As a general rule, accept or reject an offer of employment as quickly as possible. Use tact and professionalism.
1. Timing of Your Response
When you receive an offer of employment (summer or post-graduate), express your enthusiasm and appreciation, and ask when the employer needs an answer from you. It is highly unlikely that an employer will require your acceptance or rejection on the spot, but you need to know from the employer when they expect to receive your answer.
During the Fall interview process:
Outside the Fall interview process:
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, feel free to consult your CDO counselor for assistance.
Other terms that may need to be negotiated include start date, vacation days, benefits provisions, volunteer status, and course credit, among others.
3. Notifying the Employer
4. Notifying the Career Development Office
Complete the process by notifying the CDO of your decision. The American Bar Association requires that we keep detailed and accurate data about post-graduation employment to maintain the law school’s accreditation. Employers often do not report data to us, so we rely on you for this information.
In addition, keeping the CDO updated about summer jobs and other positions helps us better serve you and assist you with finding post-graduation employment.
5. Obligation to Honor Acceptance
After you agree on terms and you have officially accepted the offer, whether orally or in writing, you have a moral obligation to fulfill that commitment. It is extremely unprofessional to back out.
6. Handling Rejection by an Employer
Rejections by employers are common and a part of normal life. It is exceedingly rare for a law student to receive an offer in response to every application submitted. When this happens, be gracious and professional. Remember that you may cross paths with these people again. Remember also that an employer’s needs can change, and there is no harm in letting an employer know that you would like to remain in consideration in the future. If you want to ask for feedback, be tactful and positive. Thank the employer for their consideration of your application, say that you know the employer has to make very difficult decisions, and ask whether they can give you any feedback that will be helpful to you in your job search. Whatever the answer, accept it graciously and move on. Employers do not like having to reject students, so be careful not to make them uncomfortable with extended probing.