Know What and How to Research to get a Summer Associate Job Through OCI
Everyone tells you that you need to research the firm before the interview, but no one ever tells you how. In fact, some people give downright bad advice, like use legal research software to look up the firm’s cases.
Here is where I say, “Don’t waste your Time. It’s unlikely the attorney with whom you are interviewing knows anything about the cases you researched. For example, if you are interviewing with a transactional attorney, she probably knows very few specifics about the firm’s litigation cases.The Complete Guide to On-Campus Interviews
So instead of wasting your time researching recent cases before your on-campus interview, focus on the following areas:
- Gaining a very general understanding of all the firm’s practice areas;
- Knowing three of its largest practice areas;
- Knowing the firm’s largest offices and locations near you or your desired geographic region;
- Gaining an understanding of its clients;
- Knowing the firm’s size; and
- Knowing what makes the firm and its summer associate program unique.
And that’s really all you need to know. Most of this information you can find quickly on the firm’s website or by talking to a previous summer associate. The Complete Guide to On-Campus Interviews tells you exactly what to do to quickly find this information and incorporate it into answers like, “why do you want to work here,” and “what do you know about the firm.”
Related: Find more tips to prepare for OCI here!
To Land A Summer Associate Position, Know Why the Interviewers are Asking Their Questions
Interviewers are interested in training you to be an excellent attorney at their firm. They are looking to hire their forever attorney. So even if the questions seem designed to get to know you, interviewers are asking for another reason: they strategically ask each on-campus interview question to assess whether you are that person.The Complete Guide to On-Campus Interviews
To really nail on-campus interview season, before formulating your answers to common OCI and callback questions, really think about why the interviewer is asking each question. What is she trying to gauge?
For example, interviewers ask the question “why did you go to law school” to assess how serious you are about a long-term career with their firm. An answer that involves “helping people” usually doesn’t make sense for BigLaw firms since most of their clients are businesses.
Take Control of the Interview to Succeed in On-Campus Interview
Taking control of the interview doesn’t mean talking over the interviewer and asking all the questions. Instead, it means to use your time to answer each question in a way that sells yourself and communicates to the interviewer exactly what you want her to know.The Complete Guide to On-Campus Interviews
While you need to answer each question before you, don’t be afraid to provide examples or additional information that you want to interviewer to know.
After researching and assessing why the interviewer is asking a particular question, review your resume and other materials to brainstorm ideas of specific examples you can integrate into your answers.
Remember, each question is an opportunity. Use it!
Schedule your Callback Interview Early to Get a Job as a Summer Associate
If you are interested in getting a summer associate job through OCI, try to take the earliest available callback date that the recruiter offers.
Because firms need to move quickly when making offers, most firms extend offers on a rolling basis. This means as soon as they encounter a candidate that the hiring committee intends to hire, the firm extends an offer. And this will likely be before they interview all candidates they’ve invited to callback.The Complete Guide to On-Campus Interviews
For this reason, it is important to schedule your callbacks as early as possible. So, if a firm offers you multiple dates, select the earliest date that you are available.
Related Guest Post: Real Advice from a Current Law Student on Managing 2L Year
Final Thoughts on How to Get a Summer Associate Job Through OCI
To succeed in on-campus interview, it’s important to use all your resources. Don’t be afraid to reach out to career advisors and students who obtained a position through last year’s OCI.
It’s also important to be kind to yourself and know that you belong here. It’s common for law students to get in their heads during the OCI season because it is stressful and you are competing against your peers. What’s worse is some law students try to psych their colleagues out by boasting about their connections, grades, or previous work experiences.
These students are only doing that because they feel insecure. Remember, you were invited to interview too. And you probably intimidate the student who is trying to get in your head.
Finally, if you found this post helpful, check out my newest book, The Complete Guide to On-Campus Interviews, which is filled with loads more tips and tricks!