Waiting For An Offer

by | March 10, 2009

Question: I've had my first interview with a law firm I like. I haven't heard back yet. Is there anything I should be doing in the meantime?

Bill and Chet: You probably have a strong urge to pick up the phone, call the lawyer you met, and ask what is happening. Before you do that, however, you need to do some homework. If you know others who have interviewed at the firm, talk to them about their experience. Have they heard from the firm? If not, the firm may simply be slow in getting around to making a decision.

Firms vary in the speed with which they make hiring decisions. Some firms are more cautious than others. In addition, you may have been interviewed early in the recruiting season, and the firm is continuing to make its rounds of law schools. Or perhaps you are the second choice of the firm, and the extension of an offer to you is contingent upon the rejection of a prior offer given to someone else. Whatever the reason, months may go by with no word from the firm.

Unless you have a compelling reason to communicate with the firm (as would be the case if you have an offer from another firm and a deadline on your response is approaching), it is normally best to lie low and not initiate communications. There is very little you can say during a telephone call that is likely to arouse greater interest on the part of the firm than you will be able to generate during the interview at your school. If you cannot suppress the urge to contact the firm, write them a letter indicating how much you enjoyed the interview and look forward to hearing from them. Even if such a letter doesn't help your case, it may make you feel as if you are in greater control of the situation.

~The situation is quite different if you have an offer from another firm and must respond soon. In this case, you have a legitimate reason (as opposed to mere impatience) to inquire as to your standing at the firm. In some situations, the fact that you have an offer may peak the interest of the firm that is sitting on the fence. Be prepared when you call to identify the firm that has given you an offer and, whatever you do, avoid any misrepresentations in this regard.

Above all, be patient. Wait for the firm to get in touch with you. Initiate contact only if you really need to know where you stand with the firm.

Filed Under: Job Search


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