Advice Needed for Law Firm Interviews

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  1. Hi all! Posting this on behalf of my DBF...

    "Hi everyone, I am a boyfriend of a Purse Forum member. I was looking for job interview advice and my wonderful and always-well-prepared girlfriend started forwarding me interview advice posts from the Forum. While these have been very helpful – I wish we could get such sophisticated advice from college football fora – I have been attempting to solve a pretty specific interview question that hasn't really been addressed by any post thus far. I was wondering if any of you would be willing to help.

    I am a law student preparing for on-campus interviews. Last summer I worked as a summer associate in a large law firm but did not receive an offer of employment. Since that firm is on my resume, the issue of not receiving an offer will come up in my upcoming interviews.

    What happened: at this firm, any project that a summer associate touches must first be submitted in writing to a work coordinator and then assigned to the summer associate. However, several of the partners with whom I originally worked did not care for this rule at all. One went so far as to say that I should tell the firm leadership to "piss in sand" if they expected him or me to file project paperwork. As a result, I concluded that noncompliance with the work coordinator requirement was part of firm culture. However, my first performance review revealed numerous projects completed without being approved by the work coordinator, and news of this spread among the partners. When the firm later called to tell me that I would not receive an offer, the deal-breaker cited was that there was simply a perception that I was a "rule-breaker."

    As far as I know, this was about all that went wrong. There is, nor was there ever any animosity between myself and the firm. I remain close friends with many of the associates and several of the partners there. Moreover, all evidence indicated that my work product was not a problem: I received very favorable performance evaluations, all partners for whom I worked attempted to claim me for subsequent projects, and every associate with whom I completed joint projects used their single "please-hire" vote for me.

    However, not receiving an offer simply remains a red flag with interviewers, as it should. And explaining my story credibly during an interview seems an insurmountable task. I do not wish to lie, and I really don't have anything to lie about. However, I also think that a full explanation would quickly tank any chance I have. Does anyone have an idea for how I could explain my not receiving an offer while maintaining credibility with my interviewers?

    As an incentive, may I offer this: if the advice I receive from this Forum helps me land a job, I will use the money I make from that job to purchase my wonderful girlfriend the purse of her dreams. She's a Balenciaga girl, and she will keep you all posted, so the stakes are high here. Thank you all for your help."
  2. It seems to me that you weren't the problem at all; rather, it was the unwillingness of the partners for whom you worked to follow their own rules that caused the situation in which you've now been placed. You could simply say that, although your work was much praised by both partners and associates, it was clear that the firm wasn't the right fit for you. Would it be possible for one of the partners who was a close friend to give you a recommendation? That might go a long way to dispel any doubts an interviewer may have about your work abilities.

    In any event, best of luck to you. BTDT myself, and I'm sure you'll enjoy practicing law, wherever you may wind up.
  3. Thanks for your input, crowllb! Sounds like a sensible way to explain the situation, and the LOR idea sounds great. Emailing it to DBF as we speak...
  4. Make sure you hold him to that promise about the B-bag. ;)
  5. OH don't worry! I will! That part cracked me up because it was so unexpected--he usually says stuff like, "Well, that color's nice, but don't ever ask me to buy you one." Guess he really appreciates the help...
  6. Are any partners at the firm who would give you a reference/recommendation regarding your work? That would be helpful as well.
  7. ^^ I think so! He's looking into that right now.