Law School OCI Experience as International Student

(Discuss and share Interview tips, questions, dress code, resume/ cover letter/ LinkedIn suggestions, pre/ follow up procedures)
nyulaw2021

New
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2019 10:16 pm

Law School OCI Experience as International Student

Post by nyulaw2021 » Tue Oct 15, 2019 10:43 pm

Hi, I have gone through OCI this August, and received a Summer Associate offer from a UK based law firm.
I noticed that all the CBs I received except one were from international office of a US/UK law firm.
Although I have received an SA offer, I wanted to discuss OCI experience with International Students who need visa sponsorship for future reference of other students looking for employment opportunities in US.

I am attending in T6 (CCN) Law school, which I prefer not to provide the exact name of the School. I am East Asian, without GC (not authorized to work in US without sponsorship). I applied to NY positions exclusively, and all international positions if applicable. Because I do not speak Mandarin, I could not apply to any HK/Mainland positions. I have done most of my CBs via videoconference, except one - which was a V20 law firm renowned for its international practice. That firm's international practice was second to none based on the number of international offices and rotational opportunities available. I didn't want to do Capital Markets work, instead wanted to Tax. Many firms referenced to my academic background and their offices in My home country - but because I wanted to join their tax practice, I rather said that I would like to stay in NY. It may have played a role in disappointing CB rate in NY offices. I know some Chinese friends who had offers from top-law-firms, and they had similar account. The interviewer asked whether they wanted to go back to China in the long term. Is this a norm? I have no idea. I heard that the interviewers were strictly prohibited to ask visa-related question (citizenship), but law firms HR division sent online forms to fill in (which included a sponsorship question). I ended up with two offers all from international offices. I received 3CBs (one from NY office and two from international office; those two offices were only international offices I bid for).

I hope this thread does not deviate, and remains as individual's personal recounts of their OCI experience as an International Student. Many International Students have fear that they are spending exorbitant amounts to study in US and pursue JD degree to end up with broken investment, so I felt my personal recounts might be valuable to those future fellow international students.

neilnb

New
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:45 pm

Re: Law School OCI Experience as International Student

Post by neilnb » Sun Oct 20, 2019 11:42 pm

I am international too, and I have another question. My score is not good enough for me to attend a T6 or even T14, and I settle for a T25 maybe. However, I am actually willing to go back to Mainland/HK, and I have a strong inclination about it (even without global pay), how is that situation works out?

nyulaw2021

New
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2019 10:16 pm

Re: Law School OCI Experience as International Student

Post by nyulaw2021 » Mon Oct 28, 2019 7:27 pm

neilnb wrote:I am international too, and I have another question. My score is not good enough for me to attend a T6 or even T14, and I settle for a T25 maybe. However, I am actually willing to go back to Mainland/HK, and I have a strong inclination about it (even without global pay), how is that situation works out?
I think many Chinese students are having trouble with respect to their job search. What I mean by having trouble is that he/she won't find a job unless they stay at the top of the cohort. My impression is that only the firms that maintain strong presence in China will be interested in hiring candidates who have strong connection to China (including language skills). At the same time, I think job search experience as a Chinese student is better one than that as an international student from Asian country outside China.

Anonymous User
Posts: 373175
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Law School OCI Experience as International Student

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Dec 23, 2019 10:50 pm

neilnb wrote:I am international too, and I have another question. My score is not good enough for me to attend a T6 or even T14, and I settle for a T25 maybe. However, I am actually willing to go back to Mainland/HK, and I have a strong inclination about it (even without global pay), how is that situation works out?
Chinese student here (class of 2019). I only have a limited sample, but here's what I know:

1. Almost everyone I know who went to T6 ended up in a biglaw in the U.S., all through OCI.
2. At my school (T20), those who went to biglaw in the U.S. either have a 4.0 GPA, have a strong background in science/tech, graduated from a top 2 university in China, and/or have years of experience practicing law in China. Also all through OCI.
3. Also at my school, most of the peeps who didn't have much luck at OCI got into a pretty good regional firm or boutique firm post graduation.
4. I hear people say that GC gives you huge advantage, but I didn't see that in terms of job hunting.
5. If you attend a T30 law school, it shouldn't be too difficult to land a job in Mainland China.
6. It could be hard to find a job in HK - surprise! Mass mailing or even referrals didn't work for me nor my law school friends.

Hope this is helpful.

Anonymous User
Posts: 373175
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Law School OCI Experience as International Student

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Feb 18, 2021 3:14 pm

I know this thread is old. I am an international student with no GC or citizenship. Had 5 CBs out of 14 screeners, got offers from 2 firms (all NYC).
I go to Non-CCN T14 law school, had an above-the-average GPA, and didn't have any impressive work experience. I am also an East Asian male and graduated from a non-U.S university.

As you know, the entire hiring process is a big black box. You don't know why you got in or why you got dinged. So my account is entirely based on my personal experience and observation. It might be correct or it might be entirely wrong. So take my account/ advice with a grain of salt.

I think we can all agree international students face an uphill battle during OCI. And here's my reflection after OCI.

1. Different "strata" of international students and interviewing skills.

As you know, not all international students have similar backgrounds. Some internationals have been here since middle school or high school, went to prestigious US universities, and then came to law school. Other internationals, like myself, spent very little time here before law school. Based on my personal observation, however, graduating from a non-US university is definitely a discounting factor for multiple reasons.

In my opinion, the discounting factor might not be your diploma but because of the fact that internationals like myself are usually pretty bad at having a smooth conversation with a person you've never met over a computer screen. I didn't consider myself a "socially awkward" person as I performed pretty well during cold calls, was able to have interesting conversations with pretty much anyone in my school. Not many people I had conversations with realized I was born and raised in a foreign country until I told them so.

But I did realize when it came to interviews, I was so conscious about making grammatical mistakes or spitting out not-so-natural English expressions, or taking some time to find the right words that I severely underperformed in most of the interviews. I know some of you won't have this problem and can ace the interviews with your personalities, but generally speaking, being a smooth talker is a rare trait even for our American peers and a rarer trait for internationals.

Also, if your resume is filled with things that are not "American," it is harder for you to "click" with the interviewers. I had some interesting hobbies and personal experience ( i.e. I trained Judo for over 10 years, traveled 20 countries across the world etc..). But honestly, it would have been better if I followed NFL or MLB just because a majority of interviewers don't care where you traveled and had very little interest in Judo, and conversations couldn't go very far.

Also, when "we" (as internationals like myself with limited experience in the US) stutter during the interviews, I feel like that raises suspicion to interviewers that we might not have enough language skills for the job. At the very least, our fear of getting such suspicions prevents us from having a natural conversation. It is understandable. People who did undergrad here have gone through a lot of writing and reading in English. I spent 4 years at an non-US institution and didn't go through the same rigorous training. So when my interviewers asked me "can you tell me something that can demonstrate strong writing skill?" I answered " well I got A minus from the legal writing class, I mean the curve was really brutal. " (I did succeed in making the interviewers chuckle with this answer and got a CB on the other hand.)

Here's what I am getting at.

When you see prestigious "firms" that are less grade-sensitive and focus more on "candidates' personality and fit", you gotta be cautious because interviews are probably not your game. Again, I am speaking very generally. All I am saying is that if you spent limited time here in States, you are less likely to be a superb interviewer no matter how well you scripted your answers not only because of your language but also because of lack of relatable experience you can share with interviewers. That's just my two cents.

2. GC definitely matters.

Some think having GC or not doesn't matter. Again, we'll never know cuz firms are never going to disclose why they dinged you or made an offer.

From my experience, firms that are below V50 are less likely to hire internationals without GC. Firms that focus on domestic practice are less likely to hire candidates without GC. Again, this is a vast generalization. We all know vault rankings are misleading and not an absolute index for "good biglaws." ( of course "good and biglaws probably shouldn't be in the same sentence lol.) But realistically speaking, the pool of big laws you can apply to is going to be around 50 firms out of the vault 100. That's my rough estimate and I don't have evidence.

It is true that uber prestigious firms (think V10s and some V20s) with large summer classes really don't care about visa sponsorship. If you have what it takes, they'll hire you. The thing is these firms are also uber selective firms where you would have to compete with uber-competent candidates. Similarly, magic circle firms (all of em) will be very generous with visa sponsorships, but these firms have relatively smaller summer classes.

So if you are an average T-14 lad like myself with slightly above the average GPA, most of the grade-sensitive firms will be out of your list or should be out of your list. That leaves you with a pool of probably 30 firms.

You should do your due diligence on the firms on visa sponsorship issues because it is really tricky to find out whether the firm "actually" sponsors visas. Obviously, firms will not make it public that they are not exactly foreigner-friendly (which is a reasonable business decision that I respect but I really just wish they'd be more transparent about it.)

Google [firm name] H1B sponsorship, and myvisadoors will show you how many LCA filings the firm has made over the years. There are firms that make 0 or 1-2 filings per year. Can you be that one international associate to be hired? Yes. But is it worth the bet? Obviously, the best way to find out is to call your international alumni. It's just that you can't do that for all firms.

GC also matters because you will be in a big law or out of the country situation once you strike out of OCI. You can't get federal jobs or clerkships and don't really have great plan Bs once you strike out. I am not saying you won't succeed in 3L OCI but realistically speaking, your plan B is very very limited after the strikeout.

So here's what I am getting at.

Many internationals do get positions at prestigious law firms. But just understand we are not in the same footing with our peers at law school and expect to underperform your grade if you don't have GC. I am not saying it is impossible to get into uber prestigious firms (a lot of guys pull it off), just be careful and don't apply to "only" uber-prestigious firms. Make safe bets if you want a job here and take into account the risks associated with striking out cuz the stakes are higher for us.

Looking at the past bidding lists and data, I knew my grades were enough for most of the firms except for super grade selective ones as I was only one A-minus away from being top third. If I gamed my chance, I might have been able to punch above my weight in a better market. I just didn't make that choice given the volatile economy. With the exception of three to four firms (I got callbacks from two of them), all of the firms I applied to had an average GPA significantly lower than my grade. I am a risk-averse person and I am satisfied with the result cuz playing safe was my plan all along.

------------------------

I rambled a lot. I had a hard time and these are how I view things.Good luck guys. Thanks.

successlss

New
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Mar 20, 2020 2:40 am

Re: Law School OCI Experience as International Student

Post by successlss » Tue Feb 23, 2021 9:28 pm

Thanks so much for these valuable insight! I'm a 0L and an international student myself and I do have to consider the post-grad work.

Want to continue reading?

Register now to search topics and post comments!

Absolutely FREE!


Post Reply Post Anonymous Reply  

Return to “OCI”