The most helpful thing Professor Hillinger taught me during my 1L year was that networking is a critical tool during the legal job search. Although I earned my position for next summer through The Law Consortium, an OCI analog, I am thankful to my past-self for speaking to as many attorneys as I could. In hindsight, I think my networking helped me to figure out which legal practices I am interested in, which firms might be the best fit for my work style, and to become more comfortable and knowledgeable when speaking to attorneys. Just as Professor Hillinger stressed, networking should be an integral part of every 1L’s experience.
During my first semester of 1L, I talked to as many attorneys as I could find from a breadth of experiences and practice areas. Everything in law school seemed interesting to me, and I knew it would be important to be more targeted in my internship and job search. I made sure that I reached out to speak one-on-one to at least one attorney after every negotiation competition, club panel, or CSO event I attended. In the beginning, I had no idea what to talk about, but I knew that people like talking about themselves, so my networking conversations involved a lot of personal questions: “how did you know you wanted to pursue litigation,” “what made you choose to move in-house after working in Big Law”, and “how did you decide on your specific practice areas?” Through these conversations, I realized that I did not strictly identify with the transactional or litigation camps, and decided to pursue a career more closely aligned with regulatory work, where I would have the chance to have a broader range of work.
OCI was last week. How is everyone doing?
For the uninitiated, the On-Campus Interview Program is one of the principal ways BC Law students line up 2L summer internships at big law firms. These internships hopefully (and usually) lead to post-graduation job offers. There are, of course, other ways to get jobs in these firms. But OCI is a unique chance to get on that career trajectory early. So for those who aspire to work in these firms, OCI is a hugely important event. It is another one of those choke points in legal education that can feel all-important and all-consuming. And like those other gatekeeping moments, students are assessed and judged based on partial information. Resumes, cover letters, GPAs. And then the interviews, now conducted virtually, further diminishing that sliver of human connection that interviews used to allow.
What follows is a virtual conversation between me and my friend Meg Green ’21 about our experience with OCI. We actually met during OCI callbacks at a Boston firm last year.
That was a dramatic title. What do you mean about humanity?
T: What I mean is that despite this On-Campus Interviewing (OCI) process seeming (for many) like the defining moment of your career, in which you either succeed heroically or fall tragically like an ancient empire, it’s just a job placement process, likely the first (or second or twentieth) over the course of your long and exciting career. Approach it with the correct perspective. Is it scary? Yes. Is it awkward? 100%. If you strike out will you fail at anything and everything else you attempt for the rest of your life? Of course not. That’s absurd. That’s all I am getting at. Stress can bring out the worst in people. So just go through this process humanely and humbly and know that keeping your cool and being nice to people is never the wrong approach.
A few weeks ago, Boston College executed their second annual innovative program aimed at providing first- and second-year law students the opportunity to gain unique in-house counsel experience at a variety of companies. The business in-house opportunities “Business Interview Days” (BIDz) event successfully culminated in over 100 interviews taking place for over 60 students at employers, including State Street Global Advisors, Cabot Corporation, Brooks Automation, athenahealth, Foundation Medicine, Draper Lab, Albany Molecular Research Inc. (AMRI), HubSpot, Southern New Hampshire University (OGC), Converse/NIKE, TripAdvisor, and Dunkin‘ Brands. The event was preceded by an overview discussion about in-house work by Sidd Pattanayak, the Assistant General Counsel at TripAdvisor, in addition to mock interviews at the Career Services office for any students who wanted some tailored practice before actually having to put their skills to the test.
No, that noise you hear as the calendar flips to November isn’t the sound of leaves blowing in the fall wind. Rather, it it a collective sigh of relief coming from BC Law 2Ls that the OCI process has finally come to a close. OCI, short for “on campus interviewing,” serves as the major recruitment tool for most large, national firms looking to hire summer associates. Over the summer, 2L students may submit resumes, cover letters, and transcripts to all of the firms that they are interested in interviewing with. The firms then select students they wish to meet with for screener interviews on the law school campus. These initial interviews are about twenty minutes long and are generally a way for firms to get a feel for whether or not the candidate is a good “fit.”
For the third year in a row, the LSA has partnered with Career Services to put together a series of presentations that are collectively known as 1L Boot Camp. These Boot Camp programs, headed by past Impact blog author Cara Fonseca, provide 1Ls with the skills and knowledge to succeed in networking, job hunting, and in their future careers.
One of the key elements of Boot Camp is exposing the 1Ls to different practice areas and potential career paths. This is where BC 2Ls and 3Ls are able to take the help we’ve received in the past and pay it forward. The most recent Boot Camp presentation was a group of panels composed of 2Ls and 3Ls who have worked in various practice areas over the past two summers. Continue reading
Editor’s Note: Cara Fonseca is a rising 3L and the incoming Co-Chair of the LSA Career Mentoring Committee, which organizes the 1L Boot Camp Career Prep Series each year. For the second in our series of three posts geared to help rising 2Ls prepare for the on-campus interview process, Cara was kind enough to contribute as a guest blogger. The topic of this post is straightforward – how to interview with law firms as well as you possibly can during OCI and callbacks.
By now, a significant number of you probably have three little letters buzzing around in your head: OCI. You have worked hard all year, made it through two aggressive rounds of final exams, and now it’s summer. You are probably working somewhere awesome, but you also know there are other new and exciting opportunities on the horizon, especially if you are interested in working for a large firm. You have also probably heard through the grapevine that working at a firm offers the opportunity to get unbelievable training and experience, not to mention to work with awesome clients on fascinating cases. (Totally true!) Ok, so OCI is certainly a worthwhile endeavor, and you’ve decided how you want to bid and sent in (or are about to send in) your resumes and writing samples. So you’re ready for interviews, right?!?!
If you’re anything like I was as a rising 2L, you probably see the interview process as equally exciting and intimidating. I truly believe the interview is the most important part of the recruiting process. A great interview can get you an awesome summer associate offer, even if your grades are not the best in the class. Although I am by no means an expert when it comes to interview strategy and skills, I’ve provided a bit of my own advice and tidbits from interviewing attorneys, summer associates, and junior associates to compile a list of tips and tricks that I hope you will find helpful as you enter into your own interviewing process:
Editor’s Note: This post is the first in a series of three geared to help rising 2Ls prepare for the on-campus interview process and provide prospective students with an inside look at the recruiting process during law school. The topic of this post is a general overview and breakdown of the logistics of the OCI process, and tips for navigating it each step of the way.
As hard as it may be to believe, OCI is right around the corner. If you knew the phrase “on-campus interview” before the start of law school, you had a head start on most of the class. And if you found time during 1L to learn a bit about the process, even better.
Leading up to your first round of interviews, it’s perfectly normal to feel excited, impatient, and more than slightly nervous. One way we do not want you to feel is unprepared. As with any advice, the information that follows is not a one-size-fits-all, guaranteed recipe for success. Hopefully, however, you find the suggestions worthwhile and as a result feel more confident heading into the OCI process. Let’s start by laying out the timeline: Continue reading
Yesterday, the National Law Journal published its annual list of the “Go-To Law Schools.” Unlike many other publications, NLJ uses only one piece of data to order its rankings – percentage of the graduating class heading to a job with one of the 250 largest law firms in the U.S.
BC moved up two spots in the 2015 rankings, from 23 to 21. The Class of 2014 sent 66 grads into first-year associate positions, 13 more than the Class of 2013.
Columns, sorted from left to right: Rank, School, Number of Associates at NLJ 250 Firms, 2014 Grads, Percent of Grads at NLJ 250 Firms