As the summer is sadly coming to an end, we’ve had lots of law students reach out to us about our experience going through the wonderfully natural OCI recruitment process. With the application deadline coming up in less than a week, we decided to share some of the wisdom we’ve been able to gather from other OCI veterans and by reflecting on our very own, not so distant, experience on the OCI rollercoaster!
(*cue “Love Rollercoaster” by Ohio Players*)
“Before the applications are due (or even after, as you learn where you will be interviewing), reach out to people from firms. You do not want to overdo it (that is, don’t speak to five people at every place that you are applying), but the more people you get a chance to chat with, the better you will be able to see what sets the firms apart, and the better you will be able to know where you want to work/where you would fit in.
There is no such thing as asking too many people to read your cover letters/resume. If you haven’t already, reach out to upper year mentors, friends, family, pets, whoever is willing to give you the time.
When drafting your cover letter, tell a story. You want to draw the reader in, make them interested in who you are, and say something separate from what is in your resume. Focus on specific experiences that illustrate the skills that you want to show to firms (and show that you have the skills, don’t just tell the reader that you do).
If possible, do not book OCIs back-to-back. A break between them makes it a lot easier for you to take the time to remember what you spoke about, and prepare for the next one. To that end, your interviewers will often give you business cards at the end – during the break, jot down quick notes on what you talked about, to make your life easier once you write follow-up emails.” – Robert Sniderman
“My biggest tip for OCIs would be to go in with no expectations and no favourites. There’s no need to put more pressure on yourself for certain interviews than others. Treat each equally, that way you’ll be sure to show your best self to every firm and not crack under the pressure. The less expectations you have of what will or should happen in the interviews, the better.
In regards to the In-Firm interviews, don’t wait for a firm to chase you – if you want to come back the next day, let them know. Although the whole process is like some big silly game, don’t let yourself fall through the cracks – make your interest known. You want to feel by the end of the interview week that you did everything possible you could have done to get the job.” – Erin Minuk
“OCI Interview Day tips:
Bring Listerine Strips. Use them in between interviews, it keeps the mouth moist and the breath fresh!
Write a quick sentence about something you talked about in the OCI on the back of the interviewer’s business card as soon as you’re done. This will come in handy when you’re trying to personalize thank you emails later.
Know your resume inside out and backwards. Have an anecdote about every single thing on it.” – Carmen Bruni
“Ask questions that show you’re interested in the day to day, things like:
What does an average day look like for you?
Do you find that in your department the work comes in waves or are you constantly fairly busy?
If your interviewer is a new associate, you can always ask:
What was your favorite student event in the summer?
I find that asking questions shows you’ve been thinking about the firm and the type of work you’re going to do.” – Aamir Chherawala
“I think it’s important to remember that there is no one way to get through the OCIs.
Everyone in our summer group was their own unique and interesting person, which goes to show there is definitely no single type of ideal candidate.
So, my advice is, in preparing for the recruitment process, know the story that you are trying to tell about yourself.
Who are you and what stories about your life, your experience and your goals do you want to share? If you are prepared with what you want people to know about you, you’ll make a great impression no matter what questions get fired your way in the interviews and informal meetings. And most importantly, the job you find will end up being the right fit for you.”
– Nico Elliott-Armstrong
“Be as energetic and engaged as you can be. You’ll be super tired but push through it. Also, no such thing as being too prepared. Try to at least know some information about every firm you interview with, including whether they have rotations for summer students, areas of practice, etc.
Don’t forget to be prepared to talk about your interests! The interest line will come up time and time again, so think of stories to share beforehand.”
– Jackie Karbi
“Try to have fun! I know this sounds strange, but looking at the OCI process as an opportunity to meet interesting people and to learn about their careers and unique paths to law helps to change the anxious, nerve-wracking job interview vibe to a more relaxed and exciting one.
Going into the interviews with this positive attitude will help you feel and be your best self, which is what you should be aiming for in order to not only make a good impression, but also find the firm that will be the best fit for you.”
– Corina Capmare
If you have any specific questions about the recruitment process, we’re happy to answer them.* Check out our Cassels Brock & Blackwell student webpage at http://students.casselsbrock.com/ for our contact information.
*This offer expires Friday, August 17, 2018, at