in place, you are unlikely to interview with anyone privy to those plans. Most partners are not looped in to these matters until right before decisions are made. Associates are even less likely to have a clue. If they entertain the topic at all they would most likely just tell you they are hiring for future needs and leave it at that.

Finally, this is an incredibly distasteful topic to be raised by someone who is not even employed yet. Think about - what could they possibly tell you that would be helpful? They aren’t going to tell you about contingency plans that employees aren’t aware of, and they are in sell mode at this point so they are going to paint a rosy picture. Trying to raise anything related to this as a recruit is just going to make whoever you are talking to uncomfortable with no benefits to you. If it came up in a callback with me I would probably recommend a no offer for poor judgment based on that alone. Seems like it would take an incredibly strong candidate with exceptional interview / interpersonal skills to pull this off.

Look, recessions happen and the consequences can be disastrous for individuals. You are right to be concerned because there will be another one at some point, even if no one really knows when. Unfortunately there is little you can do to control the outcome at this stage, so glean what you can from other sources and prepare to be the best associate you can wherever you go. Your best bet is to become the one no one wants to let go of as quickly as possible.


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Re: ask about recession during callback/second look?

Post by objctnyrhnr » Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:48 pm

Mmm don’t do this.

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Re: ask about recession during callback/second look?

Post by Mullens » Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:47 pm

You could ask more broadly about trends and their thoughts on future trends in the interviewer’s practice area and see if they bring up the potential recession.

I personally wouldn’t be put off if someone asked me about a recession, it’s a good question imo and shows you’re thinking ahead and are aware of the possibility. The issue is that there’s not really a good answer and that uncertainty could be projected back onto you in a negative manner. Seems like it’s also polarizing and given the circumstances could be viewed as being political so probably best to avoid.


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Re: ask about recession during callback/second look?

Post by legalpotato » Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:48 pm

Concur with everyone else. There is plenty of research you can do online re what happened in 2008 to the extent you are concerned and want to pick a firm on that basis.

But asking is dumb. In addition to you getting lied to, of a recession were to happen next year, that is still a whole year before you start working, and by that time, the economy might be on the up. Just do many variables for them to give a good answer or for you to ge let any insight.

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