the madness of the law firm hiring process

The more involved I get with the law firm/law school hiring process, the more boggled I am by the inefficiencies of the process. Some great/horrifying numbers:

of students offered summer jobs by “big” firms (> 250 lawyers):

  • just 28% accept
  • 40% of whom are gone by their 3rd year, and
  • 62% of whom are gone by their 4th.

From an Adam Smith, Esq. post.

I know I’m spoiled because I tend to think of hiring as something that is done only after building up an extensive, volunteer-based relationship, which is obviously difficult to do in law. Still, the situation described in the Adam Smith post, and in this American Lawyer article, is pretty brutal- lots of time spent for very poor results. (Anyone who is curious about the process I’m personally about to go through starting next week should skim the American Lawyer article- it mentions Columbia’s process a fair bit.)

The article suggests that some firms avoid a more rigorous interview process because they think it would scare off potential hires, but frankly, if I knew a firm had a more rigorous interview process, I’d be much more likely to interview with them. I’ve had lousy co-workers before, and any firm that is working to weed those folks out before they set foot inside would be immensely appealing to me.

6 thoughts on “the madness of the law firm hiring process”

  1. Colin Walters: The Central Question in ComputingJakub Steiner: Miro TVIĂąigo MartĂ­nez: Hacking Evince (Part I)Mirco MĂźller: visual crack with free driversJono Bacon: Dell, Ubuntu and My DadLuis Villa: the madness of the law firm hiring processThomas Thurman: productiveMichael Zucchi: Hello World.John Williams: Counting GNOME and Linux UsersEmmanuele Bassi: Flying TeapotBenjamin Otte: Too much spaceDave Neary: links for 2007-08-08Claudio Saavedra: Wed 2007/Aug/08

  2. Max Spevack: friday is moving day  – Aug 9, 2007 Max Spevack: triangle linux user group  – Aug 9, 2007 Luis Villa: the madness of the law firm hiring process  – Aug 9, 2007

  3. I walked once off from a huge multi-national consultancy company because of their hiring process. I just got fed up on the 3rd month of the process. It would have been a great place, and I would have likely done great results for the rest of my life there but it was not the only thing on my radar so…

    I have also been myself hiring in the past, and I always had the feeling that I would like to know more, even after considerable amounts of work put into the selection process. It just doesn’t go away. In the end it’s intuition based on facts on the paper and what the personality of the applicant is like. Care to guess indeed which one is more important?

  4. Matt: oh, I’m sure it is more than a lot of that, though one would think that a good hiring process would do a better job of screening for the people who will think it doesn’t suck ;) Alternately, inability to find such a hiring process might be a good sign that firms themselves need fixing. (I find Exemplar to be a fascinating example of a potentially ‘fixed’ firm, though sadly they are Boston-based and I’m not going back to Boston.)

    [Realistically, someone here called the firm ‘graduate school for lawyers’- where you actually learn to practice law, unlike law school. So you have to go.]

  5. “How do you recognize a bad lawyer? [no this is not a Monty Python sketch]”

    Sangle a wad of benjamins in front of them and if they reach for it…

  6. foo: I think that would be a good title for the Adam Smith post ;) Short answer is that ‘no one really knows’, at least not on the basis of the current hiring process.

    Obviously once you’re hired, the answer is different. A number of metrics are available. For firms, one is ‘doesn’t quit unless we want them to.’

Comments are closed.