Q&A: Advice for law students who want to work in a major law firm | education

Law school graduates pursue a wide range of careers, from family law to technology law to the front line Social Justice. Some choose Not to practice law at all.

Among those who follow a private sector In a legal profession, many hope to join a global law firm that helps high-profile clients with multifaceted legal cases. On-campus recruitment for positions in law firms can be very competitive. Many law students work hard for the chance to distinguish themselves as summer employees at a law firm.

Raj Shah is a partner at DLA Piper, a global law firm of more than 4,000 attorneys working in more than 40 countries. In addition to his work advising high-profile firms in complex litigation, Shah chairs DLA Piper’s Chicago Litigation Group and Partnership Nominating Committee.

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Raj Shah

As Fellows’ national recruiting partner, Shah shares with US News his advice for aspiring attorneys considering a career at a major law firm. The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Q: What do law firms like DLA Piper look for in the law students they hire? Is there anything candidates often overlook?

We place great emphasis on intellectual curiosity – a general willingness and desire to research and learn about the client, their business goals and objectives, and the matter at hand.

Most candidates have a sharp toolkit and can apply the law with precision, but lawyers often work in areas where the answers are not obvious. We want to see aspiring lawyers who can become experts in their clients’ mission and the market to provide comprehensive and tailored advice. Can you solve problems and provide innovative solutions?

Of course, we also measure how passionate an individual is about the law, as well as how passionate they are about it Resilience Over adversity and the ability to overcome challenges. It is also important that you are a strong team player.

Q: What can an aspiring lawyer do before law school, in school, or in the workforce, to better prepare himself to become a lawyer at a major firm like yours?

It is important to stress that there is no clear, one-size-fits-all approach to becoming a successful attorney. Of course, your grades and experience are important indicators of success, but it’s not just face value for where you’ve worked or where you’ve worked. He attended school. We value different perspectives and experiences. Studying art history or mathematics is less important than demonstrating the ability to apply what you learn to your profession. Show how your unique skill set and experience translate into a successful career as a lawyer.

Q: Do you have any advice for applicants who are concerned that they don’t fit the mold of the typical “big firm” attorney?

There is no one way to getting a job at a big company- don’t worry if you feel you’ve made an unusual journey to this point, because you might be able to offer a valuable new perspective that others might not. Be your true self and show how you can add to the culture in the company.

Q: Many law school applicants know that jobs at top law firms are prestigious and competitive, but they’ve also heard horror stories about the upsides and downsides of the job. What is your advice to those who don’t know if working for a major law firm is right for them?

The biggest mistake a candidate can make is treating all major law firms the same. Do your homework on the company and bypass historical data, which only tells you where the company is, not where it’s headed.

Talk to classmates or alumni who have trained or worked there. Be prepared for the interview with questions that match your needs Career goals. For example, does the company focus on practice areas, industries, or geographies that align with your goals? How do team members interact with each other outside of formal mentoring programs? Does the company culture align with your goals for your future? There are a lot of intangible assets related to the company of any size that will make it the most suitable for you.

Working for a large law firm because it is “prestige” should not be the only goal. The goal should be to go somewhere that allows you to learn and do work that you find rewarding and build your career for the long term, whether you stay with the company or eventually move to a different job. Type of legal business.

Q: What are some emerging trends in the legal profession that anyone seeking to build a successful long-term legal career should consider?

When it comes to trends in the legal profession, artificial intelligence is driving a lot of conversations right now. To embrace change responsibly, we use artificial intelligence technologies that improve the quality and timeliness of services provided by our attorneys.

Artificial intelligence will enhance our work, not replace it. Really strong legal analysis writingAnd organization and word of mouth will be even more important as AI begins to take over some of the more search-focused components of our jobs.

While it is important to understand how AI is shaping our profession, candidates cannot lose sight of the skills that will remain critical: judgment, judgment, and intellect.

Q: Finally, more law schools are starting to reinstate interviews in the admissions process, whether face-to-face or with recorded questions. As someone who has certainly participated in many interviews, on both sides, do you have any advice for law applicants in the interview?

If you have done your thorough research, the face-to-face interview should be a welcome opportunity to differentiate yourself and connect with your interviewers. Use the interview as an opportunity to showcase some of the soft skills you have highlighted as well as your passion for the profession. Also, use it as an opportunity to learn and Ask meaningful questions This will allow you to find the right person for your future.

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