Sunday, October 5, 2008

Answering Some Questions

I have to say, HP isn't that inspired as to a particular topic, so I thought I would answer some questions you've had.

1. A student asked about whether he/she should transfer from a not great school to a more prestigious school.  I would say, particularly in the legal market the next few years, it probably is a good idea to upgrade schools.  The one caveat I would have is if your grades are superb, you like the current school, and you plan to practice in the region where that particular school is viewed favorably, you may want to stay.  If you want to work in a big market and you are not there, or you are there but at a mediocre school, you've got a tough rode.  I saw someone who transferred from a mediocre school to Georgetown. We interviewed them. They would not have received an interview if their resume indicated they were still at the mediocre school.  That said, if I were a regional firm in that mediocre school's region and this candidate had top grades, law review, etc., the person probably would do just fine.

2. We've had several questions on following up after callbacks.  I have to say, there are several candidates "on hold" at HP's firm because HP is waiting to see if other people accept their offers. It is perfectly acceptable to check in after a couple weeks, and even a couple weeks after that.  Of course, there's a fine line between obsession and professionalism.  I like when people check in because it shows me they are still interested in us. So, if I am deciding whether to give an offer to Student A or Student B, part of what I am thinking of is who is likely to accept (perhaps before the NALP deadline!) and I may choose based on who seems most interested.  I haven't heard from someone in a while and figure he's moved on while we have seen other candidates.  Maybe he thinks we are not interested in him?  In any event, I am probably going with someone else who I think will take the offer. 

3. This actually isn't answering a question, but putting out a request.  If you've got multiple offers and -- since you have firm X you aren't taking firm Y, please go ahead and politely decline firm Y.  We understand people make choices for different reasons. We may ask you your reasoning just so we can understand and if it is something we can improve, to find out what that is.  In this economy, it would really help your colleagues and others if you decline early so that we can move on.  I realize I am calling on your altruism but, as my high school foreign language teacher used to say "it's nice to be nice."  If you are waiting on other firms, we usually understand that, but do keep the other firms informed of upcoming NALP imposed deadlines on your offers.

I hope that helps guys and gals.  HP is going to go watch some baseball.  


Anonymous said...

HP, what do you (or your firm) consider to be a "mediocre" or "not great" school? Tier 4? Tier 2? Lower T1? Thx!

C. said...

Thanks HP! I appreciate it.

LS Part-timer said...

I am so glad that I found your blog. I am applying this fall to attend law school starting in 2009. I will be attending part-time in the evenings, while working full-time. If possible, I would love to see you address how hiring partners address part-time students. Thanks a lot!

KMA said...

What if we're at a regional T2 school applying to a non-competitive market (to use my real-life example, a NJ student looking for jobs in TN). Is it as hard to get these region-specific jobs in smaller markets if you're not in the region?

Random, but pressing issue for myself haha

Andrew said...

Enjoyed the blog so far. I have been on several call backs and do not have an offer to show for it. I had a limited search initially and now I am worried that it is too late to expand my search. Any thoughts on what I should do? Is it too late to go to the firms that I did not interview with on-campus?

2L said...

kma - This may be limited knowledge on my part, but I would pause before stating that a smaller regional market is "non-competitive." I attend a T14 school and have seen many qualified friends lose offers in smaller markets because they could not justify their connection to the city or region. Unless you have a history with the area (family, attended undergrad/grad there, worked there) many smaller market firms are going to be suspicious of your dedication to the region. They want people who are not going to move to Nashville or San Francisco, for e.g., bc it seems cool and edgy, only to disappear after 2 years. I would say it's incredibly easier to get your foot in the door at a larger market like New York, especially if you're coming from SH or RU.