Thursday, June 25, 2009

evaluations; and further on the too casuals

On the "too casuals" post, I was trying to get across that you need to be cautious about slang, digs, curses - I don't think that is particularly radical.  It is one thing if you have a close working relationship with someone and you are in a fairly comfortable one on one situation, but it is another entirely when you don't know someone very well and you might do or say something they find offensive.  Case in point, which I think I've mentioned before, the religious client.  I worked with a GC who, as time went on, I learned was deeply religious.  Bible studies classes, Sunday school teacher, etc.  Very clean living.  Thus, I made an extra effort to avoid words phrases like "if the company takes this route you could get screwed," in favor of the more general "the company could face some penalties if you take this route."  In any event, I wouldn't say screwed to any client b/c it is not professional and I don't know some of them well enough to throw that out there.  I was just saying that you should be cautious.  In this precarious legal market, why give people reasons to question your judgment?  What is the big deal with remembering that this is a professional environment and you should always keep that in mind?  
Some of you may be getting to a mid-point during your summer associate terms.  Have you received input?  I like firms that provide a mid-point evaluation. If you haven't received input on your work product, etc., ask the HP or recruiting coordinator if you could schedule a time.  If there's little things that can be fixed -- like proofing better -- that is something you could hear about now - rather than at the end of the summer, which can be cured in subsequent work product.  I know most of us don't like to hear criticism, but it is useful for this job and in the future.  If there's something you disagree with - like you followed one line of thinking because the assigning partner put it in the work assignment form - then go ahead and explain that, calmly.  Don't be overly defensive, however.  Show that you want to learn and take the opportunity to see how you can improve.  If you've had a memo marked up - see what the reviewer did - take out excess wording; break it into sections to have it read better; re-organize it?  Take some time to assess how a more experienced person improved your work product.  

Btw, HP is a bit nostalgic.  I think we are coming up next month on the first anniversary of HP's Office blog.   What shall we do to acknowledge this occasion?  


Anonymous said...

Many years ago, I interviewed with a Big 6 accounting firm while on campus. The interviewer and her supervisor, who came in during the interview to introduce herself, turned out to be PC extremists.

At one point during the interview, I was asked about my interests (I played on a co-ed softball team) and referred to my teammates as the "guys" - without any thought that I was excluding the "gals". I did not expect the interviewer to react as if I dropped an f-bomb.

I apparently insulted the supervisor because I stood when she entered the room. Being from the South, we tend to do that when a lady, elder, or person of authority enters a room.

Anonymous said...

Dear Hiring Partner,

Summer OCI comes mid August, but we are already thinking about it and evaluating/ ranking firms. Any advice?

I also have a specific question regarding firms with layoffs: How do we evaluate and factor in a firm that has or has not laid off associates in this economy. 2 basic arguments come to mind:

1. Firms that have laid off associates will have more positions available once the economy settles, and have already shed their "unwanted/unneeded/unmanageable pounds" and so should enter the recover/ post-recovery phase ready to grow.
Firms that have had to lay off people are not as financially solid as those that have not...

2. Firms that have not laid off people have chosen to weather the storm, but in doing so may have taken on more burden then necessary, overall decreasing the financial stability of the firm, and even perhaps needing to lay off associates in the future, such as when my class is employed.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

f-3 said...

On the blog's one year anniversary, it wouldn't be a bad idea to do some predictions, from your position as HP, about hiring trends, and recap some of the major learning points - especially the key things that will impact hiring / landing jobs in the coming year. Such an overview would simultaneously be a good way to answer Anonymous 9:11am's excellent question above.

Anonymous said...

I'll second f-3's request. A nice, long post would be a good way to commemorate. Predictions for the future of law in terms of salary, bonuses, layoffs, hot/cold practice groups and then how to weather these times, shine like a star and position oneself for success.

Another post I'd like to see is positioning oneself for good exit options. Is this possible? Or do people really just one day say "I don't want to be in big law anymore" and randomly chose a new directions?

Anonymous said...

there is a post on exit options - see Wed, May 6 "addressing other questions."

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your one-year anniversary! It is quite a feat to maintain such a good blog when you have such a busy work-life as well.

I would like to third 9:11's request and also ask you to give OCI interview tips. I am particularly concerned with what types of questions most students ask in their interviews including what not to ask.

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

9:11's time stamp is appropriate given his question is about this year's OCI.

Anonymous said...

That was not on purpose, by the way...