Screenshot of Akin Gump’s website.

Most experienced attorneys know that the acronym PPP refers to profits per partner—a shorthand measure of a law firm’s finances.

But to many law students, particularly those without lawyers in their family, PPP is an unfamiliar term that looks more like alphabet soup than a closely watched profitability metric.

Thus, PPP is included in a glossary of Big Law recruiting terms that appears on Legal Scoop, https://www.akingump.com/en/careers/students/legal-scoop/starting-off-on-the-right-foot.html a new blog from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld meant to help decode the large firm hiring process for law students. The recent post on “Law Firm Lingo” also defines alternative fee arrangements, billable hours target, document production, and relationship partner, among other terms and phrases that are likely to arise when students research law firms and during interviews.

The law firm launched Legal Scoop this summer as a way to demystify the process for landing a job at a large law firm, either at Akin Gump or competitor firms, said hiring partner David Botter. (He hopes the blog will help the firm connect with top associate prospects and put Akin Gump on their radar, though the posts are written about Big Law generally.)

“In our interactions with students, we felt that they really desired better access to information about the process,” Botter said. “The process is at times mystifying, especially to those with no legal experience through family or friends. We think giving them information about the process, law firms, and the industry is something they really want.”

Topics thus far include questions to ask litigators, regulatory and transactions lawyers—the blog advises candidates to tailor their queries accordingly—how to get the inside scoop on a law firm, and how to find the firm with the right fit. The firm generates blog content directly from those who have recently navigated the Big Law hiring process, namely young associates and recent summer associates, as well as from the partners who ultimately make hiring decisions, Botter said. “They’re giving much better insight into the reality of practicing law in a large law firm,” he said.

Botter has conducted hundreds of interviews with law students during the on-campus interviewing process over the years and has seen plenty of missteps. But the most common mistake is not thoroughly researching the firm beforehand, he said.

“When they don’t know about the firm and they don’t know about the practice areas within the firm, that’s a really big red flag,” Botter said. “Sometimes they confuse the practice areas in the office they are interviewing with. If someone comes into the New York office of Akin Gump and says, ‘I’m particularly interested in your incredible entertainment practice,” in the back of my mind I’m saying, ‘Unfortunately we don’t have an entertainment practice in New York.’”

Legal Scoop takes a broader view of Big Law hiring than just the all-important on-campus interviewing process, however. High grades are a must-have to land a summer associate gig at mot large firms, so the blog this month featured advice from Akin Gump’s junior associates on how to start the law school year off right. Their advice? Write class notes by hand; build relationships with other students; network with attorneys; and start preparing for the bar exam early on in the academic year.

“The competition [for high performing law students] has always been really high,” Botter said. “But I think the students are looking for a whole lot more information and transparency about the law firms and the business of law.”