Sunday, September 7, 2008


One of our commenters asked about how believable the comments by HPs and others are when one is interviewing.  He/or is it she since I have now learned there are several fine women attorneys or attorneys to be out there wondered whether it is all spin/some true/false, or what.  

My friends, remember, we HPs and interviewers are selling as well as buying.  So, of course we do sell.  This means different things at different places and yes, this does apply to laterals as well as law students. This HP does not lie.  But I do sound enthusiastic about certain groups and people that I may not personally like.   Let's say there's a partner or practice group I personally would not want to work in.  Do I still recruit people for that group/partner?  Yes, I do. That's my job.  That said, I try to look for candidates who will fit personality wise with that group/partner.  

All firms are spinning.  If you think we are not, you are fooling yourselves.  I know of a firm that treats women (particularly those with families) like crap.  Are they selling themselves these days as family and women friendly?  Of course they are.  What are they going to say, we only want She-men who will sell lives to firm?  At HPs current firm, I think we have good policies and a good work environment, and I don't have to do a whole lot of spinning because I believe in what I am selling, usually.  But do keep your eyes open.   At my prior firm, a candidate once asked me about what I didn't like about the firm, or what I would change if I were the managing partner.  I thought these were good questions, and I gave honest answers that probably gave the candidate some solid information. to get the straight poop?  Ask prior summer associates or associates who worked there, if you know of them.  Search Google, Vault, other sites.  Check out the composition of the office/firm.  If you are a minority candidate and you see no minority partners and few associates, you may not be comfortable there.  Same thing for women.  If you see 2 or 4 women partners in an office over 100 people...this is not a good sign.  At this day in age, where women have come out of law school at the same percentage of men for many years, there should be more women partners, period.  I am sure there have been enough highly competent people through the doors over the years there that we can't blame the women.  There is likely an issue regarding retention and advancement.    


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much, HP, for answering our questions on these issues. It's frustratingly difficult to try to find direct, honest advice about interviewing while in law school. And this is a task that doesn't lend itself well to "trial by error".

Here's my question: I'm a 1L at a top tier university and I have a concern about my resume. I was involved with a number of LGBT-concerned nonprofits before law school and I really want to do my 1L summer internship at Lambda Legal or a similar organization. What effect, if any, would this "outing" of myself on my resume have when it comes time to apply for jobs at large firms?

Anonymous said...

HP - we are reading, and enjoying! Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for answering my question about how much firms sell themselves in this post.

Your post sparked another question, is it ok to ask questions like: "What do you not like about your firm?" or "What would you change?" Is this inappropriate to ask in a screening interview? Callback?

I wanted to ask these questions. However, the woman who counsels those applying to summer associate programs at my school told me not to ask these questions because it is negative...thoughts?

Anonymous said...

hi HP,

i find this blog extremely useful. thanks for the updates.

just wondering - do you feel that the new NALP 45 day rule will have any effect (if at all) on how quickly firms will notify people of offers after callbacks?

also, i'm sure it varies from place to place, but do firms generally try to wait until all candidates from a particular school go through callbacks before making a decision which candidates to hire? (i figure they would want to limit the number of "university of x" students they take.