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Is it appropriate to consult other attorneys within a firm to get a feel for the corporate culture?

By David Helfand

Q: I am a first year law student. I will be interviewing with employers this fall. Would it be appropriate to ask to speak to other lawyers with kids to figure out how they most effectively manage their work schedule and family?

A: The issue of life/work balance seems to come up at this site often in readers questions. Speaking with other lawyers is a good way to gather information as to how others cope and deal with the demands of the profession. Does it vary in different practice areas or in different size firms??

I wouldnt however, wait till your interviewing to ask this question. Try to get some information interviews out of the way before you actually job interview. Asking that at an actual job interview could be risky, you might be appearing as not sure and it may raise some doubt in the mind of the interviewer as to the fit.

Now, if after the result of informational interviews you decide you would only like to work a certain amount of hours you should be able to get an idea as to how likely that might be to actually obtain. Then, if youre committed to a certain position, you can inquire about responsibilities at the job interview stage.

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