Our associate hiring process goes like this.
We place an ad for an associate position with 30 law schools on Symplicity and with approximately a dozen minority bar associations. We consider closely, however, graduates from any of the top 70 or so law schools.
All resumes go through two rounds of preliminary vetting, where we look for things like glaring typos. Those that remain after the preliminary vetting are subjected to a detailed analysis using a standardized point system that gives credit for: presentation, academics, writing, moot court, work experience, bar admissions, school, and other factors.
We interview your writing before we interview you. We ask the top ranked individuals for at least two writing samples. Before we read the samples an administrative person redacts the names from the writing samples, so that as we read we have no idea who is a man or a woman, whose name begins with A and whose with Z. Then we read the samples closely and rate them using a standardized point system that gives credit for: communication, complexity, persuasiveness, brevity, clarity, organization, topic sentences, format, etc. You have to be able to write well to work here. Thus, we put this step in front of the interview process.
After rating the writing samples, we ask the top writers to come in for an interview where they meet with Michelle Itkowitz. She has prepared a list of a super-psychological-scientific interview questions to ask the candidates. Honestly, the questions are straightforward, and most are simply designed to get you to talk. If you have made it to this point in the process, you are qualified for the job. Michelle's task at the interview is simply to determine who is likely to be the best fit for the job. Thus, there are no correct or incorrect answers to the questions.
Probably two-thirds of the candidates who attend a first interview are asked back for a second interview, where the candidate meets everyone. Therefore, if you come back, you will meet almost everyone that you would be working with. You will have as long as you like to ask the associates frank questions outside of the presence of the partners.
If we are going to offer you the job we will ask for your references and speak with them. We also ask for a copy of your law school transcript.
It is a grueling process - for the firm - not for the candidate. But there is nothing more important to this firm than hiring the best people, so it is well worth the trouble. As we look back on the list of 21 associates who have been through here in 8 years, as we think about what working with them was like, and as we watch their careers since they have left here – we are reminded that the effort has been worth it.