Columbia JReubs

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Interview Prep

All: comment here to indicate your availability for an interview prep session.

2Ls: also let us know if you have any particular questions that you'd like addressed (e.g. how to pronounce "Debevoise"? pink tie/shirt? how to explain your Civ Pro grade? mention the kid(s)?).

3Ls: let us know if there's any particular wisdom we should impart (assuming you're going to be out of town or too jaded to participate -- if neither apply, then just come along and bring yer wisdom with you).

NB: bring any pictures you may have of Alan Lewis. We'll be setting up a small shrine in the corner of the room so that he may preside over the meeting, if in spirit. And bring some votive candles too. And chips and dip.

Matthews, Brice and Jennejohn


  • I probably won't be back until Monday night the week of EIP. Assuming that is the case I could come on Tuesday or Wednesday night.


    By Blogger Aaron, at 6:33 PM  

  • But in case I can't make it there to the time everyone schedules, there is at least one piece of advice I can think of right now (although it may be better for Ben to post this, since he can attest to its importance from firsthand experience) i.e., no matter how many interviews you have, make sure you keep track of which one you are in. It does NOT go over well when you don't know the name of the firm with which you are interviewing.

    By Blogger Aaron, at 6:37 PM  

  • I will be flying in the morning of Wednesday, August 16 (the day before EIP). Scott will be flying in that afternoon and Joseph is already back in New York, I believe. What if we did something the night of the 16th? I'd be happy to host something at our apartment if people want to do it there.

    Here are some potential questions I have:

    1. When do you bring up the possibility of splitting between two markets?

    2. How do you explain less-than-stellar grades?

    3. What are some of your favorite questions to ask in interviews?

    4. What are major mistakes any of you made last year that we can hopefully avoid?

    5. If I have interviews set up at 10:55-11:15, 11:20-11:40, and 11:45-12:05, do I have a chance of making it from one interview to the next?

    6. What is the best way to research firms in the least amount of time?

    7. Does it help to slip the interviewer a $20 bill when you shake his hand?

    8. What is the best way to discuss the possibility of not returning back to one's 1L firm?

    I'll think of other questions as I go along.



    By Blogger Jeff, at 9:27 PM  

  • Hey,
    Those are all great qusetions, Jeff. I hope we can get some people out to have this interview prep. Sadly, I will be out of town that night, and since that day seems about the best day possible, I will have to just mention some things in a later comment...hope things are well with everyone...looking forward to seeing everyone again this Fall.

    By Blogger matt, at 7:36 AM  

  • Let's plan on the evening of the 16th. We'll wait to hear from Jeff and Scott for a precise time. Meeting up at the law school sounds most sensible to me, as it is central.


    By Blogger jennejohn, at 11:47 AM  

  • Sadly, I won't be able to make it either. I'll still be working. In fact, I'll be working for at least two weeks past EIP.

    I have at least one piece of advice: Don't work for 17 weeks during the summer. When you do the math in your little head and realize how much money you'll make, it seems like a great idea. But don't be fooled. It's not.

    If you care to tap into my wealth of knowledge about law firms (having worked at three very different firms now), you can call me at work on the day you have your meeting. (I don't work late, but my current time zone is 3 hours behind New York, so even if you don't start until 9:00 I'll still be available).

    By Blogger Phil, at 3:10 PM  

  • I think I agree with Phil. I don't know if I would turn down an extra 3 weeks at my present salary, but I am definitely tired of being a summer associate.

    By Blogger Aaron, at 3:26 PM  

  • tired of being a summer associate?

    I'm in the last week of my second summer as a summer associate and trying to figure out how I could do it again next year.

    By Blogger Nate, at 12:28 PM  

  • Yeah, Aaron I would like to hear why you are tired of being a summer associate? What is up with that...

    By Blogger matt, at 8:10 PM  

  • One piece of advice: Don't overthink this whole process; just be yourself. Being overly prepared and trying really hard to impress the interviewers will only come off as weird. They know you're smart, and will inevitably judge you to some extent (in some cases largely) based on your grades. The way to overcome any of this pre-judging is not by trying to prove to them in 15 minutes that you are smarter than your grades indicate. Almost every firm is willing to overlook mediocre grades if they like your intangibles enough. Being normal, likeable, having a comfortable conversation about non-legal issues, etc. goes a long way.

    That said, preparation is nonetheless important. But it should be used as support for your enthusiasm for the firm or the market, not to show off your preparation per se. That is to say, they will not be impressed that you know the name of all the partners in the M&A group or all the recent cases they've worked on. They will be impressed if you tell them that everyone you've talked to says that they have a top notch M&A group, and that you would be thrilled to work on the type of matters they routinely handle.

    I guess the point is delivery. Know everything about the firm, but don't go in trying to (overtly) show it off. Be yourself, and focus on having a good conversation and letting the firm research come up when it is comfortable.

    By Blogger blaine, at 2:48 PM  

  • I too am working longer than most summer and therefore will not be back in New York until the 9th of September. My question is how many 3Ls are going to re-interview? and why?

    By Blogger Son of Liberty, at 2:50 PM  

  • Aaron is right about his advice to not call a firm by the wrong name. However, I still think Paul Hastings should have been honored to be referred to as Paul Weiss, even if it was by accident.

    I too am working a bit longer than planned (through Sep. 1) and won't be able to attend any prep course, but with my track record that is probably to the benefit of the 2Ls. I would only recommend that if you are like I was a year ago and you don't know what city you want to work in and thus will be applying with a lot of offices, be somewhat opaque about that with your interviewers. I interviewed in several markets, and was probably too honest when interviewers asked me about what other firms I was interviewing with, and I think it hurt me. So even if you would sincerely love to work in both Boise, Idaho and Topeka, Kansas, tell your Topeka interviewers that you are interviewing with mostly Kansas offices.

    That said, I was able to land some pretty sweet jobs, and thus won't be doing the EIP process again. Being a summer associate is the sweetest job ever, and I am considering clerking just so I do it all over again (just kidding, Phil). The only reason Aaron is sick of being a summer is because he is working at a sweatshop-type firm.

    By Blogger Ben James, at 5:52 PM  

  • I may be re-interviewing. It all depends on what the head of Shearman's Antitrust group tells me in the coming week. We'll see.

    I second Blaine's suggestions. The trick is to sound natural -- to imply that you're going to fit in with a group of sharp professionals dedicated to their work. If you look like you're trying, then you've indicated that you don't really know what you're doing. What you're trying to show the potential employers is that you have the ability to learn. Your grades are a strong, but not comprehensive, indicator. The other part of the equation is how you interact with others.

    What time on the 16th, 2Ls?


    By Blogger jennejohn, at 6:43 PM  

  • Oh, and I'd like to echo Ben's comment, since I interviewed for five cities (three heavily): the key is the word "mostly." As in, "I'm interviewing mostly with New York and Fargo firms." Everybody will assume that, because you're at Columbia, you're going to interview with some NY firms. I don't remember anybody pressing me further on the question.


    By Blogger jennejohn, at 6:48 PM  

  • For lack of anyone else throwing out a time for the meeting, how would 7:00 work? Is the consensus to meet at the law school?

    By Blogger Jeff, at 11:20 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Son of Liberty, at 9:05 AM  

  • I guess since I won't be back in New York before you guys meet, I might as well give my advice. If you are interviewing in small secondary markets (Boston, Chicago etc.) you really need to convince the firm that you love the city and that is where you want to be. For some reason these markets tend to look at your commitment to the city and not just your credintials and affinity to the firm. My worst call back to offer ratio was in Boston and Denver for this very reason. (Maybe they saw right through me as I did go with a New York firm (Boston's fear) and a Salt Lake firm (Denver's fear)). Some firms I played up my attachments to the city (got the offer) some firms I didn't get around to talking about my attachments to the city and well-no offer. Other than that remember this is a great time to be wined and dined. Have fun!

    By Blogger Son of Liberty, at 9:10 AM  

  • I just wanted to mention some basic things that I felt helped me...

    1. Seriously prepare your ability to talk about your resume. I think this one cannot be stressed enough. Start now, and prepare thoroughly. I will tip my hat to Alan on this one...before his session, I did not really do this, but prepared a lot after his little session...and it helped me with my self-confidence in the interviews, because I had already talked about these points multiple times with Annie, or before a mirror, etc...

    2. Have one or two reasons why you want to go to that firm...I think this is the hardest, especially if you are interviewing with 38 firms. But, in reality if you dont have those reasons, you might as well not interview. The best interviews I had were the ones were I was actually interestd in that firm, instead of just another name on the list.

    --One good way to do the second one, is know someone who worked at the have a lot of 2Ls, and you can just drop a name, "I know Matt Brice worked for you and he had a great summer, and could not stop talking about how much he loved it", etc...

    So maybe we could send around a list of where people worked so you could drop names, except if someone really did not like the firm, and already decided not to go back...

    I know these are probably really basic, but they seemed to help me last year so I felt like I wanted to share them...good luck!

    By Blogger matt, at 8:06 AM  

  • Ok, we'll hold it 7pm on Wed. About location: if Scott and Joseph are not attending (a possibility I suppose since they haven't chimed in on the discussion), then we'll all convene on Jeff's apartment and give him a personal prep session.


    By Blogger jennejohn, at 8:22 AM  

  • Another recommendation on prep: know how to say the same thing for the 22nd time and make it sound like it's the first time the words have come out of your mouth.

    You'll get the same questions over and over. Make the interviewer feel like you're really considering the questions and responding earnestly. Admittedly, much of this is just acting--delivering the lines you've already memorized in a way that makes them seem fresh and unrehearsed. But that's what makes you seem more genuine than the last guy who really showed that he's on his 37th interview (perverse, I know, but true).

    By Blogger Kraustian, at 12:46 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home