Saturday, August 01, 2009

OPEN THREAD: OGI off to a Rough Start?

Michael Vick didn't get any preselects, but he's still holding out for some lottery wins.

Yesterday, students who are participating in OGIs found out for the first time which interviews they had received. Since then, we've gotten a fair amount of information that indicates that at least some students are unhappy with the number of interviews they got.

It seems like some people, at least, are unhappy with the quantity of interviews that they got. We have reports of 2Ls receiving less than 10 interviews. A tipster pointed us to this post on the autoadmit message board thread on "UVA OCI" - we hope it's not indicative of what is happening with most people (the usual disclaimers about autoadmit apply - we don't endorse anything on the site, much of it is NSFW, and it probably shouldn't be visted by anyone for any reason, ever.):

Date: July 31st, 2009 10:00 AM
Author: .....,,,,..,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,,.,.
Subject: Oh the humanity.....

Interview schedules are out and it is brutal.... how brutal?

Dead on median, only 6 interviews, all lottery picks, no preselection


It's probably not *that* bad, but as career services has been saying, a lot of people are going to have to look outside of OGI to find summer employment. Ditto goes for 3Ls who signed up for OGIs, where the situation looks to be even worse (we know of some 3Ls who got zero lottery interviews, and zero preselects as well). Of course, people who are unhappy are probably going to be most vocal at this stage, so perhaps it doesn't make sense to infer anything larger at this point . . .

How'd it go for you? Are you satisfied with the interviews you got? Feel free to sound off - anonymously if you wish - in the comments. There's also a poll for you (edit: poll not working, check back later).

We also got some queries about "strategy" - what interviews should you accept and which should you decline. This is from a while ago, and presupposes that you have more than 25 interviews (which, as noted above, is not the case for everyone even with the switch to a more lottery-based system) . . . anyway, here's some hopefully-not-too-dated take it or leave it advice:
First, you should do every interview you can, up to the maximum 25. We know people who were told "You don't need to take all 25 interviews" last fall. That turned out to be bad advice for those people. If you get more than 25 interviews, your primary focus should be "where do I stand a good chance of getting hired." And we're not the only ones who think so.

Of course, this doesn't mean that you should interview at a place you wouldn't want to work or isn't suited to your interests (i.e., if you're a big IP guy don't go to a place where don't have any IP), but it does mean that you should strongly consider a firm's hiring criteria before accepting an interview there. Just to be clear - we're *not* saying that you shouldn't consider practice group, fit, and especially location (actually, that's a big part of getting hired - we would not recommend applying to any far-flung geographic areas to which you lack connections, as the odds will be against you). What we are saying is that those factors - to the extent they are distinguishable - should be secondary to crafting an intelligent strategy that results in you getting at least one offer. After that, they can become your bread & butter . . .

Example: if you are below the median, it is probably waste of everyone's time for you take that lottery interview you got at Cravath (or insert a firm that has very selective hiring criteria here). Let us explain, briefly, why this is potentially bad for everyone:
  • The odds of you getting a job there are very slim.
  • You could be interviewing somewhere else where your odds would be much better.
  • You're taking away a slot from one of your classmates who does have a better chance at getting a job there.
  • The interviewer may consider the interview to be a waste of his time once he sees your grades, which, if you attached your transcript to your OGI bid as was reccomended this year, will happen before the interview.
The potential beauty of switching to a system that is more lottery-based is that interviews are allocated based on student interest; however, that's only going to be effective if students make intelligent choices. In this (arbitrary) example, there are plenty of other firms in Manhattan that do work that is similar that would be a better fit (read: more likely to extend this applicant a callback and thus a better use of a bid) then the one mentioned. (Aside: To help make this process a more informed one, UVA should publish information about the average GPA for students given a callback and offer, by firm).
Of course, it should be noted here that no one at UVA Law Blog is a Hiring Partner, or even a practicing attorney. But we (all) are students who have been through this process before. (even though "all bets are off" in 2009 - so we keep hearing). Hence the "take it or leave it." Anyway, hang in there everyone. It's almost time to go back to Charlottesville!


Anonymous said...

I have slightly above average grades and only got 9 interviews, with 2 preselects. My preferred market is D.C., and I only got 4 interviews with D.C. firms.

Anonymous said...

I'm top 15-20% of the class in grades and only got 9 interviews (4 preselects). Most of the firms I applied to were DC firms as well.

Anonymous said...

Top quarter of the class with 13 interviews, 6 preselects. I applied to a mix of east coast firms.

Anonymous said...

At median, 9 interview, 0 pre-selects. Tried for the DC/NOVA market too. It's bad out there.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry. You're at UVA and you'll all get jobs. Or ....

Anonymous said...

Slightly above median, 9 preselects, 15 interviews total. I think bidding on secondary markets was key. I did horribly in the one major market I targeted, got most of the firms in the secondary markets I had ties to that I bid on. I imagine someone at or below median who targeted only NY/DC is pulling their hair out right now.

Anonymous said...

Median grades, Applied to almost all DC and some NY.

13 Interviews with 4 preselects (3 DC, 1 NY). 2 Alternates which I presume are worthless.

Don't know if it matters, but I also have 6 years of ties to DC including 2 years of work experience, so maybe that accounts a bit for what seems to be better than average success on preselects given my grades.

Anonymous said...

God, I cannot believe how different this is. Last year, as a 2L, I got more than 50 interviews in NYC with slightly above median grades.

I know it's cold comfort, but if you got next to nothing, it's very largely not your fault. Being dissappointed makes sense, but don't get down on yourself. You'll be fine, you'll just have to do some scrambling for a few years. That's what the start of a career is suppossed to be like anyway.

Best of luck.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't career services lower the maximum amount of interviews people can accept to force a more equitable distribution of slots?

30 for your top 10-15% (all of which *will* be taken unless Career Services steps in), when compared to 8 for your median students, is pretty difficult to justify under any likely hiring scenario this fall.

I'm not saying they should be equal- if we don't want to waste any interview slots, then top students should get more, because they have a chance with more employers.

But with a spread like this, interviews *will* be wasted.

I wonder if Career Services considered the effect on the school's competitiveness here-- there's a possibility that UVa's failure to limit total interviews (or limit preselection even more than they already did) will have encouraged the substitution of students at peer schools with 100% lottery systems for its own at popular employers. Employers were likely acting opportunistically with their preselects, meaning, if all goes well, top students will seek employment elsewhere, but will have taken up a large number of total slots-- translating into an effective reduction of total relevant interviews done by the employer here at UVa. So by using preselection, unregulated by a sane max. interview cap, UVa allowed employers to try to game the system to go for higher-end candidates-- something it could not do at other schools-- with little to no risk: because the market is tight, employers could have easily found substitute candidates elsewhere in the marketplace (if their preselects passed them over and their lotteries did as well / were poor fits / otherwise didn't pan out).

BTW, if this reasoning is correct, here are a few more upshots:

1) the "you wouldn't get hired anyway" meme would likely be untrue-- employers' opportunism in preselecting candidates does not translate into their unwillingness to reach deeper in the class,


2) your lottery interviews aren't all for naught.

Rule 12 (f) said...

"So by using preselection, unregulated by a sane max. interview cap, UVa allowed employers to try to game the system to go for higher-end candidates-- something it could not do at other schools-- with little to no risk: because the market is tight, employers could have easily found substitute candidates elsewhere in the marketplace (if their preselects passed them over and their lotteries did as well / were poor fits / otherwise didn't pan out)."

That's a good point. ITE, I guess one can be thankful that we switched to at least 50% lottery - checking the responses above, what do you think it would be like in previous system (vast majority of interviews pre-select)?

Anonymous said...

Hearing all of the above, I still wonder if increasing the lottery proportion makes sense. If we did it 100% lottery, then that might be OK, but mixing it can be a problem. Here's my thinking -- last year, you could say to someone, you're probably not going to get hired at Competitive Firm, LLP, don't bother taking that lottery interview you got. This year? No way, not if people really have only six interviews. They're taking all of what they can get, I'm sure, and if Mr. 3.1 lottery winner wastes 30 minutes of interview time that Miss 3.5 Just-Missed-Preselect could've used (and would've gotten in a 70% preselect environment), so be it.

Of course, in a complete lottery system, one would hope people would get better counseling as far as what to select, and there's no possible bias towards people who got selected. But that might also mean the employer is wasting their time by coming if nobody meets their criteria.

That said, I'm really sorry to be hearing some of these numbers. My grades are pretty good, and Symplicity smiled on me, but my sympathy goes out to those who are struggling. I am very curious about what cities and firms the guy at the median with no preselects applied to, though.

OH! and one last thing. Dean Donovan was apparently answering email at midnight when bids came out, and I know he was sending out mass emails explaining how some things didn't quite work as he had been told they would. I can't say enough about how awesome our new Career Services head seems to be so far.

Anonymous said...

12:48 here-

Donovan does seem to be trying to bring his A game, so kudos to him so far. Guy is probably going to spend 12 hours this weekend driving back and forth to Philly on the phone with students. Not sure what more we can reasonably ask from him...

As to the preselect/lottery issue, I think this year is just different for the firms. Some of those mid-level firms probably pre-selected students they normally wouldn't have simply because they know that the tightening at the top means a trickle down of top students that normally wouldn't be there for them. I don't think upping the lottery distribution would change that since I tend to think that right now most of these places are telling themselves they don't really need to hire anyway, and will only hire students that are worth it to them. Changing the distribution, IMO, would just cut into the "real" interviews that are to be had.

And I know that sounds like a crappy thing to say, but I managed to preselect into 3 places in DC with median grades. I feel for the people who just weren't as fortunate, but I think institutionally we're better off this way for now. Making sure people in my situation have some interviews that matter is really the measure of our career services ITE, I think. The top 25% are always going to be fine under whatever system we have. That number probably used to be top 50%, which sadly just isn't the case anymore. So, we can either protect that top 50% as best we can for the sake of the institution, or chuck it for what really just amounts to all 100% feeling like they got their money's worth.

Rule 12 (f) said...

"Hearing all of the above, I still wonder if increasing the lottery proportion makes sense. If we did it 100% lottery, then that might be OK, but mixing it can be a problem."

As I stated during my ill-fated political campaign, I think the best option would be 100% lottery plus a lot more information so that students can make intelligent bids. That minimizes the "waste of time interviews" of supremely underqualified candidates while at the same helping to insure that people at the top of the class don't take interview slots with employers they are not interested in.

Rule 12 (f) said...

And by "insure" I mean "ensure" - I'm not dumb, I promise.

Anonymous said...


"That's a good point. ITE, I guess one can be thankful that we switched to at least 50% lottery - checking the responses above, what do you think it would be like in previous system (vast majority of interviews pre-select)?"

It would have been worse. Keep in mind that the "gaming" is much more likely (indeed, entirely predictable) in a tight market, so perhaps the 75/25 system was defensible in past years, even if it relied on preselection more than this year's 50/50 system.

So to clarify, I fault them for failing to limit preselection *more*, but mostly for failing to lower the max. interview cap an appropriate amount given the drop in total slots.

I'm not sure-- did they actually *increase* the max # of interviews you can have? That seems like a blatant giveaway to the top of the class, based on, perhaps, a prediction that the top of the class will find it harder to get a job but should ultimately prevail, while the rest are simply hopeless (though the issue here is whether this outcome is a result of design).

I should say though, if things really are that dire, then perhaps the current system is smart: because the distribution of interviewees is likely skewed higher here at UVa relative to peer schools, some employers might substitute higher-end UVA students for lower-end peer school students, resulting in better placement at UVA relative to a more equitable system that would benefit more average students and force more top students to share in the pain.

Anonymous said...


" I don't think upping the lottery distribution would change that since I tend to think that right now most of these places are telling themselves they don't really need to hire anyway, and will only hire students that are worth it to them. Changing the distribution, IMO, would just cut into the "real" interviews that are to be had. "

Perhaps, but let's assume that employers know how many people they want, and that the number is just much lower than it was last year. So the employer wants to fill its role. The thing about OGI is that it not limits what firms students can apply for, but also what students employers can see (for most of these firms, there's limited interviewing outside of OGI).

So the process by which interviews are allocated can distort what may otherwise seem like straight-forward "trickle down" logic.

Indeed, a lottery system and a cap on max interviews can minimize the trickle down effect. It can't create more openings, but it can influence the distribution of winners & lowers (ie, force more top students to lose out).

I don't think there's anything wrong with that, though as I said in my previous post, equity could come at cost (assuming equal value to the employment of any given student) if the outlook is really, really, really dire. If it is dire, then perhaps preselection will help place a higher number of UVa students overall, at the expense of a more equitable distribution of winners & lowers, by allowing employers to choose higher-end UVA students over less attractive students at peer schools.

On the other hand, if higher-end hiring turns out fine, and less-competitive employers overshot with their preselection (as would be completely reasonable for them to do, and as we have some evidence of their doing), then average UVa students could perhaps lose out to similar students at other schools.

Who knows, but upon thinking through it more, I withdraw my initial judgment of Career Services' current approach.

Anonymous said...

I still think preselect is more fair and efficient. There should be no limit on requests. Just have everyone apply everywhere and let the firms do the work. The mid-prestige firms will know they can't get top students and will offer interviews to the median students, and so on.

I am not close to the top of the class, but think it is ridiculous that a top student might not get all the interviews she wants because she didn't win a lottery.

Anonymous said...

3L here. I cannot emphasize enough - DO NOT write off Alternates. Also, I don't know if they're doing it this year, but if they are, petition for an interview even if you've been rejected by their HR during prescreen. I had shit grades spring semester of my 1L year, but a strong resume and summer experience. Almost half of my call backs were from Alternates and last second interviews. When someone takes a chance on interviewing you, they're seeing something special about you and want to give you a fighting chance. Work those as hard as possible, bc your foot is already in the door. And don't lose hope, guys!

Anonymous said...

I wonder what the average number of interviews is. 213 employers x 20 slots each gives 4260 slots... but that ignores multiple rooms by many employers, including some with 3 or 4. Let's (conservatively?) estimate 1.5 rooms average, so 30 slots x 213 = 6390.

If we exclude 3Ls, and say the 2L class has roughly 370 students, that's 17.27 interviews on average, which is a good bit higher than I'm seeing here, albeit still lower than in the past. Could be that people with 25 aren't coming on here to bitch/brag, plus my count also excludes 3Ls doing OGIs, of which there could be a good many, and relies on a(n educated) guess for slots per firm.

UVA Law Blog -- Feel like doing some digging and asking CSO what the real average is? Ten or fifteen datapoints on this comment thread may not be representative.

Anonymous said...


Assume 40 people per decile.

1-10%: 35 intvws = 1400
10-20: 30 intvws = 1200
20-30: 20 intvws = 800
30-40: 15 intvws = 600
40-50: 10 intvws = 400
50-100: 8 intvws = 1600

total: 6000

now if 1-10% cancels 5 interviews each, that's 200 more to go around, but these are probably going to people above the median anyways (as they are more likely to have been tapped as alternates). In other words, canceling is unlikely to raise the average # for those around the median.

Anonymous said...

I think the 50/50 lottery has skewed the numbers of interviews. There are quite a few people in the top 25% with 15 and under interviews. Poor bid selection can really come back to haunt you when you are only allowed 50 bids.

Anonymous said...

4:44 is right on. I'm a 3L and really hustled for interviews that I didn't get preselected for. And things worked out very well -- I got an offer with a firm "way out of my league" that i wasn't even preselected or chosen as an alternate for.

HR people have to sort thousands of resumes, and simply do the easiest thing -- they sort by GPA and ignore w/e, writing awards, and various other factors that make a good lawyer.

So if you have a unique background, definitely hustle for interviews. Partners know there's a lot more to being a lawyer than spotting issues and typing fast on a Torts exam, and they love to see people who are remotely interesting, even at the expense of .1 or .2 in GPA.

Anonymous said...


How do we go about "hustling" for these alternate interviews? Mass mail?

Anonymous said...

Um... no. You're "hustling" for special interviews with the attorneys sent to OGI, not sending out a mail bomb (which will get ignored by the same HR people). If you get rejected from a firm you really like, ask the Career Services Dean if you can submit a special request for an interview. The Dean will then forward your short blurb explaining why "Firm A is so awesome and how great You are for Firm A" to the interviewer on the day they visit OGI. If the interviewer likes what she or he sees, they'll invite you for an interview during their lunch or after the day's scheduled interviews have ended. ......Did this really need to be explained?

Anonymous said...

3.5--all D.C. firms, 6 interviews, 1 pre-select--not thrilled

Anonymous said...

"3.5--all D.C. firms, 6 interviews, 1 pre-select--not thrilled."

Now this is just unreal - last year i had roughly the same numbers and market and got more interviews THROUGH PRESECLTION than I could take. you didn't submit 25 bids to covington did you?

Anonymous said...


Yes, it needed to be explained. Thanks for the information, seriously. No thanks for the attitude, seriously.

Anonymous said...

3.54 -- 9 interviews, 2 preselects

Brian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

3.5, D.C. 6 interviews--covington was admittedly on my list, but most firms were much further down the prestige scale--I had 50 spots I figured I could throw in a couple long shots and still be safe--cov put me as an alternate but I got non-invites from 40 firms

Anonymous said...

Seems like I'm in the same boat as EVERYONE ELSE. Top quarter, DC-centric bids, 11 interviews. I'm hoping to see some diversity in GPA/market results soon.

Anonymous said...

3.4, 17 interviews, 10 preselects. And feeling much luckier after reading this stuff. 10 DC, rest in the two secondary markets I have ties to.

Anonymous said...

Editors and posters,

Do they still have the median grade info?

I think it would be particularly helpful this year and one should assume he/she needs to BEAT the numbers for each firm to get an interview, with that margin being even higher in tight markets (e.g. DC).

But, do they still publish that? If not we should post it on this site.

Anonymous said...

There was data from '07 going around and a 1L career services presentation last spring where they listed 3.3, 3.4+, etc. firms for each of the big cities. Is there more info than that?

Anonymous said...

1. There are definitely some people who've fared better than some of the previous posters (even in DC), perhaps as a result of bidding strategy (perhaps not). So honestly now- did highly selective firms dominate your list, particularly the first part of it?

2. Not sure how much the median GPA info will help people now that the bidding process is over.

3. Also, didn't the "special requests" feature simply get replaced by the "waitlist"? (Not sure about that- this is a genuine question). I would hope so; it sounds like a fairer solution than straight hustlin' (no disrespect to the 3L hustlers out there).

Anonymous said...

There used to be a spreadsheet which I think was what each firm would preselect, with GPA listed to a thousandth of a point. It listed all the firms (possibly by city?) and could be sorted out by GPA and such. Yes, it is late for it now, but given the preselect system CS was dumb if they did not publish it

Anonymous said...

People here should recognize that firms in really compeditive places (such as DC) really do care about UNDERGRAD and WORK EXPERIENCE.

Why CS does not talk about this? Cause it's done by the time you arrive and they don't want to scare youey So if you had neither in your favor you really should have been aiming lower or have been prepared to get less in the way of preselects.

(Of course if you are LR or have a great grades then you don't have to worry this)

Anonymous said...

Top 1/5 or so: 25 pre-selects, 2 lottery, 1 alternate. Journal, no LR. It sounds like I have a lot of interviews compared to people with similar grades. I mostly bid on firms interviewing for West Coast offices, which could explain it, but I also got a few DC interviews.

Anonymous said...

"I mostly bid on firms interviewing for West Coast offices, which could explain it, but I also got a few DC interviews."

How many is a "few"? A "few DC interviews" is what other people received- and that's precisely the complaint.

Just to maybe reorient the thread here: The value of these comments isn't to feel momentary relief or anger in response to other students' bidding outcomes. It's to collect information necessary to determine what bidding strategies and what preselection/lottery splits work best in a tough market, and, of course, just how tough it is out there.

So yeah, not to knock those who have posted so far, but let's be a little more attuned to our purpose here if we're going to share information: total interviews is largely irrelevant for most of the class. What matters is 1) what markets did you aim for? 2) how high in those markets did you aim- how optimistic were you in your rankings, that is? 3) what was the result?

Anonymous said...

Top 10%, LR, looking mostly at DC and NY: 30 pre-select, 6 alternate, 0 lottery (got 8/10 top bids).

Turns out I'll be away from Charlottesville for a couple of OGI days, so I'm canceling all interviews scheduled for those days and instead asking for a screening interview with each of those firms by phone. I'm also canceling interviews with several firms in which I was not particularly interested but on which I bid anyway, just in case few of my top choices ended up pre-selected me.

Factoring in potential interviews as an alternate or waitlistee, I expect to have between 17 and 25 on-grounds interviews, in addition to between 5 and 15 interviews outside OGIs.

All in all, I feel like I'm making the right calls. 2Ls in positions similar to mine would do well to jettison at least a few interviews with firms that they are not seriously considering.

Anonymous said...

12:48 from earlier-

Just to be a bit more helpful, as per the request, my bidding strategy that seemed to work to some degree was to basically scratch any firm where I knew I simply would never get hired. This actually cut out a lot of places in DC that ordinarily I might have included if I was just banking on personality.

My preselects were all from places smaller than 600-700 attys, and most of my interviews in general are with places with fewer than 700 attys. This was just a strategic move I thought, since I liked my chances better at smaller places that would be more receptive to my resume than my grades. Not sure how many people in my position thought it through as much as that, which may account for the somewhat dismal numbers.

Anonymous said...

Top 20-25%; I bid mostly in D.C. at a variety of firms (I looked at the average GPA from 2007 and subtracted .2 as a guideline -- I bid on more firms at the lower end of the GPA than the higher end). I also bid on about 15 firms in California and a handful in another midsize market (there were not many firms from that market). I got 9 interviews with 2 preselects. The preselects were both from good firms in California. I only got 4 interviews with D.C. firms.

I also have 9 alternates with firms I did not win in the lottery, so I'm praying that some of those work out too. I'm actually disappointed in the information (or lack thereof) that we got from Career Services. I had no idea what I was doing when I was bidding, even after going to talk one-on-one with someone. They told me that no firm would skip over me because of my grades, which I took with a grain of salt at the time. Obviously I should have taken it with an even bigger grain of salt.

Anonymous said...

3.4-3.5, 7 preselects in DC, 6 in NY, 8 lotteries. I skipped S&C, DPW, Skadden, Deb, Cov, GDC, etc., and focused my top 10 on other pretty selective firms (but ones for which I was definitely in the ballpark), with the top 5 focused on firms I thought would be the most popular.

For the rest of my bids, I tossed in maybe 7-8 more picky firms, but that's it.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, the 8 lotteries were 6 in DC (they were like my top 6), and 2 in NY.

Anonymous said...

I'll just say career services was utterly useless as far as advice in this process.

My inquiry into which firms I would be competitive at got me a list of firms, half of which weren't even coming. That was in May/June before people started backing out. I mean, it's not too hard to at least look like you're trying to help me by checking your who knows how old list against what firms actually signed up....

Anonymous said...

... couldn't you just tell that those firms weren't coming from the list on Symplicity? CS probably just printed shit out based on their historic data, using your gpa range and target location. Why complain about receiving *more* information than necessary?

I thought CS was fine in terms of guidance, resume feedback... though I do wish they offered finer-grained versions of the data they undoubtedly keep. I also don't know if the 50/50 system was the best approach here.

Anonymous said...

I was just echoing someone else's sentiment. Not providing any data and then giving me a list that ignores half of the firms interviewing doesn't really help. It's not more information than necessary, it's useless information relative to what I asked for. Unless of course I was only supposed to bid on 15 firms....

Anonymous said...

@6:03 p.m., not to be politically incorrect, but are you a woman or a minority? LR? My numbers and strategy were similar to yours, but results were far worse. I'm just trying to figure out what the difference is. I thought my resume was pretty good, but maybe it was crap.

Rule 12 (f) said...

W/R/T to the person who asked about what kind of information CS provides regarding grades: somewhere on LawWeb there is a publication that has the average grades for getting a prescreened interview for previous years. Helpful, but mot the most useful thing in the world, because (1) the grades for people who got callbacks / offers were substantially higher, and (2) this OGI will be nothing like previous years, sadly.

It's fairly clear that this is nothing like last year's OGI, where people with the median usually got close to 25 interviews.

Anonymous said...

Following on that, this year CS specifically told us they were withholding the grade info they provided in recent years.

All we got was some GPA ranges during the section presentations made by CS. That information, we were told, would not be made available to us following the meeting, nor the slides they used.

Anyone who had better luck getting that info out of CS?

Rule 12 (f) said...

"Following on that, this year CS specifically told us they were withholding the grade info they provided in recent years.

All we got was some GPA ranges during the section presentations made by CS. That information, we were told, would not be made available to us following the meeting, nor the slides they used.

Anyone who had better luck getting that info out of CS?"

Wait, what? Really? why?

Anonymous said...

If I'm mistaken here, someone please correct me.

Each 1L section had a Career Services presentation around March or so. They did a powerpoint presentation explaining symplicity and OGI.

This was from an SBA Comittee Chair e-mail regarding the lack of GPA data: (I have no problem reproducing it since it's pretty much common knowledge having been sent to every 1L):

"We'd really like to encourage all of you to see Career Services for
one-on-one meetings regarding this fall's OGI process. We understand
that in your section meetings, Career Services presented a lot of GPA
data on specific cities and firms. Career Services isn't publicly
releasing this data, but in one-on-one meetings, they will be able to
use the GPA information and their past experiences to tailor their
advice specifically to you. One-on-one meetings are really the only
way to get specific GPA information about individual firms and markets
in which you are interested. This data will be important for making
your lottery picks as informed as possible."

I think the reasoning was basically a combination of a) the data is useless because of the market, b) we don't want to scare anyone, and c) unstated, but they didn't want to commit to info that would bite them in the ass when what happened last week actually happened (3.5 students getting 9 interviews...

So, in response to 6:23, getting neither specific info for my situation or a list reflecting my chances with firms actually interviewing was less than helpful.

Anyone else, feel free to correct what I've said.

Anonymous said...

3.5--DC, 6 interviews

Anonymous said...

Hmm, I thought it was that "firms" had told CS they didn't want that data out there online (might make them appear less selective or something). Though the points about it being less reliable this year are likely also true. That said, CS did give more detailed data to some people I know who asked for it and had use for it.

When people say "CS was useless" or "CS was really helpful"... I'd be interested to know which CS staff member they spoke with. Lawson was very helpful, in my experience.

Anonymous said...

12(f), please take note, per an earlier post, that the GPA info may not have been great but it really helped gauge which interviews (and hence call backs, offers) were most difficult to get.

It is particularly important for a school that does 50% prescreening, where people are bidding knowing the firms will evaluate them (and most do it strictly by GPA for this round -- why? its easy).

Their REFUSAL to release it this year seems really questionable. . .

Anonymous said...

Lawson was somewhat helpful when I spoke with her, although she said that no firm would pass over me because of my grades. I have 3.5+ and I think I got passed over by plenty of firms.

Anonymous said...

1:00 here - it's hard for me to say exactly which of my interviews are "DC", because I applied for several firms with a DC office and indicated interest in a different office. But sorting based on firms that I got an interview with that do have a DC office, I put in 26 bids and got 14 interviews. Of those 14, 4 are for firms that are exclusively interviewing for their DC area offices.

I had no idea of competitiveness for firms (I got the sense that higher Vault ranking generally meant pickier although not always) and selected firms based on whether they sounded like good places to work or not. I ended up getting preselected by several firms that I figured would ignore me and dinged by a couple of safety-ish firms.

Anonymous said...

12:14 AM -

Definitely try to do last-minute interview requests, or whatever they are called. There are many firms that will pass up candidates that are qualifies but whom they don't think they are likely to get. Even students with top grades get passed up for interviews. But, if you express a particular interest in some of those firms, they are likely to meet with you and give you serious consideration.

Anonymous said...

7:31 AM -- You're welcome for the info. That said, you should've tried figuring out what to do by talking to Career Services, rather than getting pissy when someone is nice enough to explain something via a blog. Don't bite the hand that feeds you, 2L.

Anonymous said...

12:08 PM -- The Waitlist question is definitely a fair one. That said, again, if you want the real answer, email Lawson. I had some buddies last year who were really desperate, and she and Hopson managed to get them some interviews even when special requests failed. The bottom line is: If you show enough initiative and politeness, someone is going to pull strings for you, waitlist or not.

Anonymous said...

3L here. Advice for people median and above, including people top 10% law review. Do the max number of interviews, write no firm off that's even remotely in your ball-park, and do as many callbacks as you possibly can. Even last year there were law review types who got rejected from a lot of firms that should have been in their range. This year will be much worse.

Anonymous said...

I think alternate interviews are starting to open up. I just picked one up about five minutes ago. Looks like it's an automatic process.

Anonymous said...

3.45, 15 interviews (10 preselects), just looked now and I have 11 alternates as well.

Almost all NYC, LA, and SF. Specifically avoided DC.

Guess I should purchase a suit in the next week.

Anonymous said...

DC-based employer here. Here is my perspective on the screening/interview process.

1. The 50/50 system is killing the people with GPAs between 3.3 and 3.45. Since the number of interview spots is fixed, for every lottery winner, there's a loser. If my experience is indicative, most of the losers are in this range (although some of the losers have even higher GPAs).

2. If you get an interview as an alternate, that's just as good as being pre-selected. With so few pre-selections, the line between pre-selects and alternates is pretty arbitrary. They all look great on paper.

3. If you get a lottery selection and you meet my grade cutoff, that's nearly as good as being pre-selected. There is probably something about your resume that was a little weak (such as not having an obvious connection to DC), but you can overcome that in the interview.

4. Targeted requests for interviews outside of OGI can work. Be specific about why you are interested in my firm and city.

Good luck to everyone in this tough market.

Anonymous said...

2:51 PM -

Purchase a suit today and pay whatever it costs for epedited alterations. You should not buy a suit without getting it altered (at most good clothiers, you can't - at the very least the hem of the pants will be unfinished). This can often take a couple of weeks. So, to all 2Ls, if you don't own a suit, you're already behind the eight-ball. Go today.

Anonymous said...

I think intuitively the 3.3-3.45 GPA range is hurt more by the lottery, but in this case it seems as though the 3.45-3.55/3.6 non LR people are being hurt the most. These are the people that Career Services told that they would do fine on preselects alone and thus either didn't worry about their lottery picks or instead focused on only the top firms.

Then when these people might normally have received a preselect, because of the economy and the larger portion of slots assigned to the lottery they instead receive nothing.

People with 3.3-3.45 if they applied to traditionally less selective firms might find themselves in a much better position in terms of both preselection and lottery. Of course I'm sure that there are numerous individual exceptions, this is just what it seems like is happening to the roughly top 3rd of the class not on Law Review

Anonymous said...

@ 3:55 - nailed it, I think.

Anonymous said...

3:55 pm --

It's probably a toss-up between the GPA range you named and the one I did. Certainly the students between 3.45 and 3.6 would be the first to selected if pre-selecting were expanded, but many of my alternates were in the 3.45 to 3.6 range. I expect to see a number of them on the schedule after the top students decline. There is almost no one in the 3.3 to 3.45 range on my alternate list. Their only way onto the schedule is through the lottery. That's unfortunate because there is a lot of talent in that group.

Anonymous said...

3:55 did not nail it.

The argument for increasing our access to the information CS collects entails a rejection of the claim that we somehow need to be coddled. We need guidance, we need information, and perhaps some of us need a little perspective, but posts like the one above are probably exactly why CS errs on the side of keeping us in the dark.

I mean, to blame the plight of 3.4-3.6ers on CS saying "you will be ok" and thus somehow enabling rampant overshooting in the face of many reasons for extreme caution is ridiculous. These students knew how popular DC firms were. They knew how few preselect slots there were (10 per schedule, with # of schedules listed on Symplicity). They knew that 70-100 students had better grades. They knew these firms were selective. They knew it was a tough market, that firms wouldn't be climbing over each other to snag someone who was just as good as dozens of others in her class and *many* more at *many* other schools. This was all publicly available information thrown in front of everyone's faces.

Now, if you want to blame CS for moving from 75/25 to 50/50, that's legit. But while that approach may have screwed over some top 1/3 students, it definitely helped people around the median who would have been A) shut out of preselection even in a 75/25 system and B) would have had even fewer interviews through the smaller lottery.

Again, I would have suggested 50/50 + a max of 20 interviews + a highly limited # of alternates, or perhaps 25/75 preselect/lottery, or full lottery. In other words, I'm more concerned about bridging the 30-interview/6-interview gap across the board rather than just for some folks who were above the median but not competitive enough for preselection this round.

Anonymous said...

But, who has been through this before? We, as rising 2Ls? Or Career Services? When CS tells someone that she will be fine, even in a down market, are you suggesting that she ignore that information?

I very much agree with your proposal of smoothing out the 6-to-30 interview differential, but I think your suggestion that all the information we needed was right in front of our faces is awfully misguided.

Anonymous said...


Fair enough regarding the 3.4-3.6 as alternates. With the expanded interviews that students are allowed to take (30 not 25 this year), and the general advice thats been handed out to "take every single interview you can" I have no idea how many alternates will do anything other than remain that.


I'm not sure you can call aiming for some of the higher tier firms "rampant overshooting." I completely understand that the mistake of applying to firms outside of their range is part of the problem for the 3.45-3.6 students. I am not blaming career services for switching to a 50/50 lottery system. I am blaming them for the misleading and apparently inaccurate advice that was given out. Theoretically any proportion of lottery to preselect could be fine, 75/25,50/50, 100/0, but only if people are aware what they should be aiming for. Sure these people knew it was tough, but that doesn't mean they know which firms to apply to. CS encouraged people to come get advice. I feel like it makes sense to trust their advice and apply to the firms they say. However, their advice consisted of "apply anywhere you want" or to give out a least of firms that have hired people with certain GPA ranges such as 3.4-3.8, 3.2-3.4 etc... That seems like a pretty large range to me, and thus pretty useless. Yes they could have applied to the 3.2-3.4 range, but given the advice about "not hurting other people's chances" and being "fine" the 3.45-3.6 range tends to apply to the 3.4-3.8 firms.

Anecdotally, it seems like there are lots of 3.3-3.45 people who have more interviews as well as more preselects than those with a 3.45-3.6. I think that there are plenty of 3.45-3.6 people who received under 10 interviews due to bad CS advice for how to pick firms.

Anonymous said...

"When CS tells someone that she will be fine, even in a down market, are you suggesting that she ignore that information?"

Uh... Yeah! (1) Have you seen or interacted with who was in charge of CS last year? (2) Would you trust your career to the pithy comments of someone who has not worked in the industry for years? Hate to be a downer, but y'all aren't in college anymore. Coddling is over. Your parents or counselors can't phone it in for you. To all the 2Ls who were smart and played this game strategically, bidding for a large pool of safeties, covering all bases, y'all are smart kids and well on your way to becoming successful, self-reliant adults. With jobs.

Anonymous said...

4:25 here.

Don't ignore what CS says, but take it for what it's worth. Does "you'll be fine" mean you should feel confident that you'll find a job? Probably. Does it mean you should use it as license to shoot for the moon in a down year? Hm, that's on you, when, as I said before, you do so knowing 1) how many people are in your class 2) how many people are in your class with better grades 3) how many interviews just evaporated over the past year 4) general news about the ailing legal market 5) and, of course, the clincher: knowing how few people will get preselected. The only piece of the puzzle I won't hold anyone totally on the hook for is knowing enough about the popularity of certain firms at UVA. CS needs to give us historic info one that.

This isn't meant to be some vindictive diatribe on personal responsibility. It really isn't. We probably agree on at least one thing: if bidding strategy explains why one 3.6 got 2 preselects and 6 interviews and another got 8 preselects and 15 interviews, then that's a reason to make the bidding process more informed.

And that's all I want. To get that, we'll have to be a little careful about putting CS on the hook for the information they give out. Really.

Or perhaps in the future students should just send an email to CS with, "DC", or "50% DC, 50% SF", or "25% DC and 75% NY" in the subject line, and have them fill everything in for us. Yeah.

Anonymous said...

Implying that most people didn't listen to CS advice is ridiculous. I would argue that the majority of students adhered to the CS guidelines. It is just that the advice was useful for part of the class, but not the top 3rd.

Anonymous said...

@ 4:51, that's a pretty smug and arrogant take of the situation. God forbid someone trusts the career advisors UVA has appointed for career advice. What's the moral you're trying to get across, trust no one and always be cynical? Frankly you just come off as an ass.

Anonymous said...

@ 4:51

Please don't worry, I'm very much a self-reliant adult, and, GASP!, I applied to a wide range of safeties, just like you. I had good grades, but I didn't get many interviews. Please stand down.

I'll rest assured that your online personality will shine through in your interviews, and I will get your job. See ya out there.

Anonymous said...

3:51 PM. I was kidding about the suit. I have one, it just requires extensive dry cleaning. It was the suit I wore when I recently won the "most inebriated" award at a friend's wedding. UVA Law represent!

Anyone else going to the UVA/Duke 9/11 LA Interview Extravaganza?

-2:51 PM

Anonymous said...

just give us all the info and we'll figure it out...don't tell a 3.5 that he can't see the data but he need not worry

Anonymous said...

I'm a 3.5+ who applied to plenty of "safety" firms and still only got 2 preselects. I think focusing on D.C. was a bigger problem than "overshooting."

Anonymous said...

atupid question: so what the hell are those with < 3.3 gonna do?? when people with 3.5's are getting 4 preselects, i can only assume that the dude w/ a 3.29 or less (half the class) got NONE. is there gonna be 180+ unemployed students in 2011?

Anonymous said...

10:23 PM-

3.16 here. 13 interviews, 6 preselects - some in DC, some in smaller markets. Nothing too spectacular in terms of soft factors or whatever.

Anonymous said...

when people with 3.5's are getting 4 preselects, i can only assume that the dude w/ a 3.29 or less (half the class) got NONE

I think that's a flawed assumption. The guy with a 3.5 might have applied only to DC firms, or only the V50, or something similar; the guy with the 3.29 might have thrown in more regional firms and smaller markets that, even ITE, would be happy to hire a median UVA grad. It's (hopefully) not the case that everyone bid for the same firms -- there were still more than 200 employers here, after all.

Anonymous said...

3.2, got 4 pre-selects, 12 interviews, plus 2 alternates. East coast markets.

My primary beef is with career services, which seem, to be kind, TOTALLY incompetent. Not only is symplicity not working properly, but they seem to have no answers and are completely unprepared. I understand this is a tough market, but they are exacerbating the situation.

Anonymous said...

OCS should have told weaker students to avoid D.C. like the plague. Secondary markets seem to be key here and you might even like your job more/learn more at a smaller firm. Don't hate on the secondary markets.

Andrea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

3L here. It's true, guys. D.C. was rough even last year. It's always been extremely competitive. UVA kids always seem to think D.C. is a sinch, but there's a lot of local competition there. If last year was difficult, I can't imagine what y'all are facing this year.

I feel sorry for y'all after reading these multiple novella length emails from the new CS dude. It seems like everything is a complete mess. And let's not even TALK about the LAW REG bullshit. Cary Bennett deserves a special place in... the Libel Show. Don't know why they just didn't stick with the old, but incredibly inefficient, OGI system. Could've at least gotten advice from 3Ls on how to work it. Sucks, guys.

At the very least, you've got someone in New CS Dude who seems pretty diligent about helping you out. Can't say the same about my experience with OGI last year. I'll never forget emailing Lawson and Hopson for info about some pretty big firms I was deciding between, only to have them both respond that they had never even heard of the places. Talk about slamming your head against the wall...

Anonymous said...

First, we weren't making any 3L offers last year. Nothing will change this year. Sorry, sort of. How'd you manage not to have a job after 2L summer??

Second, this 50/50 lottery thing is a waste of our time. No, your 3.whatever GPA isn't going to be overcome by your personality/ethnicity/gender/orientation/work experience/undergrad prestige or GPA. We always have a pretty hard cut off, and this year it is looking a lot more like the Berlin wall than just a suggestion from the hiring partners back in the office.

So, all this expanded lottery system means that 50% of the time, we'll have to just sit there for 15-20 minutes, try to keep it moving, and maybe give you tips about how to get a job at another firm. On the plus side, some of y'all are fun to talk to (much better than HLS), which makes it better than our average day at work. Doesn't mean you get one of our limited call back slots, but we will enjoy your company.

Third, as just noted, call backs will be fewer and further between--and your chance to get an offer before the class fills up will be gone by mid September. Those of you good enough and/or lucky enough to get a call back should be all over it like a PA on a pair of drunk 1L twins.

Finally, good luck. "Relax, this is UVa and we're all getting jobs" was three years ago.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of OGIs & Cary Bennett, why the hell is LawRegRT opening the same day as the first (and for many 2Ls, the busiest) day of OGIs?

Someone didn't think that cunning plan through very well.

Anonymous said...

Roughly top 5% with 30 interviews, all preselect.

2 callbacks at end of first day of interviews: Dickstein Shapiro (DC) and Hunton & Williams (Richmond).

Anonymous said...

3.33. 16 interviews and 3 alternates. 10/16 were preselects. I bid on a bunch of firms in secondary markets to which I had a connection. However, got preselected for a couple D.C. firms.

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