Thursday, August 07, 2008

OGI Post #4: Random Advice Culled From Other People on the WWW

We're out for the next week or so, but there might be updates from another source.

In the mean time, random internet surfing as brought up the following threads.

ATL: A couple open threads on OGI.  A few people there are [claiming to be] hiring partners. This might be useful:

As someone who does OCIs for a top-30 firm, I can tell you that the following won't guarantee a callback, but will substantially increase your chances:

1. Practice your basic talking points - you don't have to have everything in a canned, ready to go speech, but you should be ready to give a succinct 30 second answer to the 8 or 9 obvious questions (e.g., why are you interested in our city? what practice groups are you interested in? what interests you about our firm?) There are few things more brutal for an OCI than when a basic question like this gets fumbled. An important part of this is integrating an open-ended question (in your response) that keeps the conversation going. So easy to do, yet a surprisingly large number of people don't do it. Example: I'm interested in coming to DC because of X and Y. What brought you to DC?

2. Do your homework - if you have 15 OCIs in the space of a week (3 per day), you should plan to set aside at least 4 or 5 hours for preparation. You don't need to be capable of writing an essay on the firm in question, but you should have a basic understanding of their key practice areas, recent high-profile matters, and who you're interviewing with. It takes suprisingly little time to accomplish this. When you think about the arc of a legal career, the networks, etc., and the key role that your first 3 or 4 years plays in that progression, the OCI process is actually one of the key points in your career, and you should treat it as such.

3. Come prepared and come early. First impressions are exactly that. All of the cliches are true. Simple things such as having an extra copy of your resume can make a big impression. Back when I was interviewing, I met with a lawyer from a big NY firm who spilled coffee all over his copy of my resume and the simple act of me giving him a clean copy on the spot made a nice impression. This rule is also defensive in a sense - if you're not ready for contingencies like that, it leaves a very poor impression.

4. Don't shy away from talking about social things, as long as they are (a) not controversial and (b) truthful. If you were selected for an OCI, it probably means that you already satisfy the firm's requirements for grades and resume and that the OCI is focused primarily on whether you are normal, a good fit for the firm, etc. Some of the best OCIs I did while in law school or as an interviewer were the ones where we barely discussed the law at all.

5. Don't draw too many inferences from who is interviewing you - some firms send senior partners, some send junior associates. The one thing that you should assume is that whoever the firm sent is trusted and respected by the firm and is assessed by the firm as a good judge of character.

6. Memorize the name of the interviewer - do whatever you need to do to get the interviewer's name down cold, but you need to do whatever is necessary to lock this down. THERE IS ALMOST NOTHING THAT WILL KILL YOU QUICKER THAN FUCKING UP THE INTERVIEWER'S NAME.

7.
Be proud of your school and enjoy your time as a law student [emphasis added] - the odds are overwhelming that the people who interview you fondly remember their law school days and would pay a huge sum of money to switch places with you so they could relive them. Its not that working in a firm isn't fun, its just that law school was (for most people) an awesome time in their lives.

That's all well and good - but with if interviewers name is wicked hard to pronounce?  Better to just end with, "Thank you for the interview, Sir (or Madam)!" And I guess that puts a spear in our "we-hate-law-school-strategy."   There's some more wheat (and a lot of chaff) in the original thread, but I won't repost it here. 

The hiring partner blog also has some tips.  In addition to the above, he tells us not to screw it up, because getting a job will be tough especially in this economy.  That means:

-- do not focus on work/life balance issues in an interview...you can get into those after you have an offer.

Anyway, we have faith in UVA's employment statistics, and you should too.  That said, if this summer don't pan out at a firm, we'll offer ourself to handle Favre's contract disputes. 

Previous coverage:

No comments: