In addition to reviewing your performance in the interview, you should critique the performance of the law firm.
At law schools and law firms around the country, on-campus interviewing and callback interviews are in full swing. We’ve been covering the fall (or summer?) recruiting process quite closely, offering you a mix of interview advice, humorous anecdotes, and soul-crushing reality checks.
Now it’s your turn to talk back to us….
Somehow, because I’m working in-house and writing this column, I’ve become the adviser to the disaffected. A correspondent now asks: “I’ve worked at a Biglaw firm for several years, am at the end of my rope, and am interviewing for an in-house job next week. How will an interview for an in-house job differ from a Biglaw interview?”
I have three reactions: First, the interview may not be different at all. The in-house lawyers who are interviewing you may be veterans of Biglaw, and they may not have changed their interview styles when they changed jobs. Being qualified and pleasant may be plenty to land the job, as it is at many large law firms that are hiring new associates wholesale.
But the interview may be different in two ways that you should consider….
As the owner of a small law firm, I’m always surprised at how many blind résumés I receive in the mail. First of all, who even uses mail anymore? Does anyone seriously think that I’m going take them more seriously because they used cream-colored, 100% cloth, 24-pound bond paper? I’m not.
But forget the résumés for a minute; for me, it’s the cover letter that tells me whether I want to interview this person. Over the years, I’ve received thousands of cover letters from lawyers and law students. I’ve gotten to the point where I really don’t need to read the résumé before I’ve made my decision.
So with that in mind, here are 11 tips for writing cover letters to potential employers.
1. Spell my frikkin’ name right. You’d be astounded at how many times candidates blow this one.…
It’s been many years, but I still remember the steps I took to land a job at a small law firm. Even though some of the methods have changed with technology, law students and potentially on-the-move associates might find this tale instructive.
After flaming out in the on-campus-interviewing process, I went to the library and looked up law firms in the Boston area. (This was before the Internet but after libraries.) I wrote down the names of dozens of firms, then went to the Martindale-Hubbell books and looked up the different firms. (Yeah, I know: quaint.) I selected lawyers whose practice areas or backgrounds or law schools or something seemed like a match for me, and I wrote down (in actual handwriting) their names and contact information. I then went back to my apartment, fired up the Wang word processor (OK, now I’m just messing with you), and entered them into a mail-merge form letter.
I then mailed dozens of nearly identical form letters (“Dear Lawyer …”) to attorneys around Boston, enclosing completely identical copies of my résumé. The letters said basically the same thing as the résumés, except in paragraph form (I used bullet points in the résumé), and asked for an interview.
Guess how well this method worked.…
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Not too long ago, when law firms used to supersize their summer associate classes and make offers to anyone who had a pulse, callback interviews were a mere formality. Today’s post-recessionary firms are understandably more careful about hiring, and as a result,the callback interview has become a sine qua non for getting into Biglaw. We talked with an attorney recruiter, as well as attorneys currently conducting callback interviews, to bring you the top ten tips for getting an edge over the competition.
The complete article is available on the Career Center, but we’ve highlighted the first three tips after the jump.
Apparently, Cardozo Law School was completely unprepared for this spate of summer weather, and it nearly ruined the school’s “OCI Preview” event for 1Ls desperate to snag jobs next recruiting season. Multiple tipsters reported variations on the same theme. I’ll use a version that doesn’t involve cursing: “I pay over $40,000 in tuition yet my law school can’t even turn the A/C on when I’m trying to network for a job.”
It was so bad that Cardozo had to send around an apology to the students for making them network in a sauna. And according to the email, Cardozo truly couldn’t figure out how to simply turn the A/C “on”…