Job Searches, Trusts and Estates

Skadden Needs Interviewees to be More Prepared Than Its Hiring Partner

Over on Am Law, The Careerist has been doing a series of interviews with hiring partners at Biglaw firms. They are fun reads, at least if you like to see the extreme hubris exhibited by hiring partners during this buyers’ market for fresh associate talent. A month ago, Jones Day’s hiring partner gave a really good interview, one that sounded much more badass before JD popped its layoff cherry.

In today’s spotlight is the indomitable Skadden Arps. Skadden hiring partner Steven Glaser made it clear that he expects job seekers to know something about Skadden before they sit down for an interview:

Ever had a candidate who was great on paper but who blew the interview?

Yes. The ones who were totally unprepared and knew nothing about Skadden. Someone asked us about our T&E practice, which we don’t have.

There’s just one little problem with that cocksure answer from Glaser….

Skadden does, in fact, have a Trusts & Estates practice — as pointed out in the “Editor’s note” at the top of the Careerist post.

The horrifying thing is that there could well be a law student who lost out on a Skadden opportunity because the firm’s hiring partner didn’t know the practice groups in his own firm. I mean, it’s not hard to find out that Skadden has a T&E practice; it’s right there on the Skadden website.

There’s an important story about glass houses Glaser should read before casting aspersions on other people’s preparedness.

There were some other interesting notes from Glaser’s interview:

Is there a Skadden persona?

Confident, but not elitist. It’s not a stuffy place. People have good credentials here, but once you’re here, it doesn’t matter where you went to school or who you clerked for.

That’s cool. If you go to the right school or clerk for the right judge, it doesn’t matter where you went to school or for whom you clerked.

But, like most firms, Skadden is out looking for that peculiar person who really has a passion to do document review or check for typos in deal sheets for a few years:

Besides that rah-rah spirit, what else do you look for?

The one thing I look for is someone who really wants to be a lawyer.

How can you tell? Do you give some kind of secret personality test?

I ask why they really want to be a lawyer. You want someone with some spark and passion for lawyering. A lot of people end up at law school because they don’t know what else to do, and then they feel the work is beneath them. They want to write a novel or play the violin.

Can’t we all agree that sitting in a windowless office going through boxes and boxes of documents is “beneath” most people who graduate from top law schools and/or clerk for federal judges? Why can’t Skadden look for lawyers who are willing to do work that is beneath them for a period of time if it leads to something better down the road, instead of forcing people to keep up the legal fiction that they have a “passion” for doing brainless work? That’s the best thing about these hiring partner interviews; they really expose just how much these guys want to be lied to during the interviewing process.

Then again, maybe what Glaser is really trying to say is that Skadden’s trusts and estates practice is a joke — and that any 2L sincerely interested in T&E work should have done enough research to know that. If so, Glaser might want to avoid bumping into Jonathan Koslow around Four Times Square for the time being.

What Skadden Wants [The Careerist]

Earlier: New Recruits at Jones Day Better Make Great Pets

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