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Recently I was preparing a candidate for an interview with a large firm. The candidate had outstanding credentials and excellent experience in a highly specialized niche area of the law.
Recently I was preparing a candidate for an interview with a large firm. The candidate had outstanding credentials and excellent experience in a highly specialized niche area of the law. The candidate was interviewing with a top New York firm and he really wanted the position so he was a bit nervous. As we explored why he was nervous, I experienced déjà vu! I realized that I have had this same conversation on multiple occasions with numerous candidates.
  The root of this candidate’s anxiety stemmed from the fact that, after reviewing the biographies of the partners with whom he would interview, he began to think that his experience was not on point with their practices. Unbeknownst to me, he began to ruminate about many awkward scenarios. Would he and the partners have anything substantive to say to each other? Would the partners be irritated that they had wasted their time by arranging a meeting with him? Was he setting himself up for an embarrassing fiasco that would last several hours? Fortunately, this candidate was very communicative during our interview preparation, and so I was able to address his concerns.

The first caveat that this candidate needed to bear in mind was that the partners had reviewed his resume and decided that they wanted to meet him! The foregoing may seem self-evident, but the candidate had become so entrenched in the notion that his experience was not directly on point that he had forgotten this elementary (and obvious) premise. I reminded the candidate that the partners were familiar with his experience, and unless he had misrepresented his experience on his resume (which I knew he had not), then he would be able to have intelligent conversations with the partners.
It is imperative to remember that partners are very protective of their time, and if they set aside time to meet with you, then they believe that you have the necessary qualifications. The purpose of the interview from the partners’ perspective is twofold. First, the partners want to verify that your experience is “as advertised” on your resume and that you can speak intelligently and articulately about said experience. Second, they want to determine if they like you. Are you personable and approachable (as well as intelligent and experienced)? Do they want to have you pop into their offices with questions? Would they feel comfortable introducing you to clients? Would they want to take a business trip with you?

The second caveat that this candidate needed to appreciate was that he did not know why he was being invited to meet the partners. Perhaps the group was venturing into a new area of the law where this candidate’s highly specialized experience would be extremely useful. Just because the partners’ practices did not exactly match the candidate’s experience, it did not mean that the interviews would be an abysmal failure. I once had a candidate who was trying to relocate to Italy. The candidate worked at a top firm in New York and had outstanding academics. Despite his excellent qualifications, he only got one interview. The interview was with a top international firm that was beginning to do a lot of work in South Africa, and my candidate just happened to be South African! The point is that you do not know why a firm wants to meet you; however, you need to believe that they have a good reason!

I will conclude this blog by stating that confidence is a key element to a successful interview. Rather than ruminating on the fact that your experience is not on point, review your resume and remind yourself about all the skills that you have mastered. This review will allow you to speak extensively and intelligently about your experience which is critical if you want to receive an offer. Whether the partners like you is not really within your control. Relax, be yourself, and make eye contact! If the partners do not like you, then you probably would not have enjoyed long-term success with the group. Lastly, keep in mind that you do not know why the partners have opted to meet you so assume that they have a good reason which will be conveyed to you at some point during the interview process. The most important thing is to exude confidence because confidence is extremely attractive and entirely within your control!

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About Harrison Barnes

Harrison Barnes is a prominent figure in the legal placement industry, known for his expertise in attorney placements and his extensive knowledge of the legal profession.

With over 25 years of experience, he has established himself as a leading voice in the field and has helped thousands of lawyers and law students find their ideal career paths.

Barnes is a former federal law clerk and associate at Quinn Emanuel and a graduate of the University of Chicago College and the University of Virginia Law School. He was a Rhodes Scholar Finalist at the University of Chicago and a member of the University of Virginia Law Review. Early in his legal career, he enrolled in Stanford Business School but dropped out because he missed legal recruiting too much.

Barnes' approach to the legal industry is rooted in his commitment to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. He believes that the key to success in the legal profession is to be proactive, persistent, and disciplined in one's approach to work and life. He encourages lawyers to take ownership of their careers and to focus on developing their skills and expertise in a way that aligns with their passions and interests.

One of how Barnes provides support to lawyers is through his writing. On his blog,, and, he regularly shares his insights and advice on a range of topics related to the legal profession. Through his writing, he aims to empower lawyers to control their careers and make informed decisions about their professional development.

One of Barnes's fundamental philosophies in his writing is the importance of networking. He believes that networking is a critical component of career success and that it is essential for lawyers to establish relationships with others in their field. He encourages lawyers to attend events, join organizations, and connect with others in the legal community to build their professional networks.

Another central theme in Barnes' writing is the importance of personal and professional development. He believes that lawyers should continuously strive to improve themselves and develop their skills to succeed in their careers. He encourages lawyers to pursue ongoing education and training actively, read widely, and seek new opportunities for growth and development.

In addition to his work in the legal industry, Barnes is also a fitness and lifestyle enthusiast. He sees fitness and wellness as integral to his personal and professional development and encourages others to adopt a similar mindset. He starts his day at 4:00 am and dedicates several daily hours to running, weightlifting, and pursuing spiritual disciplines.

Finally, Barnes is a strong advocate for community service and giving back. He volunteers for the University of Chicago, where he is the former area chair of Los Angeles for the University of Chicago Admissions Office. He also serves as the President of the Young Presidents Organization's Century City Los Angeles Chapter, where he works to support and connect young business leaders.

In conclusion, Harrison Barnes is a visionary legal industry leader committed to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. Through his work at BCG Attorney Search, writing, and community involvement, he empowers lawyers to take control of their careers, develop their skills continuously, and lead fulfilling and successful lives. His philosophy of being proactive, persistent, and disciplined, combined with his focus on personal and professional development, makes him a valuable resource for anyone looking to succeed in the legal profession.

About BCG Attorney Search

BCG Attorney Search matches attorneys and law firms with unparalleled expertise and drive, while achieving results. Known globally for its success in locating and placing attorneys in law firms of all sizes, BCG Attorney Search has placed thousands of attorneys in law firms in thousands of different law firms around the country. Unlike other legal placement firms, BCG Attorney Search brings massive resources of over 150 employees to its placement efforts locating positions and opportunities its competitors simply cannot. Every legal recruiter at BCG Attorney Search is a former successful attorney who attended a top law school, worked in top law firms and brought massive drive and commitment to their work. BCG Attorney Search legal recruiters take your legal career seriously and understand attorneys. For more information, please visit

Harrison Barnes does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for attorneys and law students each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can attend anonymously and ask questions about your career, this article, or any other legal career-related topics. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom

Harrison also does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for law firms, companies, and others who hire attorneys each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom

You can browse a list of past webinars here: Webinar Replays

You can also listen to Harrison Barnes Podcasts here: Attorney Career Advice Podcasts

You can also read Harrison Barnes' articles and books here: Harrison's Perspectives

Harrison Barnes is the legal profession's mentor and may be the only person in your legal career who will tell you why you are not reaching your full potential and what you really need to do to grow as an attorney--regardless of how much it hurts. If you prefer truth to stagnation, growth to comfort, and actionable ideas instead of fluffy concepts, you and Harrison will get along just fine. If, however, you want to stay where you are, talk about your past successes, and feel comfortable, Harrison is not for you.

Truly great mentors are like parents, doctors, therapists, spiritual figures, and others because in order to help you they need to expose you to pain and expose your weaknesses. But suppose you act on the advice and pain created by a mentor. In that case, you will become better: a better attorney, better employees, a better boss, know where you are going, and appreciate where you have been--you will hopefully also become a happier and better person. As you learn from Harrison, he hopes he will become your mentor.

To read more career and life advice articles visit Harrison's personal blog.

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