Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

I'll soon be posting from elsewhere for ten days or so. Next week is "fly-out" week, when basically everyone goes to whatever city (or cities) he or she is interviewing in and does callback interviews. Or, in the case of 3Ls with offers they've accepted or 2Ls not taking part in the process (there are a few...), it's a week-long vacation to wherever. I know one person going to Hawaii and another to Paris. I am not. It is nice that Harvard's schedule allows for this, though -- I hear there are lots and lots of schools that make everyone schedule the interviews around 3-day weekends, or miss classes, or other unpleasant stuff like that (perhaps you're thinking that having to miss class isn't unpleasant... and I suppose that's fair... but still, not having to deal with that is way more convenient).

The Office of Career Services had a session about what callbacks are like last week. Unfortunately, they held it while on-campus interviews were still going on, and I had an interview. Also unfortunately (for those that attended), I heard it was useless. I was going to read up on the OCS web site about callback interviews, and whether callback is one word or there's a dash in the middle, but the password-protected section of Harvard's entire site appears to be down, or my computer is screwy. Either way, whatever surely-valuable information is there is inaccesible to me.

The only solution? I've got to write my own. Bear in mind I've yet to have a callback interview, so this will not be useful to anyone looking for real information. But what can you do?


1. Only go to callbacks to which you have been invited by the firm. While it may seem tempting to dress up in your favorite suit and go wandering through downtown wherever knocking on the doors of the firms that rejected you and trying to convince them that your name ought to be on the list, in order to spend hours and hours talking to their attorneys, who, in the end will figure out you shouldn't have been there and not give you an offer anyway, you're really just wasting your time and theirs. Guidebooks that propose this as an appropriate interview strategy most likely were written by the same people who say that to get a high score on the SAT, you should always pick "C." Everyone knows you should always pick "B."

2. It's probably a bad idea to schedule two callbacks in different cities in the same day. Or at least at the same time. Air travel has advanced by leaps and bounds since most of these big law firms were founded back in the days of Christopher Columbus (Did You Know: John Adams worked for 7 of the top 10 Vault-ranked firms in his day. He kept getting fired for stealing office supplies!). While you could theoretically interview in New York at 7 AM, be on a plane by noon, get to LA by 2 PM with the time change, interview at 3 PM and be in San Francisco for a late dinner, this strategy is ill-advised. For some reason. I can't remember why.

3. When a firm takes you to "lunch," it's not really lunch. It's a test. To see if you are bulimic. Big law firms have recently been in the news for promoting an unhealthy body image among young associates. Rates of bulimia at corporate law firms have surpassed those at playgrounds, nursing homes, and construction sites. Given this epidemic, law firms are now screening each candidate at a "lunch" to ensure healthy eating habits and a positive body image. If you're invited for lunch, DO NOT, under any circumstances, go to the restroom at any point during the meal. You will be followed. You will not receive an offer. Also: gratuitous intake of unhealthy food is encouraged at these meals, to "prove" you're okay with your appetite. Eat pats of butter, by themselves. Lick everyone's bread. Steal food from partners' plates. Get three desserts. You'll get an offer, guaranteed!*

*note: the word "guaranteed" is mere puff and is not indicative of any actual guarantee about anything at all.

4. Lawyers LOVE off-color jokes. Tell a lot of them. Especially the one about the priest, the rabbi, and the Jehaovah's Witness. They love that one.

5. All law firms operate on Greenwich Mean Time. It's a little known fact. But what this means is that unless your interview is in Greenwich (either England or Connecticut, both are fine), you'll need to set your watch differently. A 10 AM interview is really at 4 in the afternoon! I betcha didn't know that! When you show up 6 hours late, the firm will congratulate you on your sophistication and understanding of complex legal matters like time zones. Which are indeed very tricky. A special problem on Monday, after the clocks change this Sunday (see, there IS something useful buried in here -- change your clock on Sunday! And every Sunday!)

6.-13. Some lawyers only have 8 fingers and toes. Point that out to them. It demonstrates your sharp legal mind. And lets me quickly skip through 8 numbers quickly as I realize I'm hungry and won't be able to think of 15 things to write before lunchtime.

14. Urine sample. Most firms will want a urine sample along with your transcript and three references. It's very important to avoid going to the bathroom for 48 hours before your interview so that you'll be able to fill the three-gallon jug they will provide. Anyone unable to fill the jug is automatically rejected, as per NALP guidelines and a recent National Board of Health directive entitled, "Three Gallons is Just About Enough!" (LEXIS, 2003).

15. Jokes about urine (see #14) are especially encouraged.