Anonymous User wrote:I'm basically a clone of the OP except at UT on Law Review, and I went 1/29 (native Texan, bid mostly on Houston with some Dallas). I got some feedback from a Dallas firm which basically said they liked me, but they didn't think I had a genuine interest in working for them. I did not sell my interest in firms. The reason is because the CSO told me not to express interest in a practice area even if the firm is known for this. "It's not safe because you never know where they're hiring," said a member of the CSO repeatedly. This advice is complete bullshit, the person who said it should be fired, especially someone with strong and relevant work experience like myself. That basically hamstrung my ability to sell my interest in any firm because it's very hard for a 2L to distinguish firms otherwise (I have no feel for, nor do I give a fuck about "firm culture"), and I'm a concrete thinker who can't talk about abstractions like the "practice of law" without reference to something concrete like a practice area. I actually have experience in bankruptcy and capital markets, so I ought to have emphasized my interest in these at firms that had those practice areas.
What's funny is I worked with the CSO for weeks on prepping for interviews, and it took 5 minutes of practicing with a former member of the hiring committee to narrow down my problem (lack of enthusiasm for the firm and the practice of law - caused by my reluctance to talk about practice areas). I am going to print out some emails and talk to the new Dean prior to withdrawing about my awful experience with the CSO (assuming my one callbacks doesn't turn into an offer, though it very well might now that I've narrowed down the problem). Hopefully, he can make some phone calls to help me get something for the summer, so I don't have to withdraw. I have a full-ride and can quit and go on Above the Law any time with 0 consequences.
I think the behavior of the CSO in this instance amounts to professional incompetence. Also, the fact that they don't publish callback statistics like just about every other law school does. I hope Dean Farnsworth fires a bunch of the CSO just like he did Georges Cafe.
The tone of this post has nothing to do with why I struck out (someone who talks like this probably would strike out, though, so don't do it during OCI). It does probably sound entitled and arrogant, but that is because I am genuinely pissed at the moment, and most of my friends don't know either my grades or the fact that I'm on Law Review. The only reason I publicize these things is to give context. I was resigned for a long time to the fact that I struck out due to my own deficiencies. I did not become truly pissed until I found out it was a totally correctable error and due to bad advice from the CSO (maybe good advice for a K-JD, whom they are used to advising, but I think most firms would expect someone with 4 years of relevant work experience similar to some common practice areas to have some focus, so it doesn't just look like I went to law school and applied to firms on a whim).
Sorry about the awful OCI experience. And I have no doubt that UT's CSO could be improved. In their defense, I have heard multiple people from the CSO say that for people who are "second-career" type people, it is important to show some clear direction with what you want to do with your legal education. I have also heard advice from law firms, law students, multiple career service people, and even TLS that ITE it is much safer to show flexibility when it comes to practice area--that's not to say you show no interest in any area, but rather you show interest in multiple areas ("I really am interested in A for x, y, and z reason. And while I don't have much background in B, reasons q, r, and s make me think it is something that I could enjoy and excel in."). When I did OCI, I had relevant experience in two different areas, one area I was much more interested in and another where I was somewhat curious (but probably knew that I didn't want to do that in the long term). The latter interest was actually key for a few different firms and they didn't care that I had also expressed interest in other things as well. It just comes down to at least giving off the impression that you have 1) a basic understanding of the legal world, 2) interests that match up with actual legal practice, and 3) stuff on your resume that supports those interests.
Also, I hate to say this but while I am all for UT improving its CSO, I think laying the blame pretty much fully on them is unfair. You were the one interviewing with the firms and it was your job to sell yourself. Maybe they gave you shit advice by saying "express interest in nothing," but it's not too hard of a jump to realize that it's much easier to sell yourself to a firm by selling yourself on multiple interests (thus going for flexibility as opposed to a lack of interest in anything). It's absolutely shitty that OCI can hinge on a person's ability to sell themselves in 20-minute sound bites, but that can be the reality of the situation.
I really do hope something opens up for you. Please PM me if there is anything I can do to help--I don't really have much in terms of connections but I know a decent amount about Texas firms (and I can try to put you in touch with UT people that have first-hand knowledge about particular firms).