Saturday, June 21, 2008

OCIP Warmup, '08

A commentator below notes (in more words) that it may be a bit early, but . . . what about OCIP?

He (or she) is right. It is early. And I have to say, I'm feeling substantially less than gleeful over the prospect of replacing a neurotic grade thread with a neurotic OCIP thread.

But I am also on Anonymous' page -- today I used the word "sale" to rationalize dropping way too much money on a new suit,* and combed the substantial stack of legal blah-blah-blah that I have alredy produced this summer for something that might be hammered into a passable writing sample. So maybe it's not all THAT early after all . . . anyway, consider this an OCIP kick-off.

Query: which parts of the CDO's recent email are gospel, and which parts are, um, extraneous?

(And if you have no interest in OCIP, feel free to speculate on other matters. Like: the over/under on waist room in that shiny new suit come August, after twelve continuous weeks of parking my ass in my office after devouring desert at firm lunches work? Or, if you are Armen, the meaningful distinction between "though" and "although.")

*It's a good sale. In case you are interested. Seriously.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any 2Ls,3Ls or otherwise want to discuss their OCIP experiences with DC or NYC firms?

How often are you flying back and forth between the coasts?

6/22/2008 11:37 AM  
Blogger Armen said...

I swear, I'm going to nitpick any writing sample that comes across my desk during interview season.

That said, I think in this day in age, you'd be a fool not to run some searches on ATL for firm names. That's basically a must.

The other thing is, unless you have family or close friends who are at firms, it's a bit difficult to gauge what really matters what doesn't. I'm imagining that it would be possible to create a table where the left column lists factors that are important to you, and then if you go across each factor, you'd have questions that should be answered. Just as an example:

Family/S.O. a) Paternity/Maternity leave b) Part-time c) How realistic is PT status d) vacation policy e) where have your interviewers vacationed in the past 6 months, year, two years...

Anyway, it's something on the back of my head that I've been toying with.

11:37, your goal is to fly to the cost in one single trip during fall break. In the rarest of rare circumstances should you do a call-back with more than 10 non-California firms or offices. Flyback with a day or two taken from either side should be plenty. And the weird thing about flying across country to interview is that you can get a lot of work done. At least I did. I read on the flights, and in the hotel rooms when I was done sightseeing.

6/22/2008 12:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I flew to the east coast several times when I was interviewing. My advice is to avoid that at all costs. The first time is kind of nice. The third time is a pain in the ass. Ask the firm to book you on JetBlue. Their planes are all business class.

The Brooks Brothers sale is pretty good if you're looking for a suit. Don't buy shoes there. Horribly overpriced.

6/22/2008 10:34 PM  
Blogger Reid said...

I second 10:34's Jet Blue suggestion. 6 hour flights without a tv and a comfy seat are brutal when you have to interview the next morning.

As far as interviews go, schedule all your NYC callbacks for Fall Break. It may seem a little hectic, but it's easier than multiple trips back east. If you want to go back again later in the semester, most firms will fly you back out for a round of "re-visits" after you have the offer in hand.

6/23/2008 12:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what are the practice areas most heavily hit by the "slowdown"?

6/23/2008 12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I agree with Armen that you should evaluate firms based on maternity/paternity leave, PT, vacation, where people have gone on vacations, do not ask these questions until you have secured an offer.

Otherwise, you will appear more concerned with vacation than work, which is not an impression you want to give out.

6/23/2008 2:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read AtL, vault and chambers, but beware: they're full of crap. Some of it is useful crap. Some is not. If you can, hunt down 2Ls and 3Ls and ask questions.

Transactional work is reportedly slow (or dead). Structured finance work is dead. Litigation, in my experience, is just fine: people will always need to sue each other. YMMV.

Put some thought into what you care about in firms if you can: applying scattershot is a waste of time and irritating for both you and recruiters. See first paragraph.

If you're a guy, learn how to pick a decent suit and set of shirts, and learn how to wear a suit before ocip starts.

6/23/2008 6:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree that it is bad to apply scattershot. Most of the firms are very similar and for people with not so great grades it is all a numbers game. The more interviews you do, the more chances you have to get an offer.

Besides that, most people won't know what kind of law they want to practice or what the true differences between firms are. So say that it is a waste of time to interview with a firm you are not sure about is strange. Usually you can get a sense if you will like a firm precisely because you interviewed with them Often the interviews give you a sense of the type of people at that firm.

In any event, if your grades are not stellar and you have your heart set on doing biglaw, you should interview with as many firms as you can stand.

6/24/2008 9:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what is a strong gpa for NYC firms?

6/26/2008 1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every firm in New York requires at least a 3.9 on our inflated 5-point scale.

(See, when you ask stupid, annoying questions, you tend to get stupid, annoying answers.)

6/26/2008 1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:59 - how is 1:56's question "stupid" or "annoying?" Stupid in the sense that he/she should already know the answer? Annoying in the sense that you had to read a nine word blog comment?

Some of you people are absolutely ridiculous in the way that you criticize anyone who so much as intimates that grades are of any interest to him/her.

This is an OCI thread no? Grades are relevant to OCI no? A question is a good way to elicit information on the subject no?

So 1:59, care to explain how the comment is either stupid or annoying?

6/26/2008 2:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Yeah. I'll explain.

It's annoying because it asks about a 'strong GPA' as if GPA is a determinative factor in deciding whether you should apply for jobs with NYC firms.

And it's stupid because it poses the question in such a way that assumes all NYC firms view GPA the same way, and consider the same number to be 'strong.'

The question is stupid and annoying because it doesn't even provide enough information for anyone to give a worthwhile answer. You, however, seem to think that I thought it was stupid and annoying because it brought up grades, which isn't true. Though I do find grade-discussions to be meaningless and silly.

You're welcome,


6/26/2008 2:27 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

I don't know what 1:59 had in mind, but my initial reaction to 1:56 was, "Uhh whats' the GPA for a firm job in the US? The world? The Universistan?" New York isn't exactly, say, Reno where you have THE firm, and everything else. The question is so absurd, there really is no answer. Even a "depends" doesn't really do justice.

The other thing is how is NY different from any other large market? And this isn't meant to be snarky or anything. As someone who didn't know anything about firms when going through OCIP, I can appreciate the frustration. But if there's something that you don't know about, ask rather than assume. In this case, the first question would be, "Do NY firms have a higher standard than West Coast firms b/c of Boalt's location?" Second question, "hether or not they do, what are the grade distributions of some NY firms?"

Someone who is in NY can correct me but my understanding is that there is no difference between NY and other markets. To an extent Boalt students get a bit of a premium for being "exotic" (I use this for lack of a better word, in the sense that we don't hale from the typical lawyer factories on the east coast).

6/26/2008 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Woah. 1:59, get the chip off your shoulder.

What I think 1:56 was looking for was a listing similiar to the one on the LA firms...i.e. this number of Hs for these firms, this number for these firms etc etc.

6/26/2008 2:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do some people take this crap so seriously??

You guys are mocking an anonymous commenter because his (or her) question wasn't precise enough. This is a blog folks; not a deposition.

Despite Armen's contention that the question is so absurd as to defy answer, I'll make an educated guess here and say that an H average is a "strong" gpa for most of the top firms in NYC. The so-called elite firms (say v10) may be looking for slightly more. As a general rule, the further down the ranking list you go the less stringent the gpa standards become (there are of course exceptions to this rule).

Oh and 2:23: since you're in the mood to explain things, how about explaining why the question "So what is a strong gpa for NYC firms?" in your words "asks about a 'strong GPA' as if GPA is a determinative factor in deciding whether you should apply for jobs with NYC firms?"

What is it about the question itself that implies that 1:56 believes grades to be determinative of anything? Seems to me it's just a question about grades. May be a big factor, may be a small factor. You apparently have concluded that grades are determinative for 1:56. I would be interested to see how you make that logical leap.

6/26/2008 3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1-3 HHs and a mix of Hs and Ps put you in range for a callback (and offer) from a lot of the V10 firms in New York last fall. Wachtell, Cravath, & S&C may be slightly more selective, but the latter two also have been taking huge summer classes recently, so standards may be looser.

Others may disagree with this, but CLR seems to basically act like an extra HH on your transcript; it certainly helps but it won't make or break most decisions.

One caveat: with the economy, next year's summer classes may be a bit smaller, so the standards may be a little bit stricter.

6/27/2008 1:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought Wachtell didn't do Boalt.

I had about a 60-40 mix of P-H and didn't do many interviews and got very little; if you have more Ps than H/HHs combined, do a lot of interviews. By 3L OCIP I had a better transcript (maybe 70-30 H/HH-P) and had no problem whatsoever. Grades matter; ignore the soft-fuzzy people who tell you otherwise. If you don't have a strong transcript or are not one of those people that can get where you are by who you are (if you don't know what I'm talking about, you're not one of those people), just suck it up and do 50 interviews across a geographic spectrum if you really want that firm job--you'll get something.

6/27/2008 6:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know it depends on the firm, but generally when that "grade book" in Career Services says "Hs & HHs" What does that mean? Can you still have Ps?

6/29/2008 8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:47 - I know it's frustrating, but it really does depend. If it says H-HH then the firm might be a little more selective - so if you have Ps they might just not call you back. Some firms are very strict with the number of Hs or whatever you need for a callback, while others are willing to fudge if you're just a great person or have other very interesting things going on (IP background if you're into that, etc).

Say you have 7 classes 1L year. More Hs than Ps, you're in pretty good shape for SF, and better I'd say for LA since they have larger classes down there, and there's downtown and Century City, and Boalt is a better school than UCLA or USC (I don't know about NY, sorry). If you have more Ps than Hs, you'll have to do more interviews and might not get prime call-backs from every firm you liked.

I know this sounds lame, but the biggest thing (esp at Boalt, where we only have 3 grades and so many people are clumped after 1L year) is sticking out in the interviewers' minds. Be interesting (but not weird). Also, try to get those early morning or late afternoon interviews, they really remember those people. You get a mid-afternoon interview you better be ready to shine to knock the interviewers out of their post-lunch stupor.

And talk about NON-law related stuff - I didn't get call backs if I talked about Torts, but I did if I talked about travel, or college football, or told stories.

Good luck incoming 2Ls!

6/30/2008 4:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe other 3Ls can correct me if they disagree, but I had the very strong feeling last year that, for Boalties at least, SF is generally more competitive than NY, LA, Chicago, etc. Just less slots to go around here and so the standards are higher accordingly.

BIG caveat: within each market there are obviously tiers of firms based on their selectivity/"prestige." But in general I just felt SF callbacks were harder to land.

Moral of the story: if you're deadset on staying in the Bay after you graduate, interview with as many firms here as you can. Don't pick your top 5 and expect an automatic bid, unless you have the credentials to match.

7/01/2008 10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i interviewed in ny only and had a far easier time than i had expected. i had no hhs, but had hs in all the required courses and ps in my 2 electives. no clr. the cdo had me worried about my public interest background so i did a ton of interviews, about 30, got about 25 call backs. among those were a couple of top 10 firms.

i think being a decent interviewer goes a long way. practice helps- the questions don't vary much among the firms, in my experience. the nice thing about doing so many interviews is that i felt like my interviews got stronger through te process, and i also did not feel like any one interview was make or break, so i was pretty relaxed which i think helps. definitely do the mock interview with ocip.

i second the opinion that it makes sense to book up interviews for fall break. i did one a day, and extended the break thurs-tues so i ended up doing 7 interviews in ny over fall break. my roommate did 2 a day for some of the break but i think that would have wiped me out.

good luck with ocip!

7/06/2008 12:33 PM  
Blogger Ksusha A. said...

My three all-nighters last week say that corporate work isn't dead. Well, at least in London.

7/08/2008 2:06 AM  

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