10. Most firms have preferred schools. If a firm sends a representative to your school (as opposed to collecting resumes), your school is probably on the firm's preferred list. This relates to the school's prestige, quality of students, past summers and associates who have matriculated at firm ("feeder" school). Some firms have particular feeder schools for particular areas of the country.
9. Cover letters, resumes, transcripts and writing samples are generally requested. Do us a favor and fix any mail merge letters. Every year I get one that is referring to another law firm. Sloppy. Yes, that does disqualify you when I am reviewing resumes.
8. Even though we ask for resumes, transcripts, cover letters, etc., we typically review them VERY quickly. I'd say each applicant might get a minute, tops when we are picking which candidates we will screen. The person interviewing you is supposed to spend a few minutes getting familiar with the resume and jotting down questions based on your experiences.
7. We select resumes on the obvious: grades, journals, moot court. Different firms have different cut offs for different schools. For Harvard it may be top 50 percent of class. For other schools, it may be top 10 percent. I can go outside the limits if there's something to "add." For instance, this person is at 20 percent of class, but made law review and has an internship at the DA's office.
6. I look at undergraduate school and performance there. This HP likes to see honors.
5. I am also selecting based on possible "fit" for the applicable office. For some places, you really need a connection to the city. For others, not so important. In some firms, the office may be looking for a hire in a particular department. If litigation is not hiring and you want litigation, you probably won't get an interview.
4. Don't take it too personally. As I mentioned, we don't analyze the resumes for hours; just a review. We may think one person is a potential "fit" and another is not; maybe you spent 2 years after law school in City X and your classmate only spent 3 months. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason to why your friend got an interview and you did not.
3. Please do some research on the firms. I know it is hard to learn about so many different places, or maybe they all sound alike, but you should know some basic facts. And, you are so lucky these days to have so much information -- Firm websites, Google, etc. All HP had was Lexis and NALP forms (and informal chats). Check the news releases on the firms' websites, that will help.
2. If you find out in advance who will be interviewing, read that person's biography. Google them. That way, when you get to the part of the interview where they ask you "any questions," you can ask them about their pro bono case, or how they got involved in the XYZ board, or the firm committee. We like this, it shows you put effort in and prepared. It doesn't have to do with you sucking up to us, it demonstrates that you would similarly prepare for a client meeting or presentation.
1. Be prepared to speak about something substantive. If you had a law-related job your first summer or at some other point, you could talk about a motion you drafted, or a court proceeding you observed/assisted. Good interviewers will try to see if you can discuss a substantive matter articulately.
And remember....no drooling!