Tuesday, August 29, 2006

OCIP Advice (cont'd)

UPDATE: Moving up in light of OCIP 2006. I will move up the OCIP 2006 thread next week to allow posting of callback offers.

Please use this permanent thread to ask and answer questions regarding the entire interview process during law school and beyond. This is in addition to Disco Stu's pearls of wisdom regarding OCIP. Please read that thread first, before asking any questions here.

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27 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So can someone explain the whole bidding process? Essentially, I want to know to what extent I can guarantee that I land on a spot on a specific employer's roster. Does it depend on how many places I bid on? If so, how many firms can you bid on and still be quite certain you will get them all?

7/22/2006 7:23 AM  
Blogger Tom Fletcher said...

One thing I recommend doing is looking at the book that the CDO hands out. It will list how many people bid on a firm, how many got interviews... and also how many got callbakcs, offers, acceptances, etc. Incredibly useful resource!

I recommend going through it and looking at those ratios. Some firms and locations do not get a lot of attention. Others, and I think Lieff Cabraser tops the list, are still almost impossible to get even if you rank them number 1 (in which case, go outside the system and mail your materials to them if you do not get a screening interview). Oh yeah, Morrison & Foerster can be a tough one to land too.

Whether you get a place does not depend on how many you bid on, but where you ranked them. There's no need to "get them all" - it's not Pokemon. Just play the field, and the ones you really want should be in your top 5.

7/22/2006 7:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the bidding process is not the only way of getting an interview. if u bid and didn't get a firm u really wanted, u might be able to give the interviewer ur resume, transcript, and writing sample at the end of the day and leave it to the firm as to whether they want to contact u.
an even safer way to do this without annoying a tired interviewer is to ask one of ur 3L friends who summered with the firm to pass on ur information to the on-campus interviewer prior to the date he/she will be at durant. i did this and the interviewer was nice enough to schedule a meeting with me at the end of his interview schedule.

7/22/2006 9:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had bad luck with the bidding process (combined, I suppose, with interest in some of the more popular firms) and ended up without interviews at most of my top choices. So I picked 4-5 I really wanted and sent my resume to the recruiting coordinators. I also knew 3Ls who had worked at those 4-5, so I either had them write an email for me or at least name dropped them in my own email.

I ended up getting interviews with all those firms (and now work at one of them). Some formally scheduled me, others asked me to just stop by the day of and find a workable time, but in the end I got all the interviews I wanted.

In a way, my initial bad luck was a blessing in disguise, because I ended up doing less interviews than I might have otherwise. I would say that you should be aware that the bidding process isn't perfect, but if it doesn't work out perfectly for you, you just need to be proactive, and you'll end up with all the interviews you really want.

7/22/2006 4:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a good idea to put a bid on every firm you might want to interview with, even if it is a #30 bid on a popular firm. The fact that you put a bid on the firm means it will get your resume. Several firms, even really fancy ones, had their recruiting people call me up to schedule an interview after their interviewers finished their scheduled interviews.

7/23/2006 3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Persistence pays off at OCIP. If you don't get on a schedule you can "crash" interviews. Basically show up at the Hotel Durant, preferably in the morning right before the interviewer starts his/her first interview and ask them politely if they would accept a resume and whether they might have time during the day to fit you into their schedule. Interviewers will often be willing to squeeze in 2-3 interviews over lunch and a couple more at the end of the day. Also cancellations occur, so slots may open up (but they're first come, first serve)

I got multiple callbacks from such interviews so crashing really is worth it if you are interested in a firm. The interviewers understand that the bidding process is arbitrary and its worth it to them to do their best not to miss out on any truly qualified candidates.

7/26/2006 8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So when does the bidding process start? I got the impression that it's not until after classes start...which seems kind of late.

Just wondering. Thanks!

7/28/2006 3:11 PM  
Blogger Tacitus said...

Self-promotion is not usually my thing (despite the fact that I consider my random musings interesting enough to post them in a very public forum), but I think that this post from the OCIP season still captures some of my essential feelings about the process: http://boaltalk.blogspot.com/2005/09/paradox.html.
No, the post doesn't tell you anything about the mechanics of OCIP or strategy. But OCIP is not all about strategy and planning, it's also about dealing with many other people, dealing with disappointments and triumphs, standing on one's own two feet and still supporting one's friends through what is undoubtedly a stressful and yet exciting time.

8/01/2006 3:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before the first interview at Hotel Deviant, should I:

a) Read up on everythng the firm has done in 20 years, as well as my own crib notes and prompts; or

b) Read the firm's entry on Vault and be done with it; or

c) Read the NY Times and relax?

8/30/2006 12:18 AM  
Blogger Disco Stu said...

12:18 --

During the first few days, it's better to be over- than under-prepared. You want to head into your first couple interviews knowing everything you can about the firm. That way, you can breeze through. By the end of the three weeks, it was DS's experience at least, that one could nail an interview without knowing anything about the firm.

DS thinks (and, he's not sure if this was in his original post) that it is far more important to know thyself than it is to know the interviewing firm. That is to say, market yourself. Maybe you consulted for a few years and it's on your resume. Tell the interviewer how that job led you to seek firm employment? What did you learn from that job that will be an asset to the firm? Perhaps, you did a lot of grunt work at the consulting firm, and while it was not a great time, it taught you to see the bigger picture and that during your part was necessary to make a larger project work.

Maybe you didn't work between undergrad and Boalt (for shame!). Relate to the interviewer why something on your resume has prepared you for law firm life.

DS's point is that all of your resumes are filled with something. Make sure you have a little nugget about why each of those has led you here. What those activities/jobs taught you that will make you a valuable member of the team.

It may sound ridiculous, and it is. But, it's also a great way to land callbacks. That, and grades.

8/30/2006 9:02 AM  
Blogger Armen said...

To add to Disco Stu, the key is articulating why you want to work for THAT firm. Honestly, I couldn't care less which partner has brought in which client. Do you do this kind of work? Tell me about it. Will I have a chance to do that over the summer? Can I sample other departments over the summer or do you hire based on the needs of each department?

They can read a resume and a transcript. Res ipsa loquitur. These are overworked lawyers, they're dying to talk about what they do. Grant them their wish.

8/30/2006 9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My theory: There are only three things I need to know about a firm to do fine in a screening interview:

1) The size of the firm (in terms of both office locations and number of attorneys)
2) Whether their website claims to have the practice area(s) I am interested in.
3) Whether the NALP form for a particular office I am interested in lists the practice area(s) I am interested in.

It takes only a minute or two to figure these things out, and it will pretty much guarantee you don't look like an idiot. Other than those things, all firms are more or less the same, so you can ask general questions that would be valid at any firm.

8/30/2006 6:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So I had Latham SF, O'Mel SF, and Winston Straun SF ranked 4-6 on my little sheet -- and got none of them.

Should I send a resume and transcript to the recruiting coordinator, send them to the hiring partner, wait for them to simply contact me in my munificience, or seek other employment.

I find the idea of lurking outside their room undignified.

8/31/2006 10:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Terri said that lurking was fine as long as you were respectful and waited for breaks. Even better would be if they had a hospitality suite, which I'm sure at least one of them has to have.

8/31/2006 11:11 PM  
Anonymous Caliboy said...

The term of choice in previsous years seems to be "crashing" interviews rather than the creepy "lurking" that 10:23 is employing.

As discussed above, interview crashing is perfectly accepted part of the process. No firm wants to miss out on suitable candidates just because of the whims of a computer algorithm.

Many of us last year got callbacks and offers from interviews that we crashed.

If you find this whole thing undiginified, then its your loss. I would just hope that you won't raise a stink if one of your classmates politely asks you in the hallway to let them hand a resume to your interviewer right before you start your interview.

9/01/2006 10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sending a letter with your resume and transcript to the recruiter can never hurt. I would recommend the recruiter over the hiring partners because the hiring partners are often quite busy. If the firm's website gives the recruiter's email address, that would probably be a good choice too.

9/01/2006 10:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:23--don't forget that all firms on which you bid and with whom you didn't get an interview will receive copies of your resume and your contact info anyway. Many firms send out "overflow invite" emails where you're told to send another copy of your resume and your transcript to the recruiting person and the firm will contact you if they want to schedule an interview. This is a much more passive and potentially dignified of dealing with your dilemma, but it's certainly no guarantee. I think emailing the recruiting person directly is a fine idea--but also don't forget that interviews will open up and you can sign up for those spots directly on b-line. Just keep watching for openings--I added about four interviews to my schedule that way last year, including the interview with the firm where I ended up working. Best of luck!

9/01/2006 6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do people know about JAG?

9/02/2006 4:58 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

Four year commitment. You're commissioned as an O-2 (LTJG in Navy and 1LT in all other branches) and you are eligible for promotion 6 to 9 months after you begin your first billet. So most of your career you will be an 0-3 (LT in Navy and CPT in all others). If you interview during OCIP they will rank your qualifications with your classmates.

The Navy allows you to take your oath (and take your direct commission) in March of your second year. The other branches let you apply in your third year but you have to wait until your bar results. From anecdotal evidence the Navy has a smaller group of JAG lawyers, but they're a bit more cutting edge. Army JAG is more like a finishing school for southerners who will work in their small town anyway. That's all the intel I've got. If you want more, check out the JAG blog on the sidebar.

9/02/2006 5:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Am I an asshole for being annoyed by all the people emailing me to switch interviews with them? Some people don't even give me a good reason for wanting to switch. Maybe I'm just a jerk, but I don't even like the fact that everybody doing OCIP knows what interviews I have, much less that anybody who wants to can clog my email with requests to do them a favor.

9/03/2006 9:03 PM  
Blogger Tom Fletcher said...

I remembered a good question today: ask how cases get staffed. If the average case is staffed by more than eight people, your life will be miserable.

9/03/2006 10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My 1L grades are mediocre (read: almost all Ps). Am I doomed at OCIP? The CDO says not necessarily ... but that's the CDO.

9/04/2006 10:24 AM  
Anonymous Boalt Class of '05 said...

"Morrison & Foerster can be a tough one to land too."

I just felt the need to point out that it sounds like, as when I was doing OCI, MoFo has a reputation as having a good work environment. I'm not sure where this came from, but I have one friend there who just left for a different firm (he is a third-year) and another friend who is a second-year who is very unhappy.

Of course, your mileage may vary and different work groups within a firm can be very different, but if people are clamoring to interview with MoFo because they have heard that it's not a sweatshop, they might want to do some more research before committing to work there.

9/04/2006 11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:24AM,

It depends where you want to work. Generally, if you are looking for work in the SF area, you may have a tougher time. You may have an easier time looking for work in the LA or NYC area. I know several people who had grades similar to yours who landed great jobs in NYC and LA. Who knows, you may do great in interviews and have 10 job offers in SF. Goodluck!

9/04/2006 7:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boalt Class of '05--

I don't think the comment that MoFo "can be a tough one to land" was a value judgment about the quality of the MoFo experience. It was just stating a fact--that offers from firms like Mofo (and the other large SF firms) are relatively competitive, if for no other reason than that lots of people apply. I think that's all that comment meant.

But let me give a little insider's perspective on Mofo specifically. While a firm's reputation is invariably not 100% true, it's never 100% false either. Mofo earned its rep by focusing on values important to many of us here at Boalt (like diversity and pro bono). I think it still adheres to those values (to the extent that a large firm can), and that's a big reason why a job there is "a tough one to land."

Of course, it's still a big firm, and the fact is that the differences between most of the big firms are pretty marginal. You're absolutely right that 2Ls should do more research before committing to Mofo--but that's true for every firm. There's no reason, I think, that Mofo shouldn't be one of those firms that the 2Ls are looking at, if they think a big firm is right for them.

9/05/2006 11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Briefly going back to the interview time-trading thing, if someone requests that you do that and you can do it, how exactly do you do it? Do you just show up at the different time (that seems sort of unprofessional). Or do you switch spots online (that seems sort of dangerous, as I would think you could lose your spot if a third party jumps in before you can make the swap). Sorry...I'm a bit paranoid about this time-changing thing. Maybe I just won't do it...but any hint on the logistics would be appreciated, even though I know that I'm making this a bigger deal than it is.

9/05/2006 12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

12:44--look in the OCIP book or email Marty or whomever has been sending you OCIP emails to find the instructions for switching. Last year the instructions were that both time-switchers were to email someone at CDO who would make the switch for us so as to avoid any line-jumpers, as you fear.

9/05/2006 5:45 PM  

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