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How Much Time Does It Take for a Firm to Reach a Hiring Decision?

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Question:
I recently had two interviews with an NYC branch office of a large Midwestern firm. There isn't an ''official'' (as much as I can tell) opening, but it seems to be along the lines of ''we could definitely use another person.'' The interviews went very well, the partner at my interview said she liked me, and when I met with another partner, she was actually doing the ''selling'' of me to the other partner! The partners have been very communicative (I got a status report a week after the second interview as promised), but then I was told that the interview process will take "a while." Judging from the very quick (second interview was a week after my first interview) response and action, it makes me nervous that I've been told it will take a while. Can you shed some light as to what you think is the situation? I am hoping (ideally) that they've made a decision to make me an offer but are running into the bureaucratic troubles of being a branch office. Does this happen frequently, and do you know how long it may take (i.e., getting approval for hiring an associate)? Of course, I'm aware that the firm could be interviewing more candidates and I just happened to be the first one in line
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