0L Advice?

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ConLaw2017
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0L Advice?

Postby ConLaw2017 » Sat Jul 15, 2017 12:22 pm

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devilblue
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Re: 0L Advice?

Postby devilblue » Sat Jul 15, 2017 12:47 pm

Regarding number 4, those don't exist. There are barely any jobs that fit that requirement, and the other jobs you seem to be considering also don't fit that bill. Yale is only going to take you so far; at some point you'll need to get comfortable being social and interacting to succeed.

ConLaw2017
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Re: 0L Advice?

Postby ConLaw2017 » Sat Jul 15, 2017 1:29 pm

devilblue wrote:Regarding number 4, those don't exist. There are barely any jobs that fit that requirement, and the other jobs you seem to be considering also don't fit that bill. Yale is only going to take you so far; at some point you'll need to get comfortable being social and interacting to succeed.


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devilblue
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Re: 0L Advice?

Postby devilblue » Sat Jul 15, 2017 1:42 pm

ConLaw2017 wrote:
devilblue wrote:Regarding number 4, those don't exist. There are barely any jobs that fit that requirement, and the other jobs you seem to be considering also don't fit that bill. Yale is only going to take you so far; at some point you'll need to get comfortable being social and interacting to succeed.


Thank you! Follow up question. If I have no problem speaking about sports, politics, or work (ideally appellate matters), would that work? I just cannot make small talk to save my life.


But sports is small talk. Politics is a no in any work situation ... best to steer clear of that and religion.

Learn to make small talk. You need it. Whether it is talking to an attorney on a call waiting for two more people to dial in or walking out the door next to someone on your way to your cars, small talk is a part of the workplace. There's no real way to get "good" at small talk because that's just not a thing. It is all just talk. If you can talk sports and politics you can talk about families, the weather, and weekend plans too.

Also can I ask why you're so focused on appellate work given you have never worked an appeal let alone stepped into a law school classroom as a 0L? While it is good to have ideas about what you might want to do, going in with a narrow mindset of what you are willing to do is surely going to hurt you in the end. There are many avenues.

ConLaw2017
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Re: 0L Advice?

Postby ConLaw2017 » Sat Jul 15, 2017 1:54 pm

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cbbinnyc
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Re: 0L Advice?

Postby cbbinnyc » Sat Jul 15, 2017 2:11 pm

ConLaw2017 wrote:
devilblue wrote:
ConLaw2017 wrote:
devilblue wrote:Regarding number 4, those don't exist. There are barely any jobs that fit that requirement, and the other jobs you seem to be considering also don't fit that bill. Yale is only going to take you so far; at some point you'll need to get comfortable being social and interacting to succeed.


Thank you! Follow up question. If I have no problem speaking about sports, politics, or work (ideally appellate matters), would that work? I just cannot make small talk to save my life.


But sports is small talk. Politics is a no in any work situation ... best to steer clear of that and religion.

Learn to make small talk. You need it. Whether it is talking to an attorney on a call waiting for two more people to dial in or walking out the door next to someone on your way to your cars, small talk is a part of the workplace. There's no real way to get "good" at small talk because that's just not a thing. It is all just talk. If you can talk sports and politics you can talk about families, the weather, and weekend plans too.

Also can I ask why you're so focused on appellate work given you have never worked an appeal let alone stepped into a law school classroom as a 0L? While it is good to have ideas about what you might want to do, going in with a narrow mindset of what you are willing to do is surely going to hurt you in the end. There are many avenues.


In the interest of not sounding like a snob or provoking a TLS trollathon, I have unique circumstances that I would rather not disclose on a pubic forum that have lead me to conclude that appellate is for me.

Would you happen to know anything about the DOJ Civil or Civil Rights appellate culture? If you want to speak to me about an academic subject, I can talk someone's ear off and I hope that exhibiting a strong interest and work ethic will be enough.

I guess I have trouble because I'm so invested in my work that I don't really pay attention to stuff outside that. Also, I'm a huge sports fan and politics junkie so those subjects are not really small talk for me.


Your unique circumstances lead you to believe that appellate work is for you or that you would have a good shot at getting appellate work (through connections or whatever)? The problem is that a ton of people want to do appellate work. Obviously YLS (I would imagine) gives you as good a shot as you can get, but it's a super competitive and narrow field, so even if you are certain that you want to do appellate work, despite not having been through law school or having worked an appeal, you will likely be better served by broadening the scope of your search.

I'm not sure what your definition of small talk is here. You can make small talk about something that you have an intense interest in. To me, small talk refers to a (usually) brief interaction that is superficial, regardless of the subject. You'll have to do it in pretty much any job anywhere. You'll also have to do it to get a job anywhere. I don't think most people (myself included) find making small talk to be particularly wonderful - by definition, it's conversation that is generally pretty superficial and not terribly interesting. Just make eye contact, listen, ask questions that demonstrate an interest in what the other person is saying, and respond with answers that don't halt the conversation. There's plenty of stuff out there about how to do small talk and it's not very hard to pick up. As to whether strong interest and work ethic will be enough: I don't have experience at a law firm yet, but most firms (and probably employers in general) say they are looking for people who they wouldn't mind being stuck with in the office until 2am, and I don't think that's just BS.

ConLaw2017
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Re: 0L Advice?

Postby ConLaw2017 » Sat Jul 15, 2017 2:47 pm

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devilblue
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Re: 0L Advice?

Postby devilblue » Sat Jul 15, 2017 3:16 pm

If you are representative of YLS, I am happy I didn't attend. Get off your high horse.

ConLaw2017
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Re: 0L Advice?

Postby ConLaw2017 » Sat Jul 15, 2017 3:23 pm

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RedPurpleBlue
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Re: 0L Advice?

Postby RedPurpleBlue » Sat Jul 15, 2017 3:27 pm

FWIW, this is the guy who did his undergrad at Stanford (IIRC) and said he took something like 20 courses at the law school (he was granted permission by some administrators, because he's apparently very good at school) and also has excellent working relationships with several law professors.

That should pretty much explain why he is 1) an appellate wonk 2) somewhat socially inept (no offense) and 3) absolutely frightened of failure. He's probably spent his hole life jumping through hoops as majestically as possible, and he's succeeded. Now, he's looking for the next hoops to jump through majestically (e.g. DOJ Civil, OLC, Appellate) to find fulfillment. He's afraid of just being a boring old trial AUSA or biglaw trial litigation associate.

I don't blame him. The pressure to attend the top schools and earn golden stars is pretty absurd for our generation, and I've seen the extreme end of the spectrum before. Just try to go easy on him. He's not trying to come off as a ninny. He's just trying to do what he thinks he is supposed to do - jump through hoops.

Best of luck with YLS and your hopefully successful career.

cavalier1138
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Re: 0L Advice?

Postby cavalier1138 » Sat Jul 15, 2017 3:31 pm

You know, I'd heard the stories about firms having issues with YLS grads being a little less socially apt than their peers at other schools. I'd honestly thought that was just sour grapes, but this OP really makes me wonder...

ConLaw2017
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Re: 0L Advice?

Postby ConLaw2017 » Sat Jul 15, 2017 3:31 pm

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AJordan
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Re: 0L Advice?

Postby AJordan » Sat Jul 15, 2017 3:33 pm

I don't really get the connection between small talk as a base proxy for race discrimination. If race discrimination exists, it's going to exist whether or not you know how to small talk. Are you stating that you think you might hate yourself working for these people so much that you can't reconcile the thought of engaging in the most banal social ways like everyone else? Do you HAVE to go into law? It seems like with your unicorn background you could accomplish anything else you're searching for (money, prestige, some sense of social progress, raging against some machine, other?) to a much more palatable degree doing things that do not require a JD.

cavalier1138
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Re: 0L Advice?

Postby cavalier1138 » Sat Jul 15, 2017 3:41 pm

Oh shit, now I remember the OP.

Is this just going to turn in to another thread where he creates a series of alt accounts to pretend that he's a summer intern before launching into his description of all the law classes he took in undergrad?

ConLaw2017
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Re: 0L Advice?

Postby ConLaw2017 » Sat Jul 15, 2017 3:50 pm

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cbbinnyc
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Re: 0L Advice?

Postby cbbinnyc » Sat Jul 15, 2017 4:04 pm

ConLaw2017 wrote:Again, thanks for your reply. I really am finding it helpful to talk through this stuff and get input from other folks. While appellate litigation is a very competitive field - there are state solicitor's general offices and public interest organizations that handle this stuff. I am sure I will get a shot early on. I say this because my circumstances are so unique that you have already said some statements in your first paragraph that are not true in my situation. Again, this is not your fault, I'm just playing with a very lucky set of cards.

Forgive my bluntness, but I am a tad bit cynical about your small talk description. Often times, these soft skill assessments are just proxies for gender or race discrimination - especially in biglaw (after all people naturally gravitate to, and as you said, want to spend their late nights with, others who look like them), which is why I think that as a minority I will have more success in the government. It is not a coincidence that every famous minority lawyer you can think of made their name in government and then moved to the private sector rather than the other way around as is often the case with white lawyers (did you know Justice Sotomayor was run out of Paul Weiss and Obama's first supervising midlaw attorneys did not have great things to say about him).

I don't have a problem with your small talk definition or your description of the matter. In fact, I am about to finish a 0L diversity internship at a V30-V50 biglaw firm in D.C. I did everything you said on the small talk front, worked from 8-11 as an intern, and did everyone's bitch work but go no headway and things got nasty rather quickly. For reference, I am an AA (HYPS undegrad, Oxbridge grad, and soon to be YLS student) but could not make headway. Meanwhile the firm is actively retaining and promoting other lawyers from law schools where the median LSAT score is below 161. Is the LSAT or one's law school a good proxy for predicting how good of a practicing lawyer you will be? Hell no. At the same time, even if life is not a meritocracy, there comes a point where throwing out socially awkward but unicorn minority lawyers and retaining social but intellectually average majority lawyers in a profession where the glass ceiling is pretty obvious offends common ideas of justice.

I guess what I am asking is will I be able to work from 8-11, have an intense work ethic, talk about my work, sports, and other small talk matters in the government and progress if I do a good job? Because if my firm is anything like the rest of biglaw, I have no interest in dealing with a place does not make an attempt to reward merit. Is the government the place for me?


Well it sounds like you have connections/experience that makes appellate work more realistic for you, so that makes sense (you originally just said that you knew appellate work was "for me", which could mean anything).

I'm a rising 2L, so I'll preface this by saying that I don't have experience working as a lawyer other than my current summer job (in house at a media company) but based on second-hand knowledge, I would think that being social would be, if anything, more important in a government job, and I doubt that the government is more of a meritocracy than a big firm. I would think that slavish devotion to your work and a willingness to work 8-11 would be more likely to be rewarded at a big firm.

devilblue
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Re: 0L Advice?

Postby devilblue » Sat Jul 15, 2017 4:09 pm

If you really did all this Stanford stuff you'd know that the racial stuff starts well before those firms through A. Lower academic achievement among minority populations in the USA (due to a variety of socioeconomic problems that we don't need to get into here) which makes it harder for those people to get into top schools that feed to top big law jobs and B. Not insignificant self-selection out of big law jobs to do public interest and other types of work among those minorities that do attend the top schools and who could land those jobs.

Just because you don't see minorities all around you at the firm doesn't mean the firm is a bunch of racist/supremacists. It starts well before them. The firm doesn't have to take lesser qualified people just to please you. They take the best because guess what, it's not about whether you feel at home or not... it's about making MONEY!

Based on the way you talk I can almost assure you your negative experiences have been because of your personality and not your race.

Finally, you talk about the firm actively promoting and retaining students from worse schools over you. Well I have to tell you that you are still a long three years away from being able to call yourself a lawyer so it really isn't in the firm's interest to do anything for you. That's not how this works. Work isn't like school where you show up and get all the answers right and get an A. You have to A. wait your turn and B. play the politics game well to succeed (which really can just come down to being a likable and social person). You appear to be offended about these perceived microaggression type things against you that I really think are nothing of the sort and are actually a function of your lack of understanding about the workplace.

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njdevils2626
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Re: 0L Advice?

Postby njdevils2626 » Sat Jul 15, 2017 4:42 pm

ConLaw2017 wrote:
AJordan wrote:I don't really get the connection between small talk as a base proxy for race discrimination. If race discrimination exists, it's going to exist whether or not you know how to small talk. Are you stating that you think you might hate yourself working for these people so much that you can't reconcile the thought of engaging in the most banal social ways like everyone else? Do you HAVE to go into law? It seems like with your unicorn background you could accomplish anything else you're searching for (money, prestige, some sense of social progress, raging against some machine, other?) to a much more palatable degree doing things that do not require a JD.


I'm not saying that. I have no problem working for my firm and making it look good by turning out good work product - otherwise, I would have quit because I can do other things. I just do not get why soft skills are a necessary and sufficient condition for Biglaw success - especially when it seems as if the only folks who can meet this standard are rarely racial minorities or women.


The point isn't that "soft skills" such as small talk are necessary for success in Biglaw. It's that the ability to talk to and get along with your coworkers is pretty much a necessary skill in any job, inside or outside of the law. Why are you so intent on hating your coworkers so much that you can't even talk to them?

ETA: Also it's really cute that you think you are "making your firm look good by turning out good work product." You're a 0L, your contributions are meaningless and useless to the firm, you do not add to their bottom line and are a net loss overall, quit deluding yourself into thinking you "make them look good" because that notion is simply laughable

ConLaw2017
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Re: 0L Advice?

Postby ConLaw2017 » Sat Jul 15, 2017 4:52 pm

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barkschool
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Re: 0L Advice?

Postby barkschool » Sat Jul 15, 2017 4:56 pm

I'm so excited to see how calling small talk a proxy for racial discrimination plays out.

AJordan
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Re: 0L Advice?

Postby AJordan » Sat Jul 15, 2017 4:59 pm

njdevils2626 wrote:
ConLaw2017 wrote:
AJordan wrote:I don't really get the connection between small talk as a base proxy for race discrimination. If race discrimination exists, it's going to exist whether or not you know how to small talk. Are you stating that you think you might hate yourself working for these people so much that you can't reconcile the thought of engaging in the most banal social ways like everyone else? Do you HAVE to go into law? It seems like with your unicorn background you could accomplish anything else you're searching for (money, prestige, some sense of social progress, raging against some machine, other?) to a much more palatable degree doing things that do not require a JD.


I'm not saying that. I have no problem working for my firm and making it look good by turning out good work product - otherwise, I would have quit because I can do other things. I just do not get why soft skills are a necessary and sufficient condition for Biglaw success - especially when it seems as if the only folks who can meet this standard are rarely racial minorities or women.


The point isn't that "soft skills" such as small talk are necessary for success in Biglaw. It's that the ability to talk to and get along with your coworkers is pretty much a necessary skill in any job, inside or outside of the law. Why are you so intent on hating your coworkers so much that you can't even talk to them?

ETA: Also it's really cute that you think you are "making your firm look good by turning out good work product." You're a 0L, your contributions are meaningless and useless to the firm, you do not add to their bottom line and are a net loss overall, quit deluding yourself into thinking you "make them look good" because that notion is simply laughable


Yeah, I was getting at the first part of this. Figuring out why you can't talk to people in this situation is important. You seem capable of stringing together sentences and forming at least a cogent argument (though one nobody is every going to want to have at work) here, so it seems like a "want to" thing as opposed to a "cannot" thing. If that's the case, and I don't know that it is, you're going to be disappointed just about everywhere. There are many things in my life that I'll never talk about at work: atheism, my belief in public education, feminism, and my passion for puzzles topping that list. I WANT to talk about these things, but I learned ten years ago that there will always be people dumber, less talented, lazier, and less deserving than I am who are higher on the food chain than I am. Waxing poetic about the intricacies of Tim Wilson's 1998 album, as much as I may want to, isn't going to get me ahead. Sometimes I have to go along to get along. That's life. If you can't suspend your "want to" you're likely to be very unhappy in corporate America.

ConLaw2017
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Re: 0L Advice?

Postby ConLaw2017 » Sat Jul 15, 2017 5:17 pm

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ConLaw2017
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Re: 0L Advice?

Postby ConLaw2017 » Sat Jul 15, 2017 5:19 pm

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cbbinnyc
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Re: 0L Advice?

Postby cbbinnyc » Sat Jul 15, 2017 5:24 pm

ConLaw2017 wrote:
cbbinnyc wrote:
ConLaw2017 wrote:Again, thanks for your reply. I really am finding it helpful to talk through this stuff and get input from other folks. While appellate litigation is a very competitive field - there are state solicitor's general offices and public interest organizations that handle this stuff. I am sure I will get a shot early on. I say this because my circumstances are so unique that you have already said some statements in your first paragraph that are not true in my situation. Again, this is not your fault, I'm just playing with a very lucky set of cards.

Forgive my bluntness, but I am a tad bit cynical about your small talk description. Often times, these soft skill assessments are just proxies for gender or race discrimination - especially in biglaw (after all people naturally gravitate to, and as you said, want to spend their late nights with, others who look like them), which is why I think that as a minority I will have more success in the government. It is not a coincidence that every famous minority lawyer you can think of made their name in government and then moved to the private sector rather than the other way around as is often the case with white lawyers (did you know Justice Sotomayor was run out of Paul Weiss and Obama's first supervising midlaw attorneys did not have great things to say about him).

I don't have a problem with your small talk definition or your description of the matter. In fact, I am about to finish a 0L diversity internship at a V30-V50 biglaw firm in D.C. I did everything you said on the small talk front, worked from 8-11 as an intern, and did everyone's bitch work but go no headway and things got nasty rather quickly. For reference, I am an AA (HYPS undegrad, Oxbridge grad, and soon to be YLS student) but could not make headway. Meanwhile the firm is actively retaining and promoting other lawyers from law schools where the median LSAT score is below 161. Is the LSAT or one's law school a good proxy for predicting how good of a practicing lawyer you will be? Hell no. At the same time, even if life is not a meritocracy, there comes a point where throwing out socially awkward but unicorn minority lawyers and retaining social but intellectually average majority lawyers in a profession where the glass ceiling is pretty obvious offends common ideas of justice.

I guess what I am asking is will I be able to work from 8-11, have an intense work ethic, talk about my work, sports, and other small talk matters in the government and progress if I do a good job? Because if my firm is anything like the rest of biglaw, I have no interest in dealing with a place does not make an attempt to reward merit. Is the government the place for me?


Well it sounds like you have connections/experience that makes appellate work more realistic for you, so that makes sense (you originally just said that you knew appellate work was "for me", which could mean anything).

I'm a rising 2L, so I'll preface this by saying that I don't have experience working as a lawyer other than my current summer job (in house at a media company) but based on second-hand knowledge, I would think that being social would be, if anything, more important in a government job, and I doubt that the government is more of a meritocracy than a big firm. I would think that slavish devotion to your work and a willingness to work 8-11 would be more likely to be rewarded at a big firm.


Thank you very much for this. Could you please tell me what your second hand source told you about the social aspects of government lawyering? I am only cautious because while this intuitively makes sense, the disparate minority success rates in biglaw and the government are scaring me quite a bit and make me think I would be a better off throwing myself at government appellate work hoping that I get noticed.


My evidence for government maybe being more social is mostly anecdotal. I have a couple family members and several friends who work in government. One of my family members, who is an AUSA, often interviews candidates, and there is no question that they (like most offices in any field, probably) prefer candidates who are personable and can be conversational in the interview. If they make it to the interview, they have good credentials, so one of the main questions is whether they will be pleasant to work with. Also, I can't speak to appellate work, specifically, but government jobs generally require much less time in the office. There are no billable hours, and the atmosphere reflects that. I have visited family and friends in both US Attorney offices and DA offices, and the atmosphere is generally social: people say hi and joke around, doors are open, etc. I have also visited big law firms (to say hi to friends/family and to interview) and, while the atmosphere I encountered was generally friendly, it was also less social: people are working hard to churn out work product so they can get those billable hours and go home before midnight. Granted, as I said, this is admittedly anecdotal.

I wonder where you get the idea that the minority success rate is better in government versus big law? I'm not saying that you're wrong, I really don't know. I just, intuitively, question whether that's actually the case. Working for the government will likely involve basically the same politics as working at a big firm.

ConLaw2017
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Re: 0L Advice?

Postby ConLaw2017 » Sat Jul 15, 2017 5:38 pm

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