UVa OGI 2011 thread

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Cavalier
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Re: UVa OGI 2011 thread

Postby Cavalier » Sat Jun 25, 2011 2:31 pm

Hey guyz: special request the crap out of every firm you want to interview with. It works.

Yeah, definitely do this. A lot of firms will only reserve one or two rooms (which means around 20 or 40 scheduled interviews), so they can't possibly preselect everyone they would like to interview. If you get rejected for a screener (or if you didn't bid them and regret it), try to get a special request. Interviewers would generally rather get to interview more people than take longer lunch breaks.

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bgdddymtty
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Re: UVa OGI 2011 thread

Postby bgdddymtty » Sat Jun 25, 2011 5:19 pm

Let's talk cover letters. I've read templates, and of course I tried my hand at them last year, but I'm afraid they fell flat and/or just regurgitated my resume. Obviously, I'll be looking at each firm/office I bid/send materials to and trying to find something in their practice that I can mention as being of particular interest to me, but I still feel pretty lost. Tips? Tricks? Advice?

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RVP11
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Re: UVa OGI 2011 thread

Postby RVP11 » Sat Jun 25, 2011 5:32 pm

Cavalier wrote:they can't possibly preselect everyone they would like to interview. If you get rejected for a screener (or if you didn't bid them and regret it), try to get a special request.


I couldn't agree with this more.

A lot of people think that if they didn't get a screening interview then it means their GPA doesn't stack up. Not true at all - I knew someone with a GPA .3 lower than mine who got screeners with firms I didn't. Probably only the SullCroms, Cravaths, and W&Cs of the world are preselecting entirely based on grades. So even if you don't get preselected by a firm, you might still be in their grade range (or even above it).

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Re: UVa OGI 2011 thread

Postby Morgan12Oak » Sat Jun 25, 2011 6:50 pm

Cover letters and mailings to firms that are coming to OGI sent before OGI: are these good, bad or neutral? And should they be in e-mail or snail mail form. CSO wasn’t clear..

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thesealocust
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Re: UVa OGI 2011 thread

Postby thesealocust » Sat Jun 25, 2011 7:15 pm

Morgan12Oak wrote:Cover letters and mailings to firms that are coming to OGI sent before OGI: are these good, bad or neutral? And should they be in e-mail or snail mail form. CSO wasn’t clear..


Why on earth would you even consider doing that? Maybe I'm misreading what you wrote, but that doesn't make any sense at all. They're coming to OGI to interview us, you don't need to send them a greeting card or headshots before hand.

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Re: UVa OGI 2011 thread

Postby uvahooo » Sat Jun 25, 2011 7:23 pm

thesealocust wrote:
Morgan12Oak wrote:Cover letters and mailings to firms that are coming to OGI sent before OGI: are these good, bad or neutral? And should they be in e-mail or snail mail form. CSO wasn’t clear..


Why on earth would you even consider doing that? Maybe I'm misreading what you wrote, but that doesn't make any sense at all. They're coming to OGI to interview us, you don't need to send them a greeting card or headshots before hand.


lol @ headshots.

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Re: UVa OGI 2011 thread

Postby Morgan12Oak » Sat Jun 25, 2011 7:24 pm

I thought it was a silly idea too, but CSO made it seem like it was okay, and beneficial to do so. They mentioned that “you know, you don’t have to wait for OGI to get in contact with these firms” and made it seem as if you could get a head-start mailing them beforehand and potentially boosting your ability to get pre-selected.

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Cavalier
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Re: UVa OGI 2011 thread

Postby Cavalier » Sat Jun 25, 2011 7:29 pm

bgdddymtty wrote:Let's talk cover letters. I've read templates, and of course I tried my hand at them last year, but I'm afraid they fell flat and/or just regurgitated my resume. Obviously, I'll be looking at each firm/office I bid/send materials to and trying to find something in their practice that I can mention as being of particular interest to me, but I still feel pretty lost. Tips? Tricks? Advice?

I wouldn't even bother tailoring them to particular firms if they are firms that come to OGI. I just made one template that had an intro, discussed my interest in the location briefly (for NY and DC firms), and then discussed my interest in private practice and working for a large firm specifically. I think the firms that want cover letters are only doing it to weed out the people who are too lazy to spend five minutes pasting in the name and address of the firm and the recruiter chick's name.

If you're targetting firms in secondary markets, you should be a little more convincing about location. The "I studied poli-sci in undergrad and so I would really like to do regulatory work in DC" crap isn't going to work for Charlotte. If you are mailing your cover letter to firms that aren't coming to OGI, then absolutely tailor the letters to the firms if you have time (which you do if you start preparing letters now). Look at Chambers or something, figure out what practice area(s) the firm excels in, and mention it in your letter.

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Re: UVa OGI 2011 thread

Postby bgdddymtty » Sat Jun 25, 2011 8:06 pm

Cavalier wrote:If you're targeting firms in secondary markets, you should be a little more convincing about location. The "I studied poli-sci in undergrad and so I would really like to do regulatory work in DC" crap isn't going to work for Charlotte.
I think this is going to be my Achilles heel. I'm not interested in NYC or DC (as in, zero bids except for a couple of federal jobs), and while I'm well-enough connected to the various West Coast markets to make a one-sentence case for myself, my primary focus is Texas (mainly Dallas). Unfortunately, I have no ties there other than that my wife spent somewhat significant time there as a kid and loved it. I've wanted to live there for some time and have compelling reasons for wanting to raise my family there, but it's not the type of thing that I think I could express succinctly and powerfully in a cover letter. Thoughts?

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Re: UVa OGI 2011 thread

Postby Cavalier » Sat Jun 25, 2011 8:10 pm

One piece of advice I just remembered: DO NOT put William Minor Lile Moot Court on your resume. Ignore what career services tells you. Why? Because putting moot court on your resume obligates you to actually do moot court, or to contact every firm you interviewed with and inform them of your decision not to participate (which will draw unnecessary negative attention). The first round of moot court occurs in the beginning of September, right when your number one priority is probably preparing for callbacks and getting a job. Your moot court obligations consist of writing a brief that receives at least one point in each scoring category (receiving a zero in any category is equivalent to a withdrawal--you have to spend at least some time putting together the brief), and two oral arguments (where you also must avoid a zero).

Lile Moot Court, like a secondary journal, is not going to impress employers; the vast majority of people have it on their resume. And when employers ask you about it, all you can really say is "it hasn't begun yet, but I will be doing it." This is not to say you shouldn't do moot court--I personally found it enjoyable--but you don't want to obligate yourself to do it when you'll be in the busiest, most stressful time of law school. If it's not on your resume, you can enter the competition and withdraw at any time if the job search compels you to.

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Re: UVa OGI 2011 thread

Postby thesealocust » Sat Jun 25, 2011 9:12 pm

bgdddymtty wrote:[M]y primary focus is Texas (mainly Dallas). Unfortunately, I have no ties there . . . Thoughts?


You're cruising for a bruising. This is a no-win scenario. You have a very high chance of seeing every bid and interview with a Texas firm flushed down the toilet and be staring down a strikeout 2 months from now. OGI is not the time to grab a job in a brand new region.

Biglaw in Texas is small and insular. They like their own. Don't try to be find a way to make yourself an exception to the rule, the stakes are too high.

Your job search has to START with what jobs exist and who they hire, and THEN consider your own preferences. We're knee deep in the worst hiring market the legal sector has seen in decades, and there's a non-zero chance things will get worse before they get better. You simply can't approach OGI by unrolling a map of the U.S. and fantasizing. Count up how many firms are in various regions, count how many people they hire. Think and discuss WHO gets hired from those firms. Then make your choices.

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Re: UVa OGI 2011 thread

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 25, 2011 9:43 pm

Cavalier wrote:One piece of advice I just remembered: DO NOT put William Minor Lile Moot Court on your resume. Ignore what career services tells you. Why? Because putting moot court on your resume obligates you to actually do moot court, or to contact every firm you interviewed with and inform them of your decision not to participate (which will draw unnecessary negative attention). The first round of moot court occurs in the beginning of September, right when your number one priority is probably preparing for callbacks and getting a job. Your moot court obligations consist of writing a brief that receives at least one point in each scoring category (receiving a zero in any category is equivalent to a withdrawal--you have to spend at least some time putting together the brief), and two oral arguments (where you also must avoid a zero).

Lile Moot Court, like a secondary journal, is not going to impress employers; the vast majority of people have it on their resume. And when employers ask you about it, all you can really say is "it hasn't begun yet, but I will be doing it." This is not to say you shouldn't do moot court--I personally found it enjoyable--but you don't want to obligate yourself to do it when you'll be in the busiest, most stressful time of law school. If it's not on your resume, you can enter the competition and withdraw at any time if the job search compels you to.


Even if the employers have it as a requirement on Symplicity? How much time ballpark do you need to write a decent brief that will pass muster?

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Re: UVa OGI 2011 thread

Postby thesealocust » Sat Jun 25, 2011 9:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Even if the employers have it as a requirement on Symplicity?


There's no such thing as a firm that requires moot court. With respect to Symplicity, allow me to quote myself quoting myself quoting myself. It's about GPA requirements listed on symplicity, but the exact same point stands if a firm does something silly like requiring moot court.


thesealocust wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
thesealocust wrote:A wise and insightful person once wrote:

PSA - when a firm lists its GPA preference and requirements, you should do the following: Ignore them entirely and mother fucking ask career services.

Firms lie through their god damned teeth on those things, and I want to keep harping on it, because it is VERY IMPORTANT TO YOUR CAREER PROSPECTS. The firms are lying or naive or outsourcing their symplicity profiles to India or who knows what, but if you ask a 3 year old with a box of crayons to draw you the cut off for a firm you'll get a better answer than the firm's published cutoff on your OCI software.

Firms aren't consistently high, or consistently low - they're just consistently full of shit. A firm that says "top third required" might hire to median, it might hire from the top 3% without exception, and there's even a remote chance it will hire from the top third. But those pieces of data simply cannot be relied upon at all. Not even in a cursory way. Not for comparison's sake, not when nothing else will do. You need to completely disregard them, and beg/borrow/steal data from career services. Your (and that's the royal 'your' for everyone out their reading in paranoid law student land) career depends on it.


With respect to time commitment for moot court, it's not absolute hours that's a problem - it's that for whatever reason the first round due dates tend to be scheduled when people are going crazy with OGI / callbacks.

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Re: UVa OGI 2011 thread

Postby Cavalier » Sat Jun 25, 2011 10:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Even if the employers have it as a requirement on Symplicity? How much time ballpark do you need to write a decent brief that will pass muster?

No employer requires it (like thesealocust said, treat the firm's listed requirements the same way as the listed GPA cutoffs--ignore them). You should certainly be able to write a sufficient brief within a few hours--maybe even less--but it's still a significant commitment. Your time during this period is super important. Until you have an offer, you should be devoting as much time as possible to the job search by preparing for upcoming callbacks and applying for other positions (outside of OGI). So you want to avoid nuisances like moot court.

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Re: UVa OGI 2011 thread

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 26, 2011 2:07 pm

Just my 2 cents...

1. If you are absolutely positive that you want to do moot court, go ahead and put it on your resume. It certainly doesn't hurt and can at least possibly help. This is what I did and certainly don't regret it or consider moot court a "nuisance." But Cav is right if you're not sure that you're definitely going to do it.

2. Regarding contacting OGI firms before OGI... I wouldn't send any generic mass mailings to those firms; that's just sort of weird. However, if it's one of your top choice firms and you have an actual connection at the firm that could make a difference in the hiring process (i.e., an attorney on the hiring committee or a big partner), it's fine to email your stuff directly to that contact and let them know how interested in the firm you are. Again, though, I would only do this for firms that are seriously in your top 5-10 and at which you have an actual, meaningful connection. I did this last year with 2 firms and had very good results.

3. Hard copy v. email for contacting firms not coming to OGI: I only mailed 2 such firms last year but did it by email and had great results. Those 2 firms were very competitive, so that leads me to believe that firms don't prefer paper over email (though obviously my sample size is very small).

4. As to thesealocust's advice essentially to focus only on jobs and not on classes until you have an offer: This is generally wise, but if you are gunning for clerkships (especially more competitive ones), your class schedule and grades remain critical.

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Re: UVa OGI 2011 thread

Postby omg » Sun Jun 26, 2011 2:08 pm

^ Oops, didn't mean to be anonymous. That was me! :)

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Re: UVa OGI 2011 thread

Postby desertlaw » Sun Jun 26, 2011 3:05 pm

Regarding cover letters, what are the main points we want to get across?

1 - why we want to do biglaw/private practice (someone mentioned this earlier, is this something you want to explain in case you have a background that might point to PI?)

2 - why this firm

3 - why this market, ties to this market, etc.

4 - what practice area you're interested in


Any that I missed or should be taken off?

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Re: UVa OGI 2011 thread

Postby denimchickn » Sun Jun 26, 2011 3:42 pm

Just to preface this, I'm a recently admitted transfer student. At my old school (T-30 in VA) I was right around Top 13-15%.

I'm sort of clueless about the whole OGI process, so I have a few questions. I'm from the Richmond area and really want to go back home to work after I graduate (or at least somewhere in Virginia). How realistic is it to exclusively bid on Richmond/Norfolk/VA Beach/Roanoke firms and expect to land something?

I have ZERO interest in working in DC or NY, but could handle relocating to another city in the South. Should I bid on firms in Atlanta, Raleigh/Durham, Charlotte, Nashville, etc? I've heard its hard to break into smaller markets without any significant ties.

Thanks in advance to anyone who has any insight on this.

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Re: UVa OGI 2011 thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:14 am

thesealocust, rvp, cav, and anyone else: With a 3.25 and looking for NY and Atlanta, could you give me any help in constructing a bid list? I have a phone conference with OCS this week but you three seem to be especially knowledgeable/helpful/honest about bidding strategy so I thought I would try to get advice from you as well. I'm more interested in corporate/transactional than lit, but am really just trying to land a job considering my below-median grades. Thank you!

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Re: UVa OGI 2011 thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 27, 2011 12:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:thesealocust, rvp, cav, and anyone else: With a 3.25 and looking for NY and Atlanta, could you give me any help in constructing a bid list? I have a phone conference with OCS this week but you three seem to be especially knowledgeable/helpful/honest about bidding strategy so I thought I would try to get advice from you as well. I'm more interested in corporate/transactional than lit, but am really just trying to land a job considering my below-median grades. Thank you!


If you're interested in corp/transational Atlanta isn't the place to be. You should really be focusing on NYC, and if you have ties (and to a lesser extent) , San Francisco. Apparently they do a good bit of transactional work.

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Re: UVa OGI 2011 thread

Postby bgdddymtty » Mon Jun 27, 2011 7:40 pm

What's y'all's experience on how URM status plays into the OGI process? I'm not a visually obvious minority, but I am the president of a minority club, and this is of course displayed prominently on my resume. How much does it matter? Is there any particular way in which I should incorporate this factor into my overall OGI/job hunting strategy?

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Re: UVa OGI 2011 thread

Postby Cavalier » Mon Jun 27, 2011 7:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:thesealocust, rvp, cav, and anyone else: With a 3.25 and looking for NY and Atlanta, could you give me any help in constructing a bid list? I have a phone conference with OCS this week but you three seem to be especially knowledgeable/helpful/honest about bidding strategy so I thought I would try to get advice from you as well. I'm more interested in corporate/transactional than lit, but am really just trying to land a job considering my below-median grades. Thank you!

Like Anonymous said, NY is the place to be for corporate work; you won't find nearly as much of it in Atlanta. Career services can give you a good idea of what firms to target with your grades, but I would strongly recommend doing mailings before OCI.

desertlaw
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Re: UVa OGI 2011 thread

Postby desertlaw » Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:34 pm

For firms that aren't requesting cover letters on Symplicity when you bid them, does it make sense to attach one to your resume and upload that as your resume under Symplicity?

Would this show more interest or would this just annoy them?

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fouronthe4loor
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Re: UVa OGI 2011 thread

Postby fouronthe4loor » Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:57 pm

desertlaw wrote:For firms that aren't requesting cover letters on Symplicity when you bid them, does it make sense to attach one to your resume and upload that as your resume under Symplicity?

Would this show more interest or would this just annoy them?


I think this would annoy them - if they want a cover letter, they'll ask for it. (although I don't have any experience w/law firm recruiting yet, I screened job interview candidates at a prior job and we didn't consider applications that didn't follow directions...)

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Re: UVa OGI 2011 thread

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:59 pm

fouronthe4loor wrote:
desertlaw wrote:For firms that aren't requesting cover letters on Symplicity when you bid them, does it make sense to attach one to your resume and upload that as your resume under Symplicity?

Would this show more interest or would this just annoy them?


I think this would annoy them - if they want a cover letter, they'll ask for it. (although I don't have any experience w/law firm recruiting yet, I screened job interview candidates at a prior job and we didn't consider applications that didn't follow directions...)



In my meeting with CSO, she indicated that it would be a good idea to include a cover letter for each firm. Not all of them had to be specifically tailored, but she said it could help.




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