Two Podcasts! How to Get a Job Out of Law School + Legal Hiring Tips from an Expert

In this episode of Status Check with Spivey, Mike interviews Kate Reder Sheikh, a Partner at Major, Lindsey & Africa, one of the top recruiting firms for legal hiring in the nation. Mike and Kate discuss the legal hiring market, how legal hiring may be impacted by the state of the economy in the coming months and years, what you can do to best position yourself for the employment opportunities you aspire to, and more advice and tips for law students and graduates.

Before becoming a recruiter, Kate was a litigator in San Francisco for almost a decade. She is regularly the highest performing associate recruiter at Major, Lindsey & Africa globally, and she was named a partner after 4 years with MLA, among the fastest in company history.

You can listen and subscribe to Status Check with Spivey on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, YouTube, and Google Podcasts.

This episode is a follow-up to Part 1: How to Get a Job Out of Law School, in which Mike offers some tips and advice for getting a job out of law school from his time as a Dean of Career Services during the great recession.

Full Interview Transcript:

Mike: Welcome to Status Check with Spivey, where we talk about life, law school, law school admissions, a little bit of everything. This is part two of a law school centric, employment focused, how to get a job as a law school student, particularly in this potentially recessive economy. I have the great pleasure to be joined by Kate Reder Sheikh, who is a part of Major, Lindsey & Africa, which is essentially the foremost placement recruitment firm out there for lawyers transitioning from one job to another.

What is it that makes you passionate and differentiated in the job search process? What are things you can ask people? I love that part of the discussion. During your interviews, how do you stand out? How do you stay in touch? How do you network? How do we define networking? All these things that I've talked about before, Kate is much more of an expert on, and it made me feel a little bit more comfortable with the fact that some things I said before, she very much clicked on and resonated in this interview or podcast. So without further delay, let me hand it over to my discussion with Kate.

Hey everyone, I am joined by Kate Reder Sheikh, who probably could do a better job of introducing herself than I can, other than to say we're honored to have an expert on hiring and legal recruiting with us.  So let me turn it over to Kate.

Kate: Good morning. Thanks so much for having me.

Mike: So your background, when did you first start thinking about law school and that was the path you might want to go down?

Kate: So I was a Queer Studies major at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, and I was trying to figure out if I wanted to go down the path of academia or the path of law school. And I ultimately decided on law school in part because I wanted to have geographical flexibility, which if you're an academic, you go wherever the tenure track position is. And based on the fact that I grew up in San Francisco, wasn't super interested in landing in a state in the Midwest  that I wasn't familiar with and where I didn't know anybody. So I actually chose law school in large part because I knew it would allow me to come home to San Francisco and practice here, which academia seemed like it was going to be a little bit more of a winding path if I was ever going to get home.

Mike: Correct me if I'm wrong, but you went to University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Now we're really in my sort of passionate arena. Oftentimes people talk about going to a law school that's regionally located. As a former Dean of Career Services, there's a weird reverse twist to this though. If you're at UNC Chapel Hill, a lot of those students are wanting to be in DC or Atlanta, etc. And you know competing against maybe one or two to go back to the Bay Area.

Kate: So my graduation year, there were eight of us who took the California bar, which I think had to be like a UNC record. I chose to go to Carolina because I really love sports.  

Mike: And you like basketball, right?

Kate: I'm a huge, huge, maniacal basketball fan. And it was the weekend that Roy Williams committed to come back from Kansas to Carolina that I had to make my decision. I don't regret it. I had a great time. We won the national championship while I was there. Chapel Hill is beautiful. I got a great legal education. I've certainly had moments where I realized that I went against my future advice, which is largely to go to the best-ranked law school you get into as long as it's not going to put you into bone-rattling debt. It depends on how you see the rest of your career playing out. If you're interested in going into public interest, then it doesn't matter as much. But if you want to go into biglaw, your best shot is to go to the top-ranked law school. So I actually got into Cornell after I'd accepted at Carolina off the waitlist. And I had a few dark nights of soul searching of do I scratch the plan as I have it? And I decided that I'd made a decision based on my gut that I was going to be happy in Chapel Hill and I largely was. Law school doesn't have to be a miserable experience. And you can filter for that.

Mike: Okay. How many national championships has Cornell won since you applied?  

Kate: Zero. Absolutely zero. Cornell's a great school. I just fell in love with Chapel Hill and I was too deep in the tank.

Mike: You are clicking on something we talked about a lot and we will continue to be talking about a lot. But rankings are arbitrary. Yes, there's somewhat of a guide post for maybe where biglaw might be recruiting. But is Cornell 17 spots better for you than UNC? That’s one media source dictating to you what’s important to you.

And the other thing that's really important I think for our listeners now and I've lived this from every side. Like you, I've turned down higher-ranked schools to go to lower-ranked schools in my career, which most people in academia don't do. You're clear who you are. And it's worked out despite having turned down higher-ranked options. So I think it's good for listeners to hear that. As for my doctoral dissertation work, I interviewed some UNC student-athletes at the Old Well.

Kate: Oh, I know the Old Well. Yeah.

Mike: That's where I talked to student-athletes. And my doctoral work was on goal setting, but I was working with student-athletes. So maybe I could have bumped into you and we didn't even know it back then.

Kate: Ships in the night.

Mike: You went into litigation - from your own words, explain to our listeners what exactly that entails.  

Kate: So litigation is matters that go to court, non-transactional matters disputes. And I did a lot of work around family recognition, who are the legal parents of children, which was related to my previous academic work in the queer studies space. And then I also did really high-asset divorces. And it was an interesting mixed play. It's not everybody's cup of tea or everybody's path but ultimately, I was pretty good at it, but it was not great for me personally. My specific area of litigation is a lot of bare-knuckle fighting. And I found it really tiring and not to key into the best parts of myself.

Mike: The people that know your background, do they still text or email out of the blue?

Kate: Totally.

Mike: I was working in academia, but every day more and more people were saying, “could you help me get my kid into law school?” And I was like, “oh, there's an avenue here,” but I was actually passionate about that. I've heard lots of litigation stories, not just about bare-knuckle fighting, but also work preceding a trial is nonstop. Is it true that people check into hotels and just work for weeks at a time before a trial?

Kate: I'm sure that happens. I never did that. I was also unmarried and didn't have kids. So it was easy for me to just crank. Now I have two small children and I can't imagine how I would have done it if it were to be happening now. So yes, I think that the lead-up to trials can be really exhilarating and exciting, but oh goodness, it's a lot.

Mike: Yeah, what would be the typical hour day leading up to a trial?

Kate: Probably 12-ish. What I was doing wasn't like huge corporate trials. So what I was doing was less than what folks in biglaw would be doing by quite a lot.

Mike: A 12-hour day is a 12-hour day; it’s not easy. 8 a.m. till 8 p.m. And then you transitioned out of that. I know you were overseas, but you were doing recruiting, right? You transitioned to recruiting from litigation?

Kate: Yeah, so my husband and I moved first to Singapore, and we lived there for a year and during that time I was working remotely as counsel at the firm that I had been at before we moved. And the time zone between San Francisco and Singapore is not optimal for remote work. So I would get an email in the middle of the night when I was asleep saying I need you on this call at 5 a.m. and then an email at 5:30 being like, “I'm really disappointed you weren't on that call,” but I was asleep for the whole thing. Then we moved to London and I applied to law firm marketing roles. And then I started interviewing for recruiting. In London, they have folks who are called rec to recs, which are recruiters who hire and market recruiters.

Mike: Yeah, I'd never heard of that before. That's really interesting.

Kate: That's how big the market is, exactly. So I found a rec to rec who was representing me to a bunch of recruiting companies. And I could see that I thought I’d be good at his job, but then once I started talking to the actual recruiting companies, it's almost like meeting the person that you're meant to be with and suddenly your eyes lock across the crowded room and that's it. I've honestly never looked back. I thought that whatever I did in London would be for a couple of years and then I would come back to San Francisco and resume my practice. It was never my intention to leave practicing law completely until I found recruiting and I can't imagine practicing again.

Mike: So you’re with Major, Lindsey & Africa, correct?

Kate: Yes.

Mike: And it sounds like you love what you do.

Kate: I really do and all of the truisms about it are accurate. You know, when you love what you do, you don't work a day in your life, etc. I look forward to Monday mornings. I do not have any Sunday scaries. I genuinely see this as a helping profession. And I think that as somebody who really enjoys talking to lawyers, I didn't want to leave the law completely behind. I just needed to find this little sort of sidestep into something that's law-adjacent.

Mike: So before we segue into what I think our listeners are going to be most interested in, which is how to get a job. How you got a job. You said one thing that you don't get the Sunday scaries nor do I. I absolutely love what I do. I have tough days. I imagine you do too. Some days are long. Some days that are short and intensely stressful. But I don't remember since 15 years ago that I've gotten ‘Sunday scaries’ where you're just dreading that office at 7 a.m. the next day. If you had to guess, because I think this is good for people to hear, what percentage of practicing lawyers, whether it's solo, small, mid, big, government, what percentage do you think love what they do?  

Kate: Like love, love what they do? Maybe 30%. It's not as high as we’d hope.

Mike: I was going to guess like 20, 25%. Practicing law is a calling for some people and this podcast nor what I do for a living is ever meant to discourage people from following their dreams. But I think it's also important to realize that dreams can change, and to be open-eyed about what you're getting into. Just like me for that matter. I wanted to be a college president. But the further up I got in the food chain, the less I controlled my life. My clear-eyed moment was when I looked at my phone and my next day schedule and it was like 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. meetings, I didn't recognize a single name because I didn't make the appointments. And that's when I was like, well, the higher up you get the less control you have. So you can always pivot and you pivoted. But let’s first talk about maybe your experience at UNC, finding a job and how you went about that because you did it successfully, and a lot of people listening to this are going to want to know how to do it successfully.

Kate: UNC has a really big name in Charlotte and Raleigh and Atlanta. And the further out you get from that nexus, I think the harder it is to necessarily rise to the top of the pile unless you were an absolutely exceptional editor of Law Review, magna cum laude kind of candidate. I knew that the Bay Area market wasn't going to be extremely familiar with North Carolina as a law school. So I networked my butt off and I got my first job from a public job posting where I really hustled in the interviews and the context of having done extensive research about the folks that I was talking to and also doing as much as I could to understand the market and where this firm sat in the market and adjusting my interviews dial in relation to that fact.  

Mike: I recorded last week before this one and it's part one of how to get a job in a recessive economy. This is part two. But a couple of things I clicked on you literally just hit on which is one, know the people inside and out who you're going to be meeting with. Because if you know every little detail about them, it is so easy organically to bring up something during the conversation and they're going to be impressed. The more you know, the more organic it's going to come. Okay, if you know they love basketball, Greg Shumaker was the Jones Day hiring partner, you probably know the name, for many years and I knew he had a love for Notre Dame football and basketball. So when I was a Dean of Career Services and I met with him, we talked a lot about Notre Dame football and basketball. Then Jones Day started hiring all of our students. It's Dale Carnegie How to Win Friends and Influence People. If they're talking about their passions, next thing you know, you’re best friends with them.

Kate: And if they're talking in general, the interview is going well. If they are talking about themselves, the interview is going well.

Mike: Yeah, I always think the ratio should be like 70-30.  It's the same when applicants apply to law school and they think they have to sell themselves.  No, no, no, no, no. If this person is talking about why they love their job, what they're passionate about, they're liking you more and more. That's not just you and I, there's a lot of research that backs it up in the general, you know, resources. You mentioned two things, also know the market. I talked about reading the Wall Street Journal. You can mention why money is moving or not moving and you're talking to an M&A lawyer. Congrats on your job offer.

Kate: Yeah, I also think understanding your micro-market. So not everybody who is listening to this is going to end up in LA, San Francisco, Chicago, DC, New York, Boston, right? You'll have folks who a) are going to want to land in smaller markets and it is important to understand that Atlanta is not New York. It is important to understand that the firms that are Vault 10 may not have any offices in your state. So that means that those rankings may not be applicable to where you are. I think specifically, Vault is extremely regionally focused. It is a really New York myopic ranking system. The firms in my market in the Bay Area that are considered the top firms do not even register on Vault’s Richter scale. So I wouldn't be too myopic and focused on any one ranking system, because it may not be applicable to your market, especially if your market  is smaller or further outside of New York.

Mike: If you were a student knowing what you know now and you wanted to develop a heuristic to identify what might be a best fit for an employer, whether it's nonprofit, government, biglaw, we could just take biglaw, even within biglaw, what would be that heuristic? I'm guessing it wouldn't just be starting salary plus bonus because that's one data point of thousands. What are some things that would be important to you or important for our listeners to sort of look at when they're looking at where do I want to go work?

Kate: First of all on the salary, in most major markets, the salary is a flat consideration. Most first years are starting at $215,000, which is a remarkable chunk of change. So salary consideration is largely going to be flat unless you're looking at firms that are deeper in the Am Law 100 that may be giving you cost benefit for a lower salary, i.e. 1850 hours instead of 2000 hours. That can be a life-changing distinction in any given year. I think the billable hour requirement and actual hours billed on average are extremely important pieces of data. I would look at where the people go who leave, are they lateraling to other firms, are they going into government or in-house and which of those things matches your personal drivers? Some people want to go to the biggest possible firm for a couple of years and blow it out, right? They want to work really hard and they want to work on the most sophisticated work that they can access, but then they want to know that they can lateral to a smaller firm from that once they've scratched that itch. So I think I would certainly look at exit opportunities. And you can look on LinkedIn for former employees and you can see where they landed and I feel like that's a really good sort of portal.  

Mike: What's the variability on billable hours or hours a week? How much does it vary from one firm to another?

Kate: We usually look at it by year to look at the variation because any month or week can be dramatically different depending on what your practice area is. In biglaw, I would say the pendulum kind of swings between 1850, which is definitely on the low end, to I believe there is one firm that's at 2150, which is quite high.

Mike: Turning back to you then, so you're a UNC student, you chose UNC for all the right reasons, Roy Williams was the coach, and now you're looking at jobs, you network like crazy, I’ve given talks on networking, and essentially the Dean of two of my law schools, it’s the same person, I just went with them, hired me to be his networker. What's your definition of networking because I think it's a scary word that to me is actually not that scary in practice.

Kate: So when I am in networking mode, which candidly I haven’t had to do for a while in this job search sense, I've been at MLA for I believe almost six years,  so I've been out of the game for a while for my own interests. I always look for people with whom I have something in common and usually it's something about my educational background or their educational background. It doesn't have to be that they went to the same school, but like I went to Wesleyan in Connecticut, which is part of something called the Little Three with Williams and  Amherst, with three small, highly-ranked liberal arts colleges in the Northeast.

Not only did I look for Wesleyan people, I also looked for Williams people and Amherst people because I knew that even though they didn't go to Wesleyan, they will understand the offerings of Wesleyan. They will understand that I had a great education just like they had even though I didn't go to a huge Ivy League school or whatever. They will have understood the decision that I made to go to Wesleyan, and that can get the conversation started. So I networked with people who had something in common with my educational background, people who went to Carolina undergrad and then went to a different law school, I contacted those folks as well. I list my high school because I went to a fairly fancy private high school here in San Francisco. I list my high school on my LinkedIn and you will be shocked at the number of people who contact me because they graduated 15 years after me at my high school or 10 years before, but they see it and it's a touchdown and so it's a start of a conversation. So I look first for folks who have something in common with my educational background and I go from there.

Mike: As much as it might seem like it, if you go to a networking event, no one wants to be there. Maybe like the two most extroverted people in the state that are there want to be there. So the sooner I could elevate the conversation from, “so what brings you here?” or “so how was your day?” to talking about things we have in common, the more enjoyable not only was it for me, but the more I was going to connect with that person. In your situation, you could have talked to people in any Connecticut school. I'm from Connecticut and it’s a small state. So the nice thing about networking is it didn't even have to be the Little Three, it was a lot of touchpoints. I think you used the word ‘touchstones’. There's a lot of touchstones even there that you could have reached out to. And how were you reaching out? Was it a cover letter? Was it an email? Was it a phone call?

Kate: I think it was primarily emails. And if I were younger, it would probably be LinkedIn, but it was not as big of a thing. I graduated in ‘06. So I had a sense of what we discussed earlier that the more people talk about themselves, the happier they are with the interaction. And so my request to folks was, “can I steal 15 minutes of your time?” I recommend trying to keep the ask fairly modest. You'll always go over, but it's easier for a really busy person to commit 15 minutes than it is to fit 30 minutes into a schedule that already feels overly packed. So I would ask folks for 15 minutes to tell me about their careers. I was not asking them for 30 minutes to tell them about myself. And I think those pieces were productive.

Mike: I did the same thing for my students when I was a Dean of Career Services in the Great Recession. In fact, I got rid of the word ‘informational interview’. I said, just ask them to tell you about how they got to where they are. Take them to coffee, “I know how busy your schedule is” and  we’ve said this a hundred times on this podcast and our blogs. When people email me out of the blue or message me out of the blue, “I know how busy you are,” I immediately like them because they get the professional world. We've had some luminary world-famous celebrities, best-selling authors, TED Talk speakers, Oprah Winfrey’s therapist. We always say the following, “We're not going to go over 30 minutes if you're busy, and the podcasts generally run 45 minutes,” because they can cut us off at  30, but once they get going they enjoy being a part of the process and talking about themselves.

Kate: And maybe it's a testament to you.

Mike: We hadn't considered that one yet. So moving to email then, “can I meet with you for 15 minutes in person to hear about your career?” Was that what got you your first job?

Kate: It didn't, but it led to my second job. Somebody who I had met when I was still in law school ended up being the person that hired me for my second job. My first job, it was just like a public job posting, I think it was on Indeed. As I said, I got as much information as I possibly could about the woman who ran the firm, and I think that she saw a little bit of her younger self in me. The more you can find the common threads, the better, and I had done three or four rounds of interviews and it had been pretty intensive. And she called me and I was out to dinner with some friends in the Mission District in San Francisco.  And she said, “I just have one more question for you. How do you want your name on your business card?” And I was like, “Oh!” Because I came out in ‘06, which is before the recession, but it was not a booming job market. It felt tight. And I remember that being just like a huge relief.

Mike: In all your research, do you remember like the most trivial thing that you learned  about someone that actually came up in a conversation? Something really nuanced or minor.

Kate: One of the people who hired me was a woman for whom her own personal fashion was extremely important. Having seen pictures of her on the internet, I was aware of that before I went in.  So I went in in the most intense personal outfit that I had ever worn to an interview. I knew that I could take it to level 10. And I felt by mirroring her in that way, it was productive and I did get an offer.

Mike: I love it. And sometimes the devil’s in these crazy details. In year one of our firm, I had a client who would paint the wall behind them, the color of the law school that was interviewing him.

Kate: That's devotion.

Mike: As long as it doesn't come across as obsessive.  Sometimes I think it works really well. You can look at the sports world and you can see how football coaches get jobs and the obsession, I'm blanking out his name, it's Al something.  But he was Temple's coach and he became Miami's coach and he had something like a 500-page playbook that he presented to Miami when he interviewed and every page was stamped with the Miami mascot. Sometimes that works well. I do think being a professional always works well.  

What's the biggest mistake? And it could be in helping people transition from one job to another not out of law school. But also, and it may be fungible with people straight out of law school. What are some of the top one, two, or three biggest mistakes people make when they're job changing or career searching?

Kate: In the interview process or in this sort of substantive?

Mike: We can go global and say just in the search or the interview or the entire job hiring process.  What made me think of this question was when I was thinking about how obsessed the football coaches are. Again, it can cut both ways. But if you get too obsessive, you're dead in the water. The applicant could send a law school a postcard every day for 365 days. You're never going to get admitted to that law school.

Kate: That's too much. I think one of the biggest mistakes that people make is applying to law firms that they would not happily accept an offer from. So people will routinely be like, “oh, I don't know, apply to firm X.” And then they apply to firm X, and they go through a whole process and they interview and they get an offer and they don't get offers from anywhere else. And then they go, “mmh.” You may not have perfect information and something may arise in the interview process, they create a situation where that's not a firm that you would go to. But I think most people, if they stopped and thought about it, would probably disqualify some of the firms they applied to before they do so just put some thinking towards it.  

Mike: You could paint a picture that there's some benefit to having one or two firms, particularly if it’s your first couple of interviews to practice on, yeah, you can mock interview with your career services office, but one or two real-life practice runs, probably are helpful for the next 12 interviews if you're lucky enough to have 12. I don't get nervous now, I'm 51  years old, but when I was 22, and I had to make a cold call, I would get very nervous. But on cold call number five, I was a lot less nervous than on cold call number one.

Kate: For sure. I operate in a reasonably small market. San Francisco has become a more maturely goal hiring market over the last 10 years than it was before that. But it's still not New York or London. And so I advise people that it's a long life in a small town and to always treat the folks that they're interacting with, with sort of the highest level of respect and graciousness.  And I think that doing a practice interview at a firm that you really wouldn't accept an offer from is probably not great sort of hygiene in that context.

Mike: That pings off of another point. Every year, I would have at least one student when I was a Dean of Career Services who the partners loved, wanted to hire, but then feedback would be that they treated the front office people with disrespect and then of course they don't get a job.

Kate: Oh my goodness, at a lot of firms in the Bay Area, they will have somebody from the recruiting office as the screener or as part of the full panel of a full round. And when I'm prepping my candidates for their interviews, I go through every person that they're talking to and tell them the sort of salient details and things that I know we were speaking about earlier like specific elements of their personality that they may want to reference and or match in some way. And when we come to recruiting staff interviews, I do the exact same thing because you know who doesn't want to get talked down to, recruiting staff. Or anyone on planet Earth. But I think especially in the context of being non-legal staff in a law firm, I think there can be a lot of that. And so the best thing that folks can do is treat them just like they're treating the lawyers, which should be something I don't even have to say, but I certainly go out of my way to say it just in case.  

Mike: We try to make one of every four of our podcasts about mental health. This is just a huge passion of mine and well-being. And here's a little secret for everyone. If you feel the need to talk down to someone, it's because you don't feel good about yourself. So, rather than talking down to the recruiting staff or anyone on planet Earth, maybe address why you don't feel good about yourself. We have a lot of podcasts on unconditional self-esteem and things like that. But that's why someone would do that. Any other things that come to mind?  

Kate: Not having enough questions for the people who are interviewing you.

Mike: What's a good range of questions to have? Because that's a tricky one for me. Because you don't want to just fill up silence with a ton and ton of questions.  

Kate: No, and I would generally leave the inorganic questions, the questions that you came up with in advance. I would leave those to the end of the interview. So, you make sure that the interviewer gets what they need. I always advise people to ask partners what's on your desk right now that I could help you with. So, I mean, these are folks who are already functional, high-level help. When you're a first-year associate, you're just not there yet.

Mike: Or a law school graduate. You bring a lot of energy, enthusiasm, but there's not much on the partner’s desk you could help. Has any partner been like, “yeah, my kid has a hitch in his swing in baseball, I’m hiring you on the spot.”

Kate: Solve my personal problems and you can have a job. No, I've never had any partner say anything wild to that. It sounds like a throwaway question, but in the context of a lateral law firm interview where there's a ton of competition for the role, it gets the partner thinking about you in the seat already doing the job and providing value. And I find that it's extremely effective. But also is a good litmus test for how excited the partner is about their practice on any given day.

Mike: One thing we all like to tell our clients and just the world in general is if you're talking to an admissions officer, if it works, how did you get into admissions?

Kate: For sure, I think that any of those kinds of personal narrative questions that get the person back to talking about themselves as we've discussed, will bear fruit and also maybe the answer is really interesting and you learn something.

Mike: It's so simple yet it's hard to do. I know the stuff like the back of my hand and I still probably don't do it nearly as well as my mentors who do it so well. Can we shift gears just a little bit? Are we in a recessive economy or are we heading towards a recessive economy? What is your outlook on the hiring market for law firms and legal jobs?  

Kate: We are certainly in a dip, and I think that it remains to be seen based on how long it lasts.  Recessions are easy to call in retrospect, “that was a recession.” I think it's likely that we're in some level of a recession. We are seeing a decent number of jobs still posted, non-entry-level lateral jobs. But I think that a lot of law firms are doing something that I refer to as unicorn hunting where if a diamond-bedazzled unicorn who meets all of their criteria wanders through their doorway then yes they'll make a hire. But if somebody has anything ‘wrong’ with them,  they're not going to get an interview and they're not going to get hired. Something that could be considered wrong in this context would be not having gone to the kind of law school that the firm likes. Not having gotten perfect grades at a law school that the firm likes. Having been at too many firms, having ‘jumped’ around too much. Needing any retooling support, so trying to pivot practice areas even a small amount. Those are the kinds of things that’ll DQ candidates in this kind of market.

Mike: And as far as disqualifying, I think what you're hitting on really is and it’s the same with admissions, the more people who are applying to law school, the easier it is for the admissions office to look for reasons to say, “oh, 12 typos. Okay we're not going to.” If it's a really tough year for the law school, 12 typos, they could not care less. This is what so many job seekers and applicants don’t realize, you're not in a vacuum. You're never in a vacuum. It's about the competition. So what it sounds like you're saying is, okay we’re definitely at least at a recessive enough economy where employers are able to say, “this line I didn't like in the resume so let's move on.” Do you think we're there at that stage?

Kate: I do. I think that it is a buyer's market, to the extent that the law firms are the buyers. And if you look at the practices that have been hit hardest by macroeconomic conditions, primarily I would say M&A capital markets and emerging companies’ venture capital work.  The moment a firm opens up a job in any of those spaces, there are enough people who either have been laid off or are worried they're going to be laid off or their firm has been so slow that they're worried they're going to fall behind their class year. They're going to jump on that so fast that what I'm seeing sometimes is that firms open up a job and then I'm assuming they get hundreds of resumes for it, and then suddenly it's set to no recruiters. They will, they will click the button that says, “No thank you, we've got enough and we'll pick somebody from this and please stop bothering us.”

Mike: I saw you made partner at your firm like faster than anyone ever in the history of the world. You're on management committees in your firm? Is that right?

Kate: I'm not actually, that's not the way the partnership structure works at MLA, but I do have some leadership inside the company that's not related to my status as a  partner.

Mike: I'm just curious how much of your week, is it one day, is it one hour, are you projecting the economy because that's always pretty big on our minds.

Kate: It's certainly something that I spend time on but you know, I always tell people my crystal ball’s in the shop. And I have no background in economics, so I'm not the right person for it. But one thing that I do have in my corner is that I'm a member at Chief, the women's networking organization and we have access to a ton of programming from economic researchers at Goldman who come and present  to us and explain to us the way that they're seeing things.

Mike: That's a great thing to have. One of my favorite expressions is if you took all the economists in the world and lined them up, they still wouldn’t reach a conclusion. Point being we don't know, but having been responsible for a thousand students’ jobs a year in the great recession, there was lateral hiring going on in the Great Recession, but entry-level jobs were all but non-existent and it was a rough time. The silver lining is I'm in touch with so many students from those days, we’re Facebook friends, or I've been invited to their weddings and they have great jobs now.

I read something about the five best pieces of advice to give someone in their early 20s. Number one, well, don't do drugs is probably a pretty good piece of advice. But number two, is be patient with your career.

Kate: I think that's right. So I was speaking to the career services team at Stanford the other day, and they were asking me how concerned should their 2Ls be about what things will be like when they get out, and my response was I don't think they should be concerned.

So I think that for our listeners here who are either not yet in law school or are just 1Ls, I think the world is going to look brighter and significantly different than it does right now when you guys get out of school. For folks that are deeper into their experience either at law school or out of law school, I don't think this is forever, I think it's a bump and I expect that things will sort themselves out.

If you look at the jobs’ numbers, it feels like it's possible that on some level this is a lot of talking heads telling us we're in a recession and taking inflation aside, because the jobs numbers are looking pretty good every quarter.

Mike: Exactly. Here's maybe a good note to end on unless there’s anything we skipped that you wanted to talk about. But one thing that I have become keenly aware of as life has taken its course for me is in your personal life, in your professional life, in your job search life, it’s easy to stay upbeat and ebullient during the highs. But the people looking for jobs if there's a dip, it’s the people that put the smile on their face you know on the phone call or in person  they get the jobs. And they got jobs even during the Great Recession. We gravitate towards happy, friendly, upbeat people, we all do. So even if there was a prolonged recession of two years, it's going to bounce back. The more you can take each adversity and take each ‘no’ and bounce back, fall down seven times, get up eight, it actually works in the job search.

Kate: I believe it and I think that kind of attitude is probably going to be required for the next 12 to 18 months so it's timely advice.

Mike: Anything we should have talked about or we didn't talk about that you want to talk about, Kate?

Kate: No, I think it's been good.

Mike: Thank you for joining us and thanks everyone for listening, you can subscribe and click like all to your heart's desire. Thank you all.