Beantown Buzz

BY KRISTY KIRKPATRICK

People have many reasons for wanting to interview in Boston. For some, it’s because they grew up here. For others, it is the fact that Boston has a vibrant legal community in an exciting, yet manageable, urban area. And for some, it is simply that Boston is not New York.

For a Harvard Law student who is considering interviewing in Boston for a summer associate position, the initial advantages are obvious: Rather than dealing with the hassle of moving yourself to a new city for three months, you get to stay in your cozy little nest. All the headaches that accompany subletting? Not your problem. You stay in a city that you have become more or less familiar with over the past year (on the rare occasions you’ve managed to leave campus, that is).

But if this is your only motivation for interviewing in Boston, you should probably think twice. Boston firms are very sensitive about the prospect of hiring summer associates who have no intention of staying in New England for the long haul. Before interviewing with Boston firms, my best advice is to think long and hard about your reasons for wanting to stay in Boston, and be prepared to address them in every single interview. Now this may not be as true for the folks who have substantial ties to New England, especially ties that are prominently displayed on their resumes (i.e., grew up in Worcester, went to school at Dartmouth, etc.). But for those other hapless interviewees (i.e., me) who have never lived in New England before law school but have since decided that this is their spiritual home, the process is a bit trickier. I hedged my bets by bidding on virtually all of the Boston firms who came to campus, hoping that I could convince at least a few that I was sincere in my desire to stay in Boston. Most of my interviewers questioned me at length about my choice of location. I explained to them that I feel more at home in Boston than I have in any other city I’ve lived in, and I am committed to staying here after graduation. One thing that helped my cause was the fact that I was only looking at Boston firms. At the end of the day, some interviewers seemed persuaded by my reasons, some did not.

Luckily for me, I had no such problems in my interviews with my top-choice firm, Hale and Dorr. They seemed to be more interested in me as a person than in my geographic affiliations. During my summer at Hale and Dorr, I was pleasantly surprised to find that many of the attorneys there were also New England transplants. Like me, they had lived in many other cities before deciding that Boston was the right fit for them. And after my summer there, I am convinced that I made the right choice. The firm, like many others in Boston, has an exciting, diverse practice and does an extensive amount of pro bono work. Attorneys working in Boston benefit from being part of a smaller, more congenial legal community, while enjoying the same starting salaries are their colleagues in New York. Perhaps most telling is this: Of all my 3L friends who worked in Boston last summer, none of them are re-interviewing in other cities this year.

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