University of Pittsburgh

Pitt Law Works: Volume 5 Issue 9 - January 14, 2010

Quiz:  Are You Ready for Your Interview?

  1. How much do you know about the organization?
    1. I read through the organization’s Web site, pored over its mission statement, read every newspaper article I could find, and spoke with students who worked there.
    2. I poked around the Web site for a while.
    3. I skimmed the Web site and talked to some friends who worked there.
    4. Not much, other than that they're hiring.
  2. The night before the interview you...
    1. Printed out extra copies of your résumé.
    2. Figured out directions to the office.
    3. Prepared some answers to commonly-asked interview questions.
    4. All of the above.
  3. What will you wear to the interview?
    1. A professional-looking business suit.
    2. Something similar to what your friend, who works at the organization, wears each day.
    3. A sexy little number -- it might give you an edge.
    4. Whatever you want. After all, your wardrobe is an expression of your personality.
  4. The interviewer says, "Tell me about yourself." How do you respond?
    1. Well, I was born in rural Maine and I'm the oldest of six kids...
    2. I'm a 52-year-old former engineer, with 30 years of experience at XYZ Ltd...
    3. In my current role as a judicial extern for Judge Jones, I have researched and drafted memoranda on issues that frequently arise in litigation...
    4. That's a personal question, and I thought I was here for an interview
  5. What's your biggest weakness?
    1. I procrastinate a lot.
    2. I used to have a problem with time management. Then, about a year ago, I started synchronizing my work calendar and personal calendars on my PDA, and now I'm always on time and never miss deadlines.
    3. I'm not mechanically inclined.
    4. I don't have one.
  6. Which of the following is an illegal interview question?
    1. Have you ever been fired from a previous job?
    2. What type of training did you receive in the military?
    3. How much money did you make at your last job?
    4. None of the above.
  7. Your interviewer asks about your relationship with your last boss. (You hated him.) How do you respond?
    1. He was a sexist bigot. For example, last week he...
    2. Everything was fine until I broke up with him.
    3. We had our disagreements at times, but they were always handled respectfully.
    4. We were best friends.
  8. The employer says, "Do you have any questions?" How do you respond?
    1. Nope.
    2. Yes... how much is the starting salary, and is it OK if I take the month of August off for my annual family trip?
    3. How long have you been with the firm?
    4. I noticed in my research that XYZ just merged with ABC. How will that affect XYZ’s position in the DC legal market?
  9. What are your plans for after the interview?
    1. Send a thank-you note to every person who interviewed me.
    2. Call the interviewer every day until I hear a decision.
    3. Get back to the office before anyone notices I was gone.
    4. I don't know, shopping maybe?

Answers

  1. How much do you know about the organization?
    Answer: a, I read through the company's Web site, pored over its financials, mission statement and leadership information, and read every newspaper article I could find about the organization.

    The more information you have before the interview, the better. Solid preparation means you're ready for anything.
  2. The night before the interview you...
    Answer: d, All of the above.

    You can never be too prepared. Don’t run the risk of getting lost/missing your interview or getting tongue-tied.
  3. What will you wear to the interview?
    Answer: a, A professional-looking business suit.

    Unless the hiring manager specifically tells you what to wear to the interview, it's always best to wear a professional-looking business suit. Dress codes often vary by department, and it's better to be overdressed than underdressed.
  4. The interviewer says, "Tell me about yourself." How do you respond?
    Answer: c, In my current role as judicial extern for Judge Jones, I research and draft memoranda on issues that frequently arise in litigation...

    The hiring manager isn't asking about your personal life; she wants to know more about your professional accomplishments. Don’t volunteer personal information (like age, religion, marital status, etc.) that could potentially be used against you.
  5. What's your biggest weakness?
    Answer: b, I used to have a problem with time management. Then, about a year ago, I started synchronizing my work calendar and personal calendars on my PDA, and now I'm always on time and never miss deadlines.
    Everyone has a weakness, so telling the hiring manager otherwise won't earn you any points. Then again, neither will being too honest. Instead, it's best to acknowledge a real weakness and address how you have overcome it.
  6. Which of the following is an illegal interview question?
    Answer: d, None of the above.

    Your employment history is fair game.  When in doubt, answer the question as well as you comfortably can and then see Pam Day in the CSO for further guidance.
  7. Your interviewer asks about your relationship with your last boss. (You hated him.) How do you respond?
    Answer: c, We had our disagreements at times, but they were always handled respectfully.

    Professional networks can be disconcertingly small, and your "sexist bigot" of a boss could be the hiring manager's college buddy. Since the hiring manager will likely contact your references, it's not smart to lie. Instead, acknowledge your differences but explain how you worked past them.
  8. The employer says, "Do you have any questions?" How do you respond?
    Answer: d, I noticed in my research that XYZ just merged with ABC.  How do you think that will affect XYZ's position in the DC legal market?

    While it's perfectly acceptable to ask your interviewer questions about his or her personal experiences with the company, this is a chance to showcase your company research. Asking insightful questions can set you apart from the competition.
  9. What are your plans for after the interview?
    Answer: a, Send a thank-you note to every person who interviewed me.

    As soon as you get home from the interview, send a handwritten or e-mailed thank-you note to every single person who interviewed you. Then wait. If you don't hear back within a reasonable period of time, feel free to follow up. But be careful: Checking in too often can make you appear to be a pest or, worse, desperate.

Fellowship Focus

O’Neill Institute Fellowship Opportunities

The O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law is seeking exceptionally qualified candidates to serve as O’Neill Institute Law Fellows. Candidates should have their J.D. degree, and exceptional academic credentials, including publication, strong research interests, and knowledge or experience in aspects of national or global health law and ethics, such as public health, empirical studies, regulation, financing, and/or human rights. Candidates with a health degree or significant health policy experience may be preferred. Application should be made by letter or email, with accompanying CV, writing sample, professional references, official law school transcript, and other graduate school transcript (if applicable).

The application deadline is February 15, 2010. Applications should be directed to the attention of The O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University Law Center, 600 New Jersey Ave, NW, Washington, DC, 20001. Email applications can be submitted to oneillinstitute@law.georgetown.edu.

FCBA Foundation Now Accepting Applications for Funding of Unpaid Communications-Related Legal Internships

For the seventeenth consecutive year, the Federal Communications Bar Association (FCBA) Foundation will award stipends to law students from its Chairman Robert E. Lee Scholarship and Internship Fund.  In 2010, the Foundation will award at least five $5,000 stipends to law students employed as unpaid summer interns in positions with the FCC and other government agencies or entities with a connection to the communications industry (i.e., broadcasting, cable television, telephony, satellite, wireless, and information technology).

In addition, the Foundation will select one outstanding intern among those chosen to receive an additional stipend of $600 for the summer—the “Max Paglin Award.”  Mr. Paglin was the former General Counsel and Executive Director of the FCC, and the founder of the Golden Jubilee Commission on Telecommunications, which compiled a definitive legislative history of the Communications Act.

Requirements

Applicants will be selected on the basis of: (1) a demonstrated interest in the communications field, (2) having secured or having pending, an unpaid summer position (internship) for at least 8 weeks in communications with a government agency or entities with a connection to the communications industry, (3) dependence on financial assistance in order to accept the unpaid internship in a government agency or entity involved in communications; and, (4) community activities.  To the extent a recipient receives unanticipated funding for the unpaid internship, the FCBA Foundation’s general policy is to reduce its scholarship awards by any amount that a recipient’s total funding (including all sources) for the internship would otherwise exceed $7,000.

Applications for a Lee Fund scholarship should be submitted to Kerry Loughney, FCBA Foundation, 1020 19th Street, N.W., Suite 325, Washington, D.C. 20036, by Friday, March 19, 2010.  Applicants may be asked to interview with members of the Foundation Board; interviews may be conducted by telephone.  Winners will be notified by Friday, April 16, 2010.

To see the application, go to: http://www.fcba.org/upload/2010internshipstipendapplication.pdf or download the attached document.


CSO Sponsored Events

“The Inside Scoop”: 2L and 3L Students Share their Work Experiences

Tuesday, January 19, 1-2:15pm, Law School Lobby

Do you want to learn about different practice areas and summer work options?  Perhaps you think you know what you want to do but would like to get the “inside scoop” from students who have worked there before.  This table talk program is a great way to learn about where students have worked, how they found their jobs, what they did and how it impacted their next job search.   All law students (1L, 2L and 3L) are invited to come by and talk with their peers about a wide range of experiences, including law firm positions, judicial clerkships, government jobs and externships, research assistantships, public interest positions and more!   (Please note that this program is scheduled during a class break period).

Externship Program Information Session

Wednesday, January 20th 12:15-1:00pm Room 113
Wednesday, February 3rd 3:30-4:15pm  Room ALCOA Room (2nd Floor)

Kevin Deasy, Associate Dean of Students

The above information sessions have been scheduled for students interested in earning Law School credits for participation in an externship during the summer of 2010.  Dean Deasy and representatives of the Career Services Office will be available to discuss and answer questions about the Law School Externship Program.  Students interested in earning externship credits should attend one information session before the end of the semester.  There will be additional information sessions scheduled for students who decide at a later point to consider the possibility of performing an externship.  Please feel free to contact Dean Deasy at 412-648-5642 or deasy@pitt.edu if you have questions.

Cover Letter Workshop (RSVP Required)

Tuesday, January 26th 1:00—2:00pm Room 113

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to you because I struggle to craft effective cover letters, yet I am seeking a job for the summer. As a student at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, I do not feel I have any skills or experience to offer; however I would very much like to begin my career in Los Angeles

If you dread writing cover letters; don’t know what to say; or know why you should take the time to write them in the first place, this session is for you. We will briefly review what purpose cover letters serve. We will also go over cover letter do’s and don’ts. And we will provide an opportunity for you to try your hand at cover letter drafting. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP to Mary Thinium at thinium@pitt.edu by Thursday, January 21st.

Mock Interview Program - First Year Students

**Only students who have had their 1L mandatory meeting are eligible to sign-up.

The Career Services Office will be holding Mock Interview Days for first-year law students on Thursday, February 11, 2010 from 12-2 and Friday, February 12, 2010 from 1-3.  Lawyers from Pittsburgh law firms will be coming to campus to conduct mock interviews with students and give individual feedback about performance. This is a valuable way to become familiar with legal interviewing and to prepare yourself for future "real" interviews. Lawyers will meet with students for 30 minutes. The first 20 minutes will consist of a "mock interview" followed by 10 minutes of feedback and resume review.

Sign-up for the Mock Interview Program works like this:

On Thursday, January 21st, you may come to the Career Services Office anytime after 8:30 a.m. to sign-up for an interview slot for either date and submit your resume. YOU MUST SUBMIT A COPY OF YOUR RESUME WHEN YOU SIGN UP.  Your resume will be transmitted to the interviewing attorney before the event. On both interview dates there will be approx. 10 different rooms - choose only one room and only one date! 

You will be notified of the attorney and location of the interview closer to the interview date.  Attorneys will be randomly assigned to these rooms after student sign-ups. These firms tend to be general practice firms with a range of practice areas.

Job Search Break-Out Sessions with Donna Gerson (RSVP required)

Thursday, January 28,  times and locations below:

  • 10:15-11:00 am  G 13 The Informational Interview:  How to do it and why?
  • 12:00-12:45 pm  G 13 Interview Skills:  How to put your best foot forward
  • 2:25-3:10 pm  118 Professional Communication Skills: Email, Phone and Letters
  • 3:15-4:00 pm  118  The Informational Interview:  How to do it and why?

These breakout sessions are open to ALL students and are designed to focus on various aspects of the job searching process. If you would like to attend any of these sessions (you are welcome to attend as many as you want) you must RSVP in advance to pday@pitt.edu ASAP but no later than Friday, January 22nd.  Space is limited.

Small Firm Job Searching Program: Donna Gerson, author of Choosing Small Choosing Smart

Thursday, January 28, 1:00-2:15pm, Room 111

This program will be presented by Donna Gerson, Esq., author of Choosing Small Choosing Smart. The program will address job searching strategies in the small firm market, including information on

  • the hiring processes
  • how and when to contact small firms
  • networking fundamentals
  • interviewing skills and
  • tips for succeeding in a small firm environment once you have the position

This program will also kick off two weeks of focused counseling sessions, during which 2L and 3L students will be able to meet with a CSO counselor to structure their job search.  Additionally the CSO will be holding a Job Search Workshop:  Creating an Action Plan for Your Small and Mid-size Firm Job Search on Tuesday, February 2, which is open to ALL students.


Service Events and Bar Events

Volunteers needed for Public Service Committee's I-CAN! E-File day Feb. 6

The Public Service Committee will help make the I-CAN!™ E-File program available to low-income tax return filers on Saturday, February 6, 2010, at the Carnegie Library's Main Branch in Oakland from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  I-CAN!™ E-File is a computerized tax-return preparation system that is used by legal aid agencies around the country. It was created to help low-income families claim the Earned Income Tax Credit and avoid expensive tax preparation services or high-interest loans in anticipation of refunds. The program does not involve giving tax advice; instead, volunteers assist individuals as they prepare their own tax returns on a computer. 

A tutorial for the I-CAN!™ E-File program is available online. Volunteers are needed in 1½-hour shifts beginning at 10:00 a.m. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Nicole Scialabba at 412-586-6117 or scialabban@nlsa.us.

ACBA Family Law Section Children's Issues Subcommittee

Tuesday, January 19, 2010, 8:00 a.m.
Academy Room, ACBA Conference Center,  9th Floor City County Building

Co-Chairs: Elisabeth Molnar & Dawn K. Gull

AGENDA: Last CallThe use and abuse of alcohol and its impact on families, children and custodial contact.  Discussion with Paul I. Herman, M.Ed., substance abuse counselor, and Amy Palmer, Al-Anon District Representative for Allegheny County.

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