Interview Stories

Today is Friday, September 9, 2011. Do you know why today is special? Here’s the answer:

Yes, that’s right — we’re smack dab in the middle of the clerkship application season. Today was the first date and time (10 a.m. Eastern) when judges could contact applicants to schedule interviews, pursuant to the official law clerk hiring plan.

Let’s talk more about the process — and hear from those of you who are going through it….

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With OCI coming to an end at most law schools, now is the time to sit back and assess the interview process. While you may be tempted to tune out until you receive an offer (or rejection), don’t.

In addition to reviewing your performance in the interview, you should critique the performance of the law firm.

Furthermore, be sure to consider the following tips from Lateral Link’s Frank Kimball before you accept an offer….

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There are no magic questions to take through the interview process. There are only areas to be examined. Life is one long extemporaneous speech. It is not canned dialogue. The student who prepares and understands the areas that are significant to her decision will know where to focus her questions.

Some questions should be directed at associates, while others should be directed to partners. Students sometimes forget that they can actually learn something more about the firm by asking questions. Yes, the questions you ask will be assessed by the interviewer; but please don’t ask certain questions for the sake of asking questions.

This helpful information is provided by Lateral Link’s Frank Kimball. What follows is an outline of areas you may want to consider, but remember who your audience is….

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As part of your interview preparation, you should familiarize yourself with the kinds of questions you may be asked and prepare responses to those questions. Nothing turns off an interviewer more than “ummms” and “uhhhs.” You don’t have to memorize your responses verbatim (and you shouldn’t), but being prepared will help you avoid any Miss Teen South Carolina answers to any interviewer questions.

While it is impossible to cover every single question an interviewer may ask, Lateral Link’s Frank Kimball, legal recruiter and former hiring partner, provides his recommended responses to commonly asked questions, adds comments explaining the purpose of the question, and points out any “traps” the interviewer may be setting by asking you the question.

Below are some of the most common questions asked during on-campus interviews….

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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….

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Congratulations! After enduring several hours of OCI “speed dating,” you scored a callback interview. You have done your research, gotten “in the zone,” and it’s off to the firm reception area for a day of interviews. You’re tense — which is proof that you’re alive and that you care. You’re worried that you don’t know as much as you should — which is proof that you are not arrogant or presumptuous. You’re as focused as you were the day before final examinations began at the end of first year — because you know there is a lot on the line.

Exhale, check your breath, and make sure you reviewed the following tips, courtesy of Lateral Link’s Frank Kimball, before you set out for your interview….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center: The Callback Interview – Why the Relaxed, Well Prepared Student Will Prevail”

As we mentioned yesterday, on-campus interview season has started at law schools all across the land. We’re happy to serve as your one-stop shopping center for all things OCI. Just send us an email (subject: “OCI”) about the things going on at your school that deserve more attention.

Today’s news is on the funny side. It appears that the wild and crazy kids from BYU Law are taking the stress of OCI in stride….

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It’s time for on-campus interviewing. All across the country, law students are stuffing themselves into business suits and prostrating themselves on the floors of some of the nation’s finest campus hotels.

It’s a stressful time. New law students might show up at law school having done no research into the legal job market, but after one short year the kids start to wise up. They realize, some for the first time, that 90% of them will not be in the top ten percent of the class. They realize that if they don’t get one of the handful of high-paying jobs, they’ll be relegated to gladiatorial combat for the low-paying leftovers. They realize, as rising 2Ls, that maybe they should have listened to everybody who warned them about law school in the first place.

But they know they can make it all go away if they are successful during OCI. If only they can wow the law-firm interviewers who show up on campus.

The problem is that for many law students, especially those at schools ranked outside the top national institutions, their OCI fate was decided long before they shook the hand of any interviewer.

One tipster is just now realizing that, and he is understandably pissed….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Quinn OCI Irks Fordham Law Kids, But Maybe They Should Blame Fordham”

Do I look like “Dear Abby”?

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….

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Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Small Firms, Big Lawyers, one of Above the Law’s new columns for small-firm lawyers.

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.…

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