Five Worst Kiss-Ass Questions Asked at OCI


Bitter Lawyer has been inundated with reports, concerns and hilarious accounts of on-campus interviews over the past few weeks. Here is a list of the top five kiss-ass questions aspiring legal tools have allegedly asked. For those of you still looking for jobs, read this immediately—and make sure to never, ever ask any of these questions. For those of you with jobs, also read it immediately—and take solace in the knowledge that there are far bigger losers in this world.

1What’s it like to work at the greatest firm in the world? It’s okay to compliment the firm, even be in awe of it. But don’t talk about how in awe of it you are. When you’re on a date with a hot woman (which for many male lawyers is a stretch, I know), you don’t constantly tell her how hot she is. Or talk about what it must be like to be so hot. In fact, real ladies’ men play against the urge and quietly pretend the hot woman isn’t really that hot. And that she’s not the only hot chick in the rotation. Bottom line here: Respectful is good, obsequious is lame.

Good kiss-ass alternative: What do you consider the firm’s strengths and weaknesses to be?

2If I were to join the firm, would I have an opportunity to work with you some day? Don’t fall in love with interviewers because they won’t love you back. Fact. You’re just another faceless, slightly annoying law school punk with good grades, too much ambition and not enough experience.

Good kiss-ass alternative: Why did you decide to join Firm X?

3Does the firm have a maximum billable hour limit? There’s nothing wrong with trying to sell hard work, but don’t talk about breaking records. Get in the game first, then worry about becoming Michael Jordan. Don’t talk about maximums. Minimums. Limits. In fact, don’t even talk about billable hours period.

Good kiss-ass alternative: What do first years really do?

4How long did it take for you to become a legal genius? Never use the word genius. Ever. First off, 99% of lawyers aren’t. Second, you’ll never regain your self-respect. Use the word “experienced” or “sophisticated.” Genius should be reserved for physicists, medical researchers and, on occasion, snarky blogs focused on the legal community.

Good kiss-ass alternative: What’s the most challenging deal/case you’ve ever worked on?

5Do you recommend living close to the office so when a partner calls, it won’t take long to get to the office? Might as well just ask if it’s okay to massage the partners when you’re working late. Or take their dirty clothes to the dry cleaner. Or better yet, just get on your hands and knees and take care of business right there, in the middle of the damn interview.

Good kiss-ass alternative: There is none. This is too lame to even attempt to salvage.

But here’s a good ass-kissy question to keep in your back pocket, just in case you need it some day: What are the most valuable traits a junior associate can possess?

Check out other lists, tallies and scores to settle in Bitter by Numbers.

Bitter Staff is a collection of current and former editors, contributors, and various other lawyers who have written for Bitter Lawyer over the years. Posts include interviews, contests, and other general lawyerly and bitter content.

4 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    September 22, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    These pointers are all pretty good.  Bitter lawyer gets it right.  The key is to be respectful, willing to work hard, but not being a kiss-ass, which is the ultimate turnoff.  A related question that can be asked (subject to being shot-down) is:  “Based upon my skills to date, what type tasks could I be expected to be assigned on my first [corporate/litigation/real estate/tax (pick applicable one)] project?  A summer intern would not ask this, but a putative first year associate could, provided there were ascertainable skills on the resume which the interviewer was familiar with.  If, on the other hand, you don’t have any skills, really dont ask this question.

  2. 2L

    September 23, 2008 at 7:03 am

    Are law students really this lame?

  3. Alma Federer

    September 24, 2008 at 3:18 am

    Yes, 2L–look in the mirror.  You’re a law student.  How much more together are you really?  You only learn by making the same mistakes and learn from them.  There are people here who have gone through all of this sh**t, and lame as this website may from time to time may seem, are willing ot share their knowledge.  If I had known much of this stuff I might not have even become a lawyer.  But that’s me.  Others can benefit from the knowledge.  You can see what you’ll be doing and who you’ll be doing it with once you pass the bar and start being a lawyer.  Good luck to you and all the others.

    • TheirThereThenThanTooTwo

      September 14, 2012 at 10:34 am

      Is sh*t spelled sh**t twice as bad? With use of the English language such as “lame as this website may from time to time may seem,” it seems that you may not have “learn[ed] by making the same mistakes and learn from them.” Maybe you “might not have even become a lawyer” if a ‘real lawyer’ like yourself had been as rude to you as you were to ‘2L.’ Yes, ‘Alma Federer,’ “look in the mirror.” Your sassy reply to ‘2L’ was uncalled for and barely comprehensible. In the alternative, you’re [sic], really [sic].

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