We recently heard about a 1L at a top law school who knew, since he was a wee lad, that he wanted to go into international commercial arbitration.
We found this rather odd. No one in his family worked in the field. He had no other prior exposure to this area of law. And ICA isn’t exactly something that youngsters fall in love with, even if they have no clue as to what it entails (unlike, say, “international human rights work,” which gets mentioned in 75 percent of law school admissions essays).
Somehow this kid just KNEW that international commercial arbitration was his calling in life. Strange, but hey — good for him.
Tons of us, however, go to law school without a clear sense of what we want to do afterwards. This next interview anecdote is therefore one that many people can relate to:
I was interviewing with a Chicago branch of a large national firm. The interview was proceeding uneventfully when the interviewer (who had a bizarre, affected British accent) asked me what kind of law I intended to practice. I had worked on both commercial litigation and employment law cases at another firm the previous summer, and I told him quite honestly that I had not made up my mind, but it would likely be one of those two areas.
He reacted to my answer with a horrible, shocked expression. “Young man,” he said, “if you can’t tell me right now exactly what you intend to do with the rest of your legal career, I’m afraid you’re not our firm’s material.”
Now it was my turn to be shocked. I stood up, extended my hand, and said, “You’re absolutely right. I realize now that working for you would be one of the biggest mistakes I could ever make. Thank you for setting me straight.” I shook his hand, spun around, and walked out.
Wow, that took cojones! But guess what?
The next day, I got a callback. Needless to say, I did not take it.
Earlier: Prior Interview Horror Stories (scroll down)