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My fellow CLS classmate Serious Law Student has been blogging up a storm about the Early Interview Program, and I'll leave it to her to describe the ins and outs of the process. (Basically, we have to choose 30 employers to 'bid' for, and Career Services will set up a whole load of interviews.) For those of you who are rising 1Ls, here's the one thing you have to know about the process at this point: it's responsible for the compression of law school into a single job-relevant year.

Most people will end up employed by whichever firm chooses them--or, optimistically, they choose--for employment after their second year. This decision is made during the first term of the second year, after interviews that take place starting in August.

Some people will think it's strange that I'm even bothering to publicize this, but I'm sure there will be rising 1Ls out there who don't know this. I didn't when I started. The conclusion is obvious: many of your final employers will only ever see your first year grades. This is the origin of 90% of 1L stress. (Number not scientifically verified.)

I have no idea who came up with this system, although I've heard many people when describing it express a wish that they could shake his hand. With a doberman.

Over the last few days I've been indulging in a rather elegant firm-choosing strategy. Sure, I've done a fair amount of NALP/Vault/etc. research on each firm. But I'm actually judging them the same way I've learned about almost all my previous employers: reputation. Simply put, I've sent out a lot of emails, talked to a lot of contacts, and listened hard to what they said.

A lot of the time, what they've said has jibed with my own views from firm dinners. At some of these I've found myself speaking mostly to students, whilst the partners' eyes sparkled with the more laddish gentleman. These firms are probably lovely for a certain demographic--played rugby in college, knows who the leader of the American League East is--but sadly aren't for me. On the other hand, once or twice I've met partners who had my kind of focus, or who had travelled erratically, or had some crazy life experience that you couldn't stop them from sharing. These folks impressed me greatly, and I've looked closer into their firms. Mostly, I've liked what I found.

I say this only because like Serious, I find that the statistical information in Vault or NALP (two directories of lawyers, for those not savvying the lingo) is ambiguous at best, and the descriptions... well, let's just say I'd hate to be the staff writer forced to look through the Britannica-sized volume that is NALP and told I must find some new way to say, "Our firm values diversity of race, sex, and orientation, whilst attempting to achieve the proper balance between life, work, and of course our commitment to pro bono..."


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Just pick them randomly- I cannot see how researching with Vault or NALP is actually any different. Plus, after a whole year in New York you should have figured out that the Yankees have won the American League East for 6 straught years and are well on their way to the 7th (I bet you quite a few people in Japan would know that also)
I'm probably going to pick based on the view. I think it's as reasonable an option as any other.
Alison, They gave advice about this on the View? I love that Start Jones--she's a vixen! Please pass along Meredith Viera's tips when you get a chance. W
One word of caution about small, boutique firms. When I was at Columbia, a few boutique firms were "hot." One, a little sixty or seventy lawyer litigation shop, got a lot of students interviewing. Several people summered there, and raved about the small-shop environment, the personalized atmosphere, and so forth. At some point during my 3L year, they were bought out by an out-of town Biglaw firm, and became "the New York branch of ___." I interviewed with another boutique. They were a new firm (5 years old, as I recall). They were exciting, a place to get in on the ground floor. They were going to be the next big thing. They promised small-firm atmosphere but big-firm quality work. I didn't go there (though it was tempting); I went to a traditional, big firm. A few years ago, I looked up that little boutique. It had also become "the New York office of ____", a national firm. I know, they all look the same. I've been there, but it is really important to get all of the information you can, and look as closely as you can. Two years ago, you would have been hard-pressed to say what the difference was between IP firms Pennie & Edmonds and Fish & Neave. Yet, if you picked the wrong horse there (now-defunct Pennie), you could be umemployed, two years out of law school. I know people in that situation, and it's not a happy situation.

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