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Sapere aude - dare to be wise
Wednesday, September 17, 2003
Posted 10:21 AM by Kelly
Free Advice (& I presume you are aware of its worth)
I recently finished the "first round" of On Campus Interviews (OCI). The program involves submitting your resume online, during the summer after your first year, and placing bids with law firms that intend to conduct on campus interviews when the fall semester starts. You are then notified which firms have "granted" you an interview.

I took the free advice of a person that doesn't know me and I placed a bid with every firm whose minimum standards I met. I had been planning to bid only a handful of firms that I knew had practice areas that interest me. I was discouraged from limiting myself in this way and the reasoning made sense to me: that unless I was positive I would get 2nd interviews and then job offers with these few firms, I should bid as many firms as possible.
Of course, I had no idea who would remain interested in me after the initial screening interview, so I bid many firms. After several interviews, I began to regret my decision. I found myself answering the question "So, what attracted you to our firm?" with not-so-honest answers. I figured, "I bid every firm I could" wouldn't come across very well.
About a week into the process, with more than half the interviews complete and many more to go, I started cancelling interviews. I simply decided I was wasting the time of both myself and the interviewers. I am sure the Office of Professional Development wishes I had been more selective in my bidding, though they graciously cancelled interviews when I requested.

If you don't have a particular area of law that interests you, or if the area or areas in which you are interested are practiced by almost every firm, then bidding many firms may work to your advantage.
While I definitely need exposure to new areas of law, I have areas of interest related to my background that I know I would like to experience. That most of the OCI firms don't practice in these areas made the initial process more difficult for me.

My advice as one person who has gone through this process: bid carefully. Interviews are only 20-30 minutes each, but if you are going to have a busy schedule (classes, law review, moot court, work, etc...) then every moment counts. And it takes time to prepare for interviews. You need copies of your current resume, references, and possibly writing samples. You should also know a bit about the firm before you enter the interview room.

There are, of course, other ways to find summer jobs. The Office of Professional Development is ready and eager to help students with their job searches. I found that OCI was a convenient way to interview with more than one potential employer.

Good luck to all on the job search - and to those who will go through OCI next year.

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