When Cougars Attack (at the Firm): Help!

August 26, 2010 · by

Q:  Role reversal…yeah this time a guy is looking for advice.  I am a summer associate at the job of my dreams.  I know that when I graduate a year from now this is where I want to work and the way things are going I think they will have me.  The problem… last week at a firm-wide social event a very sexy recently divorced partner made very explicit and very obvious passes at me.  So much so that everyone within earshot was aware. Here is the kicker: The partner is the female and I, the (more then willing) summer associate, am a guy.  I guess my question is, does it make a difference if I entertain her ideas now versus waiting until the summer is over?  The way I see it, if I wait until my summer employment is over I will be treading with at least a modicum of discretion. [Read more]

Have I Already Blown the Bar Exam?

July 19, 2010 · by

Q: I’m taking the NY Bar Exam later this month for the first time and am taking Barbri to prepare for it.  It’s been going OK, but I got back my scores for the  simulated practice test that Barbri offers and, no exaggeration, I almost threw up.  (I won’t even share my score. I can’t bring myself to say it out loud.)  Before you make judgments, though, know this: I graduated from a T14 school, was on an honors journal (not Law Review, but still an honors journal) and graduated in the top third of my class, so I know how to study. But I’d heard from multiple sources that the best way to prepare for the Bar Exam was to just treat the studying like a 9-5 job; i.e. it’s OK to take breaks, work out, go out with friends at night, all that, which I’ve been doing.  But now I’m totally panicked and think I might’ve be taking the whole preparation thing too lightly. I would literally need to double my score from the practice test to even be in the neighborhood of passing.  Is it too late to ramp it up before the test?  I’m actually wondering if maybe I should even just postpone until February.  Am I over-thinking this??  Am I totally screwed? [Read more]

I Let a Partner Touch My Boobs. Now What?

February 12, 2010 · by

advice-boobs-featureQ: Before I relay my question, I would just please like to reiterate that I do not believe that I’ve been sexually harassed in any way and I’m not looking to file any sort of claim.  However, I did let a partner, well, feel up my boobs in a momentary lapse of judgment and now I’m completely freaking out.  I’m a third-year associate and he’s a junior partner and it happened at a welcome reception for the new first-year associates.  I actually worked with him on a major white-collar case a few years ago back when he was a senior associate and I always thought there was a little sexual tension but I was a first-year at the time and he was gunning for partner and nothing ever happened.  But after the reception the other night, a few of us all went out and after a while, it was just me and him and a few drinks led to a few more and before I knew it, his hands were heading under my shirt and I fully let it happen (in public, no less) – but did stop right after that and we took separate cabs home.

He’s not married, but I’m pretty sure he’s seeing someone and, well, he’s a partner in my department.  I don’t want to have some sort of an “affair” but I had fun and actually really like this guy and wouldn’t be adverse to a relationship, but I can barely look him in the eye.  Now what? [Read more]

Harassed at OCI: Do I Go on the Callback?

September 8, 2009 · by

advice-badinterview-featureQ:  I just finished my first round of OCI screening interviews.  I am in the top 10% of my class and on an honors journal, so I’ve actually received a few callback requests and may have a chance at landing an actual offer this fall.  There’s one firm—top top tier Big Law, shall remain nameless—that’s the always been my dream firm and I did get a callback.  The only problem is, the screening interviewer was a total, total a*hole.  He was aggressively flirting with me in the interview, practically leering at one point, and made two disgusting comments, including one about female attorneys who get pregnant. (And before everyone jumps down my throat, I was conservatively dressed, not revealing skin, and was acting professional and appropriate in the interview, so please save the “she was asking for it” analysis, thank you.)  I reported his behavior to my school’s career services office and they were appropriately horrified.

My question is: Should I even go on the callback?  This firm has always been my dream firm and is big enough that I might never see this jerk again—but what if I do?  What if he thinks that I’m supposed to “reciprocate” for him getting me a callback once/if I start working there?  Do I even want to work at a firm that would allow some pig like this to interview potential associates? [Read more]

Am I Screwed Because of My Typo?

August 18, 2009 · by

advice-higher-me-featureQ:  I’m about to go in for a summer associate interview with a firm from Big Law.  I was excited to get it, and quickly reviewed my cover letter so I could keep my story straight.  That’s when it hit me: I had a glaring typo in my cover letter. It wasn’t in the boiler-plate portion that I used in all of them, thank goodness, but I checked my cover letters to other firms, just to be sure (they were all fine).  Still, I’m dreading going in to this interview, KNOWING that I have this terrible, gaping, glaring typo in my cover letter.

How do I deal?  Is it possible they just didn’t notice, and I should not acknowledge it?  I have visions of myself sweating bullets in the interview chair, that internal typo staring at me from the letter in the interviewer’s hand as I slowly lose my mind like the protagonist of a Poe story.  How do I keep from outing myself as an idiot who can’t even type a simple cover letter?   Even if they haven’t seen it, won’t SOMEONE notice, eventually, if they call me back for a second-round interview?  Should I mea culpa right away, and risk drawing attention to an error that might kill my chances?  I’m dreading answering a question about my “attention to detail,” and getting a follow-up: “So, then, how do you explain this typo in your cover letter?”

Could it all be a cruel hoax?  Am I the victim of a Big Law hazing?  Help!

—Victim of a Tell-Tale Typo [Read more]

Is a Nose Ring an Interview Dealbreaker?

July 27, 2009 · by

advice-nose-ring-featureQ:  I’m about to start my second year at law school (T20) and will be participating in fall OCI and am hoping to land a job at a big law firm for next summer (I know, don’t shred me for that, please).  My school offers “mock interviews” with alumni and I just went on mine.  The interviewer was pretty nice but suggested that I remove the very, very small nose ring stud that I wear.  I actually dress pretty conservatively and looked professional for the interview—skirt suit, hair neatly tied back, sensible shoes and all that.  I don’t think the nose ring is offensive and it’s part of my style and who I am.  I don’t ever take it out and don’t think I should have to compromise my principles and who I am just to get a job.  BUT, I also want to get experience working in a big firm and I worry that it might stop me from getting through the door, as stupid as that may be.  Will firms really care about this in interviews or is my mock interviewer just an uptight big-firm prick? [Read more]

Will Smoking Weed Keep Me out of Big Law?

July 2, 2009 · by

advice-weed-featureQ:  I’m a rising 2L at a top-tier law school.  I smoked a lot of weed in college, and I continued that right through 1L year. I don’t think it really affects my ability, both in school and at work, since I’m not high during class or in the office.  My question is, do you think this can continue?  More specifically, do law firms drug test their employees, and if they do, is a positive marijuana test a dealbreaker?  —High and Mighty [Read more]

How Do I Handle a Deferred Start Date?

June 18, 2009 · by

advice-deferred-featureQ:  Do you have any advice on what to do about deferred start dates? My AmLaw100 firm—like every firm nowadays—deferred our start dates until January 2010.  From a financial perspective, I can wait until January to start working. It’s what I’m supposed to do from now until January that has me rattled. I’m afraid deferring our start dates is just a way to postpone our inevitable firings—in other words, I’m worried there won’t be a job waiting for me in January. Originally I was just going to travel after taking the Bar exam until I started work in September; when I got news of the deferment, I figured I’d just extend my trip.  Yet as more lawyers get fired, I can’t help but think I should be looking for a back-up job, just in case things don’t work out as I planned with BigLaw and I’ve got to look for something new.

It seems wrong to look for a full-time position while I still have intentions of going back to my firm in January (if they’ll still have me), yet which smart small-to-mid-sized firm will hire me if I’m honest and tell them I might be leaving in a few months?  I could volunteer at a PD’s office or something, but that kind of work has no relation to my future practice (transactional), and frankly I don’t want to do criminal defense work.  On top of everything, public interest jobs are surprisingly hard to come by now that every recent Tier 1 graduate is being paid $70k by their firms if they’ll do pro bono work for a year—I’ve been told they’re simply running out of desks to accommodate all the recent grads who are flocking to help them.  What should I do? [Read more]

Next Page »