Question: Can too much experience be a bad thing? I recently interviewed with a large firm for an associate position. I met with 2 partners and an associate. The firm was interviewing quite a few candidates and told me I could expect to hear back from them in 4 weeks, at which time they would either make a written offer or send a rejection letter. I sent thank you letters to everyone with whom I interviewed and waited eagerly for their decision. I really believed that this firm was a great fit for me.
After the 4-week deadline passed, I called to follow up. The recruiting coordinator told me they would not be offering me a position because I had more experience than they were looking for and they had decided to go with someone with less experience. She asked me if the partners had indicated to me that they were looking for less experience. I said not really. (One partner had indicated that compensation was based on class year and asked where I saw myself. I indicated that I was flexible, that I believed in proving myself. He seemed satisfied with my response).
I was disappointed, but I asked her to keep me in mind for any future openings that might arise. I also indicated that I am flexible as far as class year and would always be willing to consider an offer whatever it may be. She indicated that she would pass this info on to the partners in charge. Is there anything else I can do? How could I have better handled this situation? Please help. READ MORE >
Question: What advice can you give to a senior associate or junior partner looking to make a move? I have been with my present firm for over seven years, but the practice is very narrow and the firm seems not to be doing as well as it once was.
I certainly do not want to be around if the business does disappear because then all of my colleagues will be on the market as well. How can I locate an appropriate search firm, and what would you advise me to tell potential employers about my reasons for leaving? What opportunities should I expect to find without a substantial book of business? READ MORE >
Question: When should a job offer be considered a "firm" offer for the purpose of giving notice to your current employer?
When the offer is first made, it is usually contingent upon successful conflicts, reference and background checks. The necessary information and authorizations to do those checks are usually provided when the offer is accepted.
If neither the candidate nor the firm anticipates any problems, should the candidate assume the offer is firm at this point? Or should the candidate wait to hear back from the firm before giving notice? If that's the case, how long should the candidate wait, and how many follow-up calls should he/she make? READ MORE >
Question: I am a mid/upper-level associate at a top firm in a large Midwestern city. Although my reviews have generally been positive, my partnership chances are murky and I still have several years to wait until a vote. However, I have recently brought in my first substantial client.
I have been offered a position with a much smaller (20 to 25-attorney) firm. The new firm would basically match my salary, and I'd be "considered" for partnership in a year (for what that's worth), with the managing partner implying I'd be a shoo-in when the time comes.
I am concerned about the move for several reasons. First, my husband and I may (but may not) want to relocate in several years, and I know moving to a smaller firm will complicate matters. Second, there has been significant change in the composition of the partnership at the new firm over the last five years - I am concerned about stability.
Do you think this opportunity is worth pursuing? If so, what sorts of hard-hitting questions do you think I should ask about the turnover, and the structure of the firm's partnership, to make sure I know what I'm getting into? In short, how does one do due diligence in this situation? READ MORE >
Question: How do I stop working with a headhunter who has submitted my resume to many law firms but has not followed up with them? I get the feeling that she is not very conscientious and my resume is sitting in a pile somewhere. She does not call me to give me any updates, even after I've gone to screening interviews through her. I had to call the firm directly to find out whether they would proceed. Is there a way to get her to retract my resume from all of the firms she sent it to and resubmit it again? READ MORE >
Question: A recruiter I was dealing with sent my resume, without my authorization or knowledge, to Law Firm X. At or around the same time, I answered a blind advertisement placed by that firm and received an interview. After the interview occurred, I mentioned it to the recruiter, and was told about the resume they submitted.
The recruiter then contacted someone at the firm they had dealt with in the past, told the firm about me, and I was subsequently rejected for the job. Is the recruiter liable for interference with prospective economic advantage or breach of contract (for contacting the law firm without authorization)? READ MORE >
Question: I have some upcoming interviews, all at major firms with year-round casual dress. What do I wear? READ MORE >
Question: I graduated from Columbia and have been working as a corporate lawyer in a big downtown firm for the last six months. For personal reasons (my significant other, whom I met only a couple of months before graduating from law school), I want to move to the Bay Area as soon as possible. I have several questions: READ MORE >
Question: I am a first-year associate from a top-five law school, where I earned some distinction. I am miserable at my present position in the corporate department of a mid-size New York City law firm. The firm is a great place to work but I could not devise a worse career for me than corporate law. I wanted to become a lawyer to read, write, analyze and work with international issues; not photocopy, insert commas, collate, collect signatures, and harass opposing counsel for by-laws. I want to go to work and read for comprehension for at least some part of my 13-hour day.
Childish bitterness aside, I know that I have to pay my dues; but I am building a house I do not want to live in and I am tired of crying myself to sleep. We make the "firm decision" fresh out of our first year in law school. I knew nothing then.
Over the two years following that decision, my interest has grown in international trade, environmental law, antitrust and international litigation and arbitration. In fact, my firm accommodated those interests by providing me with a steady diet of made-up assignments for my 13-weeks summer with them.
Now I am interviewing again and the bedtime tears have ceased. Please advise on the best way to present myself and this career change. READ MORE >
Question: I have just accepted an offer to work as an associate next fall for a major New York law firm. In the wake of the associate layoffs at other firms, I was wondering how safe my position would be if my firm decided to clean house. READ MORE >
Question: I am a well-regarded associate at a large law firm, which is giving a sizeable bonus this year. The bonus is based on each associate's billable hours. My billable hours are low because of the downturn in the economy.
Overall, I am very happy with my firm. I appreciate that many firms are not only withholding bonuses but also laying off associates. But I am not thrilled about losing out on this bonus, which to some extent I view as deferred salary. Since I don't want to leave my firm, is there anything constructive I can do to express my displeasure? READ MORE >
Question: I am a second-year litigation associate at a top New York City firm. I graduated in the top 3 percent of my class from a second-tier law school and I clerked for a federal district judge right after law school. I have been at the firm for six months and I am miserable.
Although I knew I would have to work many hours, it has been much more onerous than I expected. I am married and I have two small children that I want to spend more time with. Apart from the hours, I enjoy my job and the people that I work with.
I know from reading your previous columns that, particularly as a litigator, it is too soon for me to move in-house. Is there anything else I can do without shooting my career in the foot? READ MORE >
Question: I am a junior associate in a mid-sized firm. For a variety of reasons, we are suffering an exodus of junior associates. Some juniors do not believe that the firm offers them a future.
Despite this, I am one of the true believers in this firm. I'd like to start a junior associates' committee so that we may address different issues facing us, and possibly solve them. Any guidelines that you may provide? READ MORE >
Question: I'm an associate at a mid-sized firm. Rumor has it we are about to merge with a BIG national firm. Should the associates be worried? Don't associates normally get cut in these mergers? Is it realistic to think that the firms will display some degree of loyalty? Chances are, if I applied to the big firm directly, I wouldn't get hired. How much does that matter? READ MORE >
Question: I graduated from a top law school a few years ago. I accepted an offer from the firm that I worked at during my second summer and began working in the fall after my law school graduation. I left the firm a little over a year later due to medical complications related to my pregnancy. Now, after being home with my child for several years, I wish to return to work. How hopeless is my situation, and what should I do? READ MORE >