International Student Interview Program: The Most Important Day for an LLM

Nametags. Suits. Employer profiles. Resumes and cover letters. The sound of high heels in the background. Some of us rest against the walls inside the Kimmel Center. Others prefer to march up and down the corridors. Only a few dare to break the silence. It is almost 9:00 a.m., and today is the most important day for an LLM seeking to start a new career in law.

job-680733_1920The International Student Interview Program (ISIP), hosted by NYU Law, draws to campus around 1,600 law students from 32 US schools and representing more than 75 countries. The reason? Over 160 employers have come to hold interviews for law-related positions in the US and abroad. And everything takes place during a single day.

All needs are catered for, whether you are looking for a permanent position in the US, an internship, or a secondment, or even if you look forward to going back home to a law firm that recognizes the added value of your LLM. Regardless of your plans for the future, this is the best event at which to network with experienced law professionals and LLM students from universities all over the country.

It is definitely one of the busiest days for the Law School, yet the organization is impeccable: information checkpoints on every floor, coat checks, hosts. Everything operates like a Swiss watch. The idea is simple: 20-minute interviews, five-minute breaks in between to find the next room and employer. Everyone moves at the same pace, as in a massive speed-dating event. Some will have a full-day agenda packed with interviews, and barely a few minutes to stop for a quick lunch. Others prefer to focus their efforts on a handful of employers that fit their career aims.

For many LLM students, the day will be a milestone in their law career. If everything goes well, callbacks will follow in the next few weeks, and the formal hiring procedure will kick off. These 20-minute interviews are only the first contact with the employers after the preliminary resume screening. They consist mainly of several short “behavioral” questions, followed by some time for the candidate to make inquiries about the firm or the company. However, one should be ready for technical legal questions, especially candidates seeking work in very specific practice areas. Also, one may end up having a conversation about recent news, sports, or hobbies. One way or another, flexibility (and spontaneity!) is key.

(Photo: Simon Law via Creative Commons)

But the best is yet to come. In the evening, once all interviews are over, most law firms host private receptions for their candidates. Drinks, food, and even live music help create a lighter mood. No more resumes, interview pitches, or cover letters… now it is time to let your personality come through in a more relaxed atmosphere and meet those who will be your colleagues, counterparties, or, most importantly, future clients.