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Author Topic: Prepping for a Non-OCI biglaw interview?  (Read 3421 times)

Salamon26

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Prepping for a Non-OCI biglaw interview?
« on: October 08, 2008, 11:00:07 AM »
I have an interview at a biglaw firm through networking, and they told me to come in for an interview next time I am around that area (It is for an out of state firm) and there is not a set date. The interview will be with one attorney for 30 minutes (Is this an OCI type initial interview, even though this is separate from OCI?)  I am looking for any interview advice I can get. I had one interview for a corporate counsel internship that was through OCI, but I wasn't really asked any questions and the interviewer just discussed classes he took at my school and general discussion. Thank you



**UPDATE *** - Found out that the person interviewing me will be one of the partners (my contact's contact.  Also my contact knows the partner interviewing me, since my contact's company has used this law firm in the past) Does that change anything? (hopefully!)

juliemccoy

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Re: Prepping for a Non-OCI biglaw interview?
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2008, 11:29:52 AM »
If you are meeting with only one attorney, this would be a screening interview. Research the firm-- the practice areas you are interested in that they provide, recent firm achievements, awards, your interviewer's bio.

Be prepared to talk about 1) your ties to the area, 2) what you did this past summer (esp if you clerked; talk about the work you did), 3) your interest in the firm, 4) anything you have in common with the interviewer. They will try to pair you with an alumnus of your law school, so be prepared to talk about college football, the food in the cafeteria, how much you love the area, etc.

Ask questions about the type of work that person handles, how work is assigned in the department, how a summer associate would be utilized, first year associate training, what type of person they are looking for when deciding who to hire/promote. If you're a woman/minority, ask how the firm operates to recruit and retain minorities. If they have been recognized as a Top Firm for Women and you're a woman, ask them what makes it such a great workplace for women, etc.

Don't ask questions you can easily find the answers to. Most firms' websites detail how the summer program works-- eg: rotate through practice groups or you choose the practices you want to work with, assigned a summer mentor, etc. Instead ask questions that show you've done your homework. For example: "I see that all summer associates are given a mentor. How are they assigned? Is the mentor the person who provides feedback on projects?"

Don't be afraid to come into the interview with a physical list of questions. In fact, you should have those questions! Bring extra copies of your resume, list of references, writing sample and unofficial transcripts.

Most of all, be yourself, smile, shine your shoes ahead of time and come across as neat and pressed, fresh breath, and give a firm handshake. Be sure to send a prompt thank you note after the interview. Some people like email. I prefer to handwrite a quick note expressing my thanks and interest.

Good luck!
Vanderbilt 2010

Salamon26

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Re: Prepping for a Non-OCI biglaw interview?
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2008, 02:00:11 PM »
This is a screening interview.  Make yourself be in town at your own expense as soon as possible. You'd need to have time to schedule a callback at their expense before all offers are extended.

Do not bust out a physical list of questions in any interview, ever.

so I still have to go through the OCI process even though this is not an OCI interview? Also, how long is too long to wait to go for the initial interview? I can only interview on 1 day a week because I cannot skip my classes, and worst case scenario it might be 2-3 weeks before I can get down there.  Absolute shortest would be next friday.

Salamon26

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Re: Prepping for a Non-OCI biglaw interview?
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2008, 02:26:44 PM »
I have no more absences in one class, and the class policy is that you get dropped if you have used up more than the allowed absences.  Do schools usually give you excused absences for flying out to interviews?  If not, my choice if it falls on a class day is either get dropped from a 4 credit class, or skip the interview, which does not sound like good choices.

t14troll

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Re: Prepping for a Non-OCI biglaw interview?
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2008, 02:36:13 PM »
I have no more absences in one class, and the class policy is that you get dropped if you have used up more than the allowed absences.  Do schools usually give you excused absences for flying out to interviews?  If not, my choice if it falls on a class day is either get dropped from a 4 credit class, or skip the interview, which does not sound like good choices.

lol @ ur TTT

Matthies

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Re: Prepping for a Non-OCI biglaw interview?
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2008, 02:57:31 PM »
I disagree with my  esteemed colleagues here and I know Iím breaking the cardinal rule of LSD by responding to a post on something I have actually done rather than just making *&^% up out of my ass about how I think things work Iíve never tried, but bare with me.

Whether or not itís a screening interview will depend on two things: how far up your contact is in the firms pecking order and if youíre going to be part of the summer class or independent of them. Are you meeting with the person who is your contact or someone directly below them (like their main senior associate?). If its outside the normal OCI class (which in my experience most networking positions are) you will be doing a full on interview and itís the only shot you will get.

 I have networked into big law regional offices and never had a ďscreening interviewĒ and all my interviews ended with an offer on the spot. Its different from the typical OCI process as your often handpicked and recommended by someone at the firm who has the power to say they must hire you and for who you will be working almost exclusively while you are there. If your outside the OCI summer class you wonít be part of their program nor will you be shuffled between departments during the time you spend at the firm, you will work for the partner who brought you in and maybe a few others in that particular department (at least that was my experience). The decision to make you an offer or not after you have finished will also be pretty much made by the person who brought you in, or a few people from that department who worked for you. Your offer, or at least all of mine, will likely come from that partner and be personal, followed up by a written re-iteration by the firms HR afterward.

There is rarely any committee making these decisions.  However, if your contact is just an associate or some friend of a friend then its likely they would put you into the summer class pool and you would not be going this route anyway. Prepare like itís a full on interview, donít go in thinking itís a screening interview.
*In clinical studies, Matthies was well tolerated, but women who are pregnant, nursing or might become pregnant should not take or handle Matthies due to a rare, but serious side effect called him having to make child support payments.

Matthies

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Re: Prepping for a Non-OCI biglaw interview?
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2008, 03:02:31 PM »
As an alternative, you could ask to set up a phone screening interview, but I think that generally puts you at a disadvantage especially if you request it because you aren't going to be in the area any time soon during interview season (would suggest you're not that interested in that geographical area). 

I agree with this avoid phone interviews or doing anything that would reflect bad on the person who recoemnded you. Your reputation with the firm, even you donít end up getting an offer, starts now. Always keep that in mind. If you are sure youíre going to end up in that market this wonít be the last time youíre likely to see this attorney or partner, even if you end up someplace else.  Outside of large legal markets regional markets are close nit, everyone knows everyone else.
*In clinical studies, Matthies was well tolerated, but women who are pregnant, nursing or might become pregnant should not take or handle Matthies due to a rare, but serious side effect called him having to make child support payments.

Salamon26

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Re: Prepping for a Non-OCI biglaw interview?
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2008, 03:08:16 PM »
I disagree with my  esteemed colleagues here and I know Iím breaking the cardinal rule of LSD by responding to a post on something I have actually done rather than just making poo up out of my ass about how I think things work Iíve never tried, but bare with me.

Whether or not itís a screening interview will depend on two things: how far up your contact is in the firms pecking order and if youíre going to be part of the summer class or independent of them. Are you meeting with the person who is your contact or someone directly below them (like their main senior associate?). If its outside the normal OCI class (which in my experience most networking positions are) you will be doing a full on interview and itís the only shot you will get.

 I have networked into big law regional offices and never had a ďscreening interviewĒ and all my interviews ended with an offer on the spot. Its different from the typical OCI process as your often handpicked and recommended by someone at the firm who has the power to say they must hire you and for who you will be working almost exclusively while you are there. If your outside the OCI summer class you wonít be part of their program nor will you be shuffled between departments during the time you spend at the firm, you will work for the partner who brought you in and maybe a few others in that particular department (at least that was my experience). The decision to make you an offer or not after you have finished will also be pretty much made by the person who brought you in, or a few people from that department who worked for you. Your offer, or at least all of mine, will likely come from that partner and be personal, followed up by a written re-iteration by the firms HR afterward.

There is rarely any committee making these decisions.  However, if your contact is just an associate or some friend of a friend then its likely they would put you into the summer class pool and you would not be going this route anyway. Prepare like itís a full on interview, donít go in thinking itís a screening interview.


thank you for that very informative post. Here is what I know so far, my contact is very high up in his firm/company, but since his place does not hire law students fresh out of school, he forwarded my resume to his contact at another firm, the firm I received an interview for.  The email came from the recruiting dept at the firm, and the person who forwarded my resume to recruiting is a partner at the firm. I guess this means that my contact knew a partner at this firm, and sent him my resume, and in turn this partner sent my resume to recruiting.  I have no idea who will interview me, and they said they will just get an attorney to interview me once I get there.  I did not apply to this firm directly, I sent my resume/grades to my contact, who relayed it to his contact at this law firm.

With your experiences though, how many attorneys interviewed you for "networking interviews"?  They said in my email it will only be 1 attorney and only for 30 minutes, which seems like a very short interview if they were actually considering giving an offer on that date? 

PS - This is a national/global biglaw firm, and my grades and school pedigree are not very comparable to the pedigree of most of the attorneys working there, which is also a concern for me. 

Matthies

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Re: Prepping for a Non-OCI biglaw interview?
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2008, 03:11:04 PM »
That's not an interview outside the OCI process (which I've done) through networking or letter-writing; that's an interview outside the summer associate program entirely. A thirty-minute interview can, on rare occasions and almost universally not at true biglaw firms, lead to an offer. But a thirty-minute interview is not a "callback," sorry.

And you know this from your vast experience working at firms in every legal market by networking into law firms several times, or this is just your hunch based on OCI experince?  Mass mail letter writing in not networking nor even close to what we are talking about here, that operates very much like an OCI interview process.   
*In clinical studies, Matthies was well tolerated, but women who are pregnant, nursing or might become pregnant should not take or handle Matthies due to a rare, but serious side effect called him having to make child support payments.

Matthies

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Re: Prepping for a Non-OCI biglaw interview?
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2008, 03:18:34 PM »
I disagree with my  esteemed colleagues here and I know Iím breaking the cardinal rule of LSD by responding to a post on something I have actually done rather than just making poo up out of my ass about how I think things work Iíve never tried, but bare with me.

Whether or not itís a screening interview will depend on two things: how far up your contact is in the firms pecking order and if youíre going to be part of the summer class or independent of them. Are you meeting with the person who is your contact or someone directly below them (like their main senior associate?). If its outside the normal OCI class (which in my experience most networking positions are) you will be doing a full on interview and itís the only shot you will get.

 I have networked into big law regional offices and never had a ďscreening interviewĒ and all my interviews ended with an offer on the spot. Its different from the typical OCI process as your often handpicked and recommended by someone at the firm who has the power to say they must hire you and for who you will be working almost exclusively while you are there. If your outside the OCI summer class you wonít be part of their program nor will you be shuffled between departments during the time you spend at the firm, you will work for the partner who brought you in and maybe a few others in that particular department (at least that was my experience). The decision to make you an offer or not after you have finished will also be pretty much made by the person who brought you in, or a few people from that department who worked for you. Your offer, or at least all of mine, will likely come from that partner and be personal, followed up by a written re-iteration by the firms HR afterward.

There is rarely any committee making these decisions.  However, if your contact is just an associate or some friend of a friend then its likely they would put you into the summer class pool and you would not be going this route anyway. Prepare like itís a full on interview, donít go in thinking itís a screening interview.


thank you for that very informative post. Here is what I know so far, my contact is very high up in his firm/company, but since his place does not hire law students fresh out of school, he forwarded my resume to his contact at another firm, the firm I received an interview for.  The email came from the recruiting dept at the firm, and the person who forwarded my resume to recruiting is a partner at the firm. I

Given this scenario its most likely you will be put into the summer pool with the rest of the candidates. You just got the interview outside the OCI process, nothing more, this is not all that uncommon, but very different than being picked by someone at the firm to work at that firm under them. Iím not seeing much advantage here thatís going to set you outside of the normal process, given these additional facts this is likely a screening interview for the summer class nothing more. If you were interviewing with your contact at your cotacts firm it would be a different story. Be sure, no matter what happens, you thank your contact for going out on a limb for you.    
*In clinical studies, Matthies was well tolerated, but women who are pregnant, nursing or might become pregnant should not take or handle Matthies due to a rare, but serious side effect called him having to make child support payments.