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

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

Postby target » Wed Jul 04, 2012 3:51 pm

acrossthelake wrote:I think the detractors in this thread are underestimating how clueless the general interviewing population is. However, the same clueless people won't be reading TLS for advice on OCI. So this thread is a bit like preaching to the choir in that sense. I think most ppl in TLS who struggle with interviewing struggle in the execution, not the knowledge of what they're supposed to do. Some people just aren't that charismatic, especially under pressure. Either way, congrats to the OP on doing so well.



Agree with this. I mean every law student knows generally what he/she should do to do well in law school, but when it comes to actual test taking, some will execute better than others. The same goes for interviews. I don't need to be the best interviewer. I just need to perform a bit better than other interviewees.

A follow-up question: my school OCI is a combination of preselect and lottery. What should I do to appear more appealing in those lottery interviews, given those firms didn't preselect me at first?

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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 3:53 pm

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.

Step 1:
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.

Step 2:
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."

Step 3:
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.

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

Postby LegalPerspective » Wed Jul 04, 2012 4:07 pm

Hi All,

This is actually my first time visiting this site; I saw a reference to it when i was reading another blog.

I'm a 2nd year at a big NY law firm. I think it's probably like V15ish, if you care about that kind of thing.

I agree with one poster who thinks Dark Horse's experience isn't very helpful to post-crash biglaw job seekrs. Let me tell you a bit about my experience, and what I gleaned from it.

Lehman collapsed, I think, the second week (of three) of OCI at my T5 law school. This was what, 2008? I graduated in 2010. I remember I interviewed with DEBEVOISE probably an hour or two after the news came out. They were willing to do the interview, but they told me off the bat that they weren't sure they would be hiring anyone this year.

I probably did 50 interviews. While the economy hadn't totally collapsed before Lehman died, it was still pretty clear that the economic situation was bleak at that point. People weren't getting a lot of callbacks, and so everyone was trying to do as many OCI screening interviews as possible.

I got I think 7-9 callbacks out of my 50 interviews, and I was on law review. It seemed totally random who gave me callbacks. I got callbacks (all NYC) at Paul, Weiss; Weil; DLA piper; Clifford Chance; Dewey (omg!); Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lovells); Pillsbury; K&L Gates; DPW; and I think one or two more that I ended up not actually doing because i had accepted an offer by then. (I took an offer from my favorite firm before hearing back on whether i got offers at a lot of places. I only know for sure I didn't get offers from Clifford Chance and Hogan.) No callback from CRAVATH (thank god), Cleary, Sullivan (i would have taken that job if I had gotten it), A&O, Cahill, SKADDEN, Foley, Kirkland, Shearman, or a bunch of lower ranked firms. Don't have any idea why i got some and not others.

There was bascially no correlation with grades for people in the top 70% on who got callbacks except the kids at the very top (even including the LR kids). The top 5 kids in the class or so (we were not ranked, but when someone has close to perfect grades you can kinda tell they must be at the top) got callbacks from every firm they interviewed with. Every one. (I had to pry this information out of them; i enjoyed kind of acting as an information broker in my class). Two of those kids later went to clerk for SCOTUS. Another two clerked for Posner or Easterbrook in Chicago, and one to Kozinski (although i think that was the same as one of the kids who went on to the SCOTUS clerkship). Anyway, just an illustration of the kind of grades you needed to really have some confidence in the OCI process at my T5.

Kids on the bottom third or so got no callbacks at all. It was terrifying. This was a first for my school. When I was admitted, a student recruiter called me and said, "Once you got your 170+ LSAT score, your future was made. It probably doesn't even matter if you come here or Virgina or Duke or whatever". That's really how people thought of it back then. There was always a biglaw job at my school for anyone who wanted one. Until my year.

As for my interviews, I'm sure I got a callback at K&L Gates because the interviewer recognized that he had asked me an inappropriate question about my religion and just didn't want me making a stink about anything. I think i got my callback at Hogan because I responded bluntly to the interviewer's blunt interviewing style: (Q: Why should I hire you? I'm goign to lose money on you for two years, and you'll probably leave after three. Why are you different?" A: I'm not different; like all other law students, i have no idea what Biglaw is like, so you're just as likely to win with me as with anyone else. At least I'm willing to admit that we're all just playing games with each other"). Most of my other interviews were totally benign, boring and nondescript.

Why did I get a callback at Weil and not Shearman? Why DLA Piper and not Foley Lardner? Who knows? We like to think that if we are really prepared and have called people and are personable bla bla bla that this will make the difference. But really, that will give you what? Maybe 30% control? I think it really comes down to a lot of things that have been mentioned earlier, like if you've been on a vaction to Peru like your interviewer, or if you're the first interview of the day, so you're remembered, or you're the second-to-last-one before lunch, so you're not remembered. Or a thousand other things.

So to answer Dark Horse, yeah, it makes a whole lot of sense to spend 308093209 hours studying and then only 10 on interview prep, because grades really are what matter most, even if they're not the end all of everything. It helps to know what interviewers want (e.g., they want to have some confidence yuo'll stay in the area, they want to know that you're not a sociopath, they want you to take the offer or the callback if they give it to you) and key your answers to that knowledge to the extent appropriate. BUt practice responses in the mirror? Good lord - this dark horse is severely confusing the effect of his "interview prep" with the effects of a wonderful legal economy. You're not going to get callbacks from over half your OCI interviews by being personable and knowledgeable about the firms. That time is over. If he did better than others with the same grades, I'd say he's just a statistical outlier. Someone does win the lottery - but it's not because that someone spent so much time thinking about what numbers to pick.

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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 4:09 pm

target wrote:A follow-up question: my school OCI is a combination of preselect and lottery. What should I do to appear more appealing in those lottery interviews, given those firms didn't preselect me at first?


Honestly, I'm not sure. The same concepts I mentioned apply, but your situation is tougher.

Depending on how far off you are from the firm's typical standards, you may have a decent chance. In that situation, you're basically trying to come across as the #1 candidate among the lottery interviewees. That doesn't guarantee anything, but if the circumstances are right, you may get a callback.

Sorry I can't be of more help. (My school operated on a lottery)

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

Postby target » Wed Jul 04, 2012 4:10 pm

Dark Horse wrote:
target wrote:A follow-up question: my school OCI is a combination of preselect and lottery. What should I do to appear more appealing in those lottery interviews, given those firms didn't preselect me at first?


Honestly, I'm not sure. The same concepts I mentioned apply, but your situation is tougher.

Depending on how far off you are from the firm's typical standards, you may have a decent chance. In that situation, you're basically trying to come across as the #1 candidate among the lottery interviewees. That doesn't guarantee anything, but if the circumstances are right, you may get a callback.

Sorry I can't be of more help. (My school operated on a lottery)


You have been really helpful. TY.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 04, 2012 4:23 pm

LegalPerspective wrote:Hi All,

This is actually my first time visiting this site; I saw a reference to it when i was reading another blog.

I'm a 2nd year at a big NY law firm. I think it's probably like V15ish, if you care about that kind of thing.

I agree with one poster who thinks Dark Horse's experience isn't very helpful to post-crash biglaw job seekrs. Let me tell you a bit about my experience, and what I gleaned from it.

Lehman collapsed, I think, the second week (of three) of OCI at my T5 law school. This was what, 2008? I graduated in 2010. I remember I interviewed with DEBEVOISE probably an hour or two after the news came out. They were willing to do the interview, but they told me off the bat that they weren't sure they would be hiring anyone this year.

I probably did 50 interviews. While the economy hadn't totally collapsed before Lehman died, it was still pretty clear that the economic situation was bleak at that point. People weren't getting a lot of callbacks, and so everyone was trying to do as many OCI screening interviews as possible.

I got I think 7-9 callbacks out of my 50 interviews, and I was on law review. It seemed totally random who gave me callbacks. I got callbacks (all NYC) at Paul, Weiss; Weil; DLA piper; Clifford Chance; Dewey (omg!); Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lovells); Pillsbury; K&L Gates; DPW; and I think one or two more that I ended up not actually doing because i had accepted an offer by then. (I took an offer from my favorite firm before hearing back on whether i got offers at a lot of places. I only know for sure I didn't get offers from Clifford Chance and Hogan.) No callback from CRAVATH (thank god), Cleary, Sullivan (i would have taken that job if I had gotten it), A&O, Cahill, SKADDEN, Foley, Kirkland, Shearman, or a bunch of lower ranked firms. Don't have any idea why i got some and not others.

There was bascially no correlation with grades for people in the top 70% on who got callbacks except the kids at the very top (even including the LR kids). The top 5 kids in the class or so (we were not ranked, but when someone has close to perfect grades you can kinda tell they must be at the top) got callbacks from every firm they interviewed with. Every one. (I had to pry this information out of them; i enjoyed kind of acting as an information broker in my class). Two of those kids later went to clerk for SCOTUS. Another two clerked for Posner or Easterbrook in Chicago, and one to Kozinski (although i think that was the same as one of the kids who went on to the SCOTUS clerkship). Anyway, just an illustration of the kind of grades you needed to really have some confidence in the OCI process at my T5.

Kids on the bottom third or so got no callbacks at all. It was terrifying. This was a first for my school. When I was admitted, a student recruiter called me and said, "Once you got your 170+ LSAT score, your future was made. It probably doesn't even matter if you come here or Virgina or Duke or whatever". That's really how people thought of it back then. There was always a biglaw job at my school for anyone who wanted one. Until my year.

As for my interviews, I'm sure I got a callback at K&L Gates because the interviewer recognized that he had asked me an inappropriate question about my religion and just didn't want me making a stink about anything. I think i got my callback at Hogan because I responded bluntly to the interviewer's blunt interviewing style: (Q: Why should I hire you? I'm goign to lose money on you for two years, and you'll probably leave after three. Why are you different?" A: I'm not different; like all other law students, i have no idea what Biglaw is like, so you're just as likely to win with me as with anyone else. At least I'm willing to admit that we're all just playing games with each other"). Most of my other interviews were totally benign, boring and nondescript.

Why did I get a callback at Weil and not Shearman? Why DLA Piper and not Foley Lardner? Who knows? We like to think that if we are really prepared and have called people and are personable bla bla bla that this will make the difference. But really, that will give you what? Maybe 30% control? I think it really comes down to a lot of things that have been mentioned earlier, like if you've been on a vaction to Peru like your interviewer, or if you're the first interview of the day, so you're remembered, or you're the second-to-last-one before lunch, so you're not remembered. Or a thousand other things.

So to answer Dark Horse, yeah, it makes a whole lot of sense to spend 308093209 hours studying and then only 10 on interview prep, because grades really are what matter most, even if they're not the end all of everything. It helps to know what interviewers want (e.g., they want to have some confidence yuo'll stay in the area, they want to know that you're not a sociopath, they want you to take the offer or the callback if they give it to you) and key your answers to that knowledge to the extent appropriate. BUt practice responses in the mirror? Good lord - this dark horse is severely confusing the effect of his "interview prep" with the effects of a wonderful legal economy. You're not going to get callbacks from over half your OCI interviews by being personable and knowledgeable about the firms. That time is over. If he did better than others with the same grades, I'd say he's just a statistical outlier. Someone does win the lottery - but it's not because that someone spent so much time thinking about what numbers to pick.


This would help a lot more if we knew what kind of grades you had your T5. Having LR but medianish grades will obviously explain your unpredictable callbacks.

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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 4:33 pm

I agree, to some extent, with this:

LegalPerspective wrote:There was bascially no correlation with grades for people in the top 70% on who got callbacks except the kids at the very top (even including the LR kids).


I think the variability is due (at least in part) to the differences in interviewing skills among students. And because that skill isn't blatantly obvious, I can see why people vehemently disclaim its importance. You're not the first one to tell me that I got lucky.

Let me put it another way. If you're not one of the top 5 students, what would you do to prepare for OCI? Anything?

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

Postby target » Wed Jul 04, 2012 5:03 pm

LegalPerspective wrote:Hi All,

So to answer Dark Horse, yeah, it makes a whole lot of sense to spend 308093209 hours studying and then only 10 on interview prep, because grades really are what matter most, even if they're not the end all of everything. It helps to know what interviewers want (e.g., they want to have some confidence yuo'll stay in the area, they want to know that you're not a sociopath, they want you to take the offer or the callback if they give it to you) and key your answers to that knowledge to the extent appropriate. BUt practice responses in the mirror? Good lord - this dark horse is severely confusing the effect of his "interview prep" with the effects of a wonderful legal economy. You're not going to get callbacks from over half your OCI interviews by being personable and knowledgeable about the firms. That time is over. If he did better than others with the same grades, I'd say he's just a statistical outlier. Someone does win the lottery - but it's not because that someone spent so much time thinking about what numbers to pick.


Here are my few thoughts in response to your post:

First, there're very few things that we can do at the moment to increase our chances of getting an associate position for next summer. Since for most of us who will be doing OCI, we had finished with our first year of law school. there would be no way to improve our grades. So, we're stuck with whatever grades we have, for better or worse. In addition, most school's writing competition are already over, so besides sitting here waiting for the results, we can not do anything else to buff up our resume pre-OCI.

Second, firms have cutoff and imo, once you made that cutoff, grades become less important than other things that you have like journal, moot court, clinic, connection, interviewing skills, etc. Again, of those other things you could have besides grades, interviewing skills are easy to improve NOW, given I can just build that connection with a V15 partner tomorrow or get on moot court team, etc by next week.

Third, it is widely different when you compare T5 students like yourself or T6 like OP with others from T20 or T50. Furthermore, it's also different when you interview with V10 firms vs. V100 firms vs. non-NLJ firms. Different firms look for different things and improving interviewing skills probably will not hurt any law students in anyway.

In summary: everyone should ask questions re interviewing skills in this thread. Being a good interviewer will not get you an associate position at a V5 firm if you are median at a T20 school, but it may improve your chance, even very slightly, of getting a summer job next year.




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