Successful Interviewing and Beyond
A compelling CLE entitled “SUCCESSFUL INTERVIEWING AND BEYOND: Learning to Effectively Navigate Your Way as a Woman Lawyer to Ensure Success” was held on September 18, 2006. (Click here for a description of the program.)
The CLE was the meeting of a powerhouse of women attorneys and legal professionals – and I was both honored and humbled to be speaking among them. As was addressed at the CLE, women are leaving the profession at increasing rates. This program was one step towards both seeking a solution and providing support in the decision making process as new women lawyers enter the field and as women lawyers progress in their careers. Though I was a panelist, the program was educational for me as well. It reinforced pieces of advice I’ve received over the years and turned on a some light bulbs with new ideas. If you didn’t have an opportunity to attend here’s a brief overview of the tips that came from the various speakers:
- Don’t wait for someone to recognize your talents – demonstrate what you can do and advocate for yourself.
- Don’t forget to have fun and enjoy what you’re doing – if you’re not enjoying it, maybe you need to be doing
- Amongst all of the advice and different opinions, don’t forget to be yourself.
- An interview is like a first date, don’t overwhelm the interviewer with questions and commentary about yourself, take a more balanced approach to highlight your skills and at the same time show that you’ve prepared.
- Know your audience – whether it be in an interview or when requesting a raise.
- Prepare. Prepare. Prepare. For interviews, for reviews, for everything.
- To prepare for an interview, research the firm or organization, etc. where you are interviewing, the person conducting
the interview (if possible) and be prepared to discuss why you are a fit based on the information you’ve obtained.
- Mentors are important, but may come in different forms, male or female, and for different purposes, work
- You are the only one responsible for your own career, its beginning and its future – no school, firm, mentor, or
even the most well-wishing individual can do for you what you can do for yourself.
- When at an event, gather business cards and follow up with people – don’t forget that meeting people is only the first
- Don’t underestimate the power of your law school acquaintances and friendships – the people you are with every dayin class will be the same people you see in your office, across the courtroom and in every day practice.
- Have outside interests, in law school and after (although I won’t insist that everyone take up my hobby that I
shared with everyone at the CLE, which is trapeze).
- For lateral moves, don’t assume that in-house means less work and on the job training – in-house positions generally
mean the same or more work, and upon being hired it is often assumed that you are already familiar with that area of
- For laterals or law students looking to relocate, contacting alums from your law school is a good way to start the search.
- If you are looking for a non-traditional work schedule, present your employer with the reasons that it is financially
beneficial for them to work with you.
- Don’t underestimate yourself – reach for what you know you can achieve and then reach higher.
- And don’t forget to breathe – as important and life-altering as every event seems, an interview is just an interview, being passed over for a raise or promotion might lead to another opportunity and ultimately, you will make it to the next day.
Ultimately, the heart of the program was the participation from the audience, women law students and lawyers alike, who asked very open and honest questions and received open and honest answers. We also had the opportunity to continue our discussions at the reception following the program. Having spoken to a number of the law students and new lawyers, I am certain that our field will be enriched by their addition.
The distinguished group of contributors included, Deborah Epstein Henry, Esq. (Moderator) – Founder & President, Flex-Time Lawyers LLC; Of Counsel, Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP, Linda Dale Hoffa, Esq. – Assistant United States Attorney; Assistant Chief, Criminal Division, Eastern District of PA, Roberta D. Liebenberg, Esq. – Co-Chair, Women in the Profession Committee; Fine, Kaplan and Black, R.P.C., Elaine Petrossian, Esq. – Assistant Dean for Career Strategy & Advancement, Villanova University School of Law, Sarah E. Davies, Esq. – Hiring Partner, Cozen O’Connor, Katherine Hatton, Esq. – Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Sunah Park, Esq. – Partner, Thorp Reed & Armstrong, LLP, Molly Peckman, Esq. – Special Counsel & Director of Professional Development, Dechert , Peggy Simoncini Pasquay – Manager of Attorney Recruitment & Relations, Duane Morris LLP.
Submitted by Heather Herrington