In addition to your resume, cover letter, and writing sample, there is other correspondence that you will be responsible for during your job quest. Thank you letters, reimbursement requests, and acceptance/rejection letters provide you with opportunities to further interact with an employer, as well as to provide them with important information.
Receiving and Accepting an Offer
You should acknowledge an offer of employment within 24 hours of receiving it. You should be prepared to either accept, decline or request more time to decide. Do not accept an offer unless you are fully prepared to work for that employer. When accepting an offer, it is important that you proceed in a professional manner. As soon as you have decided to accept an offer, you should telephone either the individual who made you the offer or the recruitment office of the employer and inform them of your decision. Upon completing your telephone call, you should write the employer as soon as possible confirming your decision. Again in a very professional manner, you will express your gratitude at receiving the offer and state that you enjoyed both your visit to the employer and the opportunity to meet with several of the employer's lawyers. Under the NALP rules, employers should hold offers for first year students open for at least two weeks. Offers for second and third year law students that are made during the fall recruiting season have separate deadlines set by NALP. The CPDC or NALP websites will have the time lines for subsequent years. (Sample Acceptance Letter.)
Declining an Offer
It is perhaps even more critical to decline offers in a timely and professional manner, as these may be the first employers you contact should you seek other opportunities as a 2L, 3L, or after graduation. As soon as you have decided to reject an offer, you should telephone either the individual who made you the offer or the recruitment office and inform them of your decision. Your decision will usually free up an offer, which may then be extended to another law student. If you are only able to reach an employer's voicemail during their regular business hours, leave a message declining the offer. Your promptness will be most appreciated and will contribute to the overall efficiency of the recruiting season.
Upon completing your telephone call, you should write the employer as soon as possible confirming your decision. In a professional manner, express gratitude at receiving the offer and state that you enjoyed both your visit and the opportunity to meet with several of the employer's lawyers. You should also express your regrets in reaching the decision to decline the flattering offer. This letter will be placed in your file. If you contact the employer for a position in the future, there is a good chance it will still have this file and will refer to its contents in deciding whether to consider you for a position. A courteous letter may inure to your benefit. (Sample Decline Letter).