Friday, October 01, 2010

"When a Decision Has to be Made, Make it"

Greetings denizens of Nuts & Boalts. As my first official post, I would like to pass on something the CDO emailed out yesterday:

Those of you who are weighing an OCIP offer should consult the CDO's Offer Guide, which contains advice about the mechanics and timing of accepting or declining offers (ignoring an unwanted offer or callback invite is never ok -- see the Guide as to why if it's not obvious to you).

Among the advice you will see in the Guide (as well as in a Nuts & Boalts blog posting from last year): if you are fortunate enough to have multiple offers, don't unnecessarily hold offers open.

Translation: if you know you are not going to work at a given firm, decline your offer.

Since I saw CDO linking to a Nuts & Boalts post from last year, I thought perhaps some fresh discussion could be used as well.

Insight on how to best make a decision? Vitriol from people stuck on waitlists? General displeasure at seeing yet another OCIP focused post? Voice it in the comments.



Blogger Dan said...

Here's something that's been on my mind lately. It seems like a lot of people who came to law school with the goal of doing public interest sort of get seduced during OCIP. I should know; I was one of them. And that's fine, if you really think it's what you want to do. Or even if you just think you really need to check it out before dismissing it completely. That's what summers are for (although be aware the summer associate experience is likely a far cry from real life as a BigLaw associate).

Here's what I don't understand. I don't understand when people decide to go the firm route while remaining convinced that they will "eventually" go to public interest after paying off their loans or whatever. I am not saying that can't work. I'm just saying it strikes me more as an excuse for giving up on something you cared about than a legitimate career plan.

For one thing, it's not so easy to jump the tracks, especially in that direction. For another, why wait?

Thanks to new-ish federal legislation, it is easier than ever to do public interest AND pay back your loans. If you have government loans, all you have to do is work in public interest for 10 years, while paying only 15% of your income to loans (which LRAP will cover anyway), and your debt is completely wiped out. Granted, 10 years is a lot of time to commit to anything, but if doing public interest is the reason you chose this career, it isn't that unreasonable.

For those making this choice, I guess I would echo Bob Berring's advice from his commencement speech, which was basically "don't put off something you want to do in order to do something you don't want to do." There are a lot of very good reasons to choose to go to a firm, but I don't think paying off your loans should be chief among them.

10/01/2010 2:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comment Dan! I would also say that if you're a public interest person who's trying a firm summer, definitely try to do a public interest split if that's an option. That way, you can still use the summer to get experience in the area of law that really matters to you and to make connections with public interest attorneys. Also, if you decide you don't like the firm (or they don't like you!) then you may have an organization willing to sponsor you for an EJW or Skadden fellowship at the beginning of 3L.

Money *is* an issue though, even with LRAP and CCRA, because you can never be sure what your career interests/personal obligations will be for the ten years following Boalt graduation. However, as we've seen, BigLaw may offer you a nice starting salary, but it doesn't offer you job security, and it certainly won't offer you a balanced life.

I felt pressure to do a 2L firm summer, and I did, and as expected, it wasn't for me. I'm now starting my legal career in a practice I really care about, and I'm satisfied that at least I can say that those three years of law school misery were worth it.

--2010 grad

10/01/2010 4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This second year associate working at a V10 firm is at his desk at 2am. He's the only one still there and because of the constant work, stress and delivery food dinners he has a heart attack at his desk. He falls unconscious.

When he wakes, the associate looks around to find himself in the middle of a party on a tropical island. There is cold beer, great wine, beautiful men and women and everyone seems to be having a great time. He turns to a man who looks like he's in charge and asks where he is. "Hell," the man says.

Just as the associate is about to crack a cold micro-brew, he's awoken. The night watchman found him and he was brought back from the brink of death. However, the associate can't get over his vision. He has to go back there as soon as possible. The man gets back to work and stays even later and reviews documents even harder. One day, eight weeks later, he has another heart attack. The man falls unconscious.

He wakes up and it's really fucking hot. He looks around and he's in a pit of flames. He's surrounded by demons who are whipping other people. The demons are screaming as the whip and the horrible sound fills the air. The associate turns to the nearest demon and yells over the din, "Where am I?" The demon says, "You're in Hell." The associate is shocked. "But what about the island?" The demon smiles, "That was our summer associate's program."

10/01/2010 11:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I should probably be scared.

10/02/2010 9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unhelpful fear mongering aside, I'm riding waitlists right now without any offers and would love to more hear advice or perspectives on next steps.

I also add my voice to the chorus of pleas to people sitting on offers they aren't planning to take to drop them so that I can either breath easy or gear up for more interviews.

10/02/2010 2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you guys know you are riding wait lists, or just guessing that? I'm also riding a few waits (I think?), but also have to continually apply to new jobs in case it does not work out. Please decline or ACCEPT offers as soon as you can, so us waiters can decide if we need to enter job search round 2. Thanks!

10/02/2010 3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:01: Why did you feel pressure to work at a firm your 2L summer?

10/02/2010 7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

more waitlist discussion plz. i haven't heard back from 3 SF firms, all with 5-6 person summer classes, in 2+ weeks. is there hope?

10/03/2010 4:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am stuck on wait lists with SF firms as well. Would it make any impact on people hoarding offers to hear what firms we are waiting on?

10/03/2010 5:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do any of you know whether the firm you haven't heard from actually has a "wait list"? I know for a fact the firm I summered at doesn't - I asked about the process.

10/03/2010 5:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I have received a continuation email from one, saying they plan to make more offers and wanted to check on interest level, so that seems like a wait list.

Which firm specifically does not?

10/03/2010 5:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe a better question is: how long does it usually take to get rejected from a callback?

If we haven't heard in over 2 weeks, is it safe to assume we are on a waiting list...or have they really just not gotten around to mailing the form letters?

10/03/2010 5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

5:35, I don't think it makes sense to begin trying to compile a list of firms that have waiting lists and firms that don't. Policies might change from year to year.

I think the important take away point that the previous commenter was trying to make is that you shouldn't assume, just because it has been 2-3 weeks and you haven't heard anything, that you're on a "waiting list" for an offer. You might be on a waiting list for a rejection letter that the recruiting coordinator just hasn't sent.

If you've been asked about continued interest, on the other hand, that leads to another conclusion altogether.

10/04/2010 10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1) So can you really combine LRAP and CCRA? I heard not, from either my summer supervising attorney or a recent Boalt grad working with me.

The gamble now, I think, is even getting a paying job in PI for 10 years. About half the desks at worthy agencies in SF, for example, are filled with unpaid attorneys, either new grads or folks laid off but wanting to keep their resumes and skills up-to-date. Makes me feel uneasy about the prospect of 10 solid years (or, 120 consecutive monthly payments, as CCRA programs count it) whilst employed in PI.

2) Stevens talks.

10/04/2010 10:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude in Bus. Ass. who keeps talking: (1) Stop (2) At least raise your hand first.

10/04/2010 3:20 PM  
Anonymous boalt '06 said...

if you have interviewed at a firm that expects to have a small summer class, chances are they are waiting until they interview everyone to make a decision. I know that my firm is currently doing that (we expect 2 hires in my dept).

I'm not sure this is a formal "wait" list, but it's clear that with this economy, firms are more careful about the number of offers they have open at one time.

However, if you do have offers open and you know that you are not going to go to a particular firm, tell them. The firm will appreciate it and your fellow classmates may also appreciate it as well if your offer goes to them.

Good luck everyone!

10/04/2010 3:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

3:20 is my hero

10/04/2010 8:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

3:20= Potential new thread?

10/05/2010 7:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That kid has no regard for the 190 other people in the class. He treats it like a personal tutoring session.

10/05/2010 9:52 AM  
Blogger L'Alex said...


While I find it annoying that one student is directing most of the student-professor conversation in Bus Ass, what I find even MORE annoying is that there are people out there (read: the anonymous posters above) who would rather criticize the somewhat-misguided-if-not-earnest contributions of a classmate, rather than bothering to contribute themselves. That class is dead in terms of participation (unless you count the LLMs, and I'm not) and everyone knows it.

If you want him to stop talking, taunting him is hardly the collegial or effective way to do it - make a m*#%@ f(#%ing comment in class once in awhile and maybe he won't have free reign to talk whenever he pleases.

10/05/2010 10:30 AM  
Blogger Matt said...


That, and he's probably not reading these comments if he's talking that much.

10/05/2010 10:32 AM  
Blogger McTwo said...

I am chiming in to un-derail this thread. If you have issues with a classmate, speak to them in person rather than anonymously on a blawg (especially on an utterly unrelated post).

Further comments ought to pertain to offers/wait-lists and general advice from people who have been through the process.

10/05/2010 10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm not 3:20, but I did want to ask something in class yesterday. I didn't get the opportunity because this kid just started talking.

Maybe we should all just start interrupting the professor like assholes whenever we want to say something.


People have spoken to him in person.

10/05/2010 11:37 AM  

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