If you're interviewing at a firm that markets itself to laterals as a biglaw refuge with low billable requirements and quality of life is it okay to say in an interview that those are one of the reasons you're considering the firm?

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Disclaimer: of course this does not mean the billables will be low and QOL will be high

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I’d say something like you’ve been impressed by the firm’s culture (& find things outside of low hours to explain why). I’d avoid saying you’re looking for an opportunity to work fewer hours, even though, if you’re coming from biglaw, they’ll probably assume that anyway.

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Yes. If it is true, then the other attorneys will be glad you’re not coming in with a biglaw race to the bottom mindset and should be able to confirm that the lifestyle is what you seek. If it isn’t true and people think you’re trying to coast and not work hard (and your question turns them off), you’ll have dodged a bullet.

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So many comments (across this thread and others) seem to suggest that it is problematic to be honest that you are looking for a better WLB. But if that, in fact, is what you are looking for, why wouldn’t you be extremely blunt about hours expectations, vacations etc.? When I lateraled, my recruiter told me to not ask these questions but I did anyways in all my interviews. I knew not to further pursue multiple opportunities based on responses. E.g., responses like “we’ve all had vacations ruined but that is just the job” to “you have to be available when the client or partner need you” made it clear those firms weren’t for me. Acceptable responses on the other hand (for what I was looking for) included “there will always be busy times but we expect associates to take meaningful vacation,” “of course there are period when you have to be offline and we will cover for you” etc etc

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Oh yeah I agree the approach should be very different if the goal is just trying to get any job. Or at an OCI, it makes sense to ask those questions after you have the offer

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Probably not. The HR strategy will likely be divorced from the business strategy to some (probably high) degree.

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I did a couple of years ago and got the job. I’m still at the firm, enjoying my reduced hours.

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I would lead with saying why you are excited about practicing with that firm. People like to feel desired. If your best reason is “I’d rather hate my job for 1600 hours a year instead of 2200”, that won’t get anybody excited about working with you.

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