Lone Skirt in a Sea of Pants

By a Second-Year Law Student

Interview season can be a tough time for 1-Ls. They have white resumes and short transcripts, and they feed on the crumbs left by their 2-L peers. Landing a firm job is a challenge for any 1-L, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or any other classification.

During my 1-L interviews with firms in the southeast, I had my foot in the door faster than my peers. I got the interviews, the call-backs, and the offers. Why? I’d like to think it was because of my grades, my personality, my accomplishments, or my poise. Perhaps, but I think my gender gave me an edge.

Even though law students are split fairly evenly on gender lines, a disproportionate number of men were applying for summer associate positions in this particular southeastern city. After one first-round interview, I attended a luncheon hosted by the firm for all of the law students interviewed that day. Of the ten students in the room, I was the only woman. Of the nine young men wearing similar black suits and ties, none was distinguishable from the next. The attorneys could not remember Bill from Tom from Dan, but every attorney could discern my name. It was easy to match up my face with the one female name on their list of applicants. Even after a long lunch as we all said farewell, I was the only applicant to receive a personalized send-off instead of a generic goodbye. “It was so nice to meet you, Sarah.”

I wasn’t the only law student with decent grades at a top law school. I wasn’t the most articulate or the best-dressed person at the luncheon. I didn’t have prior experience or any extracurricular activities to speak of. However, I was the only woman. Some women might have felt intimidated or irritated or uncomfortable in such a testosterone-heavy group, but I didn’t feel like being a minority was synonymous with being disadvantaged.

It’s hard to say precisely why I received the offers that I did, because so many factors work together to reach that outcome. I can’t know for sure, but I would not be surprised if my gender contributed in one shape or form. Perhaps the firms remembered my name, or perhaps they wanted to boost their statistics with more women on board. Whatever the reason, I got the job.



It might not have been that you got the job because of your gender, but rather that you got the job because they remembered you.  That is the point of interviews, isn’t it?  To be memorable?

Write a comment

Please login to comment

Remember Me

Become a Member

FREE online community for women in the legal profession.



Subscribe to receive regular updates, news, and events from Ms. JD.

Connect with us

Follow or subscribe