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How much do you hurt your chances by not attending a firm's dinner?

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For Toronto in-firms, a number of firms have Monday dinners and you can only attend one. Some firms also offer Tuesday interviews, so you can max attend 2 dinners. If you tell a firm you won't be able to attend their dinner, how screwed are you with that firm? Is it even worth interviewing with a firm that you've turned down a dinner with? It seems a bit silly that your chances would be shot given how many firms are having dinners, but I am interested in anyone's thoughts/experiences. 

 

Thanks in advance.

 

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Try for a lunch, perhaps? If you turn down a dinner and the opportunity to meet more members of the firm, while many others have accepted that dinner, then your chances are likely going to be affected negatively. I don't think that should be a surprise to anyone.

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If it's a big group dinner with everyone in-firming, then I think you could maybe get away with not going - just say you are already committed at that time but make sure you express interest in a second interview or otherwise coming back to the firm to meet more people.

 

If it's a dinner that's just you and a couple of the firms lawyers, then I would try to at least reschedule to a Tuesday dinner or lunch or coffee.

 

Maybe it is different in Toronto, but my Vancouver friends who flat out declined invitations to small dinners did not get offers from those firms, even though they were highly sought after top candidates. Which seems fair to me.

Edited by Starling

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Two friends from Osgoode turned down dinners during the 1L recruit last year and ultimately received offers at the firm they turned down (and one didn't receive an offer from the firm she had dinner with). I know upper years that got positions through the 2L recruit in the same manner. Anecdotal, for sure, but you don't need to attend a firms dinner to get an offer. 

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Another dinner-related question: if a firm does not give you a time in the ITC, what time is dinner likely to be scheduled for? Would suggesting 7:30/8pm be too late? 

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1 minute ago, greenbackboogie said:

Another dinner-related question: if a firm does not give you a time in the ITC, what time is dinner likely to be scheduled for? Would suggesting 7:30/8pm be too late? 

I think the dinners are always for a set time, since they usually have a reservation. 7 seems standard, but I'm not sure if that's universal. 

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7 minutes ago, greenbackboogie said:

@BlockedQuebecois even for smaller, individual dinners? Is it considered bad form to try to negotiate the time? 

I'm honestly not sure. I probably wouldn't, but it might be okay? 

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7 minutes ago, greenbackboogie said:

@BlockedQuebecois even for smaller, individual dinners? Is it considered bad form to try to negotiate the time? 

Why would you try to negotiate the time? To show how special and important you are? To suggest that you have something else more important to go to and you're fitting them in as an afterthought?

Unless you're trying to fit in two dinners in a row (I leave it to current students to comment on the inadvisability of trying that!), what do you have going on that evening that's more important?!

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41 minutes ago, epeeist said:

Why would you try to negotiate the time? To show how special and important you are? To suggest that you have something else more important to go to and you're fitting them in as an afterthought?

Unless you're trying to fit in two dinners in a row (I leave it to current students to comment on the inadvisability of trying that!), what do you have going on that evening that's more important?!

it has been suggested more than once here that you can fit in a reception and a dinner on one night. I'm sure OP is just trying to boost his/her chance.

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38 minutes ago, Oddduck said:

it has been suggested more than once here that you can fit in a reception and a dinner on one night. I'm sure OP is just trying to boost his/her chance.

That doesn't really explain why you'd want to push a dinner to 7:30/8. Most receptions start between 5 and 6. You can be at a reception for 30-60 minutes, until 6:30, and make it to dinner at 7. These events are timed the way they are for a reason.

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21 minutes ago, barelylegal said:

That doesn't really explain why you'd want to push a dinner to 7:30/8. Most receptions start between 5 and 6. You can be at a reception for 30-60 minutes, until 6:30, and make it to dinner at 7. These events are timed the way they are for a reason.

A lot of the firms have interviews at 4pm making it impossible to go to a 5pm reception. I have been invited to a reception at 6:30pm. I don’t see why would they schedule a reception when most people cannot attend.

Edited by Oddduck

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At some point, if you're fortunate enough to have more than one or two dinner/reception invitations, you're going to have to make a decision as to which to choose to attend. It would be impossible for every employer to schedule their dinners/receptions so that it is convenient for everyone to attend. It's unreasonable to think that they should. It is a very short timeline during that week. Choices have to be made.

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No, it would not be weird to ask for a lunch, or for an opportunity to come to the firm to meet more people.

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2 hours ago, Oddduck said:

A lot of the firms have interviews at 4pm making it impossible to go to a 5pm reception. I have been invited to a reception at 6:30pm. I don’t see why would they schedule a reception when most people cannot attend.

The whole point of dinners/receptions is to see who's making time for the firm. Most people have competing engagements, and everyone needs to decide where to allocate their limited time based on their preferences and priorities. Dinners are deliberately long enough that your entire evening is taken up by one firm. It's not about what's convenient for the students interviewing - people who want to work at that firm will make the time to be at their reception.

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22 minutes ago, barelylegal said:

The whole point of dinners/receptions is to see who's making time for the firm. Most people have competing engagements, and everyone needs to decide where to allocate their limited time based on their preferences and priorities. Dinners are deliberately long enough that your entire evening is taken up by one firm. It's not about what's convenient for the students interviewing - people who want to work at that firm will make the time to be at their reception.

Yeah, it forces you to make choices. 

ie. who do you choose between:

-your dream firm where you sense you did not wow them but they are lukewarm on it (can you turn things around and wow them at the dinner?)

-a firm you sense was wowed by you but you are lukewarm on it (if you have a good experience at the dinner will you like it more?)

-the most "prestigious" firm you interviewed for as you see it

-the firm you threw in on a whim that you weren't expecting to like but find intriguing

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3 hours ago, burner said:

Thanks @erinl2, @BlockedQuebecois and @Starling for your view/advice.

Is it typical to ask for a lunch if your dinner is already taken? Or would a firm think this is weird.

Thanks again.

Not at all - that's what I did and I moved forward with the firm.

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A lunch on Tuesday is a very common alternative to a dinner and doesn't at all prejudice you. You can also get hired without a dinner. You just need to really connect with your interviewers, because it means less people getting to see you and spend time with you as well.

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11 minutes ago, Rashabon said:

A lunch on Tuesday is a very common alternative to a dinner and doesn't at all prejudice you. You can also get hired without a dinner. You just need to really connect with your interviewers, because it means less people getting to see you and spend time with you as well.

When would one ask for a lunch on Tuesday as an alternative to dinner? I assume one would ask after a first interview on Monday, if they want to return on Tuesday? Or, would one ask upon indicating that they aren't free for the dinner? 

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