Thursday, August 25, 2005

On Campus Interviews (OCIs)

For those who are unaware: second year law students are preparing for interviews for next summer. Yes, summer 2006. I know, it's crazy. Summer 2005 hasn't even ended and we're toiling away to secure a job for next summer. For this super-early hiring schedule, we can thank the Americans. Before 1998, this process was slated for February and students had another term of marks on their transcripts. Then a few New York firms moved across the border and to prevent them from snagging the cream of the Canadian crop, Bay Street firms adopted their hiring schedule.

Honestly, I don't have much to say on this topic. I can tell you that our deadline for submitting applications is Sept. 12. About 45 firms and 10 government agencies will be coming to Queen's to interview us in 7 - 10 minute intervals. Also, we have 13 days longer than our compatriots at UofT to put our applications together. (But not really - because even if they don't get them to their career office, they can still send them themselves. All the deadlines have been set by the LSUC.) Lastly, I can tell you that this process will determine the future careers of some law students. But I can't tell you who. Not yet.

Last year, more than 116 students applied for positions and 46 were successful. Similarly, in 2003 more than 100 applied and 45 accepted positions. Grades are important, but not everything. I know of one student with straight As throught first year and didn't secure a job through OCIs. In the end, however, employment was found. The OCI process is not the be-all-and-end-all of finding a job. Most upper year students found law jobs for summer 2005, although I know a few who didn't. You know, I think I'm going to stop here and pass the baton to a couple students who have already published their advice:

Derek McKee wrote last year:
If you want to know about a particular field, the best way to learn of opportunities is get involved, now. Waiting for the perfect Pumpkin Law firm to recruit you is like waiting for the Great Pumpkin. Become a Pumpkin activist, start a Pumpkin business, write an article on Pumpkin policy. Get a research job with a Professor X. (Even if this professor is not so hot in the classroom, s/he might be great to work with.) This is how you will meet Pumpkin lawyers and learn of opportunities in the Pumpkin field (or patch, as it were).
Before applying to the big firms, ask yourself this: What about myself will be expressed in this job? Another way of asking this question is: if this job were an extracurricular, would I want to join it? It's true that some people have a passion for corporate law or great big financial transactions; more power to them. But I suspect that most law students don't have such an interest. They try to invent one, because they've convinced themselves that this is their best and only option.
Incidentally, Derek has his own communications company. Check it out.

Michelle Dean wrote in 2003:
[T]here's room for lots of different types here and there's no particular reason to think you don't "belong" or aren't "worthy" unless it's informed by some larger assumption about what being in law school entails. And more often than not that assumption isn't made from experience but from expectation.

[L]et me offer the advice that the Zen Buddhist in me (battered though she is) tries to remember once a day: don't listen to anyone, don't try to be anything, just be. That's the only real way to get through law school.
Sounds like good advice to me. OK - I'm going to go revamp my CV (again).


At 1:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, fall term is going to be very stressful. Stupid OCI's.

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