Dear 1L: OCI Interview Tips
by Amanda Haverstick
This article originally appeared here on writinglawtutors.com.
I’ve compiled advice and anecdotes from last year’s 2Ls on how to navigate the interviews in OCI (On Campus Interviews).
(All quoted language below comes from prior 2Ls.)
🔷 A. PRE-INTERVIEWS
🔸 Step 1: Decide which firms are your top choices. “Your likelihood of securing an initial interview is much higher for the firms you formally designate at the start of the process.”
▫️ After you submit your list of firms and application materials, there will typically be a 7-10 day wait.
During this time, the firms select their students for first-round interviews.
▫️ Typically to follow will be a posting or email from your school’s career office that indicates whether you
(i) have been selected for an interview,
(ii) have made the “alternates” waiting list, or
(iii) have not been selected.
🔸 Step 2: Research common interview questions and draft answers to 20-25 questions. “Doing so will help quell nerves and get you better prepared.”
🔸 Step 3: Practice delivering answers for points you know you will want to make, regardless of the specific questions posed.
🔷 B. FIRST-ROUND INTERVIEWS
For each firm where you will interview, conduct thorough research on both the firm and EACH named interviewer.
➡️ The goal is to have content that lets you lead the interviews on your terms.
🔸 Prepare a one-page “cheat sheet” for each firm in which you have strong interest.
⭐️ “The first round can feel a bit like 20- or 30-minute speed dating. You will not always have time to refresh yourself regarding each firm right before your interview.”
🔸 The second half of the 20- to 30-minute interview will often be the interviewer asking what questions you have.
⭐️ Make sure you have questions written out and fresh in your mind beforehand.
🔷 C. SECOND-ROUND INTERVIEWS
Typically, an on-site, second-round “interview” (at a law firm) comprises 4-5 interviews of 30-40 minutes each with a series of individual attorneys.
Sometimes you’ll have each interview in different respective attorneys’ offices; other times, you will be in a conference room, and interviewers will rotate in to you.
⭐️ Often, on-site interviews will be accompanied by an associate lunch. This will be advertised as a chance for you to “relax” and ask a lot of questions to “get a real sense of the firm culture.” DO NOT RELAX. It will seem all-friendly, but each associate attending will complete a written evaluation of you.
🔸 It can be a VERY long day. Arrive well-rested and pace yourself with bio breaks.
⭐️ Don’t forget to review the content of the writing sample you submitted and any other papers or publications listed on your resume—I’ve had interviewers grill me substantively before.
➡️ Follow all the recommendations from part B above for each interview.
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GOOD LUCK TO ALL!
Amanda is the author of the popular #Dear1L blog, founder of Writing Law Tutors, and legal writing coach for lawyers and law students.
Amanda previously spent 20 years as a Labor & Employment lawyer in BigLaw and as an in-house counsel at a Fortune 500 company. She has also served as a career services consultant assisting law students at one of the nation’s top law schools.
I aspire to simplify and improve the quality of your law school journey and to promote your greatest possible success.
Read more at writinglawtutors.com.
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