The number of students taking non-profit and public sector jobs in law school usually inflates in a recessed economy. Many 1Ls this year both here at Northwestern and across the United States are likely going to do that this summer. In my view, sounds like a golden opportunity. In fact, I was interesting in doing the same, especially as I have future interests in public service. However, just recently I got an opportunity that was too good to pass up. And as many of you know from my post here last Friday, that I finally got the call about a week ago.
The call came from Vedder Price, a great law firm based here in Chicago. I had just interviewed with them nearly a week before the call came through, so I knew either a call or an email was eventually on its way. But before that, I had been in close contact with the firm since early first semester not only in hopes to stay on the firm’s radar but also to ensure that there was a really good fit. I called students and alumni who had worked at the firm. I spoke with the people at my career office to get a feel for their unique experiences. I researched various practices, spoke extensively with one or two of the attorneys, and thought about ways I could add value to the firm. Everything I uncovered reinforced that the firm was a good fit.
In general, I found that the firm to have an entrepreneurial environment and highly collaborative approach to projects. I also found it to be strong in a number of the practice areas I’m interested in, including executive compensation and employment, which for me is well aligned with longer-term human capital interests. In fact, the firm is one of the premier executive compensation firms anywhere (by the way have you seen the 2010 Dodd Bill on executive pay introduced just yesterday). Finally, one of the best things is that the summer associate offer is part of a cool scholarship/ fellowship program supporting diversity in the legal field, which is a critical issue that I support.
And in the end, the idea of fit and the eventual prospects of making an impact seemed best there. Far too often in my experience, people assume that all organizations are basically just the same (especially law firms). Others often think that getting hired by a firm speaks for itself. That the task of analyzing fit and making the right employment decision is for recruiters or attorneys to figure out. After all, firms also want to pick the best fit for the organization, right?
Conceptually sure. But in my experience, that’s not always how things turn out. So I personally think there’s value in looking for fit, uncovering shared values, and finding common links and interests. Because in the end, you want to be in a place where you’ll enjoy your time and where you’ll do well.
But there’s just one catch. To do that effectively requires a bit of reflection. You first have to think about your own skills and interests, think deeply about your values and ideals, and then you have to come up with a compelling message for the interview process. At least that’s what I tried to do. Effective or not, I’m just glad things worked out, and I look forward to joining Vedder Price this summer. Click here to learn about the Diversity Scholarship.
Good luck to everyone still in the job search process.