Lisa Simpson Discusses How Law Students Can Impress During Interviews

Forbes | August.02.2017

Lisa Simpson, partner in charge of law school recruiting at Orrick, sat down with Forbes recently to discuss the challenges of the current legal hiring market and provide tips for law students looking to do well in their law firm interviews as on-campus recruiting gets underway.

On the competitive market, Lisa said, “There is a shrinking pool of talent – over the past several years we are seeing that fewer of the strongest students are seeking law degrees. Those that do get their JD aren’t seeking roles at the large law firms the way they used to, or they are planning only a short stint at those firms. All this means that the firms are fiercely fighting to position themselves best for the top talent.” But that doesn’t necessarily mean good news for candidates. Lisa continued, “The hiring period for on-campus interviews keeps moving earlier on the calendar and getting more condensed. As a result, both firms and candidates are forced to make decisions very quickly in an atmosphere that may not permit deliberative and comparative thinking at the level all would hope.”

When asked what she personally looks for in candidates, Lisa replied, “We used to emphasize the traditional indicia of achievement – grades, extracurricular activities, clerkships, honors, undergraduate achievement and involvement. We still look at all those things, but we have placed new emphasis on more amorphous characteristics… We found that we need to look for true success indicators. First, we look for evidence of grit - the ability to bounce back after disappointment or when things go wrong… We also look for teamwork and social intelligence, specifically, the ability to work well in teams and make connections with people. The law as a discipline is about concepts, and the application of theory to facts. But the law as a business is about connecting with other people.”

To read Lisa’s full interview with Forbes, please click below.