Law School Diary: My First BigLaw Interview

One of the reasons I stay anonymous as LBB online is not only to protect my privacy but so that I can be brutally honest and personal and hopefully help someone in the process. I am starting a 'Law School Diary' that will be updated every Monday. The topics include law school experiences, embarrassing moments, relationships, my fitness journey, and my life outside of law school. I hope you enjoy it :)

Going in to Law School, I realized that I would most likely have to do some tough interviews for jobs, internships, and extracurricular activities. I had pretty much thought that it was part of the process and to be honest I wasn't really that nervous about it considering I had never really had a problem with interviewing in the past.

Something that I didn't realize was that legal job interviews were a whole new ball game. Let me start out by saying I did not even know what OCI was until we got an email from our school. I had no idea that this was how BigLaw firms recruited students and that it was highly competitive. 

During my summer going into 2L, I applied to a lot of different positions through OCI. If I am being honest, they weren't really positions that I was that passionate about, but the idea of working for a BigLaw firm had its perks. 

I got my first callback a couple weeks after applying through my school. It was with a huge defense firm that handled every type of case that you could think of. The first interview was over the phone - thank god. How hard could a phone interview be?

To prepare for the interview I had researched a lot about the firm. I looked into their biggest cases, the issues that I was interested in, and qualities that they might be looking for in associates. Well, the time came for the interview and I felt pretty prepared. 

The first question that the interviewer asked was for me to tell them about their own firm. I listed off the research that I had done, the issues I knew that they handled, and why that was interesting to me - I thought it was a pretty detailed explanation but apparently not. The first follow-up question was about specific cases they handled, how the outcomes affected the legal industry, why that was important - all things that I honestly didn't know on the spot.

I stumbled on my words a little bit but tried to do the best that I could. All in all, the interviewer was tough. It seemed like he was not pleased with any of the answers that I was giving and kept asking me for more information. 

The interview lasted around 30 minutes and I did not think that it went well. There was a lot that I didn't know and he was testing every answer that I gave him. I had never been to an interview with someone that didn't just accept my answers and move on. 

I didn't expect to hear back from them, but I sent the obligatory thank you and moved on with my day. About 4 days later I heard back from them. They wanted to interview me for a call-back - didn't see that coming. 

I was excited and relieved but also a little stressed out - I had to do all of this preparation and struggle through an interview again. This time I did a lot more research, I wrote down and practiced my answers, and brainstormed really thoughtful questions. 

My next interviewer was a lot more laid back, but you could tell that he was trying to challenge me. Thankfully, he asked me most of the questions that I was prepared to handle. I answered each of his challenges with what I had practiced. 

Then, he had asked me about a writing sample I had submitted to them. I thought to myself that I had gone over this sample a million times - there wasn't anything I should struggle to answer with this. 

Well - you guessed it, he hit me with a curve ball. He asked me to make an argument for the other side (the side I had written my brief against). Even though I had gone over this case a million times, I did not see that question coming - I didn't even expect to talk about my writing sample. 

It ended up being fine. I stumbled a little bit on the argument but I don't think he noticed too much. The entire interview was honestly a little bit exhausting. There was not a single time where I felt comfortable or relaxed, but I kind of appreciated the challenge. 

A couple weeks went by without hearing anything from this firm. In the time it took them to get back to me I had found another opportunity with a smaller sized firm that I was a lot more passionate about. They ended up extending me an offer that I later declined. 

It took a lot of thought to realize that I rather be passionate about the work that I am doing than to just take a job because it was with a BigLaw firm. Either way, these interviews prepared me to handle the worst and made me think on my feet in a way that I hadn't done in the past. 

It was a scary but very educational experience and reminded me to never get too comfortable with what I think that I may be asked.