How much does Work Experience help when it comes to OCI?

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cruxisfalcon
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How much does Work Experience help when it comes to OCI?

Postby cruxisfalcon » Thu Mar 07, 2013 1:48 pm

I've heard that having prestigious work experience (e.g. engineering/ibanking/consulting) will help people outperform their grades, but how much does it really help? Obviously it probably won't save someone at the bottom of the class, but if someone's around median or top third, how much would this help in getting interviews and callbacks?

rad lulz
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Re: How much does Work Experience help when it comes to OCI?

Postby rad lulz » Thu Mar 07, 2013 1:53 pm

Depends on school range, markets targeted, relevance of WE to what you say you want to do at the firm, etc.

Basically your question is impossible to answer because OCI isn't like putting in a GPA from a certain school and spitting out a Vault range.

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Scotusnerd
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Re: How much does Work Experience help when it comes to OCI?

Postby Scotusnerd » Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:55 pm

That is completely up to the law firm and is impossible for anyone to predict.

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eav1277
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Re: How much does Work Experience help when it comes to OCI?

Postby eav1277 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:01 pm

Anyone do TFA, PeaceCorps, or a similar program? Did you feel it helped at all as work experience or no because it is not really closely related to the legal field? I've had this argument with friends and fam. I feel like it could help esp for PI. Others says it won't help at all. Thoughts?

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: How much does Work Experience help when it comes to OCI?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:12 pm

eav1277 wrote:Anyone do TFA, PeaceCorps, or a similar program? Did you feel it helped at all as work experience or no because it is not really closely related to the legal field? I've had this argument with friends and fam. I feel like it could help esp for PI. Others says it won't help at all. Thoughts?

This is purely anecdotal, but the people I know who did TFA tended to perform pretty much as their grades etc. would suggest. I do know TFAers who got 2L summer jobs with one of the firms out here that represents school districts, but it's a small-ish firm that doesn't hire out of its summer program. One is now working (post-graduation) for the local school district, but I think it's a JD-preferred (not required) position. So, for TFA at least, it's a plus for K-12-education-related positions, but doesn't seem to do much for non-education-related stuff. (But again, this is just based on who I knew who'd done TFA.)

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Lincoln
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Re: How much does Work Experience help when it comes to OCI?

Postby Lincoln » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:36 pm

Warning: What follows is anecdotal evidence based on a sample of one.

Before law school I worked in a specialized field that relates to some work done by big law firms, and for a company with which partners in one high-profile practice area (that every large firm has) are familiar. (Sorry for the generality, but I don't want to out myself, and for some reason I can't use the anonymous feature atm.)

I was just above median at my T14 after 1L, but outperformed my grades significantly at OCI compared to my peers and to what I was told by career services: I had multiple V10 offers and multiple offers from firms in the V50 range. Other factors (that would out me, and that I consequently don't want to discuss here) likely contributed to that, but several partners commented that my work experience would serve me well no matter which practice area I chose to pursue, and some actively engaged me in a discussion about the nature of my work and whether the work my former employer does is valuable.

Surprisingly, the experience seemed to matter more at top firms that are typically thought of as more grade-selective, likely because the work I did is of more interest in contentious, high-profile deals.

NYstate
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Re: How much does Work Experience help when it comes to OCI?

Postby NYstate » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:11 pm

Lincoln wrote:Warning: What follows is anecdotal evidence based on a sample of one.

Before law school I worked in a specialized field that relates to some work done by big law firms, and for a company with which partners in one high-profile practice area (that every large firm has) are familiar. (Sorry for the generality, but I don't want to out myself, and for some reason I can't use the anonymous feature atm.)

I was just above median at my T14 after 1L, but outperformed my grades significantly at OCI compared to my peers and to what I was told by career services: I had multiple V10 offers and multiple offers from firms in the V50 range. Other factors (that would out me, and that I consequently don't want to discuss here) likely contributed to that, but several partners commented that my work experience would serve me well no matter which practice area I chose to pursue, and some actively engaged me in a discussion about the nature of my work and whether the work my former employer does is valuable.

Surprisingly, the experience seemed to matter more at top firms that are typically thought of as more grade-selective, likely because the work I did is of more interest in contentious, high-profile deals.


Here is the thing to understand. Firms want to hire people who can do the work they need to have done. Grades and school are basically just signaling devices and initial criteria because few law students have relevant experience that firms can see being useful in their work. What do grades signal? Relative ability to perform analysis under time pressure, competitive desire to succeed, need for status and approval that will play into the biglaw work ethic where work trumps everything else, probably fairly organized and maybe decent at stress management. Firms feel these people can be trained for the most part, and those that can't be trained can be weeded out in 2L SAs or in the first two years. And sometimes, rarely, the people with the top grades are exceptionally smart and just naturally talented lawyers. These people tend to coast through everything because they just get it, even work. They are identified as partner track material early on.

If you have significant work experience and can deal with clients in a needed area, and you have great references, you have already shown you can probably do the work. This is a better signaling device than simply grades or law review. (Law review signals strivers, ability to do detail work, sometimes even some basic ability to write.)

That said job experience and below median may not be enough. Depends on what you did.

I have seen time after time where people assume that grades are enough to get them a job. Law firm hiring is completely different than the admissions number game where if you have the numbers and put together a decent story, you probably get accepted. Firms are businesses and use grades as a marker because they don't have much else to go from.

NYstate
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Re: How much does Work Experience help when it comes to OCI?

Postby NYstate » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:15 pm

rad lulz wrote:Depends on school range, markets targeted, relevance of WE to what you say you want to do at the firm, etc.

Basically your question is impossible to answer because OCI isn't like putting in a GPA from a certain school and spitting out a Vault range.


Ya exactly. And with brevity. I would say that the relevance of WE to what the firm needs is more important than what you say you want to do. If you have WE and you don't spin it as a reason the firm should hire you, you are wasting an asset for no reason.

sf_39
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Re: How much does Work Experience help when it comes to OCI?

Postby sf_39 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:45 pm

Off-topic, sorry but because I've searched this forum up and down looking for the answer, what is OCI?

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Scotchandsoda
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Re: How much does Work Experience help when it comes to OCI?

Postby Scotchandsoda » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:49 pm

On campus interview.




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