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First Choice Language for Articling Recruit


lawlawtt
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lawlawtt
  • Law Student

I'm wondering if we have to first choice a firm during the articling recruit? If so, when is the ideal time to do so? 

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Turtles
  • Law Student

First choice language is your strongest weapon as an applicant interviewing for a job (i.e., the most helpful thing in your control at that point in the recruit). You get one "shot" and need to be strategic in how/when you use it. Applicants (particularly strong applicants) will get offers without using it (so it isn't strictly essential), but it can certainly boost your chances by showing interest above all other firms and signaling to the recruiter that you will accept any offer they give you (so they don't weed you out because they're uncertain you like the firm or that you'd accept the offer over other firms).

I think Day 2 of in-firms is usually the appropriate time -- it's a point where you have enough information to appear genuine, can actually decide which firm you want, and can convey the language before they make final hiring decisions. For some who have few to no other in-firms and who don't want to risk not getting a callback after Day 1, Day 1 may be more appropriate. 

Caveat: my experience was in the 1L Recruit, so articling recruit experience may vary

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ZukoJD
  • Law Student
On 8/1/2022 at 7:29 PM, Turtles said:

First choice language is your strongest weapon as an applicant interviewing for a job (i.e., the most helpful thing in your control at that point in the recruit). You get one "shot" and need to be strategic in how/when you use it. Applicants (particularly strong applicants) will get offers without using it (so it isn't strictly essential), but it can certainly boost your chances by showing interest above all other firms and signaling to the recruiter that you will accept any offer they give you (so they don't weed you out because they're uncertain you like the firm or that you'd accept the offer over other firms).

I think Day 2 of in-firms is usually the appropriate time -- it's a point where you have enough information to appear genuine, can actually decide which firm you want, and can convey the language before they make final hiring decisions. For some who have few to no other in-firms and who don't want to risk not getting a callback after Day 1, Day 1 may be more appropriate. 

Caveat: my experience was in the 1L Recruit, so articling recruit experience may vary

Is this really the case?
 

I would love if someone who’s been on the other side of hiring law students could weigh in here. Are firms anticipating that I tell them they’re my first choice? 

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Yes, we make note of which students say that we're their first choice and it can help us make hiring decisions that we feel confident about. It also helps in allocating our time, like X person already said we're their first choice, we don't need to monopolize them and we can focus instead on Y person who hasn't said that yet.

Edit - to be clear - do not lie about this, and do not tell more than one firm that they are your first choice. Only say it once and only if you're sure you would accept an offer from that place. I still remember that more than five years ago someone told me that we were their first choice and then turned down our offer, and I think of that now whenever I come across that person in practice. 

Edited by KOMODO
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Aureliuse
  • Lawyer

I use it to close off "strong" on interviews that I did well on, especially near the end when the interviewer asked me whether there was something I would like to add.

I agree with Komodo, don't abuse it and use it too often. I used it maybe 2-3 times on firms that I am focused on being hired.

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QueensDenning
  • Law Student
On 8/5/2022 at 10:30 PM, Aureliuse said:

I use it to close off "strong" on interviews that I did well on, especially near the end when the interviewer asked me whether there was something I would like to add.

I agree with Komodo, don't abuse it and use it too often. I used it maybe 2-3 times on firms that I am focused on being hired.

Your not exactly agreeing with Komodo if you used it more than one time though haha 

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FellowTraveler
  • Law Student
On 8/5/2022 at 3:13 PM, KOMODO said:

Yes, we make note of which students say that we're their first choice and it can help us make hiring decisions that we feel confident about. It also helps in allocating our time, like X person already said we're their first choice, we don't need to monopolize them and we can focus instead on Y person who hasn't said that yet.

Edit - to be clear - do not lie about this, and do not tell more than one firm that they are your first choice. Only say it once and only if you're sure you would accept an offer from that place. I still remember that more than five years ago someone told me that we were their first choice and then turned down our offer, and I think of that now whenever I come across that person in practice. 

As someone who irrationally hates this weird law recruit quirk, I appreciate this perspective. If I legitimately don't have a first choice, though (more like 2, maybe 3 firms I'm particularly interested in for different reasons) would indicating that they're one of my top choices be worthwhile, or would it just taken as mealy-mouthed?

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I know people who only got their offers because they used first choice language. That is, they were borderline candidates but because they used the language they received offers from their firms. 

Use it only once and preferably later in the process. You want to have enough information to determine whether they are interested enough in you before you use it or else you would be wasting it on them. I would recommend telling the firm a day or two before call day. A strategy that worked for my friends and me were to call the firms after the second interview and speak with the recruiter to see if you are still in the running. While some firms may tell you they are still considering you when they are not, a good number will straight up tell you they are not going to proceed with you (this happened with a friend of mine who was then able to narrow down which firm he was going to first choice).

If there are other firms you are interesed in, you can tell them they are "one of your top choices". It is clear language that they are not your first choice but high enough that if you do not get your first choice you will accept their offer. That is what I used and how I got my offer after my first choice rejected me on call day. 

Also, strange things happen on call day. Your first choice firm may not call you right away. Instead another "top choice firm" or a even a firm that previously rejected you may call you since they cannot get anyone. If you have not spoken to your first choice firm yet, let the other firm(s) that call know that you will call them back shortly and call your first choice firm to confirm or reject their offer before accepting someone else's. Make sure you tell your first choice you already have an offer and they need to let you know now. Once your first choice offers or rejects you, you can call the others back. You do not want your first choice to call you after you accepted someone else's offer. 

 

 

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QueensDenning
  • Law Student
1 hour ago, Ramesses said:

Use it only once and preferably later in the process. You want to have enough information to determine whether they are interested enough in you before you use it or else you would be wasting it on them. I would recommend telling the firm a day or two before call day.

 

 

Just FYI call day is 5PM on day 3 of interviews. So two days before call day might be an applicant's the first interview with the firm (seeing as you can only fit a max of 5 or so interviews on each day). 

If the first choice language is as important as it seems, wouldn't it be a good strategy to use it on maybe 2 or 3 firms? Morals aside, I'd probably rather have that stain my reputation vis a vis not getting an offer. 

Edited by QueensDenning
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