We’re excited to bring you another interview in the “Getting a Job Without OCI” series. Today we welcome Christiana Dominguez, an attorney with the labor relations consulting firm of Blanning & Baker Associates. Welcome, Christiana!
1. What did you want to be when you were a kid?
When I was very young? Can’t remember, but you can safely assume it was some form of ballerina/hybrid. In later years: a film director, the Governor, a political journalist.
2. What did you think you’d do when you started law school? Is what you do now the same/different?
I’m pretty sure I was your typical, fell-in-with-the-wrong-crowd-
3. How did you find your first job after law school?
I knew I wanted to return to the state capital rather than stay in the city where I attended law school. I answered an ad seeking a Government Affairs person for an organization with which I was unfamiliar. In the course of corresponding with the man who would eventually become my boss, I mentioned that I had just passed the bar. He asked why I wasn’t inquiring about the legal position they were also advertising. I basically applied for both jobs and they had me at “we’re going to pay you a salary that enables you to pay your students loans and rent.”
4. What do you do today?
I’ve spent my career so far representing public employee unions. Part of my work is focused on collective bargaining agreement enforcement and policy research related to issues affecting the membership. The other part of my work is spent trying administrative cases in a defense attorney role. I enjoy litigation tremendously for its theatrical elements and its fluidity. It was never something I expected to be doing.
5. What are three tips you would give to a law student looking for work outside of the OCI process?
- Don’t get caught up in the OCI process: I knew I didn’t want to go anywhere near Big Law (or even Medium Law), yet, it was hard not to want those prize summer associate positions when all your friends are going for them. If you know you don’t want to go that direction (or you know, realistically, that your grades won’t get you there anyway), focus on more productive endeavors.
- Maximize practical educational opportunities: Go do some stuff. Take experiential classes, volunteer for clinics, take those trial objection classes, etc – get some skills. Aim for a summer job where you aren’t spending your time at social activities. Look for boutique firms or in-house opportunities (btw: trust me, in-house is the way to go). These places generally will have better, hands-on work for you to do. You may make less than your Big Law friends, but not as much less as you think, and you’ll have, like, a life and stuff.
- Maintain relationships: Maintain your pre-law school contacts. Build new relationships. For purposes of this advice, I don’t mean “networking” at the ABA mixer or cold-calling possible mentors. Take a professor to lunch. Take a prior internship boss to lunch. Send a friendly note. Get to know people. I landed my first job because the people I had worked with were able to vouch for both my smarts and my being someone people don’t mind sharing an office with. Most areas of practice (traditional or not) are their own ponds and the fish all know each other. Befriend the fish authentically (think more Facebook than LinkedIn).
Thanks, Christiana. Great advice!
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Christiana Dominguez is an attorney with the labor relations consulting firm of Blanning & Baker Associates, where she represents state employees in contact enforcement and disciplinary actions. After graduating from Claremont McKenna College and then spending a year as a Fellow in the California State Assembly , Dominguez attended UC Hastings College of the Law (Class of 2005). She currently sits on the Sacramento Parks & Recreation Commission and the Sacramento Central YMCA Advisory Board, where she also serves as Lead Advisor to the Sacramento Central YMCA Youth & Government Delegation. Dominguez lives in Sacramento with her husband and daughter and can frequently be found performing improv comedy at the Sacramento Comedy Spot in Midtown.
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And check out these helpful posts:
- Can You Get a Job Without OCI (On-Campus Interviewing)?
- Getting a Job Without OCI: Danielle Fong, Human Resource Manager at Family Connections
- How to Use the Summer to Jumpstart Your Job Search
- Hey, Law Students: Here’s How You Network
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