ITT: OCI tipz

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underdawg
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ITT: OCI tipz

Postby underdawg » Sun Dec 27, 2009 2:27 am

would be nice to compile some tips and factual ones at that.

for instance, if a firm hosts a reception during OCI, you better go. at least two firms who did this during mine took attendance, and also made it impossible to sign a friend in (you sign a name and then are given a pre-printed name tag)! and if you couldn't get an interview with them and want to go to schmooze, make sure all are invited! (at least one firm only meant their reception to be for people who had interviewed).

fun rumor: one of the firms mentioned turned away people who showed up late but tried to woo them back when they learned they were on law review. no idea if this is true.

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steve_nash
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Re: ITT: OCI tipz

Postby steve_nash » Sun Dec 27, 2009 2:26 pm

Greeting people by their name when you enter the room is a nice touch, although make sure you check to see if the interviewer has changed.

If you have the choice, try to get an interview in the middle. I hated being the first interview of the day, because the interviewer usually decided to spring the hardest, most odd-ball interview questions (like what changed about our firm in 2007 or what would you like engraved on your tombstone) for the first interviews. Being near the end wasn't good either, because I could tell that the interviewer was tired and bored.

May seem self-evident, but bring copies of your resume, transcript, writing sample, and references to your interviews. One of my friends didn't have his transcript on hand when asked for it, and I bet that cost him a call-back (he got loads otherwise).

awesomepossum
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Re: ITT: OCI tipz

Postby awesomepossum » Sun Dec 27, 2009 2:54 pm

I'm bored so I'll bite.

A few sites I used to get firm info:
http://www.chambersandpartners.com
http://www.chambers-associate.com
http://www.vault.com
http://www.abovethelaw.com/careers

Questions I was asked:
Why did you want to be a lawyer? (I'm an engineer with a lot of research experience ... so it might happen more for second career people)
What do you like about our firm?
Why xyz city? (only happened for a place where I had lived but didn't go to school)
Do you have any questions? (The hardest question really...I asked a pile of questions I already knew the answers to)
a few randoms:
discuss a leadership situation you were involved in? (happened twice...both time from younger associates)
Did you hear about xyz case? (involved my graduate school which was represented by that firm...I just happened to have heard about it)

Bidding

Try to really understand how bidding works at your school and have a good strategy.

Try to narrow it down to one market BEFORE callbacks. I actually did 3 markets and got callbacks at all 3. It was just too much to travel to all 3 cities though. After I had gotten a few offers I liked I ended up canceling the callbacks at the other cities but I felt bad about doing it. There was also one firm in my major market that I would have liked to have visited but I didn't bid them high enough because of all the other cities bids.

Try to hit several callbacks in one trip but not 2 callbacks in one day. I did 2 in one day things twice but it was too much. I was completely fried after the second one. I was probably a little fried during the second one.

What I took with me to interviews
extra resumes, writing samples, list of references, transcripts.
a "cheat sheet" with:
Basic bio headliners about the interviewers
Things I liked about the firm
Questions
Cases the firm dealt with involving technologies i knew about.
How to get to the firm and the office. (on callbacks)
Undergrad resumes (some IP boutiques ask for them)

A few don'ts I heard.
Be careful about sounding too cocky. Don't say things like "yeah everyone is doing poorly ITE, but I've been fine." An associate told me at a lunch that he had heard that from somebody and it was a huge turnoff.
Don't have something on your resume you're not willing to discuss. Some guy apparently wrote on his resume that he did a note or something (as a 1L???....gunner) on some legal topic. At a callback a partner pulled out the statutes and grilled him about it. Apparently the dude didn't get an offer.
Don't be a jackass to recruiting staff, secretaries, etc etc. I heard about some dude who was apparently one of 2 people no offered from a firm...and it was because he came off the wrong way with a recruiting staff person.
Don't go super early to callbacks. It's awkward. I went pretty early to my first one and sat there like a jackass for about 25 minutes. After that I went about 5-10 mins early on the dot. I went to a coffeeshop in the building or something if I went early because I was worried about traffic or something.

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ChattelCat
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Re: ITT: OCI tipz

Postby ChattelCat » Sun Dec 27, 2009 3:56 pm

Do mock interviews with OCS or with a friend!!!!

I always thought I was a pretty good interviewer but there were lots of things I didn't realize I was doing that OCS was able to alert me to (e.g. not enough eye contact, laughing too much etc.). It's really hard to know when you're striking that perfect balance between selling yourself and bragging and it's invaluable to have some feedback about where you stand.

Also, I wrote out rough outlines of answers to every question I could possible think of that I would be asked. I didn't memorize the answers but it helped me think through what I was going to say. I felt a lot more confident going into interviews having at least thought through my responses.

and for people who have non-business, non-legal backgrounds/work experience
make sure you have a really good answer to "why law school?" because you will be asked that question (usually first thing) at every single screening and callback interview.

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Alea Iacta Est
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Re: ITT: OCI tipz

Postby Alea Iacta Est » Sun Dec 27, 2009 5:22 pm

underdawg wrote:would be nice to compile some tips and factual ones at that.

for instance, if a firm hosts a reception during OCI, you better go. at least two firms who did this during mine took attendance, and also made it impossible to sign a friend in (you sign a name and then are given a pre-printed name tag)! and if you couldn't get an interview with them and want to go to schmooze, make sure all are invited! (at least one firm only meant their reception to be for people who had interviewed).

fun rumor: one of the firms mentioned turned away people who showed up late but tried to woo them back when they learned they were on law review. no idea if this is true.


Yeah, some are better than others. If there's gobs of students and hardly any attorneys, check in as being there but don't feel afraid to leave early. But if it's more manageable, take time to meet people, and try to remember their names. If you haven't interviewed yet and you know who your interviewer will be, go have a drink with them. This should be common sense but don't buy into the talk that they "don't matter."
Last edited by Alea Iacta Est on Sun Dec 27, 2009 5:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

gollymolly
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Re: ITT: OCI tipz

Postby gollymolly » Sun Dec 27, 2009 5:25 pm

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Last edited by gollymolly on Sat Aug 10, 2013 9:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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OperaSoprano
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Re: ITT: OCI tipz

Postby OperaSoprano » Sun Dec 27, 2009 5:34 pm

ChattelCat wrote:Do mock interviews with OCS or with a friend!!!!

I always thought I was a pretty good interviewer but there were lots of things I didn't realize I was doing that OCS was able to alert me to (e.g. not enough eye contact, laughing too much etc.). It's really hard to know when you're striking that perfect balance between selling yourself and bragging and it's invaluable to have some feedback about where you stand.

Also, I wrote out rough outlines of answers to every question I could possible think of that I would be asked. I didn't memorize the answers but it helped me think through what I was going to say. I felt a lot more confident going into interviews having at least thought through my responses.

and for people who have non-business, non-legal backgrounds/work experience
make sure you have a really good answer to "why law school?" because you will be asked that question (usually first thing) at every single screening and callback interview.


I decided to leave my major off, and edit some of my WE. I haven't even done OCI, and if I have to answer that question one more time I swear I will run afoul of C&F. It's really easy to wind up talking about fashion for fifteen minutes. How do I avoid that?

I'm currently working on an answer that will be tailored to legal aid work. My CSO thought interviewers would be intrigued by my background, and wouldn't necessarily view it negatively, but they definitely told me to have concrete and specific reasons for the career switch.

I plan to talk about advocacy, and having a direct, hands on role with clients. Presumably this would not be TCR at a firm, though. Do you guys think this is a good approach? I'm going to the NYU PILC fair, and I want to be ready, in case I get interviews.

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thesealocust
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Re: ITT: OCI tipz

Postby thesealocust » Sun Dec 27, 2009 6:44 pm

OperaSoprano wrote:I decided to leave my major off, and edit some of my WE. I haven't even done OCI, and if I have to answer that question one more time I swear I will run afoul of C&F. It's really easy to wind up talking about fashion for fifteen minutes. How do I avoid that?


I'm not sure you really need to avoid it? Nobody has a background pre-law that makes perfect sense for heading into law, and you have clearly put a lot of thought both into your reasons and into your articulation thereof. Interview, in my experience, are a lot about proving you're interesting and interactive - I think talking for 15 minutes about your background, as long as its with confidence and poise, can't do anything but help.

I have an extensive theatrical background, and no interest in pursuing theatre law (whatever the hell that would be). It was a great talking point during the one legal interview I've had, even though it wasn't screaming 'I will be a lawyer-robot for you' it did give me a chance to be comfortable and give interesting anecdotes.

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OperaSoprano
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Re: ITT: OCI tipz

Postby OperaSoprano » Sun Dec 27, 2009 7:22 pm

thesealocust wrote:
OperaSoprano wrote:I decided to leave my major off, and edit some of my WE. I haven't even done OCI, and if I have to answer that question one more time I swear I will run afoul of C&F. It's really easy to wind up talking about fashion for fifteen minutes. How do I avoid that?


I'm not sure you really need to avoid it? Nobody has a background pre-law that makes perfect sense for heading into law, and you have clearly put a lot of thought both into your reasons and into your articulation thereof. Interview, in my experience, are a lot about proving you're interesting and interactive - I think talking for 15 minutes about your background, as long as its with confidence and poise, can't do anything but help.

I have an extensive theatrical background, and no interest in pursuing theatre law (whatever the hell that would be). It was a great talking point during the one legal interview I've had, even though it wasn't screaming 'I will be a lawyer-robot for you' it did give me a chance to be comfortable and give interesting anecdotes.


I'm glad you had a positive experience talking about your background. Theater is awesome. I'm worried about the presumption that my major will make me seem ditzy or less than serious, hence my reserve. If my interviewer seems interested in fashion, I would be fine going there, but otherwise I'll try to steer the conversation away from me and towards the work I hope to be doing. Is that a wise strategy? I don't want to look like I'm hiding anything, but I'd like to appear as normal and understated as possible. Lawyer-robot works. I'm terrified that if I do anything else, I'll seem unprofessional.

I know how to interview for creative positions, but this is new to me.

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BradyToMoss
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Re: ITT: OCI tipz

Postby BradyToMoss » Sun Dec 27, 2009 7:39 pm

ChattelCat wrote:Do mock interviews with OCS or with a friend!!!!

I always thought I was a pretty good interviewer but there were lots of things I didn't realize I was doing that OCS was able to alert me to (e.g. not enough eye contact, laughing too much etc.). It's really hard to know when you're striking that perfect balance between selling yourself and bragging and it's invaluable to have some feedback about where you stand.

Also, I wrote out rough outlines of answers to every question I could possible think of that I would be asked. I didn't memorize the answers but it helped me think through what I was going to say. I felt a lot more confident going into interviews having at least thought through my responses.

and for people who have non-business, non-legal backgrounds/work experience
make sure you have a really good answer to "why law school?" because you will be asked that question (usually first thing) at every single screening and callback interview.



This. I got why law school and why lawyer all the time (only work experience was as a Chef in a restaurant). A couple times I was even pressed quite a bit about it, and struggled to give satisfactory answers. Be prepared, and have a damn convincing answer to these.

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underdawg
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Re: ITT: OCI tipz

Postby underdawg » Sun Dec 27, 2009 7:45 pm

also "interests" are surprisingly important. about 80% of interviewers asked me about one of mine in particular, and a few (associates) wanted to pretty much only talk about it. it was a completely non-legal interest, and i think they liked that

awesomepossum
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Re: ITT: OCI tipz

Postby awesomepossum » Sun Dec 27, 2009 8:31 pm

underdawg wrote:also "interests" are surprisingly important. about 80% of interviewers asked me about one of mine in particular, and a few (associates) wanted to pretty much only talk about it. it was a completely non-legal interest, and i think they liked that



so OCI went well for you?

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CE2JD
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Re: ITT: OCI tipz

Postby CE2JD » Sun Dec 27, 2009 9:02 pm

nice tips

thanks doods

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steve_nash
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Re: ITT: OCI tipz

Postby steve_nash » Sun Dec 27, 2009 9:08 pm

.
Last edited by steve_nash on Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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atlantalaw
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Re: ITT: OCI tipz

Postby atlantalaw » Sun Dec 27, 2009 9:41 pm

steve_nash wrote:
BradyToMoss wrote:
This. I got why law school and why lawyer all the time (only work experience was as a Chef in a restaurant). A couple times I was even pressed quite a bit about it, and struggled to give satisfactory answers. Be prepared, and have a damn convincing answer to these.


That's actually kinda cool. I also got "why law" all the time, to the point that I started to sound like a drone when asked the question. Don't do that. I really wish I had tried something like "to get my MRS degree" to see their reaction.


so do they mainly ask 'why law' if you have an untraditional background? or to everyone? i think my answer would sound really insincere since i honestly am one of those people that knew ever since i was young that i wanted to be a lawyer.

06072010
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Re: ITT: OCI tipz

Postby 06072010 » Sun Dec 27, 2009 9:53 pm

underdawg wrote:also "interests" are surprisingly important. about 80% of interviewers asked me about one of mine in particular, and a few (associates) wanted to pretty much only talk about it. it was a completely non-legal interest, and i think they liked that


guitar? Oasis? Dallas? Also: I need Romo and Austin to come through tonight.

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BradyToMoss
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Re: ITT: OCI tipz

Postby BradyToMoss » Sun Dec 27, 2009 10:06 pm

atlantalaw wrote:
steve_nash wrote:
BradyToMoss wrote:
This. I got why law school and why lawyer all the time (only work experience was as a Chef in a restaurant). A couple times I was even pressed quite a bit about it, and struggled to give satisfactory answers. Be prepared, and have a damn convincing answer to these.


That's actually kinda cool. I also got "why law" all the time, to the point that I started to sound like a drone when asked the question. Don't do that. I really wish I had tried something like "to get my MRS degree" to see their reaction.


so do they mainly ask 'why law' if you have an untraditional background? or to everyone? i think my answer would sound really insincere since i honestly am one of those people that knew ever since i was young that i wanted to be a lawyer.


That was pretty much my answer, and I hadn't put any thought into it before interviews. Since 5th or 6th grade I've always told family and friends I wanted to be a lawyer, and despite never working in an internship/job related to legal work it was always my plan. Interviewers (especially partners) did not seem to like that answer.

I'd try and come up with more substantive and specific reasons as to why you've chosen law school and want to work as an attorney in a firm.

As far as this type of question and background, you're definitely more likely to get it if your resume seems a little more untraditional, but it is certainly a question that can come up for any interviewee.

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atlantalaw
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Re: ITT: OCI tipz

Postby atlantalaw » Sun Dec 27, 2009 10:11 pm

thanks brady. i guess i'll have to come up with an interesting answer since 'i like to help people' probably won't cut it either.

edit: that wasn't an insincere oh thanks. that was a thanks for answering my question.

legends159
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Re: ITT: OCI tipz

Postby legends159 » Sun Dec 27, 2009 10:29 pm

For the "why law" question can I just be honest and say that I want a profession that is intellectually challenging, has (or had) secure upward mobility, appeals to my natural curiosity and competitive nature while earning a comfortable living to support me and my family.

Do I have to come up with a more creative answer than that?

oneforship
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Re: ITT: OCI tipz

Postby oneforship » Sun Dec 27, 2009 10:40 pm

great thread.

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jawsthegreat
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Re: ITT: OCI tipz

Postby jawsthegreat » Sun Dec 27, 2009 10:56 pm

legends159 wrote:For the "why law" question can I just be honest and say that I want a profession that is intellectually challenging, has (or had) secure upward mobility, appeals to my natural curiosity and competitive nature while earning a comfortable living to support me and my family.

Do I have to come up with a more creative answer than that?



This is pretty much exactly my reasons, do I need to make something else up?

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Alea Iacta Est
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Re: ITT: OCI tipz

Postby Alea Iacta Est » Mon Dec 28, 2009 12:15 am

Get good grades 1L year.

Have a legal issue you are prepared to discuss thoroughly, and have an opinion on said issue that you can defend against counterarguments. This can be something from your 1L summer job, or something you are following like a pending Supreme Court case. It needs to be current; not a case in your contracts casebook you disagree with that was settled 90 years ago. Should be related, very loosely at least, to the practice area you express interest in.

Dress the part. Especially for NY/DC markets (and anywhere else similarly formal). Don't go cheap on suit/tie/shoes/etc.

Read thru some commonly asked interview questions and think about answers. You don't actually have to write up answers, just get the wheels turning in that way so you can think on your feet during the real thing.

Think about a few stories from prior work experience, if applicable, that can be used to answer a variety of questions. Work these in whenever you can (within reason and not awkwardly), not just in response to a "Tell me about a time when you..." question.

If you get a low-outlier grade, be prepared to talk substantively about that area of law. Not the nitty gritty, but broader themes and concepts.

Have fun with the thing and be confident. It will make a difference, and it can be fun. I kind of miss OCI.

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XxSpyKEx
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Re: ITT: OCI tipz

Postby XxSpyKEx » Mon Dec 28, 2009 12:27 am

Alea Iacta Est wrote: I kind of miss OCI.


It's weird because OCI is such a big discussion around here but it's a whole 4 days and that's it.

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Alea Iacta Est
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Re: ITT: OCI tipz

Postby Alea Iacta Est » Mon Dec 28, 2009 1:59 am

XxSpyKEx wrote:
Alea Iacta Est wrote: I kind of miss OCI.


It's weird because OCI is such a big discussion around here but it's a whole 4 days and that's it.


Well, plus a week or more of callback interviews out of town. And the time spent researching firms, etc. But I think it's the consequence of the whole thing that gives it importance, not how long it takes.

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ChattelCat
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Re: ITT: OCI tipz

Postby ChattelCat » Mon Dec 28, 2009 6:28 pm

OperaSoprano wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
OperaSoprano wrote:I decided to leave my major off, and edit some of my WE. I haven't even done OCI, and if I have to answer that question one more time I swear I will run afoul of C&F. It's really easy to wind up talking about fashion for fifteen minutes. How do I avoid that?


I'm not sure you really need to avoid it? Nobody has a background pre-law that makes perfect sense for heading into law, and you have clearly put a lot of thought both into your reasons and into your articulation thereof. Interview, in my experience, are a lot about proving you're interesting and interactive - I think talking for 15 minutes about your background, as long as its with confidence and poise, can't do anything but help.

I have an extensive theatrical background, and no interest in pursuing theatre law (whatever the hell that would be). It was a great talking point during the one legal interview I've had, even though it wasn't screaming 'I will be a lawyer-robot for you' it did give me a chance to be comfortable and give interesting anecdotes.


I'm glad you had a positive experience talking about your background. Theater is awesome. I'm worried about the presumption that my major will make me seem ditzy or less than serious, hence my reserve. If my interviewer seems interested in fashion, I would be fine going there, but otherwise I'll try to steer the conversation away from me and towards the work I hope to be doing. Is that a wise strategy? I don't want to look like I'm hiding anything, but I'd like to appear as normal and understated as possible. Lawyer-robot works. I'm terrified that if I do anything else, I'll seem unprofessional.

I know how to interview for creative positions, but this is new to me.


My biggest mistake was trying to explain away my background (also in a creative field). I went through half my screening interviews thinking I had to downplay it and make excuses away which was a really big mistake. Instead, I picked out some great skills that I learned, stressed those, and then answered completely honestly about why I went to law school (in a nutshell: I wasn't happy doing what I had been doing and wanted something challenging that would pay the bills). Leaving it off your resume might end up looking really suspicious.




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