Should I do OCI?

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Anonymous User
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Should I do OCI?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:19 pm

I'm pretty sure I want to do gov't. work/public interest (~top 40-35% at UT/Vandy/UCLA) but now I'm unsure if I should try to get a job through OCI. I'm mostly interested in criminal law, but I loved property and did very well in it. I wouldn't mind doing something related to trusts/real estate/estate planning.

I do know that I'm not interested in 70 hour weeks. I won't be in any debt coming out of school. I'm originally from Texas but I don't have a huge preference where I end up.

Should I take a closer look at OCI?

de5igual
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Re: Should I do OCI?

Postby de5igual » Tue Jun 12, 2012 2:34 pm

Yes do OCI. There's almost no good reason you should not do it.

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Re: Should I do OCI?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 12, 2012 2:43 pm

OP here - I'm just worried that with the timing of OCI vs. gov't. hiring that (assuming I get offers) I'll be tempted to take an offer in hand before I even get to hear back from gov't places that I want to work.

I know that I don't want to do 'biglaw' but I could do a firm that has an emphasis on pro bono work. Also I'm from Austin and the legal market there is reportedly really hard to break in to and I don't have ties really anywhere else.

de5igual
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Re: Should I do OCI?

Postby de5igual » Tue Jun 12, 2012 2:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here - I'm just worried that with the timing of OCI vs. gov't. hiring that (assuming I get offers) I'll be tempted to take an offer in hand before I even get to hear back from gov't places that I want to work.

I know that I don't want to do 'biglaw' but I could do a firm that has an emphasis on pro bono work. Also I'm from Austin and the legal market there is reportedly really hard to break in to and I don't have ties really anywhere else.


1) government hiring is extremely limited, and I certainly wouldn't bank on it
2) OCI gives you a chance to improve and polish your interview abilities, even if you end up not taking a job
3) Texas markets split, so even if you do get some government internship, you can always try to split with a firm
4) ties to Austin = ties to the rest of Texas. people from Austin have no trouble breaking into Dallas or Houston (which is likely where you'll end up)--so if i were you, i'd focus my attention there, since at your class rank, there's little chance you'll crack Austin (so don't waste your top bids there)
5) don't talk about pro bono during the interviews

*i'm assuming you go to UT

badaboom61
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Re: Should I do OCI?

Postby badaboom61 » Tue Jun 12, 2012 2:53 pm

Try to get a job wherever you can find one. Government hiring is so limited that it seems foolish not to try to get a decent private sector job if you can. You can always leave a firm after a year or two; that would make you much more qualified for government work anyway.

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Re: Should I do OCI?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 12, 2012 2:56 pm

f0bolous wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here - I'm just worried that with the timing of OCI vs. gov't. hiring that (assuming I get offers) I'll be tempted to take an offer in hand before I even get to hear back from gov't places that I want to work.

I know that I don't want to do 'biglaw' but I could do a firm that has an emphasis on pro bono work. Also I'm from Austin and the legal market there is reportedly really hard to break in to and I don't have ties really anywhere else.


1) government hiring is extremely limited, and I certainly wouldn't bank on it
2) OCI gives you a chance to improve and polish your interview abilities, even if you end up not taking a job
3) Texas markets split, so even if you do get some government internship, you can always try to split with a firm
4) ties to Austin = ties to the rest of Texas. people from Austin have no trouble breaking into Dallas or Houston (which is likely where you'll end up)--so if i were you, i'd focus my attention there, since at your class rank, there's little chance you'll crack Austin (so don't waste your top bids there)
5) don't talk about pro bono during the interviews

*i'm assuming you go to UT


1) Is the real reason I'm seriously considering OCI. I want gov't. but the hiring is so sporadic that I'm scared I'll end up with nothing. I had a big grade jump too, so I meet a lot more of the cut-offs for firms now.
3) Splitting is a great idea that I hadn't really considered that heavily. It seemed like a lot of gov't. places didn't allow splits, but maybe I could find something
4) Yeah, I have no illusions about cracking Austin firms but Dallas would be pretty good.
5) I won't!

I actually go to Vandy and that might be enough to out me, but whatever. Should I focus on bidding Dallas/Houston firms? Are there any in particular that I should aim for with my GPA?

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Ikki
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Re: Should I do OCI?

Postby Ikki » Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:04 pm

Don't be an idiot, do OCI. I've been speaking with a couple of AUSAs and they all got to where they are at following the same path: 1L generic thing during the summer + 2L summer with a big firm + post-graduate federal clerkship = U.S. Attorney's Office.

I'm not saying that's the only way of getting employment with that particular agency, or with any government agency for that matter, but they all agreed that if you're trying to do prosecutorial work, working for a big firm during your 2L summer is not a bad thing.

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Re: Should I do OCI?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:53 pm

Ikki wrote:Don't be an idiot, do OCI. I've been speaking with a couple of AUSAs and they all got to where they are at following the same path: 1L generic thing during the summer + 2L summer with a big firm + post-graduate federal clerkship = U.S. Attorney's Office.

I'm not saying that's the only way of getting employment with that particular agency, or with any government agency for that matter, but they all agreed that if you're trying to do prosecutorial work, working for a big firm during your 2L summer is not a bad thing.


I know that big law/clerkship is the route to AUSA jobs, but I really want to work for a DA's office and it seems that they prefer people who have interned with them. I'm not working for DA's office this summer (though hopefully externing in the fall). I would rather work for a DA than a law firm.

I guess what I'm most concerned by is that not doing OCI will leave me with no job options, but if I do OCI and luck out with an offer, I may miss out on the job I really want to do.

It may sound idiotic to not do OCI, but is it really the right choice for me with my career goals (no matter how tempting the pay is)?

de5igual
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Re: Should I do OCI?

Postby de5igual » Tue Jun 12, 2012 5:13 pm

doing OCI =/= getting an offer at a firm

why not do it, see the results, then decide. right now, your grades aren't exactly a shoe-in for TX biglaw. if you do end up getting something, note that it's easier to go from firm to gov than the other way around. it would be foolish for you to self-foreclose opportunities.

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Ikki
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Re: Should I do OCI?

Postby Ikki » Tue Jun 12, 2012 5:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Ikki wrote:Don't be an idiot, do OCI. I've been speaking with a couple of AUSAs and they all got to where they are at following the same path: 1L generic thing during the summer + 2L summer with a big firm + post-graduate federal clerkship = U.S. Attorney's Office.

I'm not saying that's the only way of getting employment with that particular agency, or with any government agency for that matter, but they all agreed that if you're trying to do prosecutorial work, working for a big firm during your 2L summer is not a bad thing.


I know that big law/clerkship is the route to AUSA jobs, but I really want to work for a DA's office and it seems that they prefer people who have interned with them. I'm not working for DA's office this summer (though hopefully externing in the fall). I would rather work for a DA than a law firm.

I guess what I'm most concerned by is that not doing OCI will leave me with no job options, but if I do OCI and luck out with an offer, I may miss out on the job I really want to do.

It may sound idiotic to not do OCI, but is it really the right choice for me with my career goals (no matter how tempting the pay is)?


Ok, I didn't realize by government work you meant to say you were dead-set on a DA office. I have not talked to many DDAs yet, I'll get back to you next week when I start interning in my hometown's DA's narcotics division. But from what I've heard, you're correct in thinking that some DA offices tend to do their hiring internally. Still, you lose nothing going through the motions, you might find a firm you would be happy to slave-away for during the next summer.

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eandy
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Re: Should I do OCI?

Postby eandy » Tue Jun 12, 2012 6:05 pm

You can go big law--->DA's office. It's done all the time. However, you need something else on your resume that demonstrates interest/commitment to it. Can you do an externship during the school year in a DA's office? Did you work in one after 1L summer? If the answer to both is no, you *may* run into issues. If you know the specific office you want to work in (like the counties in and around Austin) try setting up an informational interview with someone and asking them about what they did and what the majority of attorneys in the office seem to have done. Stalk them on linkedin. There are a lot of ways to find out what the norms are in that office. Also recognize that if a new DA comes in, the way they making hiring decisions could change. There will also always be exceptions.

A large number (I'll go ahead and say a majority) of DA's offices aren't going to let you split your 2L summer. The reason is, that unlike a when working with a firm, you'll have assigned cases that you will be following/working on. If you leave midway through the summer, or don't get there until the second half, you won't have enough time to have a meaningful experience. They'd rather hire people who will be there the whole time.

tl;dr: Your best option is to do OCI. Do your best. See what options you have. If you get an offer, strongly consider taking it. Try to do an externship with a DA's office during school if you can't during the summer. Take crim classes to show commitment as well. Anything you can do to show interest is key.

Anonymous User
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Re: Should I do OCI?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 12, 2012 7:05 pm

Thanks for all the advice everyone! It was super helpful and I'm going to do OCI in August. Now to frantically research!




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