UChicago OCI Alums Answering Questions About the Job Hunt

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UChicago OCI Alums Answering Questions About the Job Hunt

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 02, 2014 2:40 am

I've been looking for a way to give back to TLS and my school, and I know there's more of us out there that want to help.

So 1Ls: Ask anything about 1L jobs, firm receptions, grades (& cutoffs), firms, markets, OCI, callbacks, etc. and we can answer honestly (and anonymously) here in the Legal Employment forum.
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Re: UChicago OCI Alums Answering Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 02, 2014 2:47 am

Anonymous User wrote:I've been looking for a way to give back to TLS and my school after I went through OCI, and I know there's more of us out there that want to help.

So 1Ls: Ask anything about 1L jobs, firm receptions, grades (& cutoffs), firms, markets, OCI, callbacks, etc. and we can answer honestly (and anonymously) here in the Legal Employment forum.


I have asked this a few times, but I really do want multiple perspectives on it.

Law Review:
Moot Court:
Secondary Journal:

How do these play a role? What looks the best and what (if any) are truly irrelevant? Top 5% no LR v. Top 10% with LR.

I know it does not play into OCI, but what about executive positions for these orgs. Is it just icing on the cake or can being published and an editor on the Executive Board of a Law Review really help your application. I know this is a little far out from 1L, but it all starts here.

Thanks!

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Re: UChicago OCI Alums Answering Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 02, 2014 3:00 am

Is there a general GPA range that you put you in solid contention for Chicago firms at OCI? I know things are more complicated than that but it would be nice to have an idea.

Also I'm new to the Chicago legal market. So if you can talk about any relevant differences between Chicago firms, in terms of lifestyle, practice area, and grade selectivity, I would really appreciate it. This doesn't have to be a novel, but anything a beginner should know or at least the best places to start researching. Thanks for taking questions.

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Re: UChicago OCI Alums Answering Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 02, 2014 3:06 am

My first piece of advice is to go to firm receptions, but don't join the herd of gunners surrounding the hiring partner. S/he won't care or remember you. Find an attorney that you click with and make a connection and get a business card (partners probably have more pull, but associates are usually easier to connect with and they usually give the most authentic answers). An easy way to do this is to come up with a practice area you're interested in and find someone who works in that area. Ask questions about it and show genuine interest. If there's no one at the firm in that area, feel free to mention the interest (attorneys will often say "let me put you in touch with X who's in that area").

Email them within the next few days and say something along the lines of "It was great meeting you and talking about XYZ. I really enjoyed the reception and wanted to thank you for the time you spent speaking with me. I'm quite swamped with schoolwork right now, but I was hoping you'd be willing to get lunch or coffee some time this summer. I'd love to ask some more pointed questions about [practice area, firm, etc.]. Keep a document where you store these names and set up coffee/lunch with the attorneys over the summer. Lots of attorneys get coffee in the morning and are willing to do so before work. It's worth mentioning that you can cold-email alum and they are often willing to go to meetings like this.

At the meeting, talk about culture and (if you're comfortable with it) ask the questions that you can't ask at OCI (lifestyle, partnership prospects, etc). Don't ask them in abrasive ways like "do you think you have a shot at becoming partner?," but say things like "what are your career goals?" Other stock questions:
-"How often do you spend time with colleagues outside work"
-What's your favorite thing about [practice area]?
-What do you think makes your firm unique? (You'll usually get some bullshit answer about culture, but pay attention to how they describe it)
-Could you walk me through your typical day? (Most will say something like "my days are never typical" and then go on to explain what his agenda for the day is/was)

Ask follow up questions, be personable, establish a connection. Ask questions you're genuinely interested in. If you're interested in work/life balance, ask about it. If you're interested in early experience, ask about it.

At OCI, this gives you 1) information about the firm that most people don't have (if you say something that isn't on a firm's website in response to the "why our firm" question, you're streets ahead), 2) a name to drop, 3) presence at the firm's reception, 4) a believable story about firm culture (most interviewees will mention "culture" in response to the "why our firm" question, but most can't actually describe it or give evidence that they would fit in), and 5) if you really like a firm, you can email your contact before your interview and ask for last minute advice (I did this with a few and most offered to put in a good word for me with the hiring committee).

Eventually you'll start to notice when attorneys are feeding you BS answers or when they are being genuine about something. You'll start to see the differences and similarities between firm cultures/practices and you can start figuring out which ones you could see yourself at. Most people at OCI just bid every firm they have heard of, and half of the interviews don't work out for "fit" reasons. By eliminating firms that you don't like, you're also eliminating firms that wouldn't hire you because you wouldn't fit in.

It's kind of fun to see an interviewer's face light up when you answer the "why our firm" answer with something that genuinely distinguishes the firm from it's competition.

The strangest question I was asked during a callback was, "how did you decide which firms to bid during OCI?" Answering with this process is an excellent way to show that you're someone who does their homework.

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Re: UChicago OCI Alums Answering Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 02, 2014 3:15 am

Anonymous User wrote:
I have asked this a few times, but I really do want multiple perspectives on it.

Law Review:
Moot Court:
Secondary Journal:

How do these play a role? What looks the best and what (if any) are truly irrelevant? Top 5% no LR v. Top 10% with LR.

I know it does not play into OCI, but what about executive positions for these orgs. Is it just icing on the cake or can being published and an editor on the Executive Board of a Law Review really help your application. I know this is a little far out from 1L, but it all starts here.

Thanks!


I'll start with journals. For most firms, LR will give you a "bump" at OCI. They won't make up for bad grades, but firms like to see it, and often interviewers that were on journals will ask about the work you're currently doing (it's a good conversation-starter). Some firms basically require journals (WLRK), but a good interview matters more than a credential like this. That being said, don't underestimate the importance of LR: it can be a great way to become friends with the smartest kids in the class (networking is always good), you can use it to establish a connection with a professor, and it really matters when it comes to applying for clerkships (if you're interested in that). All of this generally applies to secondary journals, but the bump is probably smaller.

Getting a board position and moot court happen during 2L, so they would only help for (some) clerkships or if you strike out. I obviously have no idea how credentials like this impact your career later on, but the point is they won't impact OCI because they quite simply haven't happened yet.

Basically, everything comes down to the interview. Top 5% vs top 10% will only matter when it comes to whether "K&E Scholar" is on your resume. Both put you in a very good position for getting a job, and firms will generally take the person they like between the two. If you look through the OCI threads, people with these grades are generally killing it, but there's also people with slightly above median grades without journal who are killing it too. The interview matters a lot. A LOT. Credentials are what you can control now, but I can't overstate the importance of mock-interviews and being a likable person.

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Re: UChicago OCI Alums Answering Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 02, 2014 3:55 am

Anonymous User wrote:Is there a general GPA range that you put you in solid contention for Chicago firms at OCI? I know things are more complicated than that but it would be nice to have an idea.

Also I'm new to the Chicago legal market. So if you can talk about any relevant differences between Chicago firms, in terms of lifestyle, practice area, and grade selectivity, I would really appreciate it. This doesn't have to be a novel, but anything a beginner should know or at least the best places to start researching. Thanks for taking questions.


Chicago is hard. People who bid all Chicago struggled because Chicago is what everyone wants. Special snowflakes around 178 can land Kirkland/Sidley/Jenner, but it's very unlikely and there's a lot of competition for these (lots of the top 10%+LR people will bid another market + these three). Soft cutoffs for those firms are around 178-9, but you want to have great grades to be competitive because being above the cutoff by no means makes you a lock for a cb(almost half the class interviews with the big firms in Chicago--they get to be picky when it comes to personality). Other than that, I'd estimate that around 178-179 puts you in a good position for Skadden/Mayer, and callbacks at barack ferrazzano and Perkins were almost unheard of.

When you put all of those firms aside, just by sheer numbers it's difficult. Summer classes are really small and a great GPA doesn't guarantee you a callback. Most people fell back on less-stellar (but still good) firms in Chicago because they had no idea competition would be so fierce, and a lot of people struck out or got dangerously close to doing so (1-2 CBs).

My advice would be to sell your ties to the market hard. I've heard of lots of people that were top 10%+LR and didn't do so that were outperformed by people with lower grades.

If you have around median grades, you should be throwing most bids at NY firms. One of the things I learned throughout this process is that great NY firms have equal or lower cutoffs when compared with so-so Chicago firms. OCI will give you a list of firms and what the low and high grades were for callback invitations that's pretty helpful here, but even if the low callback is a 174, a 178 won't guarantee you one--your interview is largely the determining factor.

Here's some info about Chicago firms that I've heard through the grapevine or from attorneys: (note: I'm not sure if all of this is true, and I'm essentially parroting stereotypes here so there will be exceptions)

1) Kirkland: You work NY hours but they're basically the best in Chicago for almost everything. Free market system. No facetime requirement so senior associates and partners often do work from home at night (but young associates are generally expected to be in the office). Often seen as "cut-throat" because of the free market system. Callbacks generally go to law review members with a few exceptions. Attorneys here are generally very outgoing and bro-ish. Partnership track is a bit different from other firms (making "partner" isn't impossible, but "equity partner/shareholder" is).
2) Sidley: A more relaxed Kirkland. Great at everything but slightly less-brutal hours and projects are assigned. Considered more family-friendly. The people here are fantastic and generally very kind/personable. Callbacks here mostly went to LR from what I heard, but there's a few exceptions because they care about "fit" a lot (learned the latter part from a hiring committee member). It seemed like callbacks for Sidley were pretty rare.
3) Skadden: Callbacks were more abundant. Pretty strong in everything but it gets the reputation for being a lawyer-factory because they're a big firm and partnership chances are outrageously low. They don't seem to screen for personality that much in their associates (I know people with completely opposite personalities getting callbacks here). Work-hard play-hard culture.
4) Mayer Brown: Another great Chicago firm. It seems like quiet/shy/kind people generally have a lot of success here. Lots of people assume Mayer is a "safety" in chicago but it's actually quite competitive. A bad article was recently published on the firm and I'm not quite sure of it's impact.
5) Perkins Coie: Largely considered the lifestyle firm in Chicago. I'm not sure why (didn't apply there myself), but attorneys I've met from there are generally VERY nice and personable.
6) Jenner: Known for their diversity. An excellent firm and considered one of the best in Chicago. Litigation is largely their strong-suit.
7) Schiff: One of the old-school Chicago firms. People are on the quiet-side and attorneys often told me that they like to focus on work and have families. It seemed like people here were more willing to express dissatisfaction with the quality of work/hours, but that's just my impression and I know a lot of people who loved this firm. Go to the reception and see for yourself.
8 ) Latham: Satellite office. The NY one is generally better-regarded and is less selective at OCI. People are usually pretty friendly/laid-back in comparison to the other firms. Work-hard play-hard. They (like Jones Day) claim they have a "one-firm" culture--meaning the culture is the same across offices.
9) Bartlit Beck: Litigation firm that hires rising 3Ls.
10) DLA: Known for being a sweatshop because it's such a big firm (kind of gets a bad rap like Skadden does).
11) Winston: No-offered a lot of Chicago kids two years ago so I have a large distaste for this firm because of that. Other than that, haven't heard much about it because people generally steered clear.
12) McDermott: Strong litigation practice. Another one of those firms people assume is a safety but is actually on the more-selective side.
13) Paul Hastings: Smaller office of a west-coast firm. I got the impression a lot of their attorneys went to big chicago firms and then moved here for lifestyle reasons. People seemed very relaxed, friendly, and social.
14) Jones Day: Like Latham but they have "black box bonuses."

Wish I could give more info but my knowledge is limited--if someone else wants to list their impressions feel free.
Chambers is also pretty helpful when it comes to quality of firm's practice areas in Chicago. http://www.chambersandpartners.com/guide/usa/5

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Re: UChicago OCI Alums Answering Questions

Postby 20141023 » Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:32 am

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Re: UChicago OCI Alums Answering Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 02, 2014 10:38 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Chicago is hard. People who bid all Chicago struggled because Chicago is what everyone wants. Special snowflakes around 178 can land Kirkland/Sidley/Jenner, but it's very unlikely and there's a lot of competition for these (lots of the top 10%+LR people will bid another market + these three). Soft cutoffs for those firms are around 178-9, but you want to have great grades to be competitive because being above the cutoff by no means makes you a lock for a cb(almost half the class interviews with the big firms in Chicago--they get to be picky when it comes to personality). Other than that, I'd estimate that around 178-179 puts you in a good position for Skadden/Mayer, and callbacks at barack ferrazzano and Perkins were almost unheard of.

When you put all of those firms aside, just by sheer numbers it's difficult. Summer classes are really small and a great GPA doesn't guarantee you a callback. Most people fell back on less-stellar (but still good) firms in Chicago because they had no idea competition would be so fierce, and a lot of people struck out or got dangerously close to doing so (1-2 CBs).

My advice would be to sell your ties to the market hard. I've heard of lots of people that were top 10%+LR and didn't do so that were outperformed by people with lower grades.

If you have around median grades, you should be throwing most bids at NY firms. One of the things I learned throughout this process is that great NY firms have equal or lower cutoffs when compared with so-so Chicago firms.


Also a 2L -
I think this anon gets a lot of it right on. First, once you've hit a firm's cut-off, grades are NOT the most important factor in hiring. This is especially true for firms with small summer classes (generally outside of NYC) which actually care about your personality, etc. And in Chicago, no firms have a cutoff above 178. Second, knowledge about a firm -- its practice area, its culture, etc. -- is what will set you apart from other interviewees. Do the research about the firms you actually like and firms will see that you want to be there. It makes a huge difference. Third, ignore the TLS meme that OCI is about some combination of grades and luck -- you can control for a lot. Since we have such a small class, a strong alumni base, and a good reputation, you have a lot going for you. Make use of it by emailing alumni, applying to firms outside of OCI (hint -- a lot of great NYC firms don't come to OCI), and having coffee with people during your 1L summer. Also, Woo isn't joking when he says that OCI is a unique opportunity to meet firms from all around the country. I was personally surprised by how well some people did just because of strong interviews. The counter point, of course, is that people with great grades but bad flat personalities/no demonstrable interest in law practice underperformed at OCI.

Two things I would add to the OP's answers. First, if you're a woman, shoot high. Firms are desperate for qualified women and from what I can tell, both by talking to friends and by looking at the "who worked where list," women seem to all go to amazing firms. I doubt this is because of grades alone (see generally, the Law Review masthead).

Second, I think OP overstates how hard it is to get Chicago. On one hand, you're right -- there are so few SA spots IN TOTAL in Chicago, so the numbers are against you and it's ill-advised to bid straight Chicago, at any GPA. On the other hand, Kirkland has 17 UChi summers this year. SEVENTEEN. Firms want to hire our grads. I have a low 178.x, weak Chicago ties, and still got a Kirkland offer. You gotta hustle, but lots of people make it happen.

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Re: UChicago OCI Alums Answering Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:23 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Second, I think OP overstates how hard it is to get Chicago. On one hand, you're right -- there are so few SA spots IN TOTAL in Chicago, so the numbers are against you and it's ill-advised to bid straight Chicago, at any GPA. On the other hand, Kirkland has 17 UChi summers this year. SEVENTEEN. Firms want to hire our grads. I have a low 178.x, weak Chicago ties, and still got a Kirkland offer. You gotta hustle, but lots of people make it happen.


I'm the Anon you're talking about. Bolded is basically the message I wanted to sink in and you're spot on.

Good interviewing skills can definitely land you a great job in Chicago with anything around a 178 - I say this in my original post but call them "special snowflakes." The issue I noticed (and wanted to warn 1Ls about) was that there were people with average and above average grades + average interview abilities who struggled in Chicago, and they were getting NY callbacks easy. I know more than 4 people with your grades who struck out in Chicago and ended up at an elite NY firm they grabbed an interview with during open sign-ups.

We killed it at Kirkland this year, but if you look at the Kirkland (Chicago) class (minus the transfers), a majority are on LR. Grades are really important to them - you may have noticed your GPA written down in permanent marker on your CB interviewer's papers. "Fit" (or what I'd call good interviewing skills) can land you a job there with decent grades - but it's hard to tell if you're that person until you begin interviewing (and those people usually outperform across the board and have plenty of offers). One of the ways to tell is to follow the networking advice earlier ITT - have meetings with attorneys and get a sense for the culture, then interview with firms you could actually see yourself at. If you are social and can see yourself fitting in at Kirkland, go for it with a 178.x; if you are quiet and reserved and think their attorneys are assholes - use one of your precious bids somewhere else (this is a bit of an overstatement, but you get the point).

Bottom line for the 1Ls reading: Bid the Chicago firms that you really want (say, your top 8-10), and then bid straight NY. Do your homework and know everything you can about those firms before bidding them.

I saw a lot of people bidding Chicago firms they've never heard of just because they wanted to fill up their bidlist with more Chicago. But I'd think a lot of people with a 178 would rather work at a V15 in NY than one of the good but not elite firms in Chicago - I suppose that's assuming lawyers care about prestige.
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Re: UChicago OCI Alums Answering Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:36 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Second, I think OP overstates how hard it is to get Chicago. On one hand, you're right -- there are so few SA spots IN TOTAL in Chicago, so the numbers are against you and it's ill-advised to bid straight Chicago, at any GPA. On the other hand, Kirkland has 17 UChi summers this year. SEVENTEEN. Firms want to hire our grads. I have a low 178.x, weak Chicago ties, and still got a Kirkland offer. You gotta hustle, but lots of people make it happen.


I'm the Anon you're talking about. Bolded is basically the message I wanted to sink in and you're spot on.

Good interviewing skills can definitely land you a great job in Chicago with anything around a 178 - I say this in my original post but call them "special snowflakes." The issue I noticed (and wanted to warn 1Ls about) was that there were people with average and above average grades + average interview abilities who struggled in Chicago, and they were getting NY callbacks easy. I know more than 4 people with your grades who struck out in Chicago and ended up at an elite NY firm they grabbed an interview with during open sign-ups.

We killed it at Kirkland this year, but if you look at the Kirkland (Chicago) class (minus the transfers), a majority are on LR. Grades are really important to them - you may have noticed your GPA written down in permanent market on your CB interviewer's papers. "Fit" (or what I'd call good interviewing skills) can land you a job there with decent grades - but it's hard to tell if you're that person until you begin interviewing (and those people usually outperform across the board and have plenty of offers). One of the ways to tell is to follow the networking advice earlier ITT - have meetings with attorneys and get a sense for the culture, then interview with firms you could actually see yourself at. If you are social and can see yourself fitting in at Kirkland, go for it with a 178.x; if you are quiet and reserved and think their attorneys are assholes - use one of your precious bids somewhere else (this is a bit of an overstatement, but you get the point).

Bottom line for the 1Ls reading: Bid the Chicago firms that you really want (say, your top 8-10), and then bid straight NY. Do your homework and know everything you can about those firms before bidding them.

I saw a lot of people bidding Chicago firms they've never heard of just because they wanted to fill up their bidlist with more Chicago. But I'd think a lot of people with a 178 would rather work at a V15 in NY than one of the good but not elite firms in Chicago - I suppose that's assuming lawyers care about prestige.


I'm the quoted anon.

Agreed, again, with basically everything you wrote here. And the bolded is true (which I noticed on my CB and was really surprised about). I guess I was just trying to make the point that 178's can still land Kirkland/Sidley/Latham/Skadden Chicago, with the right strategy. I don't think you disagree with that, and you're also right to say that the choice people with those solidly median grades may end up making is between great NYC firms and mid-tier Chicago firms.

Also, this is 100% right:
Anonymous User wrote:Bottom line for the 1Ls reading: Bid the Chicago firms that you really want (say, your top 8-10), and then bid straight NY. Do your homework and know everything you can about those firms before bidding them.

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Re: UChicago OCI Alums Answering Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:47 am

Anonymous User wrote:I guess I was just trying to make the point that 178's can still land Kirkland/Sidley/Latham/Skadden Chicago, with the right strategy.


100% agree.

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Re: UChicago OCI Alums Answering Questions About the Job Hunt

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:49 am

Some great advice above. I'll chime in as a UChi alum who now does V10 interviewing.

Journals/LR. Even though I truly believe that law reviews and journals are a bizarre and fairly useless feature of our profession, they help you in OCI. As for the top 5% with no LR and top 10% with LR -- if you have LR grades, doing LR is virtually mandatory. Honestly I would be pretty weirded out if someone had a 181 average and no journal -- and that's coming from someone who doesn't believe in the mission of journals. Not saying you won't get a job. Someone who is top 5% with no LR will obviously find a job. But the lack of journal just looks odd and could hurt you on the margins.

If you're gunning for a clerkship, gun for an editorial position, but that doesn't really matter from our perspective (and obviously doesn't matter for 2L OCI anyways). I will say, though, that having an editorial position was way more fun -- although more work -- than my year as a staffer. It was a nice payoff for a crappy year. And in my view, getting published matters less than editorial positions. I know EICs and EEs who never published comments and they still got the clerkships and jobs you would expect. And there are plenty of reasons that are not your fault that your comment might not get published.

If you don't have LR grades, I still think a secondary journal helps, but my firm and my personal views may be in the minority on that. Honestly, I think it shows just some level of "commitment" to doing work that is expected of you. No one says, "oh, you're on a secondary journal, that must be so much FUN!" We know you're not doing it for fun. We think you're doing it because you feel some sense of obligation to putting in the grunt work, and that's respectable.

If you don't do any journal -- whether you're top 5% with no LR or 178 with no secondary -- be prepared with a story about your other activities. Are you super involved with a clinic? Do you devote a lot of time to Corporate Lab because you want to do M&A? Board member of other student orgs? What I'm getting at is that a lot of interviewers feel like, "I had a 180 GPA, was on law review, and in a clinic. You're telling me you don't do any activities and only got a 178.5?"

Moot Court. Doesn't really matter all that much. It's not something I notice if it's missing, but if you win one of the top prizes that's a small bump in your favor. Wouldn't make up for poorer grades, though.

1L Receptions. They don't hurt in two senses. First, they get you used to interacting with lawyers. Second, you meet people who might help you.

The first is actually the most important. Force yourself to chat with people and interact with them. Do this enough times and you'll be much better at the subtle interactions of talking to a professional attorney, which will help you tons in interviews. And at the receptions, if you find yourself in one of those groups where there is 1 hiring partner and 10 1L's fawning, look around the room and find another attorney at the firm who isn't under siege. No one is forcing these attorneys to be at these receptions. Particularly if they are alums, they want to help you. But you have to walk up to them. Too many times I'm at these receptions and end up just talking to my associate friends rather than students, because no students approached me. So approach someone and put out your hand. Ask about their firm. Ask about their practice. Ask point blank whether they have any advice for navigating OCI. If the conversation sucks then toss back that G&T and say, "nice meeting you, let me go refill my drink."

That should be your primary goal. But there are times that this helps you even more directly than giving you an answer to the "why our firm?" question and a name to drop later. When I was a 1L I actually got a callback at a reception. No joke -- I went up to a partner who was clearly a little awkward and had no one talking to him. After 15 minutes of conversation he handed me his card and said, "I'm going to get another glass of wine, but shoot me an email and we'll bring you out to the office to meet with some people." His office was on the West Coast and not a city I was interested in, but I went, met people, and then had a great "in" for 2L OCI in the firm's other cities that I was more interested in.

I'll leave it there for now. Happy to answer more because I really do like helping UChi students. Sorry for the anon but I post some more general advice around these boards occasionally and think I could get outed if you put this together with the details I've given elsewhere.
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Re: UChicago OCI Alums Answering Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 02, 2014 12:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Second, I think OP overstates how hard it is to get Chicago. On one hand, you're right -- there are so few SA spots IN TOTAL in Chicago, so the numbers are against you and it's ill-advised to bid straight Chicago, at any GPA. On the other hand, Kirkland has 17 UChi summers this year. SEVENTEEN. Firms want to hire our grads. I have a low 178.x, weak Chicago ties, and still got a Kirkland offer. You gotta hustle, but lots of people make it happen.


I agree with the theme of the prior posters (if you're below LR, always toss some bids to another market, preferably NY). But, if you are in K&E scholar territory (top 5%) at least, it seems like you can safely bid straight Chicago. My callback results were mildly ridiculous despite having some red flags in my application.

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Re: UChicago OCI Alums Answering Questions About the Job Hunt

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 02, 2014 12:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:you meet people who might help you.


This really can't be overstated. I have multiple friends who have had CBs from receptions, too. Contacts at the firm are also the best people to email when your app is on the edge (no offer yet but the timeline is taking longer than usual). Don't say things like "this is 100% the firm I want can you give me a bump," but asking for advice or asking about opportunities to lateral (the latter being more desperate :D ) to the firm give them the idea that you really want it - and they will offer to put in a good word which may be the bump you need.

Most attorneys at these receptions are active in the firm and have a pretty good chance of being on the hiring committee.

+1 to talking to the people who have no one around them. This goes for firmwise as well--everyone will be huddling around Kirkland/Sidley/Skadden but if you see a lonely firm table and strike up an engaging conversation, good things will happen.

Finally, getting used to talking to lawyers (through the receptions, or through coffee/lunch) makes you a better interviewer. These are essentially practice interviews--you can find out what works and what doesn't, what questions to ask, etc.

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Re: UChicago OCI Alums Answering Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 02, 2014 12:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Some firms basically require journals (WLRK)


I don't think that WLRK cares about journals. The majority of people getting WLRK are of course on Law Review, but that's definitely more related to correlation rather than causation. In fact, I think that WLRK is one of the firms that cares least about somebody being on a journal.

Source: I'm a former UChicago student who was on Law Review and have a number of friends who are either working at Wachtell or have worked there in the past.

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Re: UChicago OCI Alums Answering Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 02, 2014 12:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Some firms basically require journals (WLRK)


I don't think that WLRK cares about journals. The majority of people getting WLRK are of course on Law Review, but that's definitely more related to correlation rather than causation. In fact, I think that WLRK is one of the firms that cares least about somebody being on a journal.

Source: I'm a former UChicago student who was on Law Review and have a number of friends who are either working at Wachtell or have worked there in the past.


Previous anon. 1Ls: go with this. My source was just TLS common knowledge + word of mouth from fellow law students. S/he's probably right.

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Re: UChicago OCI Alums Answering Questions About the Job Hunt

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:50 pm

A couple of things to add:

All WLRK offers this year were to LR people, whether this is a correlation causation thing with high grades is another issue, but I would guess it matters.

I think something all 1Ls and future students should try to internalize is that "median" encompasses arguably 176-179 depending on the firm. I know right now that is going to be difficult to believe, because your 176 and 177 in CivPro and Elements is going to feel a lot worse than your friends' 178 and 179, but when it comes down to it, I believe very strongly that firms with some exceptions see everything in that range as roughly the same. To the extent that they don't, it is very difficult to predict which firms care, and even if they want to care, once you see what your transcript looks like come July you will realize it is difficult TO care. Because of the different credit amounts of classes, some being 2 quarters some being 1, and especially LRW showing up 3 times, it is very difficult to know what one's GPA is without a calculator. Someone who 175s elements and their elective might be looked at better or worse than someone who 175's property when they are technically the same. The people looking at these grades are only human.

That shouldn't mean much to you now, you should just try as hard as you can to do as well as you can, but don't freak out over marginal GPA differences. When OCS has their firm OCI meeting with you (assuming it is like ours) they are going to come across as 178 being a meaningful line (a line that has been repeated by some of my classmates here) and while I agree that being above 178 is necessarily better than being below it, there is not a magical cutoff there and interviewing matters way more.

Final random tidbit - If you bid both Chicago and NYC have a very very convincing reason why Chicago is preferable. There is very quick skepticism from Chicago firms when they ask "where else are you interviewing" or "are you only interviewing in Chicago" (note: effectively 100% of them will ask one of these) and your answer involves NYC at all.

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Re: UChicago OCI Alums Answering Questions About the Job Hunt

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Some great advice above. I'll chime in as a UChi alum who now does V10 interviewing.

If you don't do any journal -- whether you're top 5% with no LR or 178 with no secondary -- be prepared with a story about your other activities. Are you super involved with a clinic? Do you devote a lot of time to Corporate Lab because you want to do M&A? Board member of other student orgs? What I'm getting at is that a lot of interviewers feel like, "I had a 180 GPA, was on law review, and in a clinic. You're telling me you don't do any activities and only got a 178.5?"


I'm one of those special 2L snowflakes who did really well in Chicago with a low 178: A big part of my success was due to the fact that I could explain that I was interested in transactional work and that I planned to work in the corporate lab or an entrepreneurship clinic. Doesn't even require that you do anything before OCI, just that you research it enough to understand what the work might look like and maybe tell Kirkland why you prefer middle market deals and Sidley the opposite. I have very brief WE with a bank and another F100, but nothing prestigious or law related that would make me more desirable to a law firm.

Explaining a genuine interest in transactional work eliminates any "why no journal?" questions, and allows the transactional attorneys to tell you what a smart move you made avoiding all that LR nonsense. Most of the big firms send two interviewers, and they always manage find polar opposites: Female M&A partner who likes dogs and red meat vs. male lit associate who likes cats and celery. The key for me was to talk about the transactional attorney's work without ostracizing the other interviewer, which I did by (half-jokingly) asking if the M&A/PE/whatever group had been giving them too much litigation recently.

I wouldn't suggest picking transaction over litigation (or vice versa) if you have no clue, but firms really do want to know which way you're leaning so they can hire accordingly. Being able to explain which way you're leaning, and having some evidence to back it up ("I did the corp lab challenge thing this summer instead of the write-on") is helpful to firms and is a good way to pretend like you know what law firms do. Most firms (sans McDermott) won't hire you into a specific practice group, but even free-market Kirkland had everyone labeled as Corporate, Restructuring, or Lit by their offer dinner.

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Re: UChicago OCI Alums Answering Questions About the Job Hunt

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 02, 2014 2:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:If you bid both Chicago and NYC have a very very convincing reason why Chicago is preferable. There is very quick skepticism from Chicago firms when they ask "where else are you interviewing" or "are you only interviewing in Chicago" (note: effectively 100% of them will ask one of these) and your answer involves NYC at all.


I'm the V10 anon from above, and this is important, because we do all ask. Also true of SF/DC and wherever else the tough markets are these days. It's totally fine to cover your bases with NYC interviews. We get that. But just acknowledge it and move the conversation back to where you actually want to work: "I do also have some screening interviews in NYC, but I'm focused on Chicago. If I get an offer in Chicago I will take it."

But more importantly, be honest. I have gotten burned so many times by candidates who tell us that they love Chicago, think it would be a better place for them personally, that they would take an offer in Chicago if they received one, etc. And then they turn down our offer and we asked where they are going -- NYC. This happens to us every year but still amazes me. Have integrity and don't lie, please.

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Re: UChicago OCI Alums Answering Questions About the Job Hunt

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 02, 2014 2:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:A couple of things to add:

All WLRK offers this year were to LR people, whether this is a correlation causation thing with high grades is another issue, but I would guess it matters.


It doesn't matter. Almost certainly pure correlation. Wachtell is a corporate-driven firm that would probably look a lot more favorably on pre-LS i-banking work experience than something like journal participation. (Same can't be said for litigation-driven firms like W&C.)

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Re: UChicago OCI Alums Answering Questions About the Job Hunt

Postby NYstate » Thu Jan 02, 2014 2:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:If you bid both Chicago and NYC have a very very convincing reason why Chicago is preferable. There is very quick skepticism from Chicago firms when they ask "where else are you interviewing" or "are you only interviewing in Chicago" (note: effectively 100% of them will ask one of these) and your answer involves NYC at all.


I'm the V10 anon from above, and this is important, because we do all ask. Also true of SF/DC and wherever else the tough markets are these days. It's totally fine to cover your bases with NYC interviews. We get that. But just acknowledge it and move the conversation back to where you actually want to work: "I do also have some screening interviews in NYC, but I'm focused on Chicago. If I get an offer in Chicago I will take it."

But more importantly, be honest. I have gotten burned so many times by candidates who tell us that they love Chicago, think it would be a better place for them personally, that they would take an offer in Chicago if they received one, etc. And then they turn down our offer and we asked where they are going -- NYC. This happens to us every year but still amazes me. Have integrity and don't lie, please.


I strongly disagree. Getting an SA from a firm is more important than anything else. Tell interviewers whatever you have to in order to get an offer. You can always get back in touch with the firm and provide some bullshit reason as to why your preferred city changed (just so you keep in contact in case things don't work out in NYC.) If people say they prefer NYC when they are interviewing with a Chicago firm, they deserve to not get an offer. Don't ever give an interviewing firm a reason to not to give you an offer. Firms have no problems operating in their own best interest and you should do the same.

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Re: UChicago OCI Alums Answering Questions About the Job Hunt

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 02, 2014 3:38 pm

NYstate wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:If you bid both Chicago and NYC have a very very convincing reason why Chicago is preferable. There is very quick skepticism from Chicago firms when they ask "where else are you interviewing" or "are you only interviewing in Chicago" (note: effectively 100% of them will ask one of these) and your answer involves NYC at all.


I'm the V10 anon from above, and this is important, because we do all ask. Also true of SF/DC and wherever else the tough markets are these days. It's totally fine to cover your bases with NYC interviews. We get that. But just acknowledge it and move the conversation back to where you actually want to work: "I do also have some screening interviews in NYC, but I'm focused on Chicago. If I get an offer in Chicago I will take it."

But more importantly, be honest. I have gotten burned so many times by candidates who tell us that they love Chicago, think it would be a better place for them personally, that they would take an offer in Chicago if they received one, etc. And then they turn down our offer and we asked where they are going -- NYC. This happens to us every year but still amazes me. Have integrity and don't lie, please.


I strongly disagree. Getting an SA from a firm is more important than anything else. Tell interviewers whatever you have to in order to get an offer. You can always get back in touch with the firm and provide some bullshit reason as to why your preferred city changed (just so you keep in contact in case things don't work out in NYC.) If people say they prefer NYC when they are interviewing with a Chicago firm, they deserve to not get an offer. Don't ever give an interviewing firm a reason to not to give you an offer. Firms have no problems operating in their own best interest and you should do the same.



I applied to Chicago and NY and I think being genuine is the way to go. Firstly, lying isn't easy and some people who try get burned for it. Secondly, you can say things that you like about a city without saying you'll go there if you get an offer, etc etc. I split between NY and Chi with a Chi preference and NY firms usually didn't care too much about loving NY. I was able to explain the things I liked about NY without saying I was married to it because ties aren't as important. Thirdly, I know people probably won't remember you, but reputation matters and if someone gave you a callback, chances are they care about you and would be a good professional contact later on should you want to move cities. There's no reason to lie to them and burn that bridge.

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Re: UChicago OCI Alums Answering Questions About the Job Hunt

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 02, 2014 3:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
I think something all 1Ls and future students should try to internalize is that "median" encompasses arguably 176-179 depending on the firm.



I think 176 is a bit on the low-end. A 177.5 can snag you 3/4 (at least) of the v15, and I don't think the same can be said about a 176. I think there's something about being "above median" that is more attractive to employers.

Also wanted to reiterate that being above the cutoff just gives you a chance to sell yourself to an interviewer. If there's a pool of average interviewers and you don't stand out from it, grades become more important.


Finally, a 175 in property isn't as excusable as it once was with the hammer out of commission :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

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Re: UChicago OCI Alums Answering Questions About the Job Hunt

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 02, 2014 3:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
NYstate wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:If you bid both Chicago and NYC have a very very convincing reason why Chicago is preferable. There is very quick skepticism from Chicago firms when they ask "where else are you interviewing" or "are you only interviewing in Chicago" (note: effectively 100% of them will ask one of these) and your answer involves NYC at all.


I'm the V10 anon from above, and this is important, because we do all ask. Also true of SF/DC and wherever else the tough markets are these days. It's totally fine to cover your bases with NYC interviews. We get that. But just acknowledge it and move the conversation back to where you actually want to work: "I do also have some screening interviews in NYC, but I'm focused on Chicago. If I get an offer in Chicago I will take it."

But more importantly, be honest. I have gotten burned so many times by candidates who tell us that they love Chicago, think it would be a better place for them personally, that they would take an offer in Chicago if they received one, etc. And then they turn down our offer and we asked where they are going -- NYC. This happens to us every year but still amazes me. Have integrity and don't lie, please.


I strongly disagree. Getting an SA from a firm is more important than anything else. Tell interviewers whatever you have to in order to get an offer. You can always get back in touch with the firm and provide some bullshit reason as to why your preferred city changed (just so you keep in contact in case things don't work out in NYC.) If people say they prefer NYC when they are interviewing with a Chicago firm, they deserve to not get an offer. Don't ever give an interviewing firm a reason to not to give you an offer. Firms have no problems operating in their own best interest and you should do the same.



I applied to Chicago and NY and I think being genuine is the way to go. Firstly, lying isn't easy and some people who try get burned for it. Secondly, you can say things that you like about a city without saying you'll go there if you get an offer, etc etc. I split between NY and Chi with a Chi preference and NY firms usually didn't care too much about loving NY. I was able to explain the things I liked about NY without saying I was married to it because ties aren't as important. Thirdly, I know people probably won't remember you, but reputation matters and if someone gave you a callback, chances are they care about you and would be a good professional contact later on should you want to move cities. There's no reason to lie to them and burn that bridge.


Anon alum from above, again. I don't want to make too much of this -- you each make the choice that you feel is right. Just wanted to say that (1) we do keep files on all applicants and if you obviously lie to us about this that will be in your file and will hurt you in the future if you apply to us again, and (2) not that you should care about my feelings at all, but if I interviewed you and pushed for you to get a callback, I do actually care about your career and want to work with and help you, and it's just a bit of a dick move to lie in the face of someone who actually gives a crap about your job.

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Re: UChicago OCI Alums Answering Questions About the Job Hunt

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 02, 2014 4:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Some great advice above. I'll chime in as a UChi alum who now does V10 interviewing.

If you don't do any journal -- whether you're top 5% with no LR or 178 with no secondary -- be prepared with a story about your other activities. Are you super involved with a clinic? Do you devote a lot of time to Corporate Lab because you want to do M&A? Board member of other student orgs? What I'm getting at is that a lot of interviewers feel like, "I had a 180 GPA, was on law review, and in a clinic. You're telling me you don't do any activities and only got a 178.5?"


I'm one of those special 2L snowflakes who did really well in Chicago with a low 178: A big part of my success was due to the fact that I could explain that I was interested in transactional work and that I planned to work in the corporate lab or an entrepreneurship clinic. Doesn't even require that you do anything before OCI, just that you research it enough to understand what the work might look like and maybe tell Kirkland why you prefer middle market deals and Sidley the opposite. I have very brief WE with a bank and another F100, but nothing prestigious or law related that would make me more desirable to a law firm.

Explaining a genuine interest in transactional work eliminates any "why no journal?" questions, and allows the transactional attorneys to tell you what a smart move you made avoiding all that LR nonsense. Most of the big firms send two interviewers, and they always manage find polar opposites: Female M&A partner who likes dogs and red meat vs. male lit associate who likes cats and celery. The key for me was to talk about the transactional attorney's work without ostracizing the other interviewer, which I did by (half-jokingly) asking if the M&A/PE/whatever group had been giving them too much litigation recently.

I wouldn't suggest picking transaction over litigation (or vice versa) if you have no clue, but firms really do want to know which way you're leaning so they can hire accordingly. Being able to explain which way you're leaning, and having some evidence to back it up ("I did the corp lab challenge thing this summer instead of the write-on") is helpful to firms and is a good way to pretend like you know what law firms do. Most firms (sans McDermott) won't hire you into a specific practice group, but even free-market Kirkland had everyone labeled as Corporate, Restructuring, or Lit by their offer dinner.


To 1L's -- the anon above is some of the better advice I've ever seen on TLS.

I would echo everything here, and emphasize again playing to a given firm's strength. Tell them you want to do what that firm does, without totally lying of course. It sounds obvious, but the differences between, say, mid-market healthcare M&A and underwriter side public securities work are huge, but both are "corporate." When you walk into an interview and say you want to do "corporate," you've missed an opportunity to distinguish yourself. If you can show that you have thought about what lawyers at that firm do and why that practice interests you, you'll shine. Go to chambers to do that research.




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