[00:00:00] Today's presentation is about why you might be better off being an average attorney than an exceptional on a it's actually a fairly interesting presentation. A lot of attorneys have told me that the article that this is based out of, they've gotten a lot out of it.
[00:00:14]And it's actually been very helpful today. There's a lot of truth to this tuff from Carver in today. And what I will do is I will do the presentation. It's not a very long presentation. And then at the end of the presentation we will take as many questions everyone has about your careers and anything that I can possibly answer for you, whether it's about this particular presentation or anything else.
[00:00:38] If you're hearing this you're probably an average attorney. Most attorneys are average. And and even if you're right now in an exceptional firm and a junior associate or a mid-level associate, you look at the odds are that at some point in the future, you're probably are going to end up being just a mediocre attorney.
[00:00:55] And and most average attorneys are, most attorneys are average. [00:01:00] And most people that start out thinking they're going to be exceptional attorneys end up being average ones. And very few attorneys may start out being exceptional, average attorneys and then the exceptional ones, which you can as well.
[00:01:12] But it's much more common to be average. And it may not feel good to hear this, but it's actually the truth. Most attorneys are average and and about half the attorneys you meet will be better than you and some will be much, much better, and half will be worse. And so it's up to you. How you'll, you deal with being average and people react to being average in different ways.
[00:01:34] But one of the things that I it's important to understand Awesome is you can be an above average attorney or even an exceptional attorney, and I'm going to tell you how to do it. But at the same time most of the people that I did that I encounter that are quite average attorneys are the ones that seem like they're the happiest and have the longest careers.
[00:01:53] And and so when I wrote this, I had spent the. Yeah. I've spent the majority of my [00:02:00] career counseling exceptional attorneys. And I started to realize the more I counseled people that weren't exceptional, that most of them were actually a lot happier than people that were trying to be exceptional.
[00:02:12]And so that's why I originally put together this piece. So average attorneys is general are happier and. There's nothing wrong with being an average attorney. And in the 20 plus years I've been doing this job, the more I look at the world and and in different types of attorneys and how people have spent their lives and careers, the more I'm convinced that really, being average is fine.
[00:02:36] And and most average attorneys are actually happier. Then people that are constantly striving to be the best. And it's just true. And and attorneys that, the ones that are sticking with the practice of law, the longest the ones that seem the most well adjusted, they have the happiest families the fewest health problems.
[00:02:56]They look the best. They have the fewest substance abuse problems [00:03:00] and. Psychological problems and and so forth are people that are happy being average. And they're not constantly comparing themselves to others and trying to be exceptional. And in contrast, the ones that are doing their best and doing, going all out and trying to be the absolute best 10, in my opinion and experience to have.
[00:03:19]The most issues, the worst family lives and the most unhappy. Now that's not always the case because many partners in major law firms are very well balanced and are able to. Deal with it, tremendous amounts of stress and process things very well and do well. So there's definitely people that can handle it.
[00:03:35] I'm not saying that there's not. And most of the, a lot of the very best partners and some of the top firms are the ones that can handle it. But for the most part I do find that th the attorneys that are average are often a lot happier. And the thing is. Is most of the attorneys that are trying to be exceptional that are very competitive with other tradies or major cities.
[00:03:57] And when you get outside of major cities [00:04:00] attorneys are, tend to be surrounded by attorneys that are much more likely to be satisfied, being average. And and, but when you're in a major city, you're always trying to. Yeah, to be the best to comparing yourself to other people very concerned about Versteeg and so forth.
[00:04:16] And what I've noticed in my career is that the attorneys that are trying to that are in outside of major markets tend to be much happier. They tend to. Stick with the practice, the law longer, they tend to have a more stable families and fewer problems for the most part than attorneys in major cities and major markets.
[00:04:35] And I think that a lot of this has to do with the fact that they're not always trying to be exceptional and they're not always comparing themselves to other people. And the sort of things that attorneys and major markets are always doing. And I think that attorneys in smaller markets are often.
[00:04:51]Don't feel like they need to make as much money and they're they are often much more satisfied with themselves in our lives because they're just not constantly surrounding themselves [00:05:00] with people and trying to, be something maybe that they don't want to be here.
[00:05:03] They're not. One of the problems is that with being average is that th people constantly don't want to be average. They hear about other attorneys you're not average. And this kind of hits their ego in a strange way. And and it makes them want to compete harder and do better.
[00:05:21] And and from my standpoint, I hear about incredibly successful attorneys all the time. W while it's, rare for some attorneys to be extremely successful, a lot of them are very successful. And and if I was practicing law and I kept hearing about.
[00:05:34]People that were making, lots of money and being in, getting in the headlines they do in obvious things. I think I might be bothered by that. And and, and I know very successful attorneys that hear about other successful attorneys and they're bothered by it.
[00:05:49] And. So people that are competitive are use other people's success to make themselves feel less Stan and want to, or want to try harder. And it pushes them harder and they do more and more of what they [00:06:00] can to try to be better. And what it's really about is is what's called significance and and significance is Very ego centered emotion and and and for many people, it's in our DNA and more people, some people have a need for some more significance than others.
[00:06:17]But we want to look, we want others to think positively on us. We want to look valuable in the eyes of others in society. And people there's all sorts of ways that people find significance. You can find it through the type of car you drive the degrees you have, the money you make the type of significant other, you have you can find it through your religion.
[00:06:38]You can find it through how many followers you have on social media, who you're friends with the strength of your family, your jewelry clothes but attorneys tend to find significant through salaries. And the quality of the law firm that they're at and the quality of their clients and their education.
[00:06:56] And many times attorneys will just continually go to great lengths to try [00:07:00] to look more and more significance and this significant, and this drive for significance can blind many people and it can prevent them from enjoying their lives and being happy. And and it's very common. It's very common for attorneys to, to want to constantly be look significant to others and people commit crimes trying to look significant and to feel significant.
[00:07:22] I was I wrote a piece not too long ago for someone and I was talking about different people. Th that this attorney had served, that it would be doing, trying to look significant. And and it's interesting. It's just it's very important for some people to feel and look significant to others.
[00:07:39] And it prevents them many times from enjoying their lives and being happy. Also gives them a sense of purpose sometimes, but it can prevent you from being happy. And and the thing about significance is, a lot of it, I think is a striving for more and to prove you're on this earth and stuff, but after your dad, no one is really likely to remember you.
[00:07:59]Most [00:08:00] people that dire are just forgotten. Most attorneys are forgotten. Most politicians are forgotten. So whatever effort you put into looking the best. You're, it's not to other people it's not really matter. What matters is how you make the use of your time on earth and how happy you are.
[00:08:17] And, we know very little about our relatives from 50 years ago, much less a hundred. I remember when Or one of my relatives died. There was all these boxes and boxes of papers that another one of that, this relative of the, tried to save categorizing all the history of the family and the stuff.
[00:08:33] And. And then and it was just, hundreds of, thousands of pages of pieces of paper and, no one's going to go through that anymore. And no one is interested in it and it's sad. Cause we die when we come up and that's it. I each day, like when I come into work, it's very annoying, but I get email after email and alerts and and so forth from about associate salaries, bonuses, partner compensation pictures of exotic [00:09:00] vacations books and so forth.
[00:09:02] And all this kind of news and information can be very upsetting because you may end B if you're an associate and you hear about people making more money than you, you may end with them. And you might feel like you're not doing enough and that you need to be someone different.
[00:09:16] And I think a lot of people feel that way and it's not a positive thing. And, I have live around people and and, and see pictures of people doing things that I never could hope to achieve. And where I live. I used to see 'em.
[00:09:31]Socially, our still do, I guess people that are, have sold companies for hundreds of millions of dollars and and all sorts of things. And I'm certainly quite average by comparison. And and there's nothing wrong with that. But if you compare yourself to people like that and you, and that's your yardstick, it's, it can be unhappy.
[00:09:49] And. I remember the first law firm that I worked at every one of the partners in the firm. And it wasn't a huge firm at the time. It was maybe 50 people in the office, but all the partners were divorced. [00:10:00] A lot of them had substance abuse problems, but they were successful. And and the thing.
[00:10:06]I think the reason for all these personal problems and divorces and so forth was because they worked all the time. And so that was what they're there, they were, that was where their emphasis was. They wanted to be exceptional attorneys and and so everything else suffered their health suffered.
[00:10:23]A lot of those people are, are dead now. Even though they died in there, Forties and early fifties and other areas in the life suffered. So you can't be very strong and all areas of your life. One time, if you want to be exceptional, practicing law, many times your career I mean your life is going to suffer and other areas.
[00:10:43] So if you want to be exceptional practicing law there's really it's really not too difficult. It's difficult to do, but you can do it. Anyone can do it if you really put your mind to it. And the idea is you just need to, catalog all of your weaknesses and and then also work on your [00:11:00] strengths, but you need to figure out everything you can do to be better at your job.
[00:11:04] And figure out what your weaknesses are and then fix them. Th one of the things is as most people will try to continually get into the best law firms that can you know, and I know one woman that's been continually increasing her book of business to get into more and more prestigious firms and which is very interesting.
[00:11:21]And she's done that done very well doing that. And and you can certainly do that sort of thing. If you want to work in a law firm, then you need to continually build up your book of business and and just continue to keep doing that. You need to bill as many hours as possible.
[00:11:34] So you're judged based on the number of hours you built. You're built, you're judged based on having a lot of business you want to be in the most competitive firm, you can, and you want to have as much business as you can. And and you want to get business from the largest clients.
[00:11:49]You possibly can and all this is possible. If you keep working at it, but. And, bill has many hours working most prestigious firm and having as much business as possible. And as large appliance as possible [00:12:00] are, if you do this, you make the most money and you're the most valuable.
[00:12:03] And but to do that, you need to sacrifice a lot and you need to do this, these three things better than anyone. And and many times people will destroy their health, social life family and happiness along the way. But you can do it. And and you don't have to destroy your health, social life and family and happiness on the way, by the way.
[00:12:21]There's people that are able to do these things without doing that. There's some people that are honestly are just cut out for this kind of thing. They don't need a lot of sleep. They they're very motivated by it that it, you may have the disposition to be perfect at this.
[00:12:37] They can compartmentalize meaning they can work and then they can come home and they don't take and forget about things. There are people that can do this, and there's a lot of people that can do it, but you may not be that kind of person. And you need to understand the kind of person you are and if you are the kind of person, then you should definitely be doing it because there's not a lot of people that can, do this and put it together.
[00:12:57] But, and it's fun if you get into it. Cause it's like running a [00:13:00] business, it's just a very competitive business. One of the things that I think is important and they talk about this anytime. And it was interesting cause I read a couple of weeks ago, I read This Viktor Frankl's book man's search for meaning.
[00:13:13] I think of it. I don't know, but it was interesting. I'd never read it before surprisingly. And but the big thing, he talks about his purpose and and that having a purpose keeps you happy. And the working in a large law firm, And or in any type of law firm, if you like, it can give you a lot of happiness and purpose and motivation and and it can really give you a mission and it can give you a sense of meaning and and having problems to solve and so forth can really help you.
[00:13:38] And and people that Don't have a purpose, tend to have the most problems and issues I noticed when I got into my late thirties and and I started seeing a lot of my after kids, were born and so forth. And a lot of people that I knew getting divorced and a lot of them were people that weren't working.
[00:13:57]So they'd had no purpose and they, so they [00:14:00] they found trivial problems and then they started, doing things that were improper and so not having a purpose can be very harmful for people. If you don't have a job or you don't have something you're trying to achieve, that can be very harmful.
[00:14:13] So I know like a family of three sisters that you would think they would be some of the happiest people you can imagine. And when these girls turn 25 they were all given enough money to last them, the rest of their lives. And so to the extent they had been working before the age of 25 they all stopped working.
[00:14:32]They did, things like maybe teach Pilates or something, but nothing significant. And so two of the girls very quickly got married and then got divorced then a couple years later very kind of messy divorces. And then another one of the girls moved to. Remote exotic Island followed a girl.
[00:14:48] And these people all went to, top 20 schools for college. And and then the other girl at another one had series of affairs. And so they they were all very successful, but when they got all this money [00:15:00] they lost their purpose and they didn't find purpose. And so purpose is I think I've seen this sort of example time and time again you see it with people that inherit money, you see it with.
[00:15:10]People that don't have purpose. And so both the divorce women have all these problems and, drugs and so forth. And the the third woman just really let herself go. And and that's not unhappy. And, so it's interesting.
[00:15:24]And these people all became victims and feel sorry for themselves and happens without purpose it's and maybe it was even caused by their parents not providing the purpose. I don't know, but. Don't think that the money cost they're suffering.
[00:15:36] I think that they're suffering was caused by a lack of purpose. Having something that drives you forward is important. And if you don't have anything to do then you're very unlikely to be unhappy, you, people need things to do and they need a purpose and purpose is unbelievably important for.
[00:15:55] For your happiness. It's something that everyone needs [00:16:00] and if you don't have it it's going to be it's not a good thing. And the father of course Oh, these women is very successful and I'm sure he thought he was doing the right thing by giving these women all this money. But while he was out promoting himself he's got all sorts of purpose.
[00:16:15] He's got his business and then he's got all these philanthropies and. Things he's, he basically gave them money and took away their purpose. And and so purpose is very interesting. Th without a business or anything that these women have to do, their purpose has become basically making themselves into victims and complaining and having problems.
[00:16:36] And it's just very interesting to me what happens without purpose. If you're trying to be an exceptional attorney in a law firm the price of doing it can be in to be steep and any form of exceptionalism, meaning when you try to do something better than anyone else and really get to the top, especially in a very competitive profession, like being an attorney is going to come with a high price and.
[00:16:57]Whatever your sacrifice you [00:17:00] make, if you have a purpose it can motivate and it can give your life meaning. And if you don't have a purpose then you may end up fairly aimless and unhappy. And and so you don't want to not have a purpose. But the point I'm making is that. There's no reason that you have to sacrifice your entire life to kill yourself inside of a law firm.
[00:17:20] If it's not, if it's not something you feel like, you're genetically predisposed to do, or it just comes naturally for you. You don't have to do that if you have a purpose even if it's at a small firm or an, a smaller market, then that's a very positive thing. So let's just talk real quickly about how hard, how difficult.
[00:17:40]It really is to to be exceptional. So I don't, cause I don't want to finish this presentation with people thinking that I'm telling you that nothing's possible because of course it is. But let's just talk about the art about what you're trying to do. So there's 250 plus law schools in the United States.
[00:17:58]Less than 5% of those [00:18:00] law schools. It's actually there's more than 250. If you take on a credit and stuff, there's probably more than 400, but but less than 5% of law schools are top 10 schools. Out of those top 10 schools, not every person gets the best into the best law firms or earns the highest salaries when they come out and Out of the top 10% of all law schools, the majority of the graduates.
[00:18:22]If you took the top 25 law schools, the majority of people over 50% of those people are not going to get the highest paid jobs in law firms. And so if you're not part of this group of people, like you're really, there's nothing really wrong with you. You're literally. Just, you're in the top you're not in the top five or 10%.
[00:18:42] It's not really that big of a deal. It's it's crazy to feel badly about that. Especially if you're happy and and most attorneys do not stay in large law firms. So if you're not part of that and you're not there right now, or you want to be there in the future, you can, but there's no reason to feel bad and.
[00:18:59]Compared to the [00:19:00] most prestigious compared to the most markets, there's very few positions in the most prestigious law firms compared to the Mo positions across the country. I was having a meeting today with we, we have at our, for people that anyway it's, it takes us about 25 people to monitor all the firms openings in the country on a daily basis.
[00:19:20]But to monitor all the openings of the top 200 firms takes us one person. So it's actually it's about there's about 25 times more openings, at least in firms that are not part of the 200 largest law firms. And there are openings around the country. So it's nothing. To worry about if you're not working on one of the 200 largest law firms.
[00:19:40] And the thing is even if you were to get a job in a major law firm and the odds are that you'll never be a partner there. They're very good that you'll instinct go in house or do something or go to an average law firm. And even if you were to make partner procedures, law firm, the odds are that you would be a non-equity partner and never an equity partner.
[00:19:58] So th the odds are [00:20:00] really in terms of people that are asked, that working in big firms are trying to really get ahead of them, that the odds are really very slim. And it's not, there's nothing wrong with that. And that, and some people are. Very suited to it.
[00:20:13]I almost think that, like I said earlier, you can do it anything you want, if you put your mind to it. So if this is really what you want and you want to be an exceptional attorney, you can do the three things that I told you, which are getting into the best firm you possibly can.
[00:20:27] And don't give up, continue to get more and more business to get yourself into a firm like that. And then and then, just work very hard and get the largest clients you can and and all this stuff possible. But the thing is that excuse me. If you're in, if you're not necessarily suited for it on a kind of a genetic level, or it's not interesting to you, then it may not be the smartest move for you.
[00:20:51] And the thing is, most stockbrokers are average. Most athletes are average. Most business people are average. Most doctors are average. In fact it's actually more than okay, [00:21:00] to be average. If you have a purpose. Then then that's, what's most important. And I think the most people that are average are much happier than those that are trying to be exceptional all the time.
[00:21:09] And but that's my opinion, but I certainly, I'd like to play tennis, I'd never in a million years would think I would be a professional tennis player. At least at this point in my life it's just not in the cards for me. And and I guess I could try and push myself, but it's just not genetically something I'm good at.
[00:21:26] I would like to be a physicist, but I don't have this, I'm not going to ever be really good at it. So at some point you just need to realize that, maybe it doesn't always make sense to, to really kill yourself, to try to be something because other people think, because you think you should.
[00:21:42] The idea is that you choose what things mean. And you have to decide w what things mean to you. Have lots of relatives certainly went to good schools, and I'm just thinking here, one of my relatives. I went to Harvard and his, one of his classes, a lot of his classmates went on to do just exceptional things.
[00:21:59]They're just [00:22:00] household names. People that he knows and when Dorms and so forth and friends but, and so this guy, I remember telling me how badly he felt about himself, that he'd never done all those things, even though he'd had a great career.
[00:22:11] And so he decided that because other people were doing well it meant that whatever he was doing, wasn't good enough. And that's sad. That's what a lot of people do. And regardless of where you went to school or the people that, this particular guy had a great career and had every reason to be happy and did a lot of very good tanks and but never believed that he had the right to be happy or feel good about his own accomplishments because of the people he was around.
[00:22:36] So it's just very dysfunctional when you start. Worrying about other people and trying to be something that because you think you need to do something and the idea is you think you decide what things mean. You, if your value is in order to be happy, you need to have been most successful and looked the best to others.
[00:22:52] Then you're never really going to be happy. And and if you're, you're judging yourself against the top 1% of people you're [00:23:00] probably never going to be happy. And so it's just, you just can't do that. And and now if that's what you want to do, then you can't, but you don't need to, and it's not important.
[00:23:10] And I'll tell you that I personally I I do put myself in situations where I try to be around successful people because it motivates me and I think it's good for me and it pushes me harder, but I certainly do not allow that to make myself feel badly about myself. I use it for motivation. And not to say that I should be someone I'm not.
[00:23:32] If you're not as successful as practicing law as you'd like to be there's probably a lot of reasons. And maybe you didn't work as hard as you could in college and law school. Maybe you just aren't don't have the natural ability to be good at the law.
[00:23:47] Some people don't, you might not be self-confident enough. You might not. You might have different personality characteristics that just don't make you well suited for it. And and that's fine. Or you might just be in the [00:24:00] wrong profession or you might, be they might have all sorts of issues.
[00:24:03]None of this is It is bad. Everybody learns at a different pace. I remember my father used to tell me that, you need to realize by the time you're 40, what you want to do. And so it's not if practicing law is making you unhappy, then oops. Then it's not necessarily a bad thing.
[00:24:19] I yeah. Let me just see. Yeah. And so a lot of you know being successful as an attorney just has to do with how intelligent you are, and it has to do with your personality. And if you're not if other attorneys are able to run, No circles around you with arguments and so forth, and you don't feel like you're ever going to be that good.
[00:24:36] Then you either need to put yourself in an environment where that's okay or you need to do something else. It's or, just, think about being a professional basketball player and, would you want to do that? And so most people are average and. Regardless of what you do.
[00:24:51] And and there's nothing wrong with that. And there's nothing wrong with not necessarily realizing that you may not be the best and there's nothing wrong with working [00:25:00] and a smaller market where we're. Or in a smaller firm or in a practice area that's not going to be it's demanding for you.
[00:25:08] And so you just have to realize that a lot of times people will put themselves in situations where they're always going to be unhappy and where they're always playing catch up and where it's not going to matter. And unless you feel like you're doing the right thing and you really can do something, then it may not be the smartest thing to do.
[00:25:23]And and I just, I don't like all these stories about salaries, about people constantly feeling adequate and secure. And and I think that when people are constantly feeling that way they do whatever they can. They numb the pain by distracting themselves or abusing substances or getting a healthy Lifestyles or eating or doing whatever.
[00:25:44] And and valuing extreme success, I don't think is really the smartest thing. I was just I admire being very successful. I admire being very good at practicing law and I admire people that have the skills to be like a professional athlete doing this. [00:26:00] But remember that's very small.
[00:26:01] And and if you can't do that, there's no reason to feel badly by yourself. You just need to put yourself in a situation where where your skills are gonna make are going to be value them post and and that can mean different practice settings. It can mean all sorts of things, but you just need to be careful.
[00:26:16] You need to take care of yourself and you can't spend your life and career ending other people and trying to be something that may not be necessarily in your best interests. So I just think, you know that to be happy you need to have a message to yourself or what happiness means to you.
[00:26:32]You, you can't measure yourself constantly coordinating impossible standards. You need to realize that the people that are doing that and competing at that level are not always going to be happy. You need to have a purpose that motivates you, but is a good purpose. And and then you need to be able to understand that there's going to be trade offs for sacrifices.
[00:26:52]But those trade-offs Or just something to consider. I think if it was me and I was, sitting where you [00:27:00] are today, I would think that your, your goal needs to be to enjoy what you're doing and to be happy. And, so you need to measure your success according to what works for you and what comes naturally to you.
[00:27:10] Some people, their success is based on, being in trial and winning huge cases. And that's what works for them. Other people to be successful for them is being able to, work on a brief and have someone else argue it and and then go home at a normal hour every day. It's just, it depends.
[00:27:27]But your ability to know what works for you and doesn't is important. And, and do you want to tolerate a lot of pain to get there and and just keeping in mind that everything you're doing now and behind an office and so forth you're gonna, die one day and be forgotten.
[00:27:42] There was a story that that I heard not too long ago, it was actually funny. There was this girl that came out of that was interviewing with law firms. And I guess she just had a very nice personality and was very happy and pretty and partner was interviewing her and she was a candidate of mine actually.
[00:27:59] And [00:28:00] and the partner said to her, something like, you, you shouldn't be doing this. This is going to change you. It's going to turn you into an angry. Unhappy person and, I, if I was, you I'd find another job and her, or do something. And I thought about that and you could make that message to anybody.
[00:28:13] It doesn't have to be someone like her. You can make it to, a lot of people because it does change people and it can make you if this is, if you want to, if you become part of something, that's not suited for you, it can actually make you a, an unhappy, bad person. But if it's a good thing for you, It can make you a great person.
[00:28:31]Some people go into the military and come out a changed and 10 times better other people go into the military and come out just a complete wreck, with post-traumatic trust disorder and everything. And just some environments work for certain people. And some don't. Will take a quick break just for probably one or one and a half minutes.
[00:28:50] And then when I come back, I'll take as many questions about this and anything else that people have today. Thanks.
[00:29:00]Okay. All right. So great. So it looks like there's a lot of questions today, which is awesome. And let me just do one thing real quickly here. Cause I like I'm just going to open a blank sheet so I can type the questions on a piece of paper.
[00:29:15]Yeah. And just as many questions as everyone has. I love when we get a lot of questions. So it looks like today we have quite a few questions. Then I'll answer whatever questions you guys have. Second here. Share screen. Sorry,
[00:29:29]too. Okay, great. Okay. So the first question is it's here. Okay. Hi, Harrison, it's a bit of complex question, but thank you for the presentation and the two out of two, top 10 Moscow. Wow. And not having great luck through the OCI process. Out of 20 screenings. I received four callbacks. Okay. All great furnace and two, I really want to work out. However, it's been a few days and so far proceeded jug number one, where I thought the interview went extremely well, small branch [00:30:00] office, and sounds from the other two.
[00:30:01] I've been following your articles of life. Hone my interviewing skills to a point where I'm really able to do great and connect with interviewers, give answers that impress him and leave them with a great feeling. But something is still off and I'm not getting any offers that a lot. I know this is very journaled, but do you have any advice on what can be going wrong here?
[00:30:18] And one of my interviews, connection briefly cut out and the partners seem to get exasperated, even though the interviews otherwise went great. It's little things like another part of this like this here we go. I'm worried, take me out of the running bad luck or something else. I might talk to the firm because of something I'm not pick on, or I just need to keep out of it.
[00:30:38]Okay so a couple of things with interviews that I've noticed, and I talked to a lot of people on zoom all day long, and you may have noticed that I do the same thing as well But there's a couple of things that are very important. I think in interviews that when you're talking especially on doing zoom interviews and OCI and so forth the first thing [00:31:00] is you always want to make sure that you look into the camera whenever possible that's important look into the camera think before you answer questions.
[00:31:08]Referring to answer questions. And and then the other thing that's important is to work on not saying you know what I mean? And that sort of thing. So a lot of people say lot, and I know that no, to notice that I say it too when when I'm interviewing it.
[00:31:25] So those are some things that people do a lot of times. That are, I think are mistakes and that they shouldn't do. And let me just, there was one of the things I wanted to show you guys. Give me one second to stop the share just so I can find a document. Sorry. I got a second here.
[00:31:42]Sorry. I'm not sure here to mean credit training. Let me see. I'm just pulling up a document here. Another document.
[00:31:50] May not have it here, but I'm going to look for it real quick. Cause I just wanted to go over it with you guys real quick. And it's something that I talk about a lot. My interview, when I'm
[00:31:59][00:32:00] chicken. Sorry, I just want to make sure I have insurance.
[00:32:03]So I did find it So this is like I, and I almost feel like I should for interview. I should just talk about this almost every meeting because it's important, but this right here is how all law firms think about people when they're interfering. Can't and this, they ask all these questions, so they ask, can they do the job?
[00:32:26] And for the most part, if you get an interview with a law firm Th they believe that you can do the job. And and so that, that's very important. They're all asking that th they'll look at your resume and get a sense of whether or not they think you can, then they'll ask questions about ma then they'll try to see if you can be managed and being managed when you're working someone else.
[00:32:47] And this is a problem with a lot of young attorneys, especially in law students. Is you've been in school many times, you're in school and you've never really worked in the real world, or you've only worked there for a [00:33:00] short period of time. And. Law firms really don't want people that they feel like have too much independence.
[00:33:07]And also that they undermine the firm in the group and people with personal authority and other problems w they want people that don't have any issues with authority. And so you really have to ask yourself how you're coming across. And so a lot of times when law firms are talking to people, the, like an example of someone that probably can't be managed anytime an attorney starts their own business or something, or has had a business before law school.
[00:33:32] Like I had that and law firms don't like that because it's basically saying you're someone that managed yourself and if you're someone that manage yourself, so yeah. These four questions are really, and we'll probably talk about them in some other things today, but these four questions are really the crux of the matter when a law firms interviewing you.
[00:33:50]And and they're really asking us, and then the other ones are, can you do the job? Long-term do they believe you'll stick around? And yeah. If they believe that you have to come across [00:34:00] as someone that really wants to work in a law firm that wants to succeed that that admires the people there that think, takes it very seriously and that sort of thing.
[00:34:09] And then the other one is do you really want the job? And people that look like they really want the job and are excited and enthusiastic and not just Bland are much more likely to be hired than those that don't. So a lot of times, when you're interviewing as a law student, that they're asking themselves when you get in the door in most places that you're getting in the door based on your grades, your education so forth.
[00:34:32] And they're making decisions based on that. And, but once you're over that hump and your grades are okay, and if you're at a top 10 law school and doing okay then they're really looking more at these sorts of things can you be managed? Do they think you'll stick around? Do you really want the job?
[00:34:47] And I personally think. Wanting the job is very important, but anytime you look like you won't be able to be managed or that's the thing. Cause I, I've just noticed, I've noticed the people that get the best jobs. And I noticed [00:35:00] this when I was in law school and. I noticed the people that got the best jobs many times for almost I would say almost nondescript and by nondescript, I meant mean you can imagine how I was in law school when maybe you probably can't.
[00:35:14] But but when I was in law school, like I had my own business, I had a lot of I thought I was a big deal. I I've always been really president of organizations and things and trying to prove things. And that's not necessarily that attractive to a law firm. And I was amazed when other people.
[00:35:33] Like we're interviewing for jobs. They would come across as they, they weren't as outgoing and vibrant and leadership and and all that sort of thing. Like I had, they just didn't have it. And and that's not a bad thing, but they actually got jobs. And I didn't get as many jobs as they did.
[00:35:51]And so I realized, and I've noticed this now in when I talk to law students and interview law students as well that the ones that are doing the [00:36:00] best often are very nondescript. They're the kind of people that you think when they'll go into a firm, they're going to put their head down and work hard and they're not going to be, they're going to be Basically there to do work and they don't necessarily have these incredible personalities and so forth that are going to th that are going to blow over from one away.
[00:36:18] And they're not they're just almost like nondescript not necessarily all that Now, that's not to say that these are bad things. There's certain firms where I've seen that in certain firms where I have, so I remember interviewing with a firm called Simpson Thatcher in New York, where I actually talked to people where we're perfectly outgoing and vibrant and really nice people.
[00:36:36] And compared to a lot of other firms that were of similar qualities or the people are opposite. So it's just, it depends, but for the most part these, this nondescript means that you're likely to be managed. You'll probably do the job long-term and and if you're and people that are nondescript often have good grades.
[00:36:54] So I hope that helps. I don't think you're probably doing very much wrong. It's very difficult to get [00:37:00] jobs. The OCI process and also I would recommend and I do this. Tell this to everybody even though you're doing on-campus OCI, are you probably want to also do some work on applying to firms on your own, especially in a city that you may not maybe from.
[00:37:17] And and I would also send you a two L and if you're worried about maybe not getting an offer that, that's what I would do. And I would start doing that right now. And I don't know that there's anything toxic about what you're doing other than maybe. Looking like you, you can't be managed now.
[00:37:35] Some other things I did want to bring up and I'm going to bring this up to people, even though it may be a little bit offensive, and I think it's important, but things about management. Anytime you bring in topics that could tie that into your resume and so forth.
[00:37:52] So people may interview you because for whatever reason I don't, you could get interviews for a bunch of reasons. But [00:38:00] anytime you have stuff on your resume that maybe looks like you could be a problem or you expect special treatment or anything that, that, that can be problematical.
[00:38:09] So you just need to make sure that You know that you look like someone that can be managed and will follow in because law firms need soldiers. And what a soldier is someone at the, it's just someone that follows orders in and gets things done. And and if you look at soldiers on the battlefield, all the soldiers are the same.
[00:38:27] They look the same. They're, they're wearing the same things. They're not it. People don't talk about soldiers, feelings, and there. They just, it's just about, on how special the soldier is. They're just a soldier, so you need to come across like a soldier. And and if you look like, that you expect special treatment because of something then then that could be, huh.
[00:38:46] Sometimes problematical. Okay. Hope that's helpful. Let me see. And if you want to ask a follow-up then then that's great. Here's a great question. Coming up too. So let's see here. Two questions to [00:39:00] okay. I'm ready to quit big loft or having just started this fall. Wow. Okay. There we go. I'm sure that you're not alone. Okay. Jeremy just started this fall. I started applying to other jobs basically the week after orientation. And now I'm weighing a public interest are practicing law in a non-legal opportunity.
[00:39:18] That's riskier. It has been my dream for a while now. Just don't realize just didn't realize it soon. I have to avoid going to law school in the first place. I have savings to cover a year's worth of expenses, federal long parents IBR, so supportive, so significant other. And no kids. Okay. So I'm going to this is actually an interesting question because of the one we just heard.
[00:39:42]And so this is exactly what law firms are afraid of when when they hire people. And so this is this is why if you're worried about looking toxic and so forth, this is exactly what happened. This person here may have I don't know why they're ready to quit [00:40:00] after having just started.
[00:40:01] But th the problem is a lot of the things that I talked about today, like your perception and so forth you. There's a lot of problems with this question. So I'm gonna, I'm gonna I, I understand that you want out and I, I would love to, be a sounding board for support here, but you have other, there's lots of people that get jobs with big law firms and and then disappoint the law firms.
[00:40:23]And they leave right away because they, because they won't do the job long-term, which is this thing right here. These are all questions that you need to ask yourself. Now, the problem. With people when they join law firms is that a lot of times you may come in with preconceptions and everything that you see may, may may confirm your thoughts about why the law firms bad or why they gloss bad, but I you pass it.
[00:40:49] You can't possibly Not like a law firm after only three months. I can understand that it may be unpleasant, but having built, five or 600 hours is [00:41:00] not enough time. I certainly, when I started, jogging every day, I didn't like jogging every day. It's a new habit that you have to learn the problem.
[00:41:08] The problem with this question. And and this kind of your thought process. And it's a good question. And I certainly felt that way when I started, I'll tell you a quick story. When I when I moved to California I moved without having the California bar and I worked on my law firm for how many months that I worked at law firm.
[00:41:28] Two, I started three. Yeah. I worked for three and a half months or four months. I started maybe not Tobar and then I had taken apart in February. So I remember when I was taking the bar, I was reading the book about You know about other careers. So I was just in the same position you are. And I remember I was some, what to do with a law degree or some book about, what else you can do besides practice law.
[00:41:50] So I understand exactly where you're coming from, and I'm not saying there's anything wrong with what you were saying, cause I was right there. But the problem is that it generally takes, it takes [00:42:00] three to five years realistically two to five years to learn to practice law. And the benefit of working and really closer to four, probably closer to four.
[00:42:13]And so the problem with this question is, what you're getting when you go into a a major law firm is it's like doing a residency that you're getting paid for. If you were to go to medical school, like if you go to medical school, you don't really know how to be a doctor. And when you go to a law and people that go into residency after medical school, They they work 90 hours a week and all that sort of thing.
[00:42:37] And they sleep in the hospital and in dark rooms and, and so it's the same thing here with practicing in law, but you're getting paid, I don't know, a couple hundred thousand dollars a year for the training. So you're getting trained when you do it. And it's, we re we don't respect doctors that only went to medical school and never learned to Pratt, never learned to practice medicine.
[00:42:57] And so it's almost the same thing with being an attorney. [00:43:00] Once you get this training, you can go to work doing all sorts of things. You can go in house. Now if your interest is public interest, that's fine. My question, is why, what is it about, and I don't know what it is but what is it that the driving away from the public sector and in the public interest, and I don't know, maybe it's a need to be accepted or to.
[00:43:22] To not feel like you're not having to work as hard or to work on something that you feel has a bigger P a different type of purpose. And so I think you should be careful. I just think, I think you should learn to practice law and do this. And I think anybody that's thinking about leaving a major law firm after only a couple years, or, it's really taking a big risk because you want to.
[00:43:44] And you want to have the training. If you get the training, now, the training you're going to get in a big law firm is going to be much different than the public interest training. And you'll have training that will last you the rest of your career. So if you come out on your 25 or 26 years old, and you're done with a big law firm, by the time you're [00:44:00] 30.
[00:44:00]You have another 50 years to practice law and attorneys to practice into their eighties, by the way. What's wrong with getting some good training early on? I don't know. But that's my kind of negative opinion. That's probably not that fun to listen to. But one other thing I would say is that if you do have savings and so forth and you really just can't stand what you're doing and you and I don't know why that is then Then, then you can just quit.
[00:44:23]It, you're not going to get good references from a place if you leave that early. But, and maybe the right thing to do. And the other thing is, tons of people very successful people bill Gates left Harvard. And so did Mark Zuckerberg and and if it was me, I would be making the argument, Oh, you need to, stick around and Get your college degree, but it doesn't matter.
[00:44:44]If you really feel like you're dream to do something else and you should just get out and and your head may not be in the right place to it. And and it may not be for you and me. But I don't know that you can make that judgment Right away. I know that I enjoy practicing law more in year [00:45:00] two than I did year one.
[00:45:01] And I enjoyed it more the first half of year three than I did in a years, one or two. I think that you should at least try to learn a little bit more about it. That would be my advice, but if you don't want to that's fine. It's just, working around very talented people like that is a good experience and something that that I would recommend.
[00:45:22]If you do want to leave on good terms just tell all you have to tell them That that you want to do something to something else. And that's really that's it. And and leave. I don't think you're going to get any good recommendations, but I'm there.
[00:45:36] Who cares? It doesn't really matter. Okay. So here's a, if that's what you want, you just, you don't need to worry too much about it. Okay, this next question is what is exceptional? I know the traffic attorneys and non prestigious areas who kill it. Yeah. So that is fine.
[00:45:51]You can do w whatever you want. Exceptional for a lot of people. It's not just making money. It's about being at the circle of [00:46:00] the very best attorneys and and you're right. Traffic attorneys and lemon law attorneys and all sorts of different types of attorneys can make incredible amounts of money.
[00:46:08] There's no, there's really no. Limit to what you can do practicing law. And so if you're, it depends on what your what your your definition of prestigious. And so for some people, their definition of procedures, making a lot of money for others, their definition of exceptional is working with the best attorneys and the biggest firms and for other attorneys and may be having.
[00:46:31]Lots of free time. It just depends on you. And what kind of thought, what you have. And my point is I think you should try to do whatever makes you happiest and and and like to think that that you should do something where you see a long-term future in it.
[00:46:46] If arguing traffic tickets is something that. That you would want to do over the long-term then you should if you need more intellectual stimulation, maybe a different practice area would be good for you, but you may enjoy that and you should do [00:47:00] whatever makes you happy. You may enjoy the money and the freedom it gives you too.
[00:47:03] Those are all work things. Okay. Let's see. The next question is let's see here. I am a corporate junior associate, really just like corporate big law, transactional work. I accepted a clerkship offer in March of 20, 20, a little bit of luck to begin the fall term and fall 2021. But Not sure when the ideal time to tell my firm is I'm hoping to, into government work after this clerkship.
[00:47:27] So while I don't want to burn bridges and I really respect people I work with, I have no intention of returning to my farm or practice Crip. I feel weird waiting until two weeks out to get noticed because it's cooler, the clerkship I've known for a while, but I also don't want to give six months in advance and risk being, let go, or iced out.
[00:47:42] I did clerk prior to joining the firm. So hopefully this isn't a total surprise to them, but I haven't expressed to anyone in my practice group. I don't want to do transactional work. Does anyone know how about the process smoothly? I think you have a good point. I certainly wouldn't want to lose my job either.
[00:47:58] And and I agree that if you [00:48:00] tell them you have a clerkship, you could lose your job. Fortunately it sounds that you have a ways to go tell you do that clerkship, but also. You also have the ability potentially if you're not interested in going back to a firm, you can probably leave your firm early too.
[00:48:15]I don't, I typically don't recommend that people take time off, but if I had a clerkship that was starting in the fall, I might even leave and like August or even before that, I don't know. But it's up to you. I agree that you probably don't want to tell your from, I dunno, about two weeks notice.
[00:48:30]I would probably ask, say from, give a one month notice or something. I don't know about six months. I think that's something that I wouldn't recommend either. That's a good question. Remember when I was Working as a summer associate, I had a clerkship and and then I had a senior associate mentor in the firm and he actually, I brought up the clerkship at some lunch or something, and then he came back and told me not to bring up the clerkship to the firm because I might not get an offer if I did.
[00:48:58]Which was interesting. [00:49:00] So I think you need to be very careful. About talking about that. And and I don't think there's any ethical issues and not bring it up. But I also, if you're a hundred percent sure you don't want to do any type of corporate work I would just get as much out of it as you can.
[00:49:16] I would try to take any type of assignments and other practice groups that you can, I would Try to do work that you enjoy. And I would try to at least develop some sort of special day. So you'd have some, cause you've got another, six months, eight months, it sounds like nine months.
[00:49:31] So I would, try to do something that you enjoy and find work that you enjoy doing that. And and then and if you really do want to go do government work, then then you should figure out what type of government work that is, I did want to bring up a point too, for a couple of people that some other questions, this question person want to do public interest, and this person wants to do government work.
[00:49:54] And these are all great questions and, good ideas. You just need to be careful. And this person was [00:50:00] talking about traffic tickets, attorneys, every decision you make has consequences. So if you go to work in a firm doing if you go to work for the government, you have a very difficult time getting back to a law firm.
[00:50:12] If you go to work and public interest, you have a very difficult time getting back to a law firm or even in-house same thing with working with the government. So yeah, just understanding these longterm decisions and you have to ask yourself, what does. W what does working for the government represent?
[00:50:28] What does my future look like if I do that and the same thing with public interests, you just have to ask yourself all these questions and you want to make sure that you understand exactly what you're getting into, because if you don't understand exactly what you're getting into you're putting yourself on a path where where there's going to be a long-term consequences.
[00:50:47] If it was me and I was doing transactional work in a law firm, I would ask to to in, and you really don't like it. I would ask to do try to do litigation if that's an option, but it probably, they probably would say no. [00:51:00] And I know what it's like doing corporate work when you're someone that's more suited to be a litigator because corporate is a, it's a certain thinking process and so forth, and it's definitely not as dramatic and interesting as a lot of types of litigations.
[00:51:14]I understand where you're coming from, but I wouldn't say anything about it for awhile. Okay. Okay. Let me see here. No, these are great questions. Everyone, I really appreciate all these questions. I just these are really good questions today and I almost feel like I should do just do almost Q and a instead, but, okay.
[00:51:31] Hello. I was invited to interview for an in-house position at a tech company on Monday. Given that as my first time interviewing for in-house positions, I'm not sure what questions I should be asking the interviewer. One thing I would definitely like to ask is PayScale and how salary would increase over the years.
[00:51:46] But I'm not even sure that's appropriate for first round interviews. Would that be something I can ask at this stage? Also, other than that, or any questions I should probably ask for in house issues that I might want to consider? Okay. So these are good questions. So the [00:52:00] biggest thing you can do when you go into interview for an in-house position, right?