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How to Do Your Homework - Pick An Area

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At the callback stage with larger firms, the firm's recruiter may ask you about your interests in certain practice areas, so that he or she can arrange interviews with attorneys who do that type of work. Even though you may feel forced to commit to a practice area before you have actually had a chance to figure out what you want to do, brush off this feeling. Again, you will have plenty of time to choose a practice area during your work as a summer associate and in the early stages of your career. Right now, you simply must exhibit some decisiveness and the ability to commit.

While scheduling a callback interview with a summer associate candidate, Tammy, a recruiting coordinator, asked whether he was interested in corporate law or litigation. The question was of particular significance because the firm's litigation and corporate offices were in two opposite parts of town. The candidate thought about this question for a long time while Tammy waited, but he just could not decide. Tammy ultimately had to schedule interviews at both offices, which meant the candidate had to take a cab across town after his second interview, fight mid-afternoon traffic, miss his interview lunch, and inconvenience the interviewers’ schedules. His inability to make a choice cost him an offer.

When interviewing with small firms, however, your desire to do the type of work the firm does is more important than your ability to pick a specialty. In fact, small firms often prefer candidates who can practice in diverse areas rather than those who want to zero in on one area (unless this is the one area the firm specializes in).

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