[00:00:00] Today we're going to talk about top 23 interview tips and and this is for attorneys and also law students. And one of the reasons I wanted to do this presentation today is because these are the 23 things that people tend to mess up the most when they're interviewing with law firms.
[00:00:17] And it doesn't really matter what level you're at. It doesn't matter if you're a student or, various senior attorney I'm going to cover a lot of important things that I hope. You can remember and and think about, and just by, showing up for this, I think it's some, it's a good sign that you're on the right track and willing to learn.
[00:00:34] And I've seen a lot of people mess up interviews in my career. And I've also seen a lot of people do very well. And and I want to tell you about, the ways that you can do well. These are going to be the most important rules that I see and.
[00:00:48] I hope what we're talking about today can help you. The first thing is, when people go in for interviews, a lot of times they don't think very closely about how they're dressing and [00:01:00] when you dress for a law firm interview, regardless of whether or not the firm is a casual type firm or.
[00:01:06]Or as a not a casual from where everyone's very formal, you should be dressed up and look as good as you possibly can. And that means, you want to look like the kind of attorney that you would want representing you if you were a client.
[00:01:18] And and typically what that means is you want to put on a good suit and you want to or a dress, a woman dressed suit and. Then you want to look the part of a successful powerful attorney. Some of the mistakes that I've seen people make one of the biggest mistakes by the way is, dressing casual.
[00:01:36] When you go on or casually, when you go into a casual. From, and you always have to wear a suit regardless of the type of in dress up, regardless of the type of firm. It is other mistakes that people make that are very serious are is, are things like, not wearing shoes that are polished.
[00:01:53]You want to have shoes that are polished and look good. You want to wear a good quality of clothing. It doesn't have to be like the [00:02:00] best quality, but. When people buy very cheap suits are very, and that sort of thing, it looks like that. And and it's not good or, ties that aren't, conservative and for men and things along those lines.
[00:02:10] So it shouldn't really be a lot of news that I'm saying, but. The way you dress and the way you look is going to reflect the image that the firm wants to reject. And there's a certain type of person that certain firms will hire a type of person that they want. So the way you look, when you walk in, take a look at the attorneys on the website, see how they appear.
[00:02:31]You need to be reflecting something. That's similar to that. Another mistake that people make Is they give long rambling answers and, this is a huge mistake. And the thing is, people are going to take a look at you and they're going to reach conclusions based on what they see when they look at you.
[00:02:48] And then when you start talking you, you need to, the more you say a lot of times, the more you can talk yourself out of a position or talk to the employer out of a position, because when someone's [00:03:00] interviewing you. They actually want to hire you. They're only bringing you in because they're very hopeful that you'll be a good fit.
[00:03:07] And a lot of times what people do is they'll start rambling and and talk a lot. And they won't think through their answers. I was interviewing someone today. It was very interesting and and the person had a great background and and was perfect. And there was all these very positive things about them.
[00:03:23] And then about a half hour, 45 minutes into this interview the person just started talking and they let it slip that they actually had lost their job. Without, they sit in my last law firm job, even though they'd only had one. And I realized that the person actually had lost their job.
[00:03:41]Which was fine, but they didn't want me to know that because they were still on the website and all sorts of other things, and they probably had a lot of time to find a new job. And there's nothing wrong with that, but by rambling they made that mistake. And the other thing is when you're interviewing you want the employer really to be talking the [00:04:00] majority of the time, they're going to listen to what you say.
[00:04:02] But the more you talk the more you're gonna create issues for you. You may bore them, or you may say things that make them not like you, you just don't know. So you'd have to be very careful about that. And you also don't want to go into too much detail about previous things you've done.
[00:04:17]If you reveal too much about old jobs, you've done clients or cases that may make you seem untrustworthy. You don't want to talk too much about in too much detail about things, because anything you say that employer knows that you will talk about them potentially in the future.
[00:04:33]So you don't want to go into too much detail. You want to be very, careful about that. And then the other thing is your body like, so people do all sorts of stupid things in interviews. They'll slump down. They'll though, they'll poke their neck though, and they don't bite their nails though.
[00:04:49]They'll look bored. They'll look, a lot of times people will look bored and look away. They will Biggest one is playing with your phone. I've seen that in the middle of interviews, which I just [00:05:00] honestly can't believe and and they'll do all sorts of things.
[00:05:03] So you need to be very aware of your body language. You should be trying to make eye contact with people. You should be sitting up, you should be, very careful without certain things. And these things that I've said so far, are all very. Simple things, but the problem is people really mess them up.
[00:05:18]They talk too much and then they, they look they reveal a lot about themselves or they go into too much detail about their previous jobs and reveal a lot about themselves or they they use the wrong body language and that hurts them. So you just need to be very careful about these things.
[00:05:34] And then the other thing is you'd need to be honest. So a lot of times what people will do is they'll get into interviews and they'll think that they need to have been the best at everything. They need to have done the best at this, or they need to have Excel that they need to, or they can't be vulnerable about some mistake that they've made or something that's neg a little negative in their background.
[00:05:55] And so they're expected, they think they need to be superhuman. And really stretched the [00:06:00] truth. And anytime you do that, even just a little bit that can get you into a lot of trouble and you just, you want to be very careful about all those things. And, I've made each of these mistakes myself.
[00:06:13]I've gone into interviews not dressed properly. And I know I haven't gotten jobs because of that. When I first started interviewing with law firms the first suit I bought it like a TJ Maxx and cause it was on sale and it was this kind of double breasted 1980s suit that had a lot of glow to it, I guess in terms of the, I mean it was like, I don't know if it was an Armani or what it was, but it.
[00:06:39] It certainly was not appropriate for interfering with law firms, but I felt like I needed to really look like someone that who was a big deal and and put the suit on. And it was completely inappropriate unless I was interviewing for a position with the mafia. So that was a problem.
[00:06:54]The other thing is I was, and and when I was in college, I was very academic and so I would go into [00:07:00] interviews and I would talk all about these, this book that I've written about, just Detroit and, social race relate. And no one wanted to hear any of that.
[00:07:10] And I would talk all about my business and I made it all about me and I didn't, give concise, short answers. People can reach conclusions very quickly. You don't need to tell them a lot. And then the other thing is I'm my first summer I worked at the. Justice department in this division of the justice department, the defender of the government, when the government had dumped waste or done bad things, it was, which is, the government, I guess could Sue too.
[00:07:33] And and I would talk about that and, body language, I didn't, get that and, and I believed you know what, I went into interviews that. I needed to really downplay anything that was negative in my background. And and maybe by omission not, be as honest as I could have been.
[00:07:49] So all these things are problems and the other big one is Not being prepared when you come into interviews and you need to be, you need to know ready to take on questions. You need to know everything that's on your [00:08:00] resume. You can't get caught off guard.
[00:08:03]You need to be very careful. Remember in college there was one, or I'm sorry, in law school people were interviewing this one guy and he went into affirm. Talked about how enthusiastic, he was about being a litigator and just talked about it for, five or 10 minutes.
[00:08:19] And then the guy that was interviewing him, took off his glasses and said, son, this is a tax law firm. All we do is tax law, which I thought was funny. So you need to know everything about that. And then and then I had another instance where I put. Something on my resume, it was about working in the yeah, cause I'd worked in the justice department my first summer, and then someone had checked that my dates of employment and all I'd put on my resume was.
[00:08:45]Some are of such and such. And I didn't work the whole summer. I only worked six weeks or something. And and I felt I had to be honest, but I was caught off guard by that. Why did you only work this length of time? And I didn't only work that length of time cause I wasn't getting paid.
[00:08:59][00:09:00] Okay. So here's some big issues in the, and the first one is about developing rapport with your interviewer and this is something. That everybody needs to be able to do. And you really need to when you go into interviews, you need to make sure that you're doing everything you can to develop as much rapport with your interviewer and, the best the best people that I interview, and I interview people all day.
[00:09:24] I interview them for people, for positions, with me. I interview them. For positions with law firms. I just I, every day I'm interviewing people and the best interviewers and the people that get the jobs to the best firms and the people that I hire, they show up for the interview and they're just immediately enthusiastic they're.
[00:09:39]They're able to sell themselves they're able to develop rapport. They know about you. They they're able to be vulnerable. They smile they're upbeat and enthusiastic. They don't. Talk too much about themselves. They're interested in the other person. They're interested in the position.
[00:09:56]They have reasons for being there and and that makes the [00:10:00] interviewer feel good. And and then the people that don't, show up and are bland and looking to be sold and or they don't know enough about the job. And they they're not maintaining eye contact or.
[00:10:11] There act acting circumspect and say, I'll think about it. Or I want this, I want that. And, or they're in a hurry and rushed and all those things are not positive. You don't want to. Have any of those issues when you're interviewing, you need to re realize that you need to look at this person and see the best way you can to make rapport with them.
[00:10:30]And, you may look at the person and you may realize, that this is not the kind of person you like. And typically, we'd 30% of the people we meet the other third, we. Don't care one way or another. And then the other third, a lot of people don't like, there's this rule of thirds and I don't know why it is, but I've heard that a lot of times.
[00:10:46] And if you don't like someone you can't, you have to think about, ways to communicate the opposite and and really try to connect with them. And you also need to listen a lot and you need to try things, try to find things that you're [00:11:00] interested in the interview, or really should be doing about 80% of the talking.
[00:11:04]It can be less, they need to be doing a lot of the talking and that's very important. If you can let the interviewers do a lot of the talking that's very positive. And and the thing is, you're going to go into interviews and, sometimes there's political things going on in interviews like.
[00:11:20]You may be interviewing with someone and they may not want to hire you because they actually may want to hire someone and that you may be being interviewed to hire or work for someone else. And then that person that you're interviewing may decide they don't like you, or you may be competitive for advancement with an associate.
[00:11:35] And you're interviewing with associate competitive with so a lot of times you'll walk into interviews and the people will literally not like it when you get in there and you need to do whatever you possibly can. To be liked and to not say anything that they can use against you, which means talking too much by asking them questions and trying to be nice and really just maintain an upbeat personality.
[00:11:57] And it's hard. It's not always easy [00:12:00] to do that. Especially if you're someone that potentially it could be a threat. Another thing you can do is, you can just, when the interviewer says something, you can paraphrase it back to them. That's something that I notice a lot of people do.
[00:12:13]That are very good and then they may reflect on it. It's called reflective listening, and then. And then come back, you need to remember that you need to develop rapport with the interviewer. And if you think the interviewer doesn't like you may be wrong.
[00:12:25] But I remember I've in court, like I've argued, all these motions before. And some of the times the ones where I thought the judge was gonna rule on my behalf and liked me. And then the ones where the judge was very rude to me. And I didn't think he was going to roll on my behalf here.
[00:12:39] He. He ruled on my behalf more than more of the time when he was mean, or she did I end up losing or winning? I'm sorry. And then when the person seemed nice, so you just never really know what someone's thinking about you, but you need to be aware of that and do whatever you can to develop as much report as you can.
[00:12:58] It's very important. You want to find, [00:13:00] things in common and you want to answer things, but you also want to. Just come across as confident and poised. So one of the biggest questions is, the, you about yourself interview a question, and I wrote an article that's only about this issue.
[00:13:14] It's on Harrison barnes.com which you should feel to, you can review. But that's a big question because I always. I like to answer, ask that question at the beginning of every interview, I just say, tell me what's going on. And, you can get a very good sense of people right away by how the answer it.
[00:13:31] They can say, I'm looking for a job. They can say I'm doing this or that. And it's really it's really a good opportunity to judge your surroundings and the people you're with. And yeah. Talk a little bit about what you're doing and, when you talk about yourself, you can talk about, why you're enthusiastic be there.
[00:13:50] You can talk about what you did that, that you had a hard time getting there in the morning, or, all sorts of things that you can talk about. That are [00:14:00] potentially relevant to the person you're talking about, or you can. Try to talk about things that are going to connect with them.
[00:14:04]But typically the best thing you can do is, you can, talk about the, your personality and be subtle and connect with a person's work. And you can say, I was excited to find out about this opportunity because I like to do this and I'm trying to do this.
[00:14:17]And that sort of thing can work as well as something. That's a little bit lighthearted as well. These are w when someone's asking you to tell them about yourself, it's a great opportunity to to try to build that rapport and to, do whatever you can to connect with the person that you're talking to.
[00:14:33] And and make sure that hopefully it's the person connects with you in some sort of way. And I love that question because it actually. It tests the motivation of the person I'm talking to it. You can find out right away sometimes what the person's a good fit.
[00:14:49] And a lot of times people will say something like I just wanted to find out what this job is about. And, right away that, to me, it's like this game is over or, they, sometimes they can become very [00:15:00] guarded and uncomfortable and then I'm like, okay, this person's not a good cultural fit.
[00:15:03] And so there's all sorts of things that people do, but you can really, test the person's interest in the job, the interest in their profession. And all sorts of things like the, by the way, the answer that question. And so you need to, before you go and do an interview, you need to be, very excited and very fired up and really in a position where you are enthusiastic about the employer and it's coming through it because people need that enthusiasm.
[00:15:28] And one of the things that employers are buying is they're buying. Your energy. The energy that you have in your enthusiasm is very important. Energy and enthusiasm, if someone asks you that are important to communicate. So another question that people will ask a lot of times is what do you know about our firm?
[00:15:46] Or what do you know about us and that's. A very typical question and, recruiters, a lot of times will tell you information. And you can, of course you can use the internet, you can read reviews and so forth. Tend to, [00:16:00] when I think, it's funny when reviews first started coming out about firms on different websites and so forth because there wasn't a lot out there, people took them very seriously.
[00:16:10] And, they believe that if they read something bad about a firm online, that, it must be just this horrible place and therefore they shouldn't work there. And so there's all sorts of like a lot of times take these reviews very seriously, but. In reality. People are going to say bad things about every firm.
[00:16:28] People are gonna say good things about firms and what you really need to address understand is, I think the most important thing is is going to be about the firm and what makes them. Different at that point in time. Younger firm is going to be more entrepreneurial.
[00:16:43] A lot of times it's going to have more opportunities for partnership. It's going to have, opportunities for advancement. It's going to be enthusiastic about taking on the world. An older firm is going to have be more established and have more procedures in place and so forth and have, access to more important work.
[00:16:59] So you [00:17:00] just, you need to learn about. What the firm you're interviewing with is and what they do. You need to learn about the people there. You need to identify with them and it's in, in reality, , when I interview law firms, I always ask them about themselves and so forth.
[00:17:15] And for the most part, you get ant the answers are very similar. If it's a small firm, Or a large firm or, they will all talk about, opportunity or access to work or, working on important matters and, so all those things are important, but you need to, understand the firm and and what it's about.
[00:17:34]And the other thing to understand too, is, if you do read negative reviews about a firm, there's, every firm has multiple practice areas. And you could be working with Mo with different attorneys. And so in some firms you may be hard to only work with one attorney, and work right under them or a couple of attorneys.
[00:17:48] And they're going to have a different personality than than other attorneys in the firm. You need to, like when you study the whatever firm you're trying to work at, you want to make sure that you don't allow [00:18:00] anything negative. That's said about the firm to, to penalize you and cause, cause if you think or thinking something negative, when you go into interview you're, it's going to show and it's going to hurt you and, see, you need to really keep your negative opinions about the firm and so forth out of your psychology when you're talking to them.
[00:18:17]It's just, you don't, you need to your objective when you go in to any interview is to get the job and, once you get the job. Then you can, play all these, do all this, these thoughts and so forth about whether or not it's right for you, you need to get the job first.
[00:18:32] And and so don't, cloud yourself with negative information. So in terms of doing research, it's, I don't know that there's a ton, I can answer about that, but you need to review it. The law firm website on law crossing, we have all sorts of from reviews.
[00:18:46]We have. Different from rankings and so forth on BCG attorney search that you can review. You can review articles about the firm that people have written but the biggest thing you can do is, that I think is very helpful as to talk to people [00:19:00] that, who may have interviewed or worked at the firm in the past.
[00:19:02] And that can be very helpful because they can give you insight into different things. If the person has worked there and is left, many times they may have a negative. Opinion of the firm so you need to take that with a grain of salt, but for the most part, it's important to talk to people that have interviewed there.
[00:19:19] And then, you can get a sense of the culture and things that the law firm may think make it unique and special. And and those special things are something that you can bring up when you interview with a firm. And and talk to them about it many times a law firm may ask you to say what your weaknesses are.
[00:19:38] And and that's something that happens in interviews. It's not it's not the most common question but it can happen. And the best way of dealing with that really is to say something about your personality that may be negative, that can be turned into a positive. And and just some common examples would be, you're too detail-oriented and and that, you can't, it keeps you up at [00:20:00] night worrying about details, or you worry about your cases or, whatever you're working on when you're outside of work or you tend to be obsessive when you work on things or, things along those that could be considered good.
[00:20:11]Characteristics and and those can all help you when you interview, if you're able to make sure that everything you say is could be something that the law firm could harness and, make the most of, so weakness might be, you feel sometimes a year or two competitive and you have to tone it down.
[00:20:27] And those sorts of things are good to, adjust your personal weaknesses. And when, and just about personal weaknesses, a lot of times people will go. To to negative things. They'll go to, they'll say stuff like, don't exercise too much or I I don't know, but things that don't really necessarily help the firm.
[00:20:43] So any weakness you're ever asked to address it needs to be something that will help the firm. Another question is, does the adversarial nature of lawyers work against them when they're interviewing? And think it does. One of the I had a situation once where I was interviewed by my friend worked [00:21:00] in this law firm in Los Angeles.
[00:21:02] And I had just started several months, not many months ago a position at a law firm in California and and he wanted me to go out and interview with his law firm. And and I got into this and I don't know why I did it, but he made it seem I could be this great entertainment attorney and get access to all this.
[00:21:19] I don't know this. It just made it some very exciting. So I was like, okay, I'll do that. And so I went out on, I interviewed. But the law firm and I got in there and my second interview, first of all, I was late, which was, it's a whole different story. I'll talk about later today, but I got in there and I had just taken not too long ago.
[00:21:38] The bar exam when I moved out to California and I had so I hadn't gotten my results yet. I just literally started this firm and and I went in there and the guy was like saying you're only a law clerk. Why are you interviewing for a job?
[00:21:52]And why can't you stay? Why are you only interviewing after three months? What the hell is wrong with you? And all this not very nice stuff to me. And and I was just [00:22:00] going there almost as a favor to my friend, literally, I know my friend who was getting a a bounty to interview there, but this guy was just very mean.
[00:22:07]And he was just really, and and it threw me off. I just, I didn't have the energy to practically to continue with the interviews after that. And I had to interview with a bunch of other people. It's just a very. Unpleasant experience and so a lot of times you will come up against people like that when you're interviewing.
[00:22:25] And if you do, that's a sign that maybe it's not a good place to work and, and for me it wouldn't have been a good place to work and it wasn't as good of a firm as I was at. And it was done to go out and interviewed a new place. Literally eight weeks after I started my first legal job, because.
[00:22:42]It was just dumb, but that's a problem. The other thing too, is that, lot of times, young attorneys, especially, but older ones as well. We'll see, I'm off is very pushy and arrogant interviews. They'll, they're very they think that they're a very big deal and they and they want, [00:23:00] they think other people should believe that too.
[00:23:02]And I was talking to not too long ago, like a, a couple of years ago, I remember I was talking to this guy and Kansas that had done very well at law school there and wanted to move to California and expected, without the bar and all this stuff, because he was such a good student in his law school in Kansas.
[00:23:18] And was that a good from there that everybody would be jumping up and down to hire him and. And I tried to explain this to him and he told me, I didn't know what I was talking about. And he had this, huge attitude and, and that and then this big sense of entitlement and he was a, very smart good looking guy, but just, had gotten and had done very well in law school.
[00:23:39] But but didn't really understand. So there's a lot of people like that. They they are very, they think that the world should be very enthusiastic about them. And you need to when you're interviewing with law firms, you need to realize that, being understated is really the most important thing that you can do in terms of when you're interviewing.
[00:23:58]Okay. So a [00:24:00] lot of times people will ask you to summarize your background, just say, and it's again, it's similar to tell me about yourself and. Many times it can be difficult to roll up your whole story into something into a few sentences because you don't want to say a lot, but the best thing you can do really is, you can talk about how your experience is relevant to, to what you're doing.
[00:24:22] So like I was talking to an attorney this morning. That was doing a certain type of corporate work, but had some minimal exposure to a different type of corporate work that he wasn't doing. And he was, five years out of law school practicing in a major firm and really wanted to do this other type of corporate work that involved like some federal statute or something.
[00:24:45] And the reason he was interested in it was because. He had some experience prior to going to law school working for a government agency that was involved in doing this type of work. That's as general as I can be without, for someone cause I've, I comment shallowly, but so [00:25:00] anyway, so my strategy for him was, when he interviewed with firms, as he needed to integrate how this past experience tied in with his current experience and then why he wanted to essentially.
[00:25:12]Switch, practice areas that and that was relevant. Talking about your experience and how it's led to something, cause people want people that are committed to the type of work. And and then you can also, of course, refer to your resume, typically you don't want to say something like it's on my resume.
[00:25:27] You just want to, say something along those lines why it's relevant and then. If you're interviewing with for a clinic position, you want to bring casework in that case work. But you want to bring your list of the type of things you've worked on.
[00:25:39]And the same thing with corporate attorneys and transactional attorneys, you should always have a transaction sheet built. And if you don't know how to build one you should do some research, but it's always important to document all the things you've worked on.
[00:25:53] And and have that and and have that as something that you keep with you and and especially a major cases. A [00:26:00] lot of times attorneys don't think that's important, but it's actually very important because anything you do that shows you're growing and your experience and and your enthusiasm for your work.
[00:26:11]People that document all their transactions are people that document. The major cases they've worked on and so forth and have a list of them. It's a pretty cool thing because when people ask you for that, you can say this is what I've done. And and that's good thing.
[00:26:24]Sometimes too people will They'll inject social things into there to what they say. They may say I grew up in a poor family, or I grew up doing this or that. And when they summarized their background or I went to school on scholarship or, or worse, I went to boarding school or, you don't and and none of that stuff when you're summarized in your background none of it is a lot of times people really aren't that enthusiastic about that that they want to hear more about things that are directly relevant.
[00:26:54] Professionally and I think that, a lot of times people from, [00:27:00] different types of backgrounds will want to Thinks that's very important. People out of very wealthy, privileged backgrounds, a lot of times will, not well actually make a deal.
[00:27:11] Talk about that. And they'll say, about the things that they like to do that are related to that, or there they're privileged backgrounds or people from unprivileged backgrounds. We'll talk about that. And so you don't really want us, you don't want to invoke like social type things into Europe.
[00:27:25]Interviewing you want to really keep it, try to keep it to your the work that you do while you're enthusiastic about it. And then just have a glow and enthusiasm. When you're qualified, when you're going in for the interview. Okay. But I do one thing I would say is when people are asking you about your work if you are asked about it to have some representative, transactions or cases you've worked on.
[00:27:46]Okay. So a lot of times people will be interviewed for positions where they feel like they're unqualified and and the thing to remember is anytime someone's bringing you in for an interview they generally, [00:28:00] literally, they almost always have a need and they do want to hire you if at all possible.
[00:28:05]They. They really want to like you, they want you to be a good fit. If your background is under-qualified, they want to hope that your drive and enthusiasm and determination and not being jaded make up for that. And, you need to understand that anytime that you're, under-qualified you can do whatever you can to express a personality match, to be enthusiastic about the firm.
[00:28:29]When you're. Interviewing with them to to know more than the next person to want the job more. And that enthusiasm really does go a long way. If they think that you're smart enough to do the job and they think you're going to be stable and they think that you're going to give it everything you have then then that's amazing.
[00:28:47]I remember I knew a candidate once that I was working with. He had gone to an unaccredited they unaccredited, he went to a law school in California that the only place he could practice law was [00:29:00] either in California or in New York. And because the law firm didn't have ABA accreditation and and he wound up working in an law 100 law firm and and the way he was able to get those jobs even without being at the top of his class was.
[00:29:14] Just having this, incredible enthusiasm and ability to connect with people and drive and and, the an ability to really come across as someone that really wanted the job and it would work hard. And he did, he worked like mad when he got to his law firm and he got the the highest bonus of any associate and, got into a major law firm.
[00:29:33] And the thing that happened to him was. That he initially out of law school, he went to work in a law firm and they they wouldn't give him anything to do because they had such little respect for this school that he went to. And somehow through his networking ability and drive.
[00:29:50] And he actually brought in some clients and things was able to get into a very good law firm and so anything that's negative in your background can be made up for. And [00:30:00] your lack of qualification can be made up for, by having like extreme enthusiasm, for whatever type of work that you're doing.
[00:30:06]Okay. So another question that people ask a lot is, thank you notes or thank you letters after interviews and I've written a lot of articles about this. You can certainly review them online. They're on BCG and other sites, but. The things that I personally believe with the cons of thank-you letter, typically outrank the potential benefits.
[00:30:25] I can just tell you a quick story. I went out to eat with some important people a couple of years ago. And and I had a nice time and but then one of the people and I pay for the dinner, but one of the people sent me this. Over the top thank you letter.
[00:30:41] And and I was going to respond to it, but then I was like, it just seemed it was way too much. And and it made me uncomfortable because I thought that, maybe the person was a it was from a woman. I thought maybe there was something else going on.
[00:30:56] I didn't know. So I didn't. Respond to it. And so that was, and that [00:31:00] was a mistake maybe that person made. Sometimes a thank you letter can go the wrong way. And then recently sent a PR I think you letter to someone and the thank you letter was was the wrong thing to that person knew a very successful political commentator.
[00:31:15] And so I I sent them a thank you note and I asked I told them I'd love to have a commentator on my podcast. So instead of a thank you letter, it became, like maybe this person could do something for me and yeah. And and I think that, and then I said a couple of other things I don't remember, but that kind of rubbed the person the wrong.
[00:31:33]So that, and then the, and then, it's just, I think my thought about thank you letters is I think that they're a nice thing. But I do believe that a lot of times they can backfire and, people can find things wrong with them and. And that's what happened.
[00:31:47]As has happened to me on numerous occasions writing, thank you letters that are that, that are maybe a little bit over the top or they don't communicate the right way or the other thing is sometimes people make mistakes and [00:32:00] thank you letters, or, they they can also make you look like you're desperate and.
[00:32:04]Don't have a lot of other options. Yeah. I think that they're a good idea. I like to the point behind them, the only problem with thank you letters, as I've seen, people have so many issues with them and so many problems. And I think if you do a good job in the interview and you communicate your enthusiasm and you can leave at that and and that can be helpful.
[00:32:25]But I think you just need to be very. Careful and my ultimate advice really is typically not to send them, but it's certainly up to you, but I do find I've just, in the times that I've sent them I've made, I feel like they're mistakes and, there was a point in my life, actually.
[00:32:43] I was funny when I was Young, like in college, I was there was this girl at Northwestern that I which was, 45 minutes away from where I went to school and in Chicago. But and I went on a date with her and after the date I sent her a thank you letter and she, and that was wasn't [00:33:00] probably a good move because it was just, it made me look desperate, even though I wasn't, I thought this was a really cool thing to do.
[00:33:06] So it was just not. Oh, good. So I think thank you letter just as an extra opportunity to screw up and you need to be careful now, same time I've seen people turn situations around. I would say just as a final note with really good thank you letters. I and, and I almost hesitate to bring this up, but.
[00:33:25] I had a candidate once it went to interview with this firm. And and and I knew the hiring partner at the firm and he said that, and other people that it didn't really go well, people didn't think too highly of them. And I worked with this particular candidate all weekend to send very all one day, all day Saturday to send very serious and not serious but effective.
[00:33:45]Thank you letters about how this law firm represented what he wanted to do and all these different things. And it actually worked, the law firm, I went from a position of probably not going to be making him an offer to do, to make him an offer when he did that, because he was able [00:34:00] to follow up in a way that was enthusiastic and yeah.
[00:34:04]Really made him look like someone that really wanted to work there. He did. I, but again thank you letters for most interviews, unless it's that kind of situation I'm talking about earlier and this particular guy was actually overseas and had flown to Los Angeles to interview for the most part, unless you're it's not always a good idea.
[00:34:21]So a lot of times you may have a bad interview like this guy did. And when you have a bad interview the best thing you can really do is put it behind you. And a lot of times, there's nothing you can do about a bad interview. It could just be a learning experience.
[00:34:36]You could find someone and meet them on a bad day, or, someone you could be that, one-third of the people. That aren't liked, that by someone and it could happen to you with three people in a row or four people in a row. And everyone has bad interviews and bad days.
[00:34:51] I, I it was interviewing with a law firm once and just started talking about, I couldn't believe it that I wasn't that enthusiastic about where I [00:35:00] was working and. And I could see that, when I was doing that interview that the law firm didn't like hearing about that and I knew it was over so when you have a bad interview, the thing is you can't be defined by one thing you have to, keep going and you have to not worry about it.
[00:35:15]And you need to fire yourself up. If you look at like the history of the most successful people, they have tons and tons of failures. Abraham Lincoln is like the example that people always talk about, but, tons and tons of failures. So if you have a bad interview, just, forget about it and brush it off and and learn from the lesson and pump yourself up even more.
[00:35:35]You should use, negative experiences that happened to you almost as like rocket fuel to, to make you stronger. The next time things happen and you want to appear. Up and in front of judges and, in front of clients and you need to, people, you need to have enthusiasm.
[00:35:51]That's the job of an attorney too, is to have enthusiasm for your clients no matter what they are. And in most cases, in all honesty, when you get rejected and interview it's [00:36:00] usually not your fault. You need to be good at, connecting with people, but, there could be politics going on and affirm, and there could be all sorts of things.
[00:36:08]Going on that are that are not, you have nothing to do with you. People sometimes are interviewed by firms that literally, even though they may be, want to hire someone, they don't want to hire you then. They're only interviewing you because they they have to in order to be because they have, they have some they've chosen someone else or, they may be doing some, I don't know.
[00:36:29] There's just different reasons. I, one of the things, so it's interesting to me is a lot of times firms will have in the United States will have openings and it may be something like we're looking for a, an attorney who is. Speaks Portuguese and is admitted to the bar and Mexico as well as Texas.
[00:36:47]There's literally open it's like that and we'll find the person we'll say, Hey, we have this person, and so when we find that person we send them to the firm and the firm says, thanks. But, by the way, we only put this job out here because. [00:37:00] We have someone like that.
[00:37:01] That's already working here. That's not a us citizen in order to, have the the in order to hire them, we need to actually advertise the job. And so we'll interview your person, but they're not going to get the job, that's literally happened before not in a while, but so you just never know what's going on.
[00:37:17] So you need to not really worry about getting rejected. It's just. It's usually a good thing. In many times when you're rejected by a firm, you're rejected because you wouldn't be a good fit there anyway, and you need to find a place that is a good fit. It's no different than yeah. Going out on a bad date or, or, you don't want to be with a group that's not gonna include you or are not gonna like you and you don't want to be with a person that you're going to feel uncomfortable.
[00:37:42] There's not going to like you. There's lots and lots of options out there for places to work. So just don't worry about it. Okay. And then how do you screw up? It's like some of the biggest things, are showing up late. So if you show up late for an interview it's, it's fair.
[00:37:56] It makes it very difficult to get the job. I, showed up [00:38:00] late once for an interview and it was in Los Angeles. And I honestly, like I driven there the night before to see how much traffic there was and how long it would take. And I didn't account for how much traffic there would have been in the morning.
[00:38:11] And I showed up 20 minutes late and I was Iraq. And and that was just it, and you can't show up late, you should get there early preferably plan to get there, 20, 30 minutes early in case something happens and then wait, and it's no fun getting someplace early.
[00:38:26] You don't want to go into the lobby. You want to go into the lobby on time at the law firm, but you don't want to show up late to the interview. That's just a problem. It's a sign of disrespect. It shows that you'd be late for client meetings. It shows you could be late for court.
[00:38:40] It shows that you're not planning. It shows that you're a personal life that made you late. Whether you're not, you had kids or whatever's out of control and it's going to interfere with your job, there's just all sorts of problems with it. And if you show up late and I've seen people show up late to interview with me and they've been actually the ones that did that were the worst employees.
[00:38:58]They were just horrible and I don't know [00:39:00] why I hired them but I did. And they turned out to be horrible. So anytime someone shows up late it's a huge sign of disrespect and it's not a good thing to show up late for any interview. The other thing you need to be you're very careful about is criticizing your last job and saying bad things about your last job, saying bad things about the management.
[00:39:19] If you're a partner saying bad things about the people you work with and bad things about, a lot of times people will criticize these. Giant firms that have been around, 50 plus years when they go into interviews. And as if the firm is in huge trouble, because this one individual person does, I like them.
[00:39:35] There's a first year associate it's just, it, you should never say anything negative about your firm. And in most cases, when things don't go well at a firm, there's two sides to the story and, you have to. There some blame for things not going well now, the, from not having any work, if you're an associate is really not something you can control.
[00:39:54]If you're only working with one person and the two of you're butting heads, it's not something you can control. [00:40:00] But you need to, really not do whatever you can not to say anything negative. And there's people that are very good at that. And they do it without, coming across as circumspect, with our existing with the person that they're interviewing with are still connecting, they just, they talk about why it's got opportunity.
[00:40:16] They talk about maybe, it's okay. For example, to say something like, if you're working on small litigation matters and you want to work on larger cases, it's okay to talk about that. It's okay. If you're working on small corporate matters and you want to work on larger ones or specialize more at a different type of firm, that's not necessarily being critical.
[00:40:33] It's okay. If you talk about that, you want to have them work in a firm and more offices, so you can develop more business. You want to go from a specialty firm to a general practice firm or a general practice for him to, talking about those things as positive. But talking about negative things is really a problem and you just want to avoid it because that anytime you say something negative about another person or another firm or something, they're going to believe that you'll say the [00:41:00] same thing about them and you just, you have to be very careful with that. The other thing is, lack of preparation. So you need to understand the firm, you understand what they do, and you understand what the job is. You understand your background, you understand why you're leaving is a big one.
[00:41:14]And you need to be able to talk about that. That's really the question that most people Are curious about it. They want to know why you're leaving and they want to get a sense of, are you leaving because there's something wrong with you or are you leaving because you're not doing good work, are you leaving?
[00:41:28] Because, someone's asked you to leave. Are you leaving? Because you're you're unable to get along with the people there are you leaving because they want to know, you need to be very anything you say about that needs to look upbeat.
[00:41:40] And as if you're whatever the firm you're going to is a better opportunity than where you're at. If you're at a huge firm moving to a smaller firm, you can sell in a developed business or, you just need to have very good reasons and be prepared and know who your audience is and the sort of things that they would like to hear.
[00:41:55] And again, talking to attorneys in the firm before you go on there, it's also [00:42:00] very impatient. Another thing is being confident. You do want to be confident. You want to be able to never, you want to make sure that you're confident in, in terms of not being sad and, not being someone like, someone that can be pushed around or not being.
[00:42:16]Because you need to be like the kind of person, just remember that you would want to be representing you. If you were a client and and so that means the type of person who is confident is able to come, connect with people. And also isn't arrogant, like a loose cannon.
[00:42:33]That's another big one, like I talked about earlier or suspicious and someone, that. Also acts like the job is important to them. You want people to think that the job is important to you and that's very important. So the more important the job is to you and in terms of how much you want it then the more they're going to be interested in hiring you.
[00:42:54]And then one of the other big things that people do is, they lie, they tell small [00:43:00] lives or large lives or. And and that's, a huge way to screw up is by lying. And I shouldn't have to say that, but so many people do that and and those are that's one of the biggest questions that people have.
[00:43:14]Okay. So one of the biggest questions, like I talked about earlier and just a minute ago was, People are very concerned about why you left your present position or why you're leaving. And that's one of, one of the most important questions, when we do cover letters for our candidates and BCG, that's really the most important question that people have.
[00:43:36] They want to know, why you've left and what's, what are the reasons for that? Because it's going to be reflective of, why. You're working there, whether or not Jim, you're going to be successful all sorts of things about it, whether or not it might've been problems at your last firm, whether or not you're going to stay at your existing employer, there's just a million issues with that.
[00:43:57] And the big thing is, like I [00:44:00] said earlier, you don't ever want to say anything negative about your old firm for leaving. You don't want to seem like you're someone that will gossip. And you want to be because they know that you're going to bad mouth them too, if you do the same with them and you're going to want to be as positive as you possibly can.
[00:44:14]The most important things you can do really are, talk about how that you want to leave because you want. You want to increase responsibility or you want to do certain type of work that the firm has, and there have to be reasons for that. You can't just say I want to move from, doing it in corporate bankruptcy is too personal bankruptcies.
[00:44:34] You would have to say, I want to do that because I want more personal contact with people. And I have this part of my history that, that isn't being in my. My natural interest that isn't being exercise and rewarded in the way that I'm doing things now. So that those are really the most in my opinion you want to be as positive as you possibly can.
[00:44:53] And this is a big question. It's something that I spend a lot of time with my candidates, coaching them on that they need to [00:45:00] come up with the right answers. And and the big thing is you don't, when you're answering the question, you don't want to look like a loser. You want to look like.
[00:45:07]A winner and you want to look like someone who is able to th that really can that the law firms should that the law firms should hire. If that makes sense, you want to look like a winner, not a loser. And so loser would be someone that would say bad things.
[00:45:20] A loser would be someone that's had problems with their work. Other mistakes that people make is they'll. Sometimes they left their firm and, for some reason, and they're not employed and then people will ask why don't you go back there? And and you, and that the firm won't have them back.
[00:45:35]There's all sorts of ways, and things that you need to do in order to be very positive about that. And really look like you're like a winner and not. So think about, your answer and you should know your answer going in and you may need to write down your answer and write it over and over again until you have something that sounds really good.
[00:45:52] And ideally, you won't even need to answer that question. You can do it through your stories about, why you're looking [00:46:00] to potentially work in a new place and what that and how that's fitting in, fits in with your career aspirations and. Sometimes are a lot of students, a lot of times will believe that a law firm is going to be interested in how they did in law school.
[00:46:14] And and it's not really that important of a question when you get out and you're out farther, when you've been out of law school for awhile, for the most part you just need to be honest, and you don't need to really talk about that too much in interviews.
[00:46:26]If you don't want to mention grades, you, can you talk about if they ask you about how you did in law school, talk about the things you enjoyed and so forth. And not every attorney obviously does while in law school and you're not expected from most firms to have done all that great.
[00:46:41] And law school. The biggest firms sometimes will care about your grades even when you've been out of law school for a long time. For the most part, it's not. Something that's at important, the laundry route. The only reason they questioned your grades when you're young and you're coming out of law school is they typically don't have a lot of other things to compare you by other [00:47:00] than your grades.
[00:47:00] So good grades can make a big difference there after earlier about, the clothes you wear but you just, you need to be very careful again about, how you dress for interviews. The big things are, men should always wear a suit and tie and leather shoes that should be polished.
[00:47:16]The you should avoid cologne and perfume and women should wear business skirts or, conservative shoes or low heel not a lot of jewelry. And then the other big one is even with the firm is casual. You still do want to dress as conservatively as you possibly can.
[00:47:32]For the interview because that, the firm is your client. And clients can show up looking all sorts of ways when they're talking to their attorneys, but the attorney needs to be the one that is professional. Just think about it in terms of that way. So that's just, I, it's a big thing.
[00:47:47] I hate to keep talking about, what you're wearing interviews and so forth, but the better dressed you are the more effective you're typically going to be. So a lot of people are shy [00:48:00] and, they go into interviews and and they're shy. And and you certainly do not want to be shy in interviews.
[00:48:06] And you need to be try to, be able to talk and, talk at a, an, a louder, a loud enough voice. You need to rehearse, I, you need to have you don't want to be too nervous. This is typically a problem for a lot of times for law students and that sort of thing, but sometimes the older attorneys that haven't interviewed in a long time are nervous.
[00:48:24]The big thing is just to be prepared. And the most important thing is doing what you can to connect with the interviewers and. And then just making sure you're not doing things like, fidgeting stammering a lot of times people will say, a lot, I noticed her I go to, so sometimes that I've done that when I talk and it's not a good thing excuse me to avoid that.
[00:48:44] And you want to be relaxed, not too relaxed and just be very careful about how. You're appearing and don't get too close to the interviewer and act like they're your friend too much. You have to remember that, when you're interviewing with someone there's [00:49:00] definitely a relationship there where they're in control of your future.
[00:49:03] And and there nothing is set in stone at that point in time when you're interviewing. But, if you have problems with confidence and so forth, when you're, when you're thinking about it and that's something that you need to work on and attorneys should be confident meeting all sorts of types of people.
[00:49:20]And there are attorneys, of course, that work in, that are hired to just be workhorses and don't necessarily need to have the personal skills and and our skill in one way or another. But you do want to convince people that you're gonna work hard and you don't need to be the, the most personable and the most outgoing person.
[00:49:38] Of course, it's absolutely, no one can be that, but you do want to be appear whatever you can possibly do a committed and as if you'll do the best job possible. So I talked a little bit earlier, also about interviewing with big firms versus smaller mid-sized firms. The big thing is large law firms.
[00:49:55] If you're going to interview with a large law firm, they tend to have a very set procedures and they're [00:50:00] very professional. They'll have a recruiting coordinator that will organize the people. At the law firm, they may do a screening interview. And then when they do a callback interview, they'll have you interview with different, a bunch of different types of people in the from partners to associates.
[00:50:16] And it, it tends to be very regimented and a lot of times the firms will expect you to already know about them. They won't they won't need you to sell them as much that you want to work. There is a, is a. A smaller firm may and in the, it t