The Complexity of Bidding

Tags: Interviewing Articles

Bidding is often mistaken as the easiest aspect of the OCI process, whereas in fact, it is probably the most strategic and complex step of OCI.  In the Networking 101 article, we teach how to network. In our article on firm differences, we explain the some of the factors that differentiate Law-Firms. These articles transmit concrete information and techniques, because things like interviewing and choosing law-firms is something that can be mastered and learned.

Bidding, however, involves many factors that interact in complex ways, it is a strategic process, and you only have one shot at it, so practice does not make perfect. You have to get it right on the first try.

The Law Firm Interview Bible will break the Bidding process down, and provide a roadmap strategy to bidding intelligently and successfully so as to maximize your number of interviews.  To set you on the right track, here’s a few things to think about:

1. Waste:

All bidding begins and ends with trying to determine your reaches, targets, and safeties. Everyone knows that grades will be the most influential in the decision, but not everyone assesses their grades correctly.

Many people waste too many bids on firms that are too selective for them, many others waste bids on firms that they are too good for. Others waste too many bids on a range of targets that they should have narrowed. These candidates have failed to know themselves, failed to know their needs, and failed to understand the market’s demand structure.

To bid correctly, you must have an objective and correct understanding of what your grade means to the market for law-hires. This is influenced by:

  • Your school
  • Your grade
  • The current market conditions

A smart bidder has considered these factors, and how they influence each other. This bidder knows the realities of what her grade at her school is going to get her, and will bid rationally.

At our V15 firm, there are several Brooklyn law graduates. The similarly ranked Rutgers Law School, even though it is in the metropolitan area of New York, has almost no presence in the top New York firms. This kind of awareness is what the Rutgers law student must have going into the bidding process:  the fact that Rutgers is ranked similarly to Brooklyn law does not mean they provide the same access to top firms. Brooklyn law benefits by being in New York city, Rutgers does not. 

2. Using your bids intelligently

Intelligent bidding can only be achieved if the bidder is informed and realistic. But intelligent bidding goes beyond overcoming the psychological fallacies that distort your judgment about what is realistic. The bidder must seek to: 

A. maximize the number of interviews.

B. buy time, information, and choices.

Why do we say that? Because you need practice. No one, no matter the amount of practice they got in simulation, can completely control the jitters and nervousness that comes with the real thing. This happened to us, it has happened to many students, and it will happen to you.

You should consider the first couple of interviews throwaways. The more interviews you have lined up, the better you’ll get as time goes on, and the greater your conversion rate. The over-confident student uses half their bids on firms that they think they want to go to, but fails to realize that grades alone don’t get you into firms.  To get into the best firm possible, you have to be calm and ready for the maximum number of interviews possible.  

3. Technique

One easy and basic bidding technique to grasp, is knowing that different law firms have different number of slots at each school.  Every year a larger law firm intending to hire a lot of students at a given school might allocate sixty interview slots to that school, while another similarly large firm planning to hire fewer students at the same school might have only thirty or forty.  Say you are at a school with less than 300 students, it would be a waste to high-bid a large, New York firm of middling selectiveness coming to your school with 60 slots. Because they will probably have interview slots sitting empty in the end, that you can just snatch up by signing up later. 

The Law Firm Interview Bible goes into more detail on bidding rationally and intelligently, and integrating bidding into a coherent strategy that aims for more than a job, but one that suits your career goals and puts you on a springboard for success far into the future.

Get the 2016 Law Firm Interview Bible


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