Book Review | The Insider’s Guide to Getting a Big Firm Job

I purchased the book The Insider’s Guide to Getting a Big Firm Job: What Every Law Student Should Know About Interviewing (affiliate link) by Erika Finn and Jessica Olman,  back when I was a hopeful 1L. I wasn’t particularly interested in a big firm job, but I did have a couple of firm interviews as a 1L and I did not get a call back for either position as a 1L Summer Associate. I did land a fabulous summer fellowship, but decided to buy this book to prepare for 2L OCI (On Campus Interviewing).

Fast forward to the fall, and it turns out that I didn’t have to worry about OCI. Although I did have several interviews scheduled, I transferred schools and didn’t participate in OCI after all. This book fell to the wayside for a whole calendar year. Now that I am a 3L and back in interview mode, I decided to read this book to help me “brush up” on my interviewing skills.

The Review

Out of five stars, I’d rate this book a 2. There is no information in this book that you cannot get from the CSO (Career Services Office) at your law school. The book is 122 pages long, including the sample set of letters in the back. That means that a law student could read this book in one sitting – not necessarily a bad thing, considering that time is short for any law student.

The topics in the book begin with “Is a Big Firm Right for You?” Well, the answer is yes if you like money and are willing to work hard. I also sincerely hope that you thought about that question before you bought the book. The better question would be, “Are You Right for a Big Firm?” The book glazes over the fact that you have to first get an interview. In order to get such an interview, you will generally need to be at the top of your class. I won’t get too far into that, just know that this book doesn’t get too far into that, either. Instead, the focus is on OCI, which basically means that you got the interview through your school based on your credentials.

There is a 2 1/2 page section about applying outside of OCI, but it talks about using your “personal contacts” and “interacting with people.” This information is clearly geared toward the upper class of law school students are those whose parents may be lawyers. I don’t know who else would know a lot of people who work at large law firms.

There is information that is borderline unhelpful, such as “cover up your tattoo” during an interview, as well as sections on “Networking” and “Discrimination.” Again, you can get any of this information by doing a mock interview at your school and asking for feedback, or asking the Career Services professionals at your school for free pamphlets.

Should You Buy This Book?

I didn’t read anything in this book that would give an edge to a student interviewing for a firm job. The reason why I gave the book 2 stars instead of 1 or even none is becomes it does have quotes from real life recruiters and interviewers and sections on “the view from the firm,” which would be helpful to a student whose school does not discuss big firms, or to a student who is wholly unfamiliar with the culture of a law firm.

As you can tell, the audience for this book is not the typical law student. Although the “view from the firm” sections would be helpful to any student, I think this book is geared towards a student at a Tier 1 law school who just wants to make sure that they have all bases covered after receiving several OCI bids. For your typical law school student, it’s a waste of $16.95. A better choice would be Guerrilla Tactics for Getting the Legal Job of Your Dreams, 2nd Edition by Kimm Alayne Walton. It costs more, but you get over a thousand pages of detailed advice and tactics aimed at every student, even those who are not sure that they want to practice law.

If you’ve read this book and agree or disagree, please let us know in the comments!