Welcome back! My name is Anna Lloyd, and I have recently joined the Career Development Office. Previously, I managed recruiting and diversity programs at Stinson Leonard Street LLP, a law firm of about 500 attorneys. With the fall recruiting season starting, I thought I would share application and interview tips for applying for summer associate positions that I have learned from my experience and have heard from other recruiters.
- Put your GPA and class rank (if available) on your resume. Employers will either ask for it anyway or assume that it is bad.
- If the employer has multiple offices that are hiring, list the city that you are applying for in your cover letter. Also, if you aren’t from that city, this is a good time to let them know why you would like to work in that location.
- Keep your resume and cover letter concise. Employers may look at hundreds of application during this time, so they do appreciate a well edited resume and cover letter.
- PDF your application if you are emailing it directly to the employer. Everyone’s version of Word isn’t the same, so your formatting might not translate and your application might become hard to read and look unorganized.
- List interests/hobbies, if they aren’t actually interesting or if you can’t discuss them at an interview. If you list a general interest like “sports” or “reading,” it doesn’t really help the employer individualize you, and they will probably end up wondering why you bothered listing it. If you do list an interest/hobby, be sure you can enthusiastically talk about it.
- Use multiple fonts or fonts that are hard to read. Yes, that Old English and Papyrus font is fun, but not for your application.
- Be creative or exaggerate your legal experience in your cover letter. Employers look to cover letters to let them know what position you are applying for, where you are applying, your practice area interests, your contact information, and any additional relevant experience that might not be obvious from your resume. This is not a time to use inspirational quotes, tell your life story, or use creative literary devices. Also unless you had a long professional career before law school, no one believes that you handled a $100 million deal by yourself during your 1L summer.
- Be on time. If something happens, call as soon as you know you are going to be late. Also, don’t show up too early. If you show up more than 10 minutes early, hang out in your car, go to a coffee shop, or wait in the lobby before checking in.
- Ask questions. Don’t ask obvious questions, but asking thoughtful questions about the employer shows your level of interest.
- Be yourself (the polished version). Interviewers can tell if you seem too rehearsed. Try to make the interview conversational, instead of having a speech prepared.
- Be courteous to everyone, attorneys and staff, in the office.
- Get too comfortable. Be relaxed, but don’t use slang or talk about all the partying you did the previous weekend.
- Monopolize the interview. The purpose of the interview is to learn about you, but let the attorneys speak at some point.
- Mention that your life goal is to do something other than be a partner. Most large firms are looking for law students that want to stay and grow at their firm. If you say you would eventually like to work at a non-profit, be a judge, or a professor, the employer is going to doubt your desire to be an associate at their firm for longer than a year.