Interview with the interviewers
As a part of commitment to serve the law school community, Muskrat News decided last week to don our best black suits, pop a Xanax, and go back into the interview room, but this time to ask our own questions.  To find out what Muskrat Law looks like from the other side of the table, we sat down with several of the firm representatives who have been through over the last few weeks interviewing 2Ls for summer associate positions.  The results?  Not bad -- but there's always room for improvement.
Spade Hutchison, of New York's Leeming and Borlad, echoed a common refrain: "We always look forward to coming to Muskrat.  The students are invariably well qualified and well prepared.  Instead of fencing around to get a sense of whether a candidate has the intellectual skills to work for us, we can delve right into their personality and style, which allows us to make better judgments about who will fit in with our corporate culture."  Dave Hotchkiss, of the Washington firm of Burlingame, Twickell, agreed.  "The most important predictor of success in a new associate is compatibility with the firm.  The pace and work ethic of a firm like ours isn't for everyone.  I appreciate the fact that students are willing to address those issues forthrightly and with a minimum of self-respect." Nonetheless, he added, a little goes a long way.  "The student who followed me back to my hotel and stood at attention outside my window to prove their willingness to go without sleep probably went overboard.  When they start with us next year, we'll be sure to make them get at least two hours of sleep a night."
It's always best to be prepared for anything in an interview, says McConnel, Delquist and Jung's Pete Kovac.  "I was pleased with our new program where we survey candidate's potential for adopting to a hierarchical culture by bringing  a pair of Indonesian Gibbons to test the student's grooming and submission skills.  Many 2Ls quickly established their place in the hierarchy by averting their eyes and not attempting to mate with the female gibbon.  Everything was going fine until we broke for lunch and ran into Sullivan and Cromwell's male silverback gorilla, at which point it was all chest-pounding and territorial display.  The male gibbon was so upset he spent the whole afternoon flinging feces at me.  If I wanted that, I'd stay back in the home office."
At least one interviewer thought some students were over-prepared.  Mallaby Wannamaker, from the Washington firm of Cove, Bronstein, found.  "Too often the questions that were designed to give us a feel for personality and style were mistaken for ethics questions, which distorted the answers.  When I ask a student if they'd be willing to falsely accuse opposing counsel of child molestation, the proper answer isn't 'why, that would be unethical.'  The answer 'Would it stick?' is much more likely to get a person a flyback."  Asked how students could tell when it was time to fly the 'outraged ethics' flag, and when to be truthful, Wannamaker suggested that they watch for winking, nudging, air quotes, and phrases such as "technically, it would be wrong to murder a witness, right?"
Melinda Fornquist, from Scabbers and Torvald of New York, pointed out that as tedious as multiple interviews can be for students, the process is equally grueling for interviewers, who not only face a solid day of interchangeable suits, but who often are on the road to several schools in one trip.  In those situations, anything that a student can do to stand out can work to their advantage.  "It can be as simple as recommending a good local restaurant or offering us drugs.  Interesting life experiences can differentiate you, too, especially if they involve exotic sexual acts that don't really belong on a resume, but which can be demonstrated in under twenty minutes and don't look gross under fluorescent lighting.  Just don't expect us to furnish the condoms, the lubricant, the stuffed armadillo, the albino or the trampoline, and don't go overboard.  One woman wore a blue blouse.  That kind of slutty dress style doesn't work in a corporate culture."
Hotchkiss agreed about the numbing effect of too many interviews.  "I finished up one day and went out to dinner.  I yelled at the waiter for not sending a resume, and wearing casual clothes.  They had to drag me out of the restaurant  - I was screaming 'none of you will ever work in Washington!!' when the medics sedated me."  Obviously still dazed, Hotchkiss finished by asking if he had the job.