October 7, 2004


If your 2L job search is anything like mine, the things you thought would matter to you during the interview process may not matter as much as you think. In contrast, stuff you never really considered important will really affect you.

Example: one OCI firm was rude to a friend of mine in the screening interview. I don't care how cool they are. I'm not working there and I'm not referring business to them. Probably for the rest of my career. Is this reasonable, or smart? Probably not, it's one associate, who was probably exhausted at the end of a long day of interviews. But that's life. I'm sure firms have made hastier and sillier rejections of me.

Example 2: free sodas are a big deal to me. I always took them for granted, coming from software. Now I realize that not all firms have them. I find it affecting my opinion of firms way more than it should.

Example 3: firms where people say, "so-and-so (the OCI interviewer) says you're a great candidate" seem like so much of a better fit than those where people don't say anything. This is silly. It's much more indicative of the personality of the individual OCI interviewer and the person who shared the info than the firm itself. But really, we don't get enough information to make this decision, so I'm going with any little tiny thing I can find.

Example 4: firms who give a shorter reply period for their offers automatically seem less attractive to me. It's smart negotiating strategy. I should be appreciative of this. And yet, somehow, I like them less.

Example 5: firms within walking distance of cheap good food get major bonus points in my book. Enough points to counteract a 50 to 100 hour billables difference. This makes no sense. I could not save enough time walking to cheap lunches to make up the hours difference, since driving to far places would probably take just as much time.

Example 6: the OCI interviewer really colors my opinion of the firm. If I don't click with that one representative of the firm, it's hard to get over that lack of connection, even if on a callback I meet 5 others that rock.

Example 7: the commute doesn't matter to me. I thought I'd be very conscious of how long the commute will be, given my hellish commute to school. Somehow, it doesn't enter into my calculus. This, too, makes no sense. I know the commute to school is one of my least favorite things about my life. But somehow, it refuses to enter into the equation for next summer. Huh?

Example 8: I always claimed I didn't care about prestige. Yet, I'm finding myself more attracted to firms with more well-known names for the area in which I want to practice. I think this is logical, given the doors that prestige opens, particularly in the prestige-laden field of law. But it's new for me. Who says law school doesn't change you?

Example 9: I thought casual dress was important to me. After visiting a few firms, some on the super-casual side, some on the business side of business-casual, I've realized that I don't care. At all. When did this happen?

In short, unlike what I thought when I started this madness, I can now see myself happily dressing up and working an extra 50 - 100 hours a year in exchange for some combination including at least a few of: free sodas, proximity to cheap food, good training, cool people, and prestige. Basically, I know less about what I want now than I did when I started.

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