Any links to 3L OCI guides (for someone who got an SA)?

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Any links to 3L OCI guides (for someone who got an SA)?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 25, 2014 8:50 pm

Hey, guys. When I applied during OCI I was top 15%, Law Review, and had no judicial internship. Had an okay response. I interview really well, but I definitely missed a couple screeners from the more selective firms. Scored an SA with an extremely strong regional firm.

I recently have been making a good push on the GPA (8-10%), got a judicial externship with an art. III lower court judge, and am curious if there are any good threads/links etc. on how to approach 3L OCI. Thank you in advance!


(I like everyone I met at the firm, but I want to explore my options.)

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OutCold
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Re: Any links to 3L OCI guides (for someone who got an SA)?

Postby OutCold » Sat Jan 25, 2014 10:02 pm

I went through the process last summer. I went from a NYC V20 to a V5. I think my experience will be pretty relevant to you because your credentials are pretty damn good. I'll just leave a couple of tidbits that I picked up along the way.

1. A grade increase or some other positive change to your resume (such as a clerkship) is really important. Firms that you interview with are going to ask why you want to switch, and quite frankly, an appropriate answer is that your grades increased or you got that clerkship, and this firm is much better than your other firm in the area of law you want to practice. I had a pretty sharp grade increase, and that was the answer I gave when asked. Firms get it, especially when their practice group really is much better than your other firm's group. You can also try to talk about how you had such a good experience with your old firm's group that you really want to work at the highest level, with a group like the one at the target firm.

2. The firms that are actively recruiting 3Ls tend to be the behemoths, mostly in NYC, but also in DC. Skadden, DPW, STB, Cravath, Latham, Paul Weiss, and several others were particularly active last cycle. Obviously there might be an opening or two that a firm with a SA class of 30 may need to fill, but generally the biggest firms are the most active because they are the least sensitive to over-recruiting. That being said, almost all of these firms were looking to fill positions in specific groups. Paul Weiss was only looking to fill corporate spots last cycle, and the V5s were asking at the outset which group you wanted to join. Since you have a clerkship, I would imagine you are set on litigation which is a good thing since being indecisive will probably hurt you.

3. Don't rely on OCI. At all. Even a little bit. Many of the firms that are recruiting 3Ls won't even advertise that fact at OCI, and won't allocate spots for 3Ls. Almost all of the 3L hiring occurs outside of OCI. You want to start emailing every firm or office's NALP contact a week or so before OCI. Email all of your materials, but pay particular attention to your cover letter. Seriously, a well-written cover letter, while ineffective almost all other times, will be extremely helpful in getting an interview as a 3L. I had secured an externship for the fall semester that I tied in with my other experiences to show that I was particularly set on a certain practice area. The reason that such a letter is important is because most firms won't even given you a screener. I had one phone screener for a firm, but all of the other interviews went directly to the call back stage. Therefore, the only chance you'll have to sell yourself is your cover letter. Of course, you should try to get interviews through 3L OCI, but don't count on it.

Even if you do get an interview through the OCI system, you should still have mailed that firm directly. If a firm is interested, many times they will simply set up an interview while they are on campus doing OCI. Another great strategy is to go into OCI about half hour before it starts and drop your resume off with recruiters. Sometimes you'll score an interview later in the day. Other times, they'll say they aren't interviewing 3Ls but they'll give it to the head recruiter, which can materialize into an interview later down the road. Most importantly, don't get discouraged if you don't get any calls right away. Some firms interview 3Ls at the same time as the 2Ls, but many wait until the end of the 2L cycle. A number of interviews rolled in around the first or second week of September, and one even came near October.

Apologies if that answer was kind of stream of consciousness. If you have any other questions feel free to ask on here or shoot me a PM.

gnuwheels
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Re: Any links to 3L OCI guides (for someone who got an SA)?

Postby gnuwheels » Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:17 pm

OutCold wrote:I went through the process last summer. I went from a NYC V20 to a V5. I think my experience will be pretty relevant to you because your credentials are pretty damn good. I'll just leave a couple of tidbits that I picked up along the way.

1. A grade increase or some other positive change to your resume (such as a clerkship) is really important. Firms that you interview with are going to ask why you want to switch, and quite frankly, an appropriate answer is that your grades increased or you got that clerkship, and this firm is much better than your other firm in the area of law you want to practice. I had a pretty sharp grade increase, and that was the answer I gave when asked. Firms get it, especially when their practice group really is much better than your other firm's group. You can also try to talk about how you had such a good experience with your old firm's group that you really want to work at the highest level, with a group like the one at the target firm.

2. The firms that are actively recruiting 3Ls tend to be the behemoths, mostly in NYC, but also in DC. Skadden, DPW, STB, Cravath, Latham, Paul Weiss, and several others were particularly active last cycle. Obviously there might be an opening or two that a firm with a SA class of 30 may need to fill, but generally the biggest firms are the most active because they are the least sensitive to over-recruiting. That being said, almost all of these firms were looking to fill positions in specific groups. Paul Weiss was only looking to fill corporate spots last cycle, and the V5s were asking at the outset which group you wanted to join. Since you have a clerkship, I would imagine you are set on litigation which is a good thing since being indecisive will probably hurt you.

3. Don't rely on OCI. At all. Even a little bit. Many of the firms that are recruiting 3Ls won't even advertise that fact at OCI, and won't allocate spots for 3Ls. Almost all of the 3L hiring occurs outside of OCI. You want to start emailing every firm or office's NALP contact a week or so before OCI. Email all of your materials, but pay particular attention to your cover letter. Seriously, a well-written cover letter, while ineffective almost all other times, will be extremely helpful in getting an interview as a 3L. I had secured an externship for the fall semester that I tied in with my other experiences to show that I was particularly set on a certain practice area. The reason that such a letter is important is because most firms won't even given you a screener. I had one phone screener for a firm, but all of the other interviews went directly to the call back stage. Therefore, the only chance you'll have to sell yourself is your cover letter. Of course, you should try to get interviews through 3L OCI, but don't count on it.

Even if you do get an interview through the OCI system, you should still have mailed that firm directly. If a firm is interested, many times they will simply set up an interview while they are on campus doing OCI. Another great strategy is to go into OCI about half hour before it starts and drop your resume off with recruiters. Sometimes you'll score an interview later in the day. Other times, they'll say they aren't interviewing 3Ls but they'll give it to the head recruiter, which can materialize into an interview later down the road. Most importantly, don't get discouraged if you don't get any calls right away. Some firms interview 3Ls at the same time as the 2Ls, but many wait until the end of the 2L cycle. A number of interviews rolled in around the first or second week of September, and one even came near October.

Apologies if that answer was kind of stream of consciousness. If you have any other questions feel free to ask on here or shoot me a PM.


did you have an offer before you started mailing firms? if not, how did you deal with that in cover letters? if so, did firms ask why you didn't want to return to your firm? is it best to wait until you have an offer to mail firms?

also, you may not have much insight into this, but do you think it would be a much different situation if you're coming from a much lower vault ranked firm?

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Re: Any links to 3L OCI guides (for someone who got an SA)?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 26, 2014 1:22 am

I have an SA as well at a firm ranked in the top 40 or so DC office. Would like to get to NYC. If I get the offer, does it make it awkward at all to wait on accepting?

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OutCold
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Re: Any links to 3L OCI guides (for someone who got an SA)?

Postby OutCold » Sun Jan 26, 2014 2:37 am

gnuwheels wrote:did you have an offer before you started mailing firms? if not, how did you deal with that in cover letters? if so, did firms ask why you didn't want to return to your firm? is it best to wait until you have an offer to mail firms?

also, you may not have much insight into this, but do you think it would be a much different situation if you're coming from a much lower vault ranked firm?


I did have an offer before I started mailing. I got my offer the last week of my SA, probably the last few days of July or maybe Aug. 1. I started mailing pretty much immediately. Probably worked out to about a week before OCI. I basically included a line to the effect of "Over the course of the last summer, I worked as a summer associate in X office of X firm, and I have received an offer to return next year. However, I am very interested in interviewing with Y firm in Y office."

Every firm asked me why I wanted to switch firms. Every single one. However, in most cases it was sufficient to just say that, while I had an extremely enjoyable summer at my firm, it reinforced my interest in X practice area, and I want to practice at the highest level and work on the biggest matters. Interviewers eat that up. Of course you need to come up with specifics for each firm that appeal to you. Just don't ever bad mouth old firm. Avoid negatives.

I think that you should wait until you have an offer to mail, but only because I think the cover letter is so important in this process, and they likely won't call you just to ask if you received an offer (although some may--I wouldn't know since I included it it in my letter). That being said, I know that some firms wait to give offers. I would say that at a certain point, you need to just mail and hope you get an offer before any interview that might come your way. Every firm will ask if you received one, so not having one when they ask is going to hurt. To give some sense of the time frame, I think I started to get interviews around mid-August, but they continued to roll in through September, and even one in October.

I don't necessarily think that you would be at a disadvantage because of the vault rank of your former firm. I think they tend to reevaluate you based on your credentials. I think that someone from the same school with the same grades and journal and other softs will get the same treatment whether they are at a V20 or a V50 or whatever. Of course, I could be wrong, but interviewers didn't really seem to care all that much about what my past firm was so much as what I did there. All that being said, the most 3L openings are at the biggest firms, which tend to be in the V20. Someone trying to break into firms outside that range is going to have a much more difficult time than someone targeting the larger, more selective firms simply because there aren't as many openings in those smaller classes.

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OutCold
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Re: Any links to 3L OCI guides (for someone who got an SA)?

Postby OutCold » Sun Jan 26, 2014 2:42 am

Anonymous User wrote:I have an SA as well at a firm ranked in the top 40 or so DC office. Would like to get to NYC. If I get the offer, does it make it awkward at all to wait on accepting?


Well, it might feel awkward. There was a lot of pressure placed on us our last few days at the firm to accept our offers. I think a lot of my class actually signed before the summer ended. Just remember that you have until around November to commit, and the firm doesn't care. They aren't going treat you differently because you waited to commit. You aren't going to hurt their feelings if you leave. It's all business. You won't hurt your career by waiting to sign the papers.




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