V5 Associate (3.49 1L GPA at T14) Giving Advice re: OCI

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Dark Horse
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V5 Associate (3.49 1L GPA at T14) Giving Advice re: OCI

Postby Dark Horse » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:09 pm

Based on my 1L grades (especially median grades after first semester), I never expected to work at such a highly ranked firm. But I ended up doing very well at OCI. Taking questions.

Stats:

School: T14 (MVPCDN)
1L Grades: 3.49 (Unranked; somewhere between median and top 1/3)
Journal: Law Review (wrote on)
Undergrad: Top 25
Non-URM/Non-Engineer/No Connections

Qualifications:

Total Screening Interviews: 36
Total Callback Invitations: 23

Total V10 Screening Interviews: 8
Total V10 Callback Invitations: 4

Total V5 Screening Interviews: 4
Total V5 Callback Invitations: 3

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Sauer Grapes
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Re: V5 Associate (3.49 1L GPA at T14) Giving Advice re: OCI

Postby Sauer Grapes » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:11 pm

What year did you do OCI...

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Lawquacious
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Re: V5 Associate (3.49 1L GPA at T14) Giving Advice re: OCI

Postby Lawquacious » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:12 pm

.
Last edited by Lawquacious on Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Dark Horse
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Re: V5 Associate (3.49 1L GPA at T14) Giving Advice re: OCI

Postby Dark Horse » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:14 pm

Sauer Grapes wrote:What year did you do OCI...


2008

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Re: V5 Associate (3.49 1L GPA at T14) Giving Advice re: OCI

Postby Lawquacious » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:15 pm

Dark Horse wrote:
Sauer Grapes wrote:What year did you do OCI...


2008



HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA wtf

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Re: V5 Associate (3.49 1L GPA at T14) Giving Advice re: OCI

Postby Lawquacious » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:17 pm

You realize in 2008 OCI screeners were still calling back and choosing ppl the same way as in the boom years right?? You were one of the lucky ones who happened to not get cut in the 2009 summer no-offer bloodbath though, true.

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Re: V5 Associate (3.49 1L GPA at T14) Giving Advice re: OCI

Postby Sauer Grapes » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:19 pm

So you did OCI before the good times ended, but graduated when things were basically at their worst?

Do you think you survived in part because of the firm you picked? In other words, do you think you got an offer after your SA and the job was still around come graduation time because you were at the V5 instead of a lower ranked firm?

Also, do you think your OCI experience would be different today? Do you think it translates to those going through the process today?

Congrats on getting a job you wanted!

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Re: V5 Associate (3.49 1L GPA at T14) Giving Advice re: OCI

Postby Kronk » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:20 pm

How long did it take DPW to get back to you?

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Re: V5 Associate (3.49 1L GPA at T14) Giving Advice re: OCI

Postby drd » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:23 pm

Any advice for screening interviews or interviewing in general? Did you find that you did something better (like asked certain questions, etc) with the screeners that gave you callbacks?

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Re: V5 Associate (3.49 1L GPA at T14) Giving Advice re: OCI

Postby Dark Horse » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:28 pm

Sauer Grapes wrote:So you did OCI before the good times ended, but graduated when things were basically at their worst?

Do you think you survived in part because of the firm you picked? In other words, do you think you got an offer after your SA and the job was still around come graduation time because you were at the V5 instead of a lower ranked firm?

Also, do you think your OCI experience would be different today? Do you think it translates to those going through the process today?

Congrats on getting a job you wanted!


The advice I have to give isn't so much "you can get a V5 with my grades" but more "here's what it takes to do well at OCI despite your relatively weak resume." Believe it or not, even during the boom times (think 2007) people were not getting callbacks at V10s with my grades.

I did OCI right around the same time everything was imploding. This leads me to my first piece of advice: move as quickly as possible. A friend (who had better stats than me) and I were both going for the same firms, and he ended up at a "lesser" firm because due to scheduling conflicts, he couldn't do his callbacks until a few weeks after me. That time made all the difference in the world.

I absolutely believe that I survived because of the firm I chose. Not all firms were able to give 100% offers, a fact I was constantly reminded of whenever I talked to my friends at school.

Finally, I do think that there are general principles that apply today. Firms are interviewing people, not transcripts. Students tend to think that recruiting is all about grades. That's not true; it only plays a part. (Except for a few ultra-selective firms, but those are the exception instead of the rule.) "But these days things are so different!" they say. "It's so hard to get a job, so they must only look for people with the best grades!"

That's completely wrong. That's just an extension of the belief that grades are all that matter. There is no doubt that the minimum GPA cut-offs for firms have risen since the boom times. But that doesn't mean that you can't overcome your weak grades. The key is to make yourself into the strongest candidate possible.
Last edited by Dark Horse on Wed Jul 04, 2012 1:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: V5 Associate (3.49 1L GPA at T14) Giving Advice re: OCI

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:34 pm

How busy is the firm? Which areas specifically seem to be "safer"?

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Re: V5 Associate (3.49 1L GPA at T14) Giving Advice re: OCI

Postby IAFG » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:35 pm

Dark Horse wrote:
Sauer Grapes wrote:What year did you do OCI...


2008


dafuq did i just read

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Re: V5 Associate (3.49 1L GPA at T14) Giving Advice re: OCI

Postby Old Gregg » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:38 pm

people were not getting callbacks at V10s with my grades


Yes, but plenty of people still were.

But I think your overall point is right. Grade selectivity doesn't correlate with vault rankings, and 99% of the firms out there aren't looking just at grades. I know many people who struck out at firms taking on 4-5 summers because those people thought the firms were "not selective." Would've had a better chance at firms with massive summer classes.

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Re: V5 Associate (3.49 1L GPA at T14) Giving Advice re: OCI

Postby Dark Horse » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:39 pm

drd wrote:Any advice for screening interviews or interviewing in general? Did you find that you did something better (like asked certain questions, etc) with the screeners that gave you callbacks?


Absolutely. Four things off the top of my head:

Be enthusiastic.
There is nothing more attractive to interviewers than a student who is excited about being there and excited about working at their firm. Usually, towards the beginning of OCI, most students have lots of nervous energy, which overwhelms all their enthusiasm. (That's why it's better to do lots of "practice" interviews with less desired firms earlier.) But more of an issue is towards the middle to later, when students are bored and tired of interviewing, tired of meeting people, and tired of repeating the same answer over and over again. A lack of enthusiasm never killed anyone's chances, but it makes you miss an otherwise great opportunity. Believe me, most law students suck at being enthusiastic. You can really separate yourself from the pack by doing this well.

You are selling yourself to the firm.
Never forget, throughout the process you are on sell mode. If you have to use the interview to learn something about the lawyers or the firm, that is a mistake. Take time outside of OCI to google the firm, or even talk to attorneys from the firm. But once you're in that screening room, 100% of your efforts have to do with selling yourself. When asked if you have any questions for them, ask them questions that show you want to be a lawyer there, like "what's the evaluation process like for associates?" (shows you're seriously thinking about being an associate there).

Questions are predictable, so you can prepare all answers.
If you do a quick google of OCI interview questions, you can find out 95% of all possible questions they're going to ask. Use this to your advantage. Figure out your stock answers, and make sure that you know how to recite them without sounding rehearsed. Also, when they ask you general questions like "How do you like Cornell Law?" don't respond by telling them exactly what you think. Say something like "I love the collegiality here, which is why I'm interested in Cleary. From talking to attorneys at different firms, I've learned that you guys have a very collaborative atmosphere."

Make them feel special.
No firm wants to think that you're there because you're following the crowd or trying to find a safety firm. Make sure each and every interviewer you speak with walks away from the interview thinking "Wow, this kid is really interested, we're probably in the top 3 of his/her choices!" If the firm is truly your top choice, do not hesitate to tell them that. They don't want to give out too many callback offers only to have them declined.

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Re: V5 Associate (3.49 1L GPA at T14) Giving Advice re: OCI

Postby Dark Horse » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:How busy is the firm? Which areas specifically seem to be "safer"?


Very busy, all the time. The thing with some of the top New York firms is that they have institutional clients that provide a healthy stream of work. They operate in a very different environment than lower ranked firms that provide services that have more elastic demand.

It's hard for me to comment on what areas are safer because I honestly don't know. Sorry.

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Re: V5 Associate (3.49 1L GPA at T14) Giving Advice re: OCI

Postby Sauer Grapes » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:46 pm

I think this is all pretty good advice from my experience.

I'll add a couple more things...

You can't always control how a screener goes, so don't dwell on it afterwards. That is not to say that you can't reflect on it and change something before the next screener if you think you need to. However, there will be interviewers that you just don't mesh with.

Part of being enthusiastic is visiting the hospitality rooms if a firm you are interviewing with has one. That's a way to extend your screener in the sense that you give the people from that firm extra time to see your personality and to interact with you in a slightly less formal situation than the interview. I think this is especially true if you had an early interview. You can remind them how much they liked you (if they did) by interacting with them again later in the day.

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Re: V5 Associate (3.49 1L GPA at T14) Giving Advice re: OCI

Postby Dark Horse » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:50 pm

Fresh Prince wrote:
people were not getting callbacks at V10s with my grades


Yes, but plenty of people still were.


Yes, plenty of people got callbacks. And ten times as many interviewed; what made these few students more successful? That's the question I hope to help answer. I realize that the stuff I'm saying goes against typical law school forum dogma. And for many posters, they'll look at what I'm saying, see "2008," laugh, and move on.

When I was doing OCI, my school released data showing the minimum, median, and maximum GPAs of callbacks at different firms. Nobody with my grades had been, in the past several years, given a callback interview with my firm. Even if you're not an URM, an engineer, or have some crazy soft-factors, you can still do better than expected in the OCI game.

Fresh Prince wrote:But I think your overall point is right. Grade selectivity doesn't correlate with vault rankings, and 99% of the firms out there aren't looking just at grades. I know many people who struck out at firms taking on 4-5 summers because those people thought the firms were "not selective." Would've had a better chance at firms with massive summer classes.


Agreed.

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Re: V5 Associate (3.49 1L GPA at T14) Giving Advice re: OCI

Postby target » Wed Jul 04, 2012 1:00 pm

what is the best way to spin "I don't care where I live as long as I get to do what I want to do" mentality without appearing indifferent about the firm?

Edit: and thank you for your advice so far in this thread. very helpful!

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Re: V5 Associate (3.49 1L GPA at T14) Giving Advice re: OCI

Postby Dark Horse » Wed Jul 04, 2012 1:02 pm

Sauer Grapes wrote:I think this is all pretty good advice from my experience.

I'll add a couple more things...

You can't always control how a screener goes, so don't dwell on it afterwards. That is not to say that you can't reflect on it and change something before the next screener if you think you need to. However, there will be interviewers that you just don't mesh with.


This is great advice. I had a screening interview that lasted 10 minutes, half of which consisted of us talking about why I got a B in Conlaw. The guy was a total jerk and didn't smile at all. I told myself I'd never work there. Ended up getting a callback. On the other end, I had an interview where it ran over a few minutes and we were laughing throughout the entire thing. Never heard from them again.

Sauer Grapes wrote:Part of being enthusiastic is visiting the hospitality rooms if a firm you are interviewing with has one. That's a way to extend your screener in the sense that you give the people from that firm extra time to see your personality and to interact with you in a slightly less formal situation than the interview. I think this is especially true if you had an early interview. You can remind them how much they liked you (if they did) by interacting with them again later in the day.


The advice on hospitality suites is completely on point. I usually would walk into hospitality suites between screening interviews just to hang out with some of my friends and talk to some associates. Once, I stopped by a table and chatted up an associate who was a former law clerk about her clerkship experience. I wasn't angling for anything, I was just killing time and trying to get some nice swag. I didn't think anything could come of it because I figured only the interviews had any say over who gets a callback.

But unexpectedly, that associate was instrumental in helping me get a callback at my firm. Weeks later, after I accepted my summer offer, she pulled me aside and told me that one reason why they decided to give me an offer was because I made a really good impression on her at the hospitality suite. I had no idea I was even being evaluated then.

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Re: V5 Associate (3.49 1L GPA at T14) Giving Advice re: OCI

Postby Kronk » Wed Jul 04, 2012 1:04 pm

ITT, we get a basic outline on how to interview that could be found on any law school website or career office from dude who either works at DPW or got super lucky during OCI hitting it off with a partner about their eerily similar recent family vacations to Peru.

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Re: V5 Associate (3.49 1L GPA at T14) Giving Advice re: OCI

Postby rayiner » Wed Jul 04, 2012 1:05 pm

Kronk wrote:ITT, we get a basic outline on how to interview that could be found on any law school website or career office from dude who either works at DPW or got super lucky during OCI hitting it off with a partner about their eerily similar recent family vacations to Peru.


Uh, Skadden?

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Re: V5 Associate (3.49 1L GPA at T14) Giving Advice re: OCI

Postby Old Gregg » Wed Jul 04, 2012 1:06 pm

who either works at DPW


Or Skadden.

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Re: V5 Associate (3.49 1L GPA at T14) Giving Advice re: OCI

Postby IAFG » Wed Jul 04, 2012 1:06 pm

Kronk wrote:ITT, we get a basic outline on how to interview that could be found on any law school website or career office from dude who either works at DPW or got super lucky during OCI hitting it off with a partner about their eerily similar recent family vacations to Peru.

Seriously? Who doesn't know and try to execute these things?

It's another case of someone either having an innate talent or else a stroke of luck and trying to tell others how to follow behind them. Frankly it smacks of shitboomer culture.

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Re: V5 Associate (3.49 1L GPA at T14) Giving Advice re: OCI

Postby Dark Horse » Wed Jul 04, 2012 1:12 pm

target wrote:what is the best way to spin "I don't care where I live as long as I get to do what I want to do" mentality without appearing indifferent about the firm?

Edit: and thank you for your advice so far in this thread. very helpful!


It's perfectly fine to think this, but DO NOT let them know this unless you have to.

Do not tell them, especially at the outset, that you don't care where you live. Instead, make it seem like there are 3 different reasons why you want to live where their offices are located. Remove the negatives, focus on the positives.

Make it appears as though their firm is your perfect combo of practice area and location. You want them to think: "This girl will definitely accept the callback interview, and probably the offer, if we give it to her."

"During 1L year, I took an employment law class just for fun. Loved it so much that this summer, I decided to go work for the EEOC. That experience confirmed that I am very interested in employment law. As such, I've applied to the firms with the very best employment law practices. That's why I'm excited about the opportunity to work for Paul Hastings. [list other firm-specific reasons why you want to work there] Moreover, I attended undergrad at UCLA and love Southern California. The weather is beautiful and the lifestyle is a better fit with my personality."

If they ask about what other firms you are applying to, tell them that your primary goal is to find a firm with a strong employment practice. (I'm also looking at Morgan Lewis. But I would much rather live in L.A. than Philly, etc) But don't bring this up unless asked.

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Re: V5 Associate (3.49 1L GPA at T14) Giving Advice re: OCI

Postby Kronk » Wed Jul 04, 2012 1:13 pm

rayiner wrote:
Kronk wrote:ITT, we get a basic outline on how to interview that could be found on any law school website or career office from dude who either works at DPW or got super lucky during OCI hitting it off with a partner about their eerily similar recent family vacations to Peru.


Uh, Skadden?


Fair.




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