What to include on an OCI "cheat sheet"

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Anonymous User
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What to include on an OCI "cheat sheet"

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 28, 2011 2:08 am

What firm, officer, interviewer info should you include on a cheat sheet/quick reference for use during OCI interviews?

What information should you make sure and learn about the firm, office, interviewer prior to the interview?

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danidancer
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Re: What to include on an OCI "cheat sheet"

Postby danidancer » Thu Jul 28, 2011 9:27 am

I'm planning on:

  • What practice areas the firm has
  • Any recent major deals/cases they've worked on
  • What practice area the interviewer is a part of, and the interviewer's background
  • How the firm's summer program is set up
  • What sort of training the firm offers
  • Questions I want to ask

Am I missing anything?

Eco
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Re: What to include on an OCI "cheat sheet"

Postby Eco » Thu Jul 28, 2011 10:40 am

So, this cheat sheet, do you guys actually take it into the interview with you? lol

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adameus
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Re: What to include on an OCI "cheat sheet"

Postby adameus » Thu Jul 28, 2011 12:32 pm

Eco wrote:So, this cheat sheet, do you guys actually take it into the interview with you? lol


I'm planning on making it into temporary tattoos. Then before each interview, I will tattoo the cheat sheet for that firm to my hand.

sarahlawg
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Re: What to include on an OCI "cheat sheet"

Postby sarahlawg » Thu Jul 28, 2011 12:57 pm

adameus wrote:
Eco wrote:So, this cheat sheet, do you guys actually take it into the interview with you? lol


I'm planning on making it into temporary tattoos. Then before each interview, I will tattoo the cheat sheet for that firm to my hand.


--ImageRemoved--

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Cupidity
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Re: What to include on an OCI "cheat sheet"

Postby Cupidity » Thu Jul 28, 2011 1:02 pm

I have a little leather folder with resume, writing sample, etc., on one side, and a legal pad on the other, I usually just make a few notes at the top of the pad.

A good question is, "How do summer associates and full time associates recieve assignments" or if the information is provided for you, "how does that work in practice."

Eco
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Re: What to include on an OCI "cheat sheet"

Postby Eco » Thu Jul 28, 2011 1:13 pm

Is it advisable btw to bring a notepad to take notes during the interview? I honestly never do that personally (I've had a lot of work experience) but I've never interviewed for an associate position before, so I wonder how do they look on that?

Anonymous User
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Re: What to include on an OCI "cheat sheet"

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 28, 2011 10:34 pm

Some tips from someone who has (successfully) done the OCI thing:

DO NOT bring your cheat sheets into your interview. I know people who have done this with very poor results. However, DO look over your cheat sheet right before you walk into the interview.

Bring a portfolio folder with you to carry extra resumes, list of references, and writing samples. Also, include a notepad of some sort. I have had interviewers tell me to contact specific attorneys at their firm (because of a personal interest or something else). In those situations, it's very normal to take out a pen and copy down the contact information. Also, notepads are great for jotting down impressions and thoughts about a firm right after your interview is over. This information comes in handy during callbacks. DO NOT TAKE NOTES during an interview. It makes you look really weird.

Other than the basic information about the law firm (practice areas, stuff you learn from google, stuff from above the law/NALP/chambers-associates, the basics about the summer program), something to include on cheat sheets: one or two interesting or funny things to bring up during the interview. For instance, I noticed one of my interviewers was a volunteer member of a ski patrol. Since I do a lot of skiing, I made sure to find some way to bring that up during my interview. I ended up spending almost the entire interview talking about skiing and the attorney even gave me an open invitation to go skiing with him.

The most important thing about interviews is to stand out from the crowd. Law firms generally have strict grade/school cut-offs. You can't change your grades at this point. But after weeding out all of the students who fall below their cut-off, firms pretty much just call back the students that they remember and bonded with the most. In some cases, if you really bond with your interviewer, it is possible to get a callback even if you do not meet a firm's grade requirements. I'm pretty sure this happened to me at least once.

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Bobby Dazzler
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Re: What to include on an OCI "cheat sheet"

Postby Bobby Dazzler » Fri Jul 29, 2011 2:04 am

danidancer wrote:Any recent major deals/cases they've worked on

What is the most efficient, yet sufficiently comprehensive, way to do this? For both deals and cases.

Hadlendale
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Re: What to include on an OCI "cheat sheet"

Postby Hadlendale » Fri Jul 29, 2011 4:29 am

Cupidity wrote:I have a little leather folder with resume, writing sample, etc., on one side, and a legal pad on the other, I usually just make a few notes at the top of the pad.

A good question is, "How do summer associates and full time associates recieve assignments" or if the information is provided for you, "how does that work in practice."


Why is this a good question? What significance does the answer have? If I was interviewing someone for a position and they asked me this question I would laugh and say "we give them to you."

Anonymous User
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Re: What to include on an OCI "cheat sheet"

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 29, 2011 7:13 am

Hadlendale wrote:
Cupidity wrote:I have a little leather folder with resume, writing sample, etc., on one side, and a legal pad on the other, I usually just make a few notes at the top of the pad.

A good question is, "How do summer associates and full time associates recieve assignments" or if the information is provided for you, "how does that work in practice."


Why is this a good question? What significance does the answer have? If I was interviewing someone for a position and they asked me this question I would laugh and say "we give them to you."


Firms differ significantly in how assignments are handled. Sometimes its centralized, with a database that tracks assignments, other times associates are expected to go out and find work by asking around and building up relationships with partners. Actually few things make a bigger difference in associate life, because not only does it affect what your work but it's often a significant factor in the firm's culture. See, e.g. Kirkland & Ellis.

TooOld4This
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Re: What to include on an OCI "cheat sheet"

Postby TooOld4This » Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:27 am

Bobby Dazzler wrote:
danidancer wrote:Any recent major deals/cases they've worked on

What is the most efficient, yet sufficiently comprehensive, way to do this? For both deals and cases.


I would not worry about this one too much. Quite frankly, it can hurt you as often as it can help you. It can make it tempting for candidates to try to project more knowledge than they actually have. There is no faster way to have an interview come to a screeching halt than to drop a case or deal and then have the interviewer attempt to talk to you about it and you have nothing to add.

If you do come across this information, use it as a way to ask questions, not to show off your google/lexis skills.

Hadlendale wrote:
Cupidity wrote:I have a little leather folder with resume, writing sample, etc., on one side, and a legal pad on the other, I usually just make a few notes at the top of the pad.

A good question is, "How do summer associates and full time associates recieve assignments" or if the information is provided for you, "how does that work in practice."


Why is this a good question? What significance does the answer have? If I was interviewing someone for a position and they asked me this question I would laugh and say "we give them to you."


It is actually a good question. It demonstrates the fact that you have some knowledge of how firms work. Some firms have rotation systems. Some have a feed yourself system. It is important to figure out how a firm allocates work because it can have a huge impact on your career trajectory. If you are hired into a particular practice area, how many areas you are exposed to as a summer associate is important. If you are sure that you want practice in a particular area, then going to a firm that has a mandatory 2 year rotation before you can join a practice area may not be a good fit. If you are a go-getter, a fend for yourself system will probably be preferable. If you are more introverted, a centralized system would be a better fit.

The interviewer knows all of these things. They also know that when hiring is as low as it is right now, they want to hire people who are most likely to fit with the culture of the firm. Asking the question shows you've done your homework and actually care about the fit of the firm too and aren't just looking at firms as totally fungible.

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danidancer
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Re: What to include on an OCI "cheat sheet"

Postby danidancer » Fri Jul 29, 2011 9:42 am

Anonymous User wrote:DO NOT bring your cheat sheets into your interview. I know people who have done this with very poor results.


People did this?! :shock:




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