On campus interviews, lovingly referred to as ‘OCI’, occurs in early to late August and are similar to a college job fair. Several law firms send their representatives to your campus where they conduct short interviews with preselected candidates and if you’re lucky you could have a summer job offer before you start your second year. As a rising 2L, I haven’t gone through the entire OCI process, but this is what I’ve learned so far:
While there are many methods to organizing your research, the best way I’ve found is by keeping a spreadsheet (Figure-A). This way you can compare and contrast the firms you are hoping to bid on and it makes it easier to focus on the things that matter to you specifically. When researching, make sure you look at the firm website, talk to any alumni or 3L’s from your school who work there and even look at ABA and NALP (National Association for Law Placement) data if they are offered. It also never hurts to talk to the career services office since they’ve likely received candid responses from past students who’ve been placed there.
When you research you should keep in mind what matters the most to you. Factors like the office size, firm size, location, practice areas, clients, salary and office culture can mean a lot or a little to different people.
Most schools will give you 30-50 bids to work with, which may either be a lot or a little depending on your school. Here are some ways to narrow your bidding down:
- Do not bid to interview with firms that you don’t meet the prerequisites for. If a patent law firm requires a technical background in science or engineering and you were a communication major, don’t waste a bid.
- However, on the flipside if a firm states it only takes the top 10% and you’re top 20% but could really see yourself working for them, confidently take that chance.
- A lot like applying to law school, you should have a good mix of firms that are realistic and a couple ones that are a stretch
- Cast a wide net if you can, but if you truly don’t see yourself working for a firm, you’re really just wasting a bid and taking a chance away from a student who really does want to work there.
Keep in mind that the OCI can be a daunting experience but is really just one way to conduct your job search. If it doesn’t pan out the way you hoped, take it as a learning experience so you know what to do in the next interview.
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Other helpful law school posts:
- Podcast Episode 4: Call Backs for BigLaw Summer Positions
- Podcast Episode 3: Mastering the On Campus Interviewing Process (OCI)
- Getting a Job Without OCI
- Can You Get a Job Without OCI
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