admissions

Offers: Accepting and Rejecting

Accepting an Offer

Perhaps the favorite correspondence, but also somewhat stressful, the offer acceptance is the positive culmination or your job search.  You want to handle the acceptance responsibly and professionally.

 

1. When does the employer need an answer?

When you receive an offer of employment (summer or post-graduate), express your enthusiasm and appreciation, and ascertain when the employer needs an answer from you.  It is extremely unlikely that any employer will require a response on the spot.

During the fall interview process:

  • Most interviewing employers will abide by the NALP Guidelines for the Timing of Offers and Acceptance, and they will expect you to do so as well.  Be sure to know everything about these guidelines and maintain your responsibilities as defined by the guidelines.  You do not want an offer withdrawn because of you own failure to abide by the NALP guidelines.
  • Confirm that the employer making the offer follows the NALP guidelines and shares the same understanding that you do.  Never assume that they are aware of or follow the NALP guidelines.

Outside the fall interview process:

  • There are not specific guidelines that dictate lengths of time to leave offers open, but employers will usually still give you some time to make a decision.

2. Negotiating salary and other terms

Some employers have set salary terms, leaving no room for negotiation.  Other employers (usually small firms) may have negotiable terms.  If you have room to negotiate salary, please feel free to consult the OCS staff for information to assist you in that process.

Other terms that may need to be negotiated include volunteer status, course credit status, and/or start and end dates.

3. Acceptance

After you agree on the terms of your acceptance and you accept, you are unconditionally obligated to work for that employer.  Be really certain that this is where you want to work before you accept.  It is unethical and unprofessional to back out.

A verbal acceptance is a commitment.

4. Following up

Follow up your acceptance in writing (on paper) and outline your understanding of the terms.  You can send the letter to the person with whom you had the acceptance conversation.  Be absolutely certain to copy the Recruiting Administrator and/or Hiring Partner or other administrative staff or chairperson handling the recruitment duties.  You want to be certain that your acceptance is fully recorded.

Keep a copy of your acceptance letter for your files.

5.  Notify OCS

Complete the process by notifying OCS of your acceptance.  OCS must maintain thorough employment records and statistics for the law school's accreditation, and we greatly appreciate our students' assistance in keeping us informed.  We alos enjoy being able to congratulate you on your success!

 

Rejecting an Offer

If you are fortunate enough to receive more than one offer of employment, the decision making process can be stressful.  Rejecting the unaccepted offers may feel uncomfortable.  Behaving with tact and professionalism is important, and moving as quickly as possible will make a good impression.

 

1. When does the employer need an answer?

When you receive an offer of employment (summer or post-graduate), express your enthusiasm and appreciation, and ascertain when the employer needs an answer from you.  It is extremely unlikely that any employer will require a response on the spot.

During the fall interview process:

  • Most interviewing employers will abide by the NALP Guidelines for the Timing of Offers and Acceptance, and they will expect you to do so as well.  Be sure to know everything about these guidelines and maintain your responsibilities as defined by the guidelines.  You do not want an offer withdrawn because of you own failure to abide by the NALP guidelines.
  • Confirm that the employer making the offer follows the NALP guidelines and shares the same understanding that you do.  Never assume that they are aware of or follow the NALP guidelines.

Outside the fall interview process:

  • There are not specific guidelines that dictate lengths of time to leave offers open, but employers will usually still give you some time to make a decision.

Even if NALP guidelines or a polite employer give you a certain length of time to consider an offer, there is not need to let the clock run if you already know you will reject the offer.  Let them know as soon as you decide so that they can move to consider other candidates.  Remember that an offer you release may go to one of your friends!

2. Notify the employer

Once you have decided not to accept an offer, you should immediately notify the person who extended the offer to you.  Contact that person by phone if possible.  Express to them the difficulty you had in making the decision, and be polite.

Although not necessary to share all of your thoughts, the employer may ask for feedback.  Prepare some tactful points to smooth the conversation.

If you cannot reach the person who extended the offer, reach someone else from the firm with whom you had contact (the Recruiting Administrator or another interviewing attorney).  Contact them by phone.  Do not delay the communication.

3.  Following up

Follow up your rejection in writing (on paper).  You can send the letter to the person with whom you had the rejection conversation.  Be absolutely certain to copy the Recruiting Administrator and/or Hiring Partner or other administrative staff or chairperson handling the recruitment duties.  You want to be certain that your rejection is fully recorded.

The letter should be brief, simply re-stating your conversation rejecting the offer.  Thank them once again for the offer and express appreciation for their consideration. 

Realize that the legal community is a small world and you will cross paths with these people again, so you want to be gracious and professional.

Keep a copy of your rejection letter for your files.