Earlier this week, we created an open thread for the sharing of on-campus interview screw-ups. We then picked out a few favorite tales from the thread, and asked you to vote for the best (or worst?) of the bunch.
Here are the results:
You can read the winning story by clicking here.
Many of you seemed to enjoy the horror stories — and they’re informative, too, providing lessons about behavior to avoid. But don’t put too much weight on them. As one commenter observes:
[The problem with these stories] is that they presume that the stupid act in question was the sole reason the person didn’t get a callback. Not everybody at OCI gets callbacks. Plenty of people who don’t do one stupid thing in an interview don’t get callbacks. I suspect that these stories of stupidity are actually rationalizations for rejection.
People who think they got rejected because they accidentally dropped a business card on their way out are deluding themselves. They tell themselves these bullshit tales of woe because if you think you got dinged because you dropped a business card, then next time you can tuck it into your portfolio tighter. And then you’ll SURELY get the offer! But the truth – that you are getting rejected because you are a mediocre student at a [mediocre] law school who should have tried to get a job at a mutual fund instead of spending $200,000 to learn about community property – that’s a lot harder to fix.
Yesterday we solicited stories from you about on-campus interview bloopers — this time by the student interviewees, rather than their law firminterrogators. We received an embarrassment of riches — or riches of embarrassment — in response.
In terms of favorite stories, it seems the people’s choice was comment 177. Do a ctrl-F on the page for “177,” and you’ll encounter some pretty funny stuff. Comment 83 also had some crowd support, but it was completely disgusting, and some people read ATL during the lunch hour.
Not convinced that 83 and 177 are true stories, we decided to go with these as our top tales:
1. The People Person
Interviewer asks inevitable, everyone-is-prepared-for-it question: What do your consider your weaknesses to be?
Candidate (stratospheric GPA to offer and little else): Well, I don’t really like other people very much.
Job not offered.
2. Revenge of the Nerd?
I heard a story here at Cleary Gottlieb from this recruiting season, not terribly exciting but a nice foot-in-mouth moment. At one of our OCI’s, during this kid’s interview, he remarked that he’s the perfect lawyer for Cleary because he’s “like, a big socially awkward nerd.” The mid-level associate interviewing him deadpanned: “So I’m a socially awkward nerd?” Ouch. I don’t think he got a callback.
It’s unfortunate, because his assessment of Cleary lawyers was pretty spot on.
3. “Forget it, Jake, it’s Koreatown.”
I was conducting a callback lunch interview in Los Angeles when the interviewee starts talking about how he can’t stand living in Koreatown because Koreans were so rude and also bad drivers. I said, “Dude, my last name is Kim. You know I’m Korean, right?
After an uncomfortable ending to the lunch I called HR and told them if they gave this kid an offer I was quitting. Needless to say, no offer for this guy.
4. To Catch A Thief
At an OCI reception for a mid-sized Firm X, a few students are engaging in polite conversating with partner in Firm X. The partner asks each student what they did the summer before. One student, who apparently took full advantage of the open bar, begins talking about spending his 1L summer working with general counsel for an apartment complex, often dealing with tenant evictions.
Completely unsolicited, the student begins talking about how they used to break into the [tenants'] apartments and if they found weed/drugs in the place, they’d steal the drugs and some electronics from the apartment like it was their own personal Best Buy. He said, and I quote: “what were the tenants gonna do? They can’t tell the cops that we took their stuff or we’ll just report them for the drugs.” Partner and other students (including me) look at each other and then stare at the floor.
5. Veggie Girl
To an applicant with no special interests or activities listed on her resume: “So what do you do with your free time outside of school? Do you have any hobbies?”
6. What’s the difference between a law firm and a paint store?
During a Shearman & Sterling interview, a friend once asked the interviewer, “So, how have you liked your experience at Sherwin & Williams?”
Vote for your favorite of these six stories, and check out seven more stories that get honorable mention, after the jump.
Now that the fall recruiting season is underway,OCI tips, horror stories, and heartbreaks are getting just a wee bit of attention.
But while our law student readers are prepping for their interviews, what are the associates up to? In today’s ATL / Lateral Link survey, we ponder whether the associates you meet in your callbacks are busy planning interviews of their own. Update: This survey is now closed. Click here for the results.
– Justin Bernold is a Director at Lateral Link, the sponsor of this Associate Life Survey.
Full disclosure: we do not know exactly what is going on over at Foley & Lardner. But we are hearing a lot of chatter.
By way of a quick summary: we posted information that Foley offered only 43% of their summers out the Chicago office. Then Foley issued a firm wide email saying that they offered 81% of their Chicago summers (we posted that too). Meanwhile, the firm has rebuffed multiple attempts to verify any of this information directly. For more details read here and here.
After we updated Foley’s hiring numbers and posted Foley’s CEO Ralf Boer’s statements, our tipsters wagged their fingers and said “oh no he didn’t.” This email is indicative of many comments we received:
Just FYI–Ralf Boer’s email is a load of crap.
Many believe that Foley did in fact tell summers that they would not be receiving an offer, but then reversed course early this week, after our initial post on Foley’s no offers went up. The thought from these tipsters is that the public backlash was so bad that Foley had to rethink their hiring decisions. Initially we found it hard to believe that a firm would have the gall to no offer somebody, only to call them up weeks later with an offer. But the tips kept rolling in.
We are happy (rolling around like a pig in sweet, sweet slop, happy) to think that ATL had some small role to play in securing additional summer associate jobs in this economy. But there are two sides to every story. Some tipsters think that Foley’s delay in completing the offer process is par for the course:
I just want to say that I know first hand that .. many people had not yet heard either way about offers. That is for both 1Ls and 2Ls. … I think you should update your main posting for the sake of all the comments calling b.s. on Ralf Boer’s statement that they only just finished making all the decisions. … I know for a fact first-hand that several people had yet to hear as of yesterday and even today.
On an historical note, right about now is exactly how long it took Foley to get back to many folks last year.
So did Foley ding people and then change their mind, or did they just take a long time to finish their hiring process? More tipsters weigh in after the jump.
We’ve done a few posts on screw-ups and rudeness on the part of lawyers conducting on-campus interviews (see here and here). But what about the interviewees? They’re not perfect either — even if some of them think they are.
What are some ways that law students have torpedoed their chances of getting callbacks or summer associate offers? In this grim job market, there’s little room for error (especially if you are a 3L).
Let’s collect some examples of what NOT to do in an interview situation, so ATL readers can learn from the mistakes of others. Here’s a tale from a top ten school:
A 2L knocks on the door of an interview room when it’s his turn. Instead of waiting, he walks right in.
The interviewer and the student being interviewed both look up, shocked. The student says to them, “MY turn,” and just stands there.
The interviewer, after getting past the initial shock, asks to have a couple of minutes to finish up the first interview. The student looks at his watch, pauses, and says, “Well… I suppose….”
That’s pretty bad. Can you top it? Feel free to share (true) stories of fall recruiting bloopers and screw-ups, in the comments. Update: Check out some of our favorite tales, and vote for the one you like best, over here.
We are receiving great information from the readers on no offers and we continue to follow up with the firms themselves. But one thing that has become very clear is that there will be a lot of 3Ls hitting the recruiting circuit this fall. Last month, we touched on this issue in the context of OCI cancellation. This month we are hearing that even firms that continued on with OCI decided to flat out reject all 3L applicants, even though they maintained interview slots for 3Ls on their interviewing schedule.
In times like these you’d expect your office of career services to earn its paycheck. Sadly, that does not appear to be happening. No offered 3Ls have been frustrated by the lack of institutional support available at schools around the country.
But it is not like we are living through the Great Depression. There are still jobs out there for good students from good schools. This fall, 3Ls might need to think a little outside the box, but is there any doubt that full time employment awaits all who apply?
Staying on campus while potential employers come to you is a great perk associated with top flight legal education — a perk that is not at all representative of how most people find work.
Our advice is to be proactive in your job hunt. But we’d like to bring the collective knowledge of the ATL community to bear on the matter. If you are a rising 3L who just found out that you didn’t receive an offer, what should you do? Earlier: More on On-Campus Interview Cancellations
We recently heard a rumor about an associates’ meeting at a top firm, presided over by a partner. Some of the associates complained that they were being overworked. The partner was unsympathetic. His response was more diplomatically worded, but the gist of it was: “In this economy, be grateful you have a job.”
This partner might like the proposal floated last week by Dan Hull over at What About Clients:
If associates get all the benefits of training at my law firm in the first three years, and can’t really add much value anyway, why don’t they pay us?
…. Initially, say, in the first 2 or 3 years, under [this proposal], an associate would be paid in the form of experience of being immersed in learning how to be a lawyer as he or she worked with more senior lawyers. A “trainee” would: (1) be paid either very minimal or at most paralegal-level salaries–don’t laugh, a good paralegal is often markedly more valuable and cost-efficient than a “brilliant” first-year associate–and perhaps some other benefits; or (2) actually pay the law firm a nominal stipend–a “tuition”, in effect, to cover some costs (and risks) of “training”–in a flexible apprenticeship arrangement which could be revisited.
Corporette has entered the fall interviewing fray with their own top ten list of interviewing tips.
They really seem to think that successful interviewing requires effort, preparation, and study. They suggest keeping detailed notes on every conversation you have, networking, and even setting up Google and Westlaw alerts so you are up to speed on the latest legal news.
I know that the economy is in bad shape, but I’m not sure that turning into a crazy stalker person is the right way to go.
Then again, following Corporette’s guide is probably better than showing up hung-over and asking for a Bloody Mary.
The problem with any interviewing “advice” is that it needs to be tailored to the person. If you are socially awkward and talk like Michael Phelps, you probably want to rehearse everything you are going to say beforehand and speak only when forced. If you have Jerry McGuire-esque living room skills, you want to keep your head in the moment and trust your instincts.
Memorizing 15 fun-facts about every partner at the firm is an option, but there is no one path to success. 10 Things About … Interviewing [Corporette]
This has probably already been done at some law school parody show or “law revue.” If so, feel free to point that out, in the comments.
But if not — of even if it has, but someone wants to revisit it, in light of the current (dismal) state of the legal job market — here are suggested lyrics for No Offer, No Cry (to the tune of Bob Marley’s No Woman, No Cry):
No offer, no cry No offer, no cry
Said – said – said: I remember when we used to sit In the career services office in law school, Observing the Biglaw hypocrites As they would mingle with the good people we meet.
Classmates we have, oh, classmates we’ve lost Along the way. In 3L interviewing, you can’t forget your past;
So dry your tears, I say.
Earlier this month, we raised the subject of cold offers. Now it’s time to talk about a topic we raised last year, but have not yet raised this year: the cold offer’s crueler cousin, the NO OFFER.
We hear that no-offering is on the rise — which is not surprising, given the tanking economy and Biglaw layoffs. Which law firms are doling out no-offers to their summer associates this year? Feel free to discuss, in the comments.
As always, caveat lector. Information in the comments has not been verified, and we make no representations or warranties as to its accuracy. Read at your own risk.
If you’d like to send us a tip that you are capable of vouching for — e.g., you were a summer at the firm in question — please email us (subject line: “No Offer – [Firm Name]“). For tips submitted via email, we will try to verify them if we can, and possibly revert to you with a list of no-offer factories (to use last year’s coinage). Thanks. Earlier: Fall Recruiting Open Thread: Cold Offers Fall Recruiting Open Thread: No-Offer Factories
In honor of the new Vault rankings, we’re doing a series of open threads on the 100 most prominent law firms. We invite you to compare and contrast the firms in the comments. In the last open thread on Vault firms 6-10, there was an animated discussion about litigation at Cleary and which Kirkland office is best to work for.
Moving on down the Vault 100 list, here’s the next bunch up for discussion, with prestige scores in parentheses:
The oddest language in the “notable perks” in this bunch is at Williams & Connolly: “Fancy bunch of smarties.” Well-dressed intelligent lawyers, or a big basket of the tart candy?
Please discuss the work, perks, and lifestyle at these firms in the comments. More threads to come. Earlier:Vault 100 Open Threads- 2009
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