Anonymous User wrote:During networking meetings with associates, what are some good questions to ask that will yield useful info that we can drop at oci?
Many students think that general networking, casual name-dropping, and being remembered should be your main goal during firm events. Wrong. Everything you do should somehow contribute to your main pitch during the 20 minute interview during OCI. That means that you want to get stories and anecdotes from associates at networking events.
Look at the firm's website, specifically the career section to see what they're proud of. For example, let's say you're looking at Patterson Belknap, and you see that they're big on pro bono and community work. They're also big on junior associates doing substantive work.
Figure out what you want to say during your screening interview. Probably something along the lines of "I wanna work here because of the ability to get good, substantive experience early on and I'm also interested in pro bono work."
Talk to Patterson Belknap attorneys who will give you personal stories and anecdotes to fill in the meat of your pitch.
I never went into a networking event with such a detailed, specific plan in mind, but it helps to think of networking in this way. You just want to hear what associates have to say about their experiences at the firm. You're not there to dominate the conversation or to laugh at some partner's lame jokes. You want stuff that will be useful to your OCI pitch. So in this example, if a second year talks about a particular pro bono matter where they got to do a deposition, that is pure gold.
I like how the firm takes pro bono seriously. David Smith told me how he took on a sex discrimination case all on his own. I also like how the firm gives so much responsibility to juniors. Not only was he able to draft substantive portions of the briefs, he prepared for and conducted a deposition all on his own, with minimal supervision. I've spoken to lawyers at other firms, and no one has done more substantive work than David.
Your pitch should be more detailed than that, so you want to probe more. Good questions to ask David include:
- did you ever work on a pro bono matter?
- how did you choose the matter? was it assigned?
- what was that experience like?
- how much supervision did you get?
- how many levels of review?
- what tasks were you involved in?
- did you speak with opposing attorneys?
It all depends on your pitch, and what the firm prides itself in.