Wednesday, October 22, 2008

J'Acusse!: Law School, Weekly, et al, Paint Too Rosy a Picture of OGI Process?

Many you have contacted us - through comments, email, in personam (!), et seq. - and voiced not only frustration with the 2L OGI process, but also with the coverage of SAID process. In particular, you're trying to get a handle on an overall sense of how the process is going. Others pointed out that the information coming out of various surces seemed to paint a picture of an OGI that was going "great" - when in fact it is, well, not for everyone.

Singled out in particular by multiple readers was an article that came up in the Virginia Law Weekly last week, titled Two Students Offer Reflections on Interviews. Needless to say, the two students that were offering reflections seemed to be enjoying a smooth ride. Consider the inset quotation:
Katherine also had a few parting words of advice for people doing OGIs next year. “I wish someone had told me how totally unnecessary it is to take the maximum number of OGIs . . ."
This, coupled with the article's conclusion:
Verdict: Although OGI may be a stressful, time constricted, whirlwind of interviewing, resume exchanging, and business card collecting, in the end it is not only a valuable experience and resource, but also a vital part of upperclassmen life; one which leaves the students in strict recovery for the following week, yet happy to have done it.

Another article in the same issue also concluded on an upbeat note:

In reflecting upon the interview process, Dean Lawson recognized that “our staff does a tremendous job, puts in countless hours of overtime making sure everything runs smoothly.” All this hard work has paid off, as Bland and Fuchs’ comments reinforce Lawson’s perception. “The feedback we’ve gotten from employers is that everything went well.” Overall, Lawson said she and the Law School’s administration have “been pleased with everything this year.”

Certainly, not wrong per se - but we think definitely not showing the whole picture either. Indeed, the VLW ran several pieces last week, but none of them really pointed to the reality of large number of students beginning to become seriously frustrated with the OGI process because, well, it hasn't gotten them employed. (To be fair, one piece, titled a Simplistic Solution to OGI Woes, did highlight problems and propose solutions - but they were mostly administrative in nature - and didn't go as far as advocating the elimination of prescreening, which we support). Any in event, we're here to suggest that other side of the story.

How bad is it? We can't really say - all of our information is inexact. But the deluge of people who are frustrated with the the hiring in this economy does at very least suggest that the process is not going as smoothly as it was last year. One student offers his reflection:

I went to UVA Law with the understanding of the culture that everyone who isn't . . . a total write-off . . . would be able to get a job [at a large law firm]. I think with the economy changing that is no longer the case.

We also ran a poll a few weeks ago (remember it's dated - although people could come and change their answers and a few did). Before the poll got posted on an ATL comment, it received about 100 responses, almost all in the Charlottesville area. The result?48 % of students were having some trouble getting an offer, and 30% were voicing serious frustration with the process. Perhaps those numbers have gone down a bit in the past few weeks, but still it's telling. Law firm hiring, as David Lat pointed out in his talk, his being adversely affected by the economy. Cue the fall of the legal profession and the end of the world as we know it?

According to the VLW, Virgina Law Women of Color is conducting an OGI survey this week We anxiously await the results, and hope to get a more clear and complete picture of what is going on.

More later.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

that article was bullshit. i had 60 OGIs last year & got 2 callbacks & 0 offers from them. this year i had a dozen OGIs & no callbacks. i obviously suck at interviews, but that article doesn't consider that possibility.

Rule 12 (f) said...

Just curious (as I'm sure our readers will want to know) - what then?

And yea, it was misleading . . .

Anonymous said...

those surveys i dont think tell us where to turn them into...thus....no one will fill them out

Rule 12 (f) said...

I don't even see where we pick up the surveys. Scott Commons somewhere?

Anonymous said...

The surveys are in our mailboxes, though they make no mention of where to turn them in.

Anonymous said...

Eliminating prescreening just is not fair. Of course, as it is, those with high grades can take up interview spots for firms they won't ever end up going to. Perhaps there should be multiple OGI signups for the first round, this would eliminate the number of "mid-tier firms" stuck interviewing students who will end up at "top-tier" firms.

Rule 12 (f) said...

How would eliminating prescreening be unfair? Every other top school does not have prescreening; it and it would solve the (serious) problem you indicated by allocating interview spots to those who desire them the most.

Anonymous said...

I think it would be unfair to deny a student with stellar grades the opportunity to interview at all of the firms that interested her simply because she does allocate lottery points correctly. While a 3.9 shouldn't interview with 25 firms, she has every right to, I think. The problem is that, given uncertainty (especially now), a 3.9 who wants to work at 6 firms might interview at 12 because she cannot know, for certain, that she will get interviews from the 6. It is that kind of... wastefullness I'll call it that I think should be eliminated.

I know other schools, most top 10, do not allow prescreening. It certainly has its benefits, but it also has its drawbacks.

Anonymous said...

Prescreening is not the problem. It's going to be pretty rare that a top 10% student takes an interview away from a student with lower grades and the student with lower grades WOULD get an offer from that firm, but ISN'T getting offers from the other firm he's interviewing with.

A bigger problem is the thought expressed in the post. People think that if they come to UVA, they can get a job at a major law firm. Nope. Chances are you can get a job at a law firm, but not necessarily one whose name you've ever heard of. The issue isn't that students with poor grades are being kept out of interviews with strong firms by students with good grades, it's that students with low grades have unrealistic expectations. As the 12:04 post suggests, students not getting offers out of OGIs is not a new phenomenon. Sure, some things can be attributed to the economy, but students with lower grades are disillusioned every year. That's nothing new.

Anonymous said...

Rule 12(f) says "it would solve the (serious) problem you indicated by allocating interview spots to those who desire them the most."

People who want interviews with good firms shouldn't necessarily get them because it's a waste of their time and just going to let them down. Additionally, it's one less interview they can do with a firm with which they have a more realistic chance. You of all people, Rule 12(f), should know that we need rules in place (like prescreening) to protect people from their own bad decisions.

Rule 12 (f) said...

We disagree with some of what was said in the last few posts. . .

"Prescreening is not the problem. It's going to be pretty rare that a top 10% student takes an interview away from a student with lower grades and the student with lower grades WOULD get an offer from that firm, but ISN'T getting offers from the other firm he's interviewing with."

Correct - prescreening is certainly not THE problem, and not why most of the people who are having trouble are having such troubles. Still, I disagree with what was said next - interviewers often have a "quota" of the number callbacks they are allowed to give. WHen the same 3-5 law review / top gpa kids are interviewing with the same firms (especially in secondary markets), the callbacks often go to those kids, and that's it. Allocating interview slots differently could solve this problem, which I believe to be a serious one.

6.55 says "People who want interviews with good firms shouldn't necessarily get them because it's a waste of their time and just going to let them down. Additionally, it's one less interview they can do with a firm with which they have a more realistic chance."

Well, again I disagree. I think you have to remember that many interviewers can only give out X callbacks no matter how great the people are they interview (a v40 interviewer shared some info with me about this). Allocating the interviews different would mean that the same people wouldn't get all the callbacks for firms in which they really had no interest.

"You of all people, Rule 12(f), should know that we need rules in place (like prescreening) to protect people from their own bad decisions."

Why me of all people? We do need rules in place, sure, but the other t14 schools get by w/out prescreening because they trust their intelligent students to make good decisions. I'm not saying i'd abolish prescreening altogether and right away, but I would modify the system . . . if the school would publish more info about the gpa's that were given callbacks, then people could make an informed choice, and, I think, would.

Rule 12 (f) said...

"A bigger problem is the thought expressed in the post. People think that if they come to UVA, they can get a job at a major law firm. Nope. Chances are you can get a job at a law firm, but not necessarily one whose name you've ever heard of. The issue isn't that students with poor grades are being kept out of interviews with strong firms by students with good grades, it's that students with low grades have unrealistic expectations. As the 12:04 post suggests, students not getting offers out of OGIs is not a new phenomenon. Sure, some things can be attributed to the economy, but students with lower grades are disillusioned every year. That's nothing new."

OK, fine - but it seems to us like this year is particular positive. We know people *above the median* who struck out at OCI. Not with terrible social problems, either. . .

Anonymous said...

3Ls over-accepted, so there's less room for 2Ls, especially in THIS ECONOMY.

Anonymous said...

6:51 PM: eat a dick you insensitive asshole.

Anonymous said...

What's insensitive about saying that people should have realistic expectations?

Anonymous said...

Whoever posted at 7:51: I have no idea who you are, so I do not know whether you are, in fact, ignorant and offensive. My guess is you are angry and lashed out. Still, if you're a grad student, which it seems you are, you should act a little more like an adult and a little less like an irritated child. You certainly shouldn't be saying something so offensive (and, let's call a spade a spade, mildly homophobic (or sexist, depending on the gender you had in mind)) to someone simply because he or she said something you didn't like.

Anonymous said...

"I think you have to remember that many interviewers can only give out X callbacks no matter how great the people are they interview (a v40 interviewer shared some info with me about this). Allocating the interviews different would mean that the same people wouldn't get all the callbacks for firms in which they really had no interest. "

This may be right. But it seems like firms are smart. They know what they're doing when they give an offer to someone who is probably going to get (and take) offers from other firms. Some firms reject students with higher grades during the prescreening (don't even offer an interview) because they assume they're not genuinely interested. The same thing happens at the callback stage. Again, it may be true that firms have callback quotas and end up offering callbacks to students who have no interest, but at least some firms work hard to avoid this.

Rule 12 (f) said...

1) Firms are smart, but so are students. No (or very few) students walk into an interview with the intention of totally flaking it out - they seem interested, well-presented, and make a good impression, there's a good chance the firm will give them a callback - the fact that firms are wary of giving callbacks to people who aren't likely to accept an offer notwithstanding.

Also, a lot of students DO end up going to less prestigious / selective firms than they could, and firms know this (they in fact want these students!)

2) People should be sensitive. It seems eminently clear to myself and the rest of the editors that things are worse than they are in previous year, perhaps markedly so. Law grading is arbitrary, and the hiring process perhaps just as much so. People who don't have jobs at this point are justifiably frustrated . . .

Anonymous said...

And apparently some people w/ jobs like 6:51 are insufferable jackasses.

Anonymous said...

12(f), you did NOT clearly oppose the prescreeing a few weeks ago, so don't "flip flop" now.

I agree that people with good resumes are taking up too many callback spots, but I don't think prescreening or not would change it that much. The problem is at the time a student gets the callback there is no way of knowing what will happen: how many other callbacks that a student wants will they get OR what % of callbacks will become offers for the student.

It IS TRUE that firms only have a limited number of callback slots and want to offer them to people who will take it. I had a top DC firm even ask me on the phone, when I got the callback, "ARE YOU GOING TO TAKE THIS?" The implication was clear: we will offer this to someone else if we don't hear from you.

So I said yes b/c it was a great firm, BUT I did not end up taking the callback or the offer b/c since then I was offered 8 more callbacks. I called and apologized, but what could I do? At the time I had no idea how many I would get. How can you solve that ?

Anonymous said...

Dear ALL, hate to say it, but 6:51 is partially correct that some people do have unrealistic expectations. The reality is that for SOME people who did well and have good resumes (read: top undergrad or something like great work experience, which whether anyone acknowledges it or not is huge to these people -- only 2 things appear on their website profiles for clients: undergrad and law school, not your damn law school GPA) there will always be better options.

That does not mean the system could not be better for those who are in different situations. But I also think carrer services also needs to be more honest about those things that do matter to firms.

Sure, if you are awesome AND have great grades you could have gone to Shitsville U and be 19 years old. But if you are pretty good at talking -- like everyone else -- and decent grades -- like most people -- it will seriously help to have a good NON-law school resume.

Rule 12 (f) said...

We did not unambiguously support a change to the prescreening process back in July; we are advocating it now. Needless to say the situation has changed, and, so has hour position. We did, to be fair, suggest in our early essay that prescreening raised serious questions. We would argue that that criticism from a few months ago has, to some extent, been vindicated by what's happening.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't it seem rather ridiculous that we charge employers for interviewing on campus?

Anonymous said...

I think that part of the reason we charge is that it allows us to justify giving some firms better set-ups than others.