Monday, August 10, 2009

One for the 3Ls

By request:

OGIs start this week - which historically is the 2L's time to shine. But they've had a chance to vet their anxieties, and no doubt we will return to their travails.

This post is for the 3Ls. OGIs last year were no cakewalk, either. As has been well documented, a lot of students wanted jobs with law firms, and didn't get them.

But for (very fortunate) students who got an offer, that was just the beginning. Many (if not most) had the lengths of their programs shortened, their pay cut, or both. No matter, because most of these people counted themselves lucky just be working for a firm and drawing any kind of pay at all.

It's tough for veterans to get back in the game, but it's not impossible

Then, the main problem became actually getting the offer. In past years, firms gave offer rates at or near 100% (check the nalpdirectory for reported offer rates). Last year, of course, that began to change: some firms only gave half of their summers offers of fulltime employment, and this year, many predicted that things were going to be much worse. (But again, at least these people got paid a princely some for their summer work - many students went completely pro bono, as once-ample funding for public interest work was more difficult to come by this year).

What happened? At least some firms continued to have offer rates at or close to 100%. But certainly not all of them. Indeed, many firms are waiting until Labor Day or even later to tell the 2Ls who spent the summer with them whether or not they will have a place there at (or, in reality, some months or even a year after) graduation.

Another interesting EITE-twist is that in previous years some law firms used to give out what were called "soft" or "cold" offers. Essentially, the firm would say something like, "We really don't think this is the right place for you, but for purposes of finding a job, you can say that we gave you an offer." The problem is - ITE - would other employers take serious the idea that a third year student who actually has an offer from a law firm wouldn't take it? (Or, alternatively, would the firm be afraid that the student might actually try to accept the cold/soft offer for lack of better options?) On the other hand, a cold offer is better than nothing, and even if a firm gives you a flat out "no", we have to believe that ITE people would understand that it is because of, well, ITE, rather than you being a total screwup.

This of course will create a bit of a bottleneck at OGIs. Many 3Ls are interviewing - to the extent that they could get interviews - because they are waiting to hear back from their 2L firm. Hard to fault anyone there. Of course, the 3L OGI interview market has never been particuarly robust, and at least one commenter who is (masquarading as) coming to OGI thinks this year will be much worse:
First, we weren't making any 3L offers last year. Nothing will change this year. Sorry, sort of. How'd you manage not to have a job after 2L summer??

Second, this 50/50 lottery thing is a waste of our time. No, your 3.whatever GPA isn't going to be overcome by your personality/ethnicity/gender/orientation/work experience/undergrad prestige or GPA. We always have a pretty hard cut off, and this year it is looking a lot more like the Berlin wall than just a suggestion from the hiring partners back in the office.

So, all this expanded lottery system means that 50% of the time, we'll have to just sit there for 15-20 minutes, try to keep it moving, and maybe give you tips about how to get a job at another firm. On the plus side, some of y'all are fun to talk to (much better than HLS), which makes it better than our average day at work. Doesn't mean you get one of our limited call back slots, but we will enjoy your company.

Third, as just noted, call backs will be fewer and further between--and your chance to get an offer before the class fills up will be gone by mid September. Those of you good enough and/or lucky enough to get a call back should be all over it like a PA on a pair of drunk 1L twins.

Finally, good luck. "Relax, this is UVa and we're all getting jobs" was three years ago.
3Ls, how's it going? Please take our poll, and share you experiences in the comments, anonymously if you wish.


K. Kordana's steaming pizza pie said...

It's great to come back, even if we can't really take more than a handful of people this year. Anyone from '05/'06 down this week?

Anonymous said...

Your "commenter" is clearly a LR tool who has no personality or work experience, and is counting on his 3.88 to land him a job. Good luck bro. Firms are looking for people they can plug right into spots without much or any training, and for people they can actually put in front of a client without the client commenting on how awkward/strange the new associate is. I'm sure your academic experience will go a long way there.

Anonymous said...

Where's the option for those of us who didn't summer at a law related option and but an offer?

Anonymous said...

i was looking for the "summered at a firm, got an offer, not too excited about it"

Anonymous said...

10:06 is dead on. There have been a ton of articles lately in the legal press, wsj, etc talking about how law firms are looking for attributes way beyond law school gpa -- management/business skills, etc. Diminishing (or even negative) returns set in very quickly once you pass a particular gpa -- most law firms don't give a sh*t if you were able to spot that last Torts issue or type really fast. And i wouldn't want to go to a law firm that did.

- LR member

Anonymous said...

yes, all this may be true but the bottom line is firms like GPA cause they may the 150 resumes that got dropped for every DC office easy to narrow down. My firm was not Williams & Connolly but I know my firm used grades and LR (they know who the write ons were and their lower GPAs) to narrow it down this year. I know cause I saw the stack of resumes with the GPA they had a recruting staffer calculate on the top of each one.

Anonymous said...


well, law firms get what they deserve. if their HR peeps are too lazy to drill down below gpa -- and, say, overlook the 3.4 kid who has awesome w/e, interesting background, stuff that demonstrates writing ability, etc. -- then they'll get workerbees who can spot the most subtle torts issue but will NEVER be partner material.

Anonymous said...

"law firms get what they deserve."

wow, do people just get so bitter at LR folks or something that they delude themselves into thinking personality is everything?

not to accept the premise that all LR people are anti-social tools, but ***guaranteed*** smart and super hard-working workerbees who get the law are an asset, a huge input into the firm business model.

you don't depend on all (or even most or particularly many) of your associates for client development, or to even substantively interact with your clients. you don't really need to groom very many associates into partner material. as long as they're ambitious enough to work their ass off to make partner, you're good as gold.

oh, and by the way, credentials actually do matter for client development when general counsels are looking up bios and judging firms like a typical lawyer (where did you go to school, did you get on law review, who did you clerk for, etc).

in sum, shut it. going for kids with high grades makes good business sense.

Anonymous said...

11:39 = a perfect example of the lack of social skills the above posters were complaining about.